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The Microsoft Surface Pro 3, from an iPad and Mac user’s perspective

By Jaime Rivera May 20, 2014, 5:05 pm

Many of you may not remember this, but tablets have existed for almost twelve years. Microsoft invented the concept of the tablet computer, and it did so in a very bold and daring manner. Back then there weren’t any neigh sayers that didn’t believe in the product. On the contrary, people found them cool, and I could tell you stories of how many of us wished we could afford one. And yes, that last phrase is really what nailed the coffin for this product category over the course of almost a decade. It was sadly too pricey for the little power you received in return.

Fast forward to 2014 and the world is full of tablets. Apple’s approach proved to be more popular, as Cupertino felt that tablets shouldn’t be expensive, and should be consumer products, and not focused on productivity. Surely for anyone today the iPad is an expensive product if you compare it to any $200 tablet, but back in 2010 when the average Tablet PC cost no less than $1200, a $499 iPad was impossibly cheap.


Oddly, even with Apple’s success, Microsoft still feels that most of the world can’t own a tablet and a PC. The company continues to bet on the idea that people want just one product that can do everything, which in a way is exactly what it has been betting on for more than a decade already. As a result we see the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro line-up, which though cool, haven’t reached the popularity that Redmond expected.

Today we see the launch of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which is an even bolder step into a professional tablet that can also cater to consumers. It’s grown in screen size, it’s shrunk in thickness, and it’s gotten more powerful and affordable in certain ways. So the question is, would I switch my Mac and my iPad for a Surface Pro 3, or would I recommend that you do? Let’s talk about it:

Surface Pro 3 from an iPad user’s perspective

So this is an interesting comparison. I own an iPad, and I’ll admit that I rarely use it. My biggest issue with it is that I can’t really work with it, and I rarely have time to consume content, so it really makes leaving my laptop at home a challenge. Surely this is most likely not your case, but mine is really my lack of time. When I do have the time, I stick to books, magazines, playing a game or two, and watching movies, so the iPad is definitely a much more practical product for consuming the content that I want when compared to the Surface Pro 3 which has a much larger display.

Still, when you factor that I own a 64GB LTE iPad that I paid almost $1000 for, you wonder if it’s really worth it to buy such an expensive tablet, for a price in which I could buy a really powerful Surface Pro 3. It would be hard for me to switch, mainly because the Surface doesn’t have many of the apps that I personally need, but I would really question how much I would need an iPad, if many of these services are available through the web on a more-powerful computer that’s also a tablet.

There is a trend going-on lately that I’m sure you’ve noticed, where tablets aren’t as popular as they were a couple of years ago, and I think that it’s mainly because many people have realized that Microsoft wasn’t all wrong about it’s assumptions.

Surface Pro 3 from a Mac user’s perspective

We don’t really focus on covering computers here, but hey, we need them to get you our videos and content delivered. In the past, the biggest reason why I wouldn’t consider a Surface Pro was because of its screen size. It was just too small to comfortably edit a video, or pivot any of my spreadsheets. That problem has been addressed with the Surface Pro 3 in a great degree, and I feel that a 12-inch display is really the sweet spot to solve most of my productivity needs.

Would I switch my old MacBook Air, or even my current MacBook Pro for a Surface Pro 3? Well, my biggest challenge is really moving away from OS X to Windows, but overall these do seem like very comparable products. I just find the Surface Pro 3 to be less convenient in things like the type cover, which I do find awkward to use, and quite fragile for an every-day beating. The reason why I find it less convenient is mainly because I’ve spent two decades using computers as they are, with a keyboard, track pad and display, and never have I felt a compelling need to touch the display, even in the times when I owned a Tablet PC. I’m not saying I’m not willing to move away, but what I’m saying is that until Microsoft figures out a way to have the Surface Pro 3 do even more than a regular PC, that’s not pen-input or touch-input, they would nail a blockbuster.

The bottom line

Overall, I’ll praise Microsoft for the Surface Pro 3. For the first time in two years, I do feel that I’d be willing to buy a Surface Pro 3 instead of my cocktail of products. Surely being able to touch your apps and interact with them with your fingers is cool, but I guess my biggest reason to not switch yet, is because having a computer with a touchscreen isn’t really any more convenient at the moment. It’s cool, and it’s kind-of-natural, but not any more convenient. At a time when most apps from companies like Adobe are still not optimized for touch friendliness, and even productivity apps like Microsoft Office, it’s still hard to buy-into the productivity tablet concept, where a cheaper laptop and a $200 tablet would suffice.

What about you? Would you buy a Surface Pro 3 and make it your only tablet? Leave us a comment.


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