Sunday, July 6, 2014

Returning My Surface Pro 3


Overall experience with the Surface Pro 3 has been mediocre. I was leaning towards keeping it since it was lightweight, full Windows OS, could handle a VM with 8gb, touch screen, and could learn to draw on it with the stylus included. BUT, the battery either completely died or something is wrong with the software detecting it so back to the store it goes (Please don't make me pay restocking fees!!).

Below is my experience with the Surface Pro 3.

NOTE: I orginally had that the below was a review of the product, but as chton on Hacker News pointed out it really was just listing the flaws. The Surface 2 in 1 tablet/pc is something I've really wanted for a while now, but I think the execution on the software side fell short. While the battery should be replaceable under warranty I just don't have the confidence to keep the device, especially at a total price tag of $1,400+ (keyboard price included). 

The Machine

Date Bought: June 22, 2014
Model: 256GB i5
Retail Cost: $1,299 + tax (in California so there's plenty of that)

The Surface Pro 3 had a quality build, it felt like a premium product.

  • Web Browsing
  • Trying Drawing Apps
  • Watching/Streaming Videos
  • Playing Asphalt 8 (Sad I know. I easily get addicted to games and play for a few hours a day until deleting it.)
The most intensive things here would probably be streaming videos and video gaming. 

  • Battery
  • Keyboard
  • Wifi
  • Pen Sensitivity
  • UI (User Interface) / Software

Here's the video of me demonstrating the battery issue:

NOTE: This was the first time I saw it in recovery mode. This was my 2nd try on demonstrating the battery issue and was probably the cause of the recovery mode screen.

The Surface had a problem recognizing battery after its first week. Wasn't really much of problem as it would display the percentage of charge after restarting. Today, the thing completely died. It won't work without being plugged in anymore.


So this thing costs $129... I read that it was a mechanical keyboard so I got a bit excited since I heard those were fantastic for typing. Wrong, other than the nice felt backing the keyboard felt really cheap. Bad experience with this keyboard.

Its really thin so there's not much key travel and the track pad was not responsive for the most part (I heard it was actually quite an improvement over older models). The mouse would skip and on certain apps it would stop registering the clicks and I had to resort to using the touch screen to close windows and tap search bars so at least I could type with the keyboard.

Once something on the keyboard forced the Narration Help setting on. Something must've jammed with the 'L" key as it went alway when I hit it. This is a crazy situation where it kept rejecting my sign in password since some keys weren't registering.


Issues with the wifi is well documented on Microsoft's own forum:

After starting up after a night it would have limited wifi access until it restarted.

Pen Sensitivity 

The pen is a cool feature / add on for the product. It was a pretty big bonus for me as I always wanted to get a Cintiq or something similar.

Out of the box, sensitivity for the pen was pretty bad for most apps. I had to press extremely hard to get the bold lines. Actually writing with it was too light (super light gray). Things got a lot better after downloading the Wintab drivers. After the download it felt pretty good and the pressure was similar to actually writing with a pen.

UI (User Interface) / Software

First, you probably have to change browsers if you're using Chrome. Windows 8 Chrome is pretty bad and DPI apparently isn't good in Chrome so at the screen ratio and resolution of the Surface will make it extremely obvious. The main problem is text on web pages. Very distorted especially when comparing to other browsers. Would recommended switching to FireFox or IE (yea...I just recommended IE, gives myself chills).

The UI is confusing. Activating menus by sliding from the top of the screen, initiating triple split screens, figuring out what Metro apps are running by sliding from the left side of the screen and hovering back to the left (other wise it switches from current app)..., apps that similary followed this design, and apps that when resized you lose options!! Yea you can't get certain options on apps without it being full sized, there was no way I could tell how to get them back, these are things like creating new pages, choosing paint color, or drawing mediums. The insanity of it all!!!

I had no clue where the files were being saved to either for most of the apps. Things like the voice recording (it came with 2 or 3 voice recording apps and one of them asked where to save it, thank goodness) and drawings I couldn't find on the desktop when searching so I guess they're just within the apps themselves?

I did end up getting used to Metro (Modern UI?). Read an article that said it was designed this way because most people pinned apps to the task bar and MS decided to redo it this way instead of the regular desktop. Overall, still used the regular desktop more, but Metro isn't as bad as I thought it once was.

1 comment:

  1. Summary Overall experience with the Surface Pro 3 has been mediocre. I was leaning towards keeping it since it was lightweight, full Windows ...