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August 4, 2015

Microsoft Surface 3 (Not Pro) Review

by GFR2

Finally!  Yep, I’ve managed to save up and get myself the shiney new MS Surface 3 with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM – oddly they all show it being used with a pen but thats extra.

Whats in the box?

Well, erm, a Surface 3, power supply and some basic instructions – thats about it!  Microsoft have used the same theme for the box as on other surface models (copying Apple with simple, clean designs).

The surface itself has the following out of the box –

  • Windows 8.1 (with free upgrade to Windows 10 for the next year)
  • Adjustable rear kickstand
  • Mini displayport
  • USB Port
  • Charging Port
  • Headphone port
  • Micro SD card slot (Supports up to 128GB)
  • Keyboard slot/connector
  • Power/Sleep button
  • Volume button
  • Front and rear cameras
  • Microphone
  • Light sensor

First Impressions.

I’ve been lucky enough to play with pretty much every Surface model since they launched and have always liked their design, this is no exception.  

The first thing that hits you is how thin it is, now I’m not talking iPad thin but considering the Surface is a full blown laptop replacement with a grown up operating system then it puts that into perspective – add a full HD screen to that, the selection of ports and expansion options and in fact the iPad doesn’t stand up so well!

The build quality is very good, nice and smooth, no rough cut edges and a decent quality feel to it – other thin laptops in the same price range don’t even have the same build quality.

And its Quick!  People scoff when they hear Atom As they assume cheap and slow – its more than capable in this quad core option, coupled with 4GB RAM and an SSD and it has a very decent level of performance – that said, if you tax it you can feel the it running warm – pretty much like most devices of this nature so nothing to worry about.


It comes with Windows 8.1, but a quick power on and a windows update later I had the option to reserve my free Windows 10 copy, so me being me, I downloaded the install files and kicked this off……..a short while later I was booting into Windows 10 and performing my setup.  I won’t walk you through this as everyone sets up their OS in a different way, but after setting up countless number of Windows 8.1 machines in recent months, this setup seemed familiar but also quicker and smoother.


I charged it up to full on Sunday and have been playing on it plenty since, including a firmware update, max power settings and lots of downloads (Office 365 and my Onedrive files) and it still has 25% battery left – hasn’t missed a beat so far and so far no issues with software.  

Its Windows so it works as you’d expect it to, but as above it feels more powerful than it is and out performs my desktop machine which is of a similiar spec to this except with a dual core CPU and a SSHD (Hybrid drive) – both run Windows 10 and the same apps, the Surface does it quicker.


Was it worth it? 

Yes, as a portable computer with more functionality than my iPad (a lot more actually) it suits my needs – Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a machine for hardcore gaming, or major video editing but for most people who browse the web, check email, watch Netflix etc then this device is a very good choice.

The only drawback is the cost of extras such as the pen or keyboard – add another £150 to the cost if you want these, or look for a bundle to save some money.

Update – 14/08/2015.

I caved and bought the pen, but I had a voucher so it was only £39.99.  Works very well and my handwriting actually looks like my handwriting!  Haven’t tried to write loads, but works well so far.

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