Skip to main content

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 will flop: here's why

Right now, my iPad is full of apps ranging from Instapaper to Infinity Blade to Twitter, whilst my MacBook has Pages, NetNewsWire, Mail and Steam in the dock.

While use cases will vary from person to person, what we see here is fairly a-typical: 'play' on the iPad and 'work' on the laptop. If Windows 8 cannot deliver the play side of the coin then the Surface Pro 3 is essentially a touchscreen laptop that can only replace a laptop.

The Surface Pro 3 is not cheap either, with the base Core i3 64GB model starting at $799 (£639). While this may seem cheap when compared to a MacBook Air and iPad ($1,398/£1,148 at cheapest), 64GB of disk space—closer to 35GB when the operating system is taken into account—is a very small amount, especially considering the Surface Pro 3 is acting as two devices.

A fully kitted out Surface Pro 3—Core i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB of RAM—costs a shade under $2,000 and, while most consumers do not need that power, the MacBook Air and iPad still cost less and come with a vastly superior ecosystem.

'Jack of all trades, master of none'

The problems extend further. The Surface Pro 3 is a big device with a 12-inch screen meaning it comes in at a little over a pound in weight (the iPad Air, for comparison, weights half a pound). The sheer size of the tablet prohibits many activities that an iPad could be used for, such as one-handed reading or being thrown in a small bag to be used at a coffee shop.

Packing so much technology into such a slender and light frame is an impressive feat but the Surface Pro is still too large when being used like an iPad might.

Some would claim that comparing the Surface Pro 3 to an iPad is unfair, but consumers will be doing just that; Microsoft is essentially asking them to throw away their iPad in place of the Surface Pro and so the comparison must be made.

While the Surface Pro 3 is powerful and good looking machine, it conforms to the cliché of "Jack of all trades, master of none." In trying to be both a tablet and laptop it manages to do neither well undermining Microsoft's vision that the Surface Pro 3 is the tablet to replace your laptop.