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Announcing the Surface 3 (surface.com)
368 points by JoelSutherland on Mar 31, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 327 comments



I own a Surface Pro 3, and when I first got it I'd describe the experience as just mediocre. However Microsoft has been aggressively updating the software as has Intel, and as a result of those effects the SP3 has really stepped up and is now quite a good little tablet/ultrabook combo.

I only have two remaining concerns with the SP3: My i5 version continues to get extremely hot near the middle of the device (e.g. when gaming or using a lot of CPU, like BitTorrent). Worryingly hot in fact. And the Magsafe like connector fails right near the magnet (the wire un-twirls), see Amazon's reviews of the power supply for examples and photos.

I think this new 10.1" could be interesting form-factor for this device and a top end Atom CPU really distinguishes it from the SP3. The naming is getting a little confusing, I checked the posting date to make sure this wasn't an old announcement for the SP3. Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface 2 RT, uhh...

PS - Does anyone else keep seeing a completely white screen when visiting Microsoft's web-sites. It goes completely white for like 5 seconds and only then does any content load. I am using Chrome retail latest.


Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface 2 RT, uhh...

Well, at least it is better than before, when people bought a Surface tablet expecting it to run regular x86 desktop applications, because Windows. Having nearly the same name (Surface RT vs. Surface Pro) didn't really help.


Microsoft has taken a leaf out of Apple's book and simplified product lines and names, and are up front about availability and configurations. Other PC and laptop manufacturers seem to go out of their way to make things as confusing for the consumer as possible. I was briefly contemplating getting the Asus Zenbook UX305 but it is available in different configurations in (different) global markets, with the European market seemingly getting a very raw deal in terms of RAM and SSD size. As always it is unclear where I should buy them (obligatory nonfunctioning map with resellers on their website) and when they are available. They also have way too many different models available. I swear I will never buy anything again from manufacturers that do this.


I feel like Apple's fallen of the wagon on this one, however. Look at the iPad line. From what I can tell there are at least 6 different models and all of those are available in different storage capacities and with different connectivity options. Additionally, there are 3 different iPhone models. If you're a consumer walking into Best Buy for an iPad, I can definitely see you getting a raw deal if you don't already know what you want.


There are 5 iPad models. What have the 3 iPhone models got to do with buying an iPad?


iPhone model likely refers to iPads with cellular data.


I respectfully disagree, there's only two raw deals I see with your example: buying a 16GB model, and going to Best Buy.

There were always 6 SKUs for any given region (3 size options and 2 connectivity), and now there are 3 colors, and the iPad Mini form factor. That's a lot when you add it all up analytically, but that's not how consumers experience it -- they're not presented with 36 different iPads and asked to figure it out.

The consumer experience hasn't fundamentally changed since the original iPad, because each option is understandable by the user rather than buried under a confusing set of names [1]. iPads with cell radios are really only for people who already know what it is and want it, so that choice point is reduced. The form factor (iPad or iPad mini) is something the consumer can hold in their hands and figure out, as is color. Those are tangible, immediate, human choices.

RAW DEAL #1: Storage, and specifically the 16GB model, is the biggest issue with iOS products because later you'll find you can't download many apps or have too many photos before storage fills up. Bad user experience. See past iOS upgrades for outrage.

> if you don't already know what you want

Apple has invested huge amounts in iPad's branding and awareness, that translates to consumers understanding more and walking in having at least a vague understanding of which form factor and color they would like, with a visit being more of a confirmation of the choice. Note that Apple's other branding reinforces this, by sharing color across iPad, iPhone, and now MacBook, meaning more possibility for consumers to come in closer to having made a choice. Same with storage capacity if they evaluated iPhones. They also don't name it something different each time they launch a new one, they reuse the name [2]. The brand value/awareness of 'iPad' alone is probably 100x+ that of Asus or Surface. Brand awareness persists between products, so with 800m iOS devices out there, each SKU represents maybe 20m iOS devices worth of brand recognition that precedes it [3].

RAW DEAL #2: Walking into Best Buy -> raw deal. For. sure.

There's a reason Apple built stores - its to control the experience and reduce choice anxiety through consistent messaging, better presentation of products, positive sales experience, few choices, etc. Best Buy shits that away and you wind up in a chemical-smelling store filled with crappy products that subtly increases paradox of choice, talking to a spikey hair drone that doesn't understand the product, forcing comparison to unlike products, putting pressure on you to buy the replacement plan or accessories or shit you don't need, with flashing images from a wall of TVs nearby sucking your attention away from your purchase decision like the TV with a skateboarding video on at the bar you're at with friends that keeps pulling you away from the conversation you were just having. Ugh. Best Buy.

[1] Apple made this mistake in the 90s with the Performa brand, introducing too many models causing consumer confusion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Performa). Thus, iPad is iPad, and specs do not play into the name of the product the user buys. Most other competitors such as aforementioned Asus Zenbook UX305 just don't get it.

[2] Because people think in years, not obscure model numbers ('oh thats the iPad from two years ago' vs 'oh thats the Zenbook umm... UX31A? UX42VS?').

[3] Yeah this is a super janky way of representing brand awareness, its just to illustrate how much more carrying capacity the brand has for variations relative to others. Marketing budget might be another way, except that doesn't account for people's actual purchases and their sharing with friends, plus the ridiculously valuable free marketing you get from the media talking about the device. Hence, the big unveil strategy.


RE: The Zenbook

How do companies not get this? Don't call it the Zenbook [Impossible Number]. Call it the damn Zenbook and be done with it. No one cares that its part of the UX300 line, because UX300 means nothing, and you're only going to have three computers in the UX line anyway before you discontinue it.

But you know why they do that? Price matching. They can sell a SKU on Amazon for $700 and sell the exact same computer at Best Buy for $750. When you try to price match with Best Buy, oh whoops you're buying the Zenbook UX305-XYZ, that's the Zenbook UX305-ABC. Same hardware? Doesn't matter, different SKU, no price match.


What's particularly galling is when the UX305-XYZ has a different chipset or wireless controller or whatever than the UX305-ABC. You try the XYZ and think, "great! It's got Intel wireless, so I can run BSD without a problem", then you get the ABC and, no, it's on Broadcom for that sub-line.


Good point about the price matching SKU nonsense. Sucks for Asus to be in a position that pits them against their customers. Not a game worth playing!


You seem to be skipping over the part where the buyer chooses between the iPad Air and the iPad Air 2 (if they pick the big size) or between the iPad mini, iPad mini 2, or iPad mini 3 (if they pick the small size). That is the big problem in my eyes at the moment. Cellular radio, whatever, obvious choice for most. Colors, that's an easy customization, just pick what you like. But how do you pick between all those different models? The really puzzling one is the iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 2. Why do they both exist? Is the difference truly just $100 in price and a fingerprint sensor? That's madness!


I definitely get what you're saying, and agree the iPad line is at least one product (original mini) too heavy. I didn't realize they still sold that thing, that's crazy.

There's a ton of segmentation going on in the iPad line. I think you've gone through the decision tree pretty well. To answer your question I think the last bit mostly comes down to a combination of price and what the retailer even has stocked and displayed - they may only have the latest one.

I agree the mini 2 and 3 are a little too close spec-wise. I think Apple is trying to figure out supply chain choices there, and the A7 is just a good chip that still has legs. I'd guess the consumer decision on that one would be if the consumer likes the form factor and wants the latest, they choose the 3, and if they look a bit more into it and find the 2 is just lacking fingerprint and they don't care, they choose 2. Most people aren't pouring over specs, and may not even know the 3 has the same guts as the 2.

More generally though, having this year's and last year's model in both form factors makes sense for price segmentation. It's doubly good for business as it clears out the supply chain, and it even suggests to purchasers that older products will be supported so you can have confidence in your purchase.


>RAW DEAL #1: Storage, and specifically the 16GB model

I've got a 16GB iPhone and am happy enough. It runs out of memory when I get to about 1000 pictures on the camera roll. I can live with that. Sure if you want hours of video get a bigger one.


Yeah, fair enough. Thanks for adding your experience. I was riffing off the idea of getting a 'raw deal', which to me means a) customer is unaware of what having 16GB means, and b) customer winds up using product for certain space-heavy things (e.g. video or lots of games).

There's a ton of people like you who know what 16GB space means and are happy to save the $, and a ton of people who don't use their iOS devices a lot, so for them its not as much a raw deal.


Think of the people who ordered a Surface and expected a digital projection coffee table to arrive. (OK, none, but it's another Microsoft Surface, now renamed PixelSense.)


Amazon's Kindle Fire naming is equally painful. There's a Fire HD 7 and a Fire HD 7". Try buying accessories for the right one.


But then again, try buying accessories for the Kindle Not-Fire. First off, you have to figure out how to search for Kindle without Fire results coming up. Then you have to try to figure out which generation you have, when Amazon themselves don't tell you that anywhere.


Maybe hardware manufacturers should do like car companies do and use a model year. "Yea, I have a MacBook Pro 2015 but its about the same as my Surface Pro 2017".


That's actually how Apple does it. For example, the official names of the various Mac Pro models are "Mac Pro (Late 2013)," "Mac Pro (Mid 2012)," etc. It's a bit confusing because they don't show the year part prominently, so you have to do some legwork to figure out what you're buying or what you already have, but it works out OK.


I think you can find this in About this Mac.


I had the same issue with the power connector, and when I contacted Microsoft support (I used the online chat), they sent me a new one right away. It looks like the new one is designed slightly differently so that the fraying won't happen.

For what it's worth, I had the fraying problem on my old MacBook Air charter too.


>Intel has been aggressively updating the software

Indeed. With the January update to GPU drivers, the SP3 is able to drive a 4k monitor @ 60Hz while still having the built-in display on, also @ 60Hz.

Not all 4k monitors though, only the older, MST ones.

See https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/2v7te8/reduce_cpu_...

For gaming, get an USB fan.


> PS - Does anyone else keep seeing a completely white screen when visiting Microsoft's web-sites. It goes completely white for like 5 seconds and only then does any content load. I am using Chrome retail latest.

Yes, this has been happening to me as well for the past week or so. Also on Chrome latest.


Is it any different from from the Macbook versus Macbook Pro? Massively different devices. The odd duck out is the Surface RT line, which seems to be abandoned now, removing that confusion.


I don't think the MacBook [Pro] is a flattering comparison. Apple is rapidly falling away from their traditional simple and obvious product lines, and the current MacBook lineup is extremely confusing to a lot of people.


Having a new "MacBook" that's thinner than the "MacBook Air" is admittedly a bit weird, but it's a transition period. Once the price on the new one goes down, they'll drop the Air from the lineup, and it'll just be MacBook vs MacBook Pro again.


I completely agree.

The MacBook Pro Retina 13" is almost the same weight and size as a MacBook Air 13". It no longer makes sense to keep the Air around as a "lighter" alternative.

IMHO, both the Air and the non-retina-Pro are going away. Keeping just the MacBook and the retina-Pro is what makes sense the most (the rest are just cheaper alternatives, and Apple doesn't generally do cheap).


The problem is the performance of the new MacBook has taken such a hit. The Airs had started converging on the territory of conventional high performance laptops, but now they're back to ultra low power low performance Intel skus to make the form factor possible again.


Just like the recently announced Surface 3 (with an even slower Atom x7), it won't matter to most people. A 5 year old Air was fast enough to check email, watch YouTube, and write text documents, and the Core M versions will be the same. The thinner and lighter MBP turns into the computer for people who want a smallish performance laptop.


Apple actually makes a good way of differentiating the products on their site (http://store.apple.com/us/mac/compare). On top of that their sales people will generally ask you what your purpose for the laptop is as to not oversell you on something you don't need.


My dad went into an Apple Store intending to spend £1000 on a MacBook. He ended up coming home with a £400 iPad which suited his needs better (and which he loves). I couldn't respect the sales staff more for that.


Yeah - one of the nicest things about the Apple stores. Presumably the staff are not on commissions pushing them to make sales. You can go in and just check your email and no one bothers you. In contrast I used to live opposite a Sony store and tried wandering in to check if they's invented any cool stuff lately and there would be a sales guy in my face with 'which model are you interesting in buying sir?' within about 20 seconds. Shame really. Scared me off and presumably other people who like Sony as the store was empty and closed soon after.


Confusing to people actually buying MacBooks, or just to those writing about them?

Also even if the current lineup is not perfectly orthogonal because the purpose of the Air is less clear than it used to be, this has happened before when new lines are introduced. What leads you to assert that they are 'rapidly falling away' from anything, rather than just in a transition period with the new line?


The MacBook line has been a mess for years now. There was a bad point when they had retina and non-retina versions for the whole Pro line. The iPad line is becoming pretty nuts. They simultaneously advertise the iPad Air 2, the iPad Air, the iPad Mini 3, the iPad Mini 2, and the original iPad Mini. Even iPhones are starting to suffer from this. It used to be obvious (either pick the best, or decide how much less you want to pay, then buy the one at that price) but now you have to figure out whether you want bigger or smaller, better camera or better pocketability, etc.

I like having more choices, personally, but Apple used to have a much more streamlined product offering.


I'll concede that the iPad line is weird, but I just don't agree with the pattern you are trying to make for the rest of them.

I don't agree that 2 sizes of iPhone is any different from 2 sizes of laptop or two sizes of iPad.


Actually, there are 4 sizes of iPhone currently on the Apple store; 6, 6+, 5s, 5c. That gives you 3 different screen sizes and quite a few color and storage options. I find the current state of the Apple catalog to be depressingly complex and look forward to when there are 4 models to choose from; Business/Consumer, Portable/Desktop. But that's just me.


I think the problem is non-orthogonality. So many choices are bundled together, and you have to decide everything at once, instead of taking it one at a time. For a MacBook, back when the line was really simple, you'd pick a size, then pick a speed, pick storage, etc., more or less independently. All you had to control for at each stage was cost. iPhones were even simpler: pick a storage size and you're done.

Now, things are bundled together. If you choose an iPhone screen size first, you're implicitly choosing camera quality, materials, speed, fingerprint recognition, and such things all at once. If you like a plastic case (some people do!) then 4" is your only choice. If you want the best camera, you have to get a 5.5" phone even if that doesn't fit in your pocket. If you're buying a MacBook, you have to optimize ports, weight, speed, fancy new haptic trackpad, and other such things all at once.

Compared to other manufacturers, Apple is still doing pretty well here. But it's still considerably worse than it used to be.


This is technically true, but I think you're exaggerating the effects of some of the choices vs others.

For example, the difference in camera quality between the iPhone 6 and 6+ is minimal. Yes, if you are obsessed with 'the best' camera quality but want it in a smaller phone, you are faced with a compromise, but for almost everyone the phone size massively overshadows the trivial difference in camera. So people will pick the size they want and those who pick the bigger device will have the minor bonus of a marginally better camera.

Almost nobody obsesses over the full matrix of possible tradeoff the way you are implying. They just choose from what is available based on what is most important to them. The iPhone lineup is easy to select from based on this approach.

Yes, they could make things more orthogonal by say, not having the plastic phone, but it seems to me that this would have almost no effect of the ease of choosing, while just serving fewer customers.


There is nothing that runs on one Mac that doesn't run on all the others. Apple's device classes are getting confusing, but at least everything in a category has access to the full ecosystem (either iOS or OS X).


There's nothing that runs on current-gen Microsoft hardware that doesn't run on all the others either, with the exception of phones (and Apple has that limitation too). There are no current-gen Windows RT devices.


A well-written Windows 8 application should be able to target desktop, phone, tablet and xbox with very little rework, and mostly shared libraries.


Well, you can't run iPad apps on an iPhone. Unless they are universal. But you can run iPhone apps on an iPad.

So not exactly simple.


To continue my other post, you are of course right and I shouldn't have brought up iOS. Running iPhone apps on an iPad is such a kludgy experience that it might as well not work at all. Let's see if Apple manages to make things even worse with the rumoured iPad Pro :|


Agreed, but I was merely replying to a post that argued that the MacBook and MacBook Pro are as different as Surface and Surface RT.


Worryingly hot in fact.

It may not actually be a problem at all. CPUs can run safely up to ~70C or so, which is 160F. This means thin tablets are becoming constrained by what you can safely touch, rather than what is safe for the CPU.

http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/MCEN/MCEN5166/supplement...


Once they get to that temperature, which can happen in a matter of minutes if you are doing something cpu intensive, they throttle the cpu, thus slowing everything down, which is counter productive if you are doing something cpu intensive. They can spread that heat over a larger area, thus heating up the whole device, or they can put in active cooling, or they can put in a cpu that doesn't get that hot. The Atom is a cpu that shouldn't get that hot. It's probably not as fast as the i5, but it can certainly run Chrome and other apps though probably games would suffer.

The issues we see with Surface Pro 3 overheating is where it's not expected to overheat, such as using Chrome. Using IE is fine, but when you use Chrome it overheats. Turns out a lot of the time it's related to ABP (adblock plus). Switching to uBlock seems to resolve most of the overheating of Chrome.


Chrome on Surface has always been a giant mess. Not that Google has an incentive to fix it.


Those temperatures are OK on a desktop or sometimes even a laptop but having something running that hot in your hand / lap is not so comfortable.


That's the point. He says "worryingly", I'm saying you probably don't have to worry. There's probably no risk of internal damage at "warm/hot to the touch" temps


I'm curious, what specifically about SP3 improved your experience?


Too many to list but...

- WiFi/Bluetooth drivers (they were terrible at release)

- Intel HD graphics drivers (improved battery usage, responsiveness in some applications, and also seems to have reduced heat slightly (when running on battery))

- They improved the touchpad's auto-disable thing while using the keyboard (so it actually worked!).

- Touchscreen accuracy improvements both for pen and finger.

- More pen customisation (with associated app)

- Several crash bugs fix (e.g. BSoD during shutdown)

- A bunch of sleep specific fixes (e.g. faster entry and exit from sleep, a crash bug here too, and so on).

- Others...

Here's a full-ish list:

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/install-updat...


Wifi drivers for one. They were awful at launch.


> My i5 version continues to get extremely hot near the middle of the device

This non-pro is Atom-based. I like to say while the i3/5/7 are optimized for price/performance, the Atoms are optimized for low thermal dissipation (which can be painful if you spend your day in Eclipse).

But if the Pro is mediocre, that doesn't speak well of the plain 3...


No delay on Microsoft.com in the Mobile Mercury browser nor Chrome 41 on iPad.


Oh boy....

Pro 2 user here, and to better understand it for work reasons, I made it primary machine for over 8 Hurst / day since last April. Until I guessed I had reached the point no software updates were likely.

I am genuinely disappointed.

Despite the initial impression of execution was positive enough for me to have a eight week or so honeymoon. I think the idea has legs longer term.

For me, of many many issues I encountered, it is IE tablet / touch version which has been become what in hindsight ought to be a showstopper.

There is no alternative for touch use without contortions.

Yet IE left to far too much grief.

I guess here nobody will freak if I had 50 or more tabs open. Not a usual search decision list to keep handy.

But without respite, IE would seize and redraw, reload no matter how cache sized (which pretty much needs a trip to the registry) and commonly crash.

I was heavily reliant on a 3G mifi connection during most of this time.

It is beyond my comprehension how a browser in theory close to OS that knows I am using a metered connection in particular with long latency, can be shipped with a addiction to cache miss reloads.

I would close down tabs carefully and exit IE (touch).

Reboot and ....

The entire past session and even sometimes earlier sessions would reload.

I found that bookmarks did not store or persist.

It just goes on and on from there.

This is merely the highlight commentary.

But within nearly 80 single spaced pages of description, not solely concerning IE behavior, I realized I had been building a "not fit for purpose" complaint.

I did not exclusively encounter the IE problems with only a few tab open, either.

I actually do think that the shipping state of the Pro 2 would, if I had understood beforehand, guaranteed I did not purchase it.

I don't maintain a web presence or have access to a appropriate place to publish my extensive review. But I am thinking what to do about that, right now.

Although I speak very casually about what ought to touch upon different memory models for touch aps from Metro thinking, the process sumps I ran, API monitoring, attempts at querying NTFS to find "lost" writes and a determined effort to seek out any possible corruption of the SSD writes.... all of which were reasons in terms of finding free time which delayed my formal complaint so far beyond when I first became incredibly frustrated, I hope I may be permitted here a modicum of credibility that I did at least have a fair go at figuring out anything that might be otherwise wrong.

I very much like this format.

This new 3 might be just the ticket for lightweight moments needing a x86 device I can carry substitute another tablet.

Yet, the sad ending to this, is that in my private but professionally minded quest to bring a 5th decade brain out of atrophy and into the current device world, this is the punching:

I bought a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

For everything I commonly did with my Surface Pro 2, exception anything requiring long concentration, I suddenly found myself using the Z3c for entire days and continue to in cactuses it primarily.

Even when I have a environment up to write and edit, how exactly can it not plain suck to be fighting with a browser when piling through API refs or SO to check out whichever. That was simply a concentration breaker.

I probably will check out the new one as above.

But I have rarely found anything so frustrating in primary use as intended or advertised....\

And I get done faster with my Z3c, for too many tasks.

I almost feel bad at the tome I am about to dump on Microsoft, but I felt strongly enough about the potential utility to me of this device format, I am not writing any consumer report complaint. I very much want my observations, which had me regularly disrupted from my flow even of corridor meetings, to be appreciated. I am to concerned by my experience to plump for a new model without most definitely being certain I can get refund after sufficient time to go the necessary test distance. And absolutely no way will I let myself think a future update will solve anything.

That last point, the confidence that updates will resolve glaring problems, is the kind of issue that would have me shut the entire teams to standstill (per Toyota System) until this was understood.

At present, the market for any Surface is small and tolerant and sophisticated. But this is if unsolved, a PR problem that could shut down regular consumer retail dead.

I may exaggerate, and as well two years ago I thought neither Lumina WP nor Android phones (I tested a variety from mid to flagship) were persuasive, but the change in experience since then has blown my mind. Still yet so much I would do on WP or 'Droid. But the complete experience is entirely impressive. Not only that, but my very elderly family members who are most immune to me thrusting new toys into their hands in ever desperate attempts to connect our diaspora family, are finally impressed. Because above all the response of apps is good enough to prevent a kind of "Senior Valley" in which UX and app latency makes them just pause enough to think they "did it wrong".

The story will continue nevertheless.... it feels like the second or wherever we are counting, Act, is not the dramatic finale but having introduced the Dramatis Personae, we are getting some action sufficient to appreciate full blown characters.


Oh boy....

Pro 2 user here, and to better understand it for work reasons, I made it primary machine for over 8 Hurst / day since last April. Until I guessed I had reached the point no software updates were likely.

I am genuinely disappointed.

Despite the initial impression of execution was positive enough for me to have a eight week or so honeymoon. I think the idea has legs longer term.

For me, of many many issues I encountered, it is IE tablet / touch version which has been become what in hindsight ought to be a showstopper.

There is no alternative for touch use without contortions.

Yet IE left to far too much grief.

I guess here nobody will freak if I had 50 or more tabs open. Not a usual search decision list to keep handy.

But without respite, IE would seize and redraw, reload no matter how cache sized (which pretty much needs a trip to the registry) and commonly crash.

I was heavily reliant on a 3G mifi connection during most of this time.

It is beyond my comprehension how a browser in theory close to OS that knows I am using a metered connection in particular with long latency, can be shipped with a addiction to cache miss reloads.

I would close down tabs carefully and exit IE (touch).

Reboot and ....

The entire past session and even sometimes earlier sessions would reload.

I found that bookmarks did not store or persist.

It just goes on and on from there.

This is merely the highlight commentary.

But within nearly 80 single spaced pages of description, not solely concerning IE behavior, I realized I had been building a "not fit for purpose" complaint.

I did not exclusively encounter the IE problems with only a few tab open, either.

I actually do think that the shipping state of the Pro 2 would, if I had understood beforehand, guaranteed I did not purchase it.

I don't maintain a web presence or have access to a appropriate place to publish my extensive review. But I am thinking what to do about that, right now.

Although I speak very casually about what ought to touch upon different memory models for touch aps from Metro thinking, the process sumps I ran, API monitoring, attempts at querying NTFS to find "lost" writes and a determined effort to seek out any possible corruption of the SSD writes.... all of which were reasons in terms of finding free time which delayed my formal complaint so far beyond when I first became incredibly frustrated, I hope I may be permitted here a modicum of credibility that I did at least have a fair go at figuring out anything that might be otherwise wrong.

I very much like this format.

This new 3 might be just the ticket for lightweight moments needing a x86 device I can carry substitute another tablet.

Yet, the sad ending to this, is that in my private but professionally minded quest to bring a 5th decade brain out of atrophy and into the current device world, this is the punching:

I bought a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

For everything I commonly did with my Surface Pro 2, exception anything requiring long concentration, I suddenly found myself using the Z3c for entire days and continue to in cactuses it primarily.

Even when I have a environment up to write and edit, how exactly can it not plain suck to be fighting with a browser when piling through API refs or SO to check out whichever. That was simply a concentration breaker.

I probably will check out the new one as above.

But I have rarely found anything so frustrating in primary use as intended or advertised....\

And I get done faster with my Z3c, for too many tasks.

I almost feel bad at the tome I am about to dump on Microsoft,


Actual product page: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/products/surface-3

And buy now page with tech specs: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productI...

Looks like $499 for 64GB storage and 2GB RAM, $599 for 128GB storage and 4GB of RAM (WiFi models; 4G LTE model pricing wasn't showing for me).


That 2 GB, 64 GB model just looks painful to use. I've seen a lot of Windows installs use up more than 64 GB, in particular as WinSXS grows as more updates are installed (thus more duplicate DLLs are stored). If anyone asked me, I'd describe 128 GB as the "minimum" storage needed for Windows. And even then you aren't storing much if any user data on it.

4 GB is the minimum I'd run anything newer than Windows XP on. The SSD's speed might be able to "save" the 2 GB from being completely unusable, but it is still going to be damn slow with the amount of paging that's going to occur.

Honestly, I get that Microsoft wants to hit that magical $500 figure, but that device is going to give a really poor use experience in my opinion.


It feels like the Surface 3 is coming out a few months too early in some respects, as the disk space improvements in Windows 10 are going to make it a lot more palatable on the $499 model:

http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/03/16/how-wind...


This is my feeling as well. I just don't want a Windows 8 machine. Its clear it was a transition OS full of compromise, half cooked ideas, and a "lets just ship" mentality, which MS had to embrace considering it was practically a non-player in the mobile space in 2012.

I'm hoping 10 comes out with a more refined understanding of modern OS expectations, especially when your OS is both a desktop and mobile OS. I find it amusing that 8 came out with this large install size when SSDs were becoming the norm. I guess Redmond can't move fast enough to avoid this outcome. They saw 1TB drives being the norm in 2009-2010-ish when they started this project and couldn't pivot fast enough to stop it. Now things like the sxs folder being 20gb is the norm. Or still defaulting to a 1996-like "make your swap file twice 2x your RAM size" mentality. I have 16gb of RAM. I sure as hell don't need a 32gb swap file.

The only reason I have a swap file is because DirectX seems to expect one for many games, so I have a token 512mb one just for gaming. No other application expects one. MS really needs to contemporize with Win10. There's just way too much legacy cruft in 7 and 8. Win8 on that sexy Surface hardware is like driving your Ferarri on a dirt road.


The Windows memory model is different. With some OSes, you can happily over allocate and everything's great. Malloc won't fail, and so long not every page ends up being touched, you're fine. But as soon as you go over, bam OOM killer.

On Windows, every allocation gets reserved by actual memory, so it's easier to run into a situation where you would start failing malloc. So having swap is more important.

Also, I think that anonymous mmap is backed by the pagefile. So anything using mmap without specifying a file is going to increase your pagefile needs.


> especially when your OS is both a desktop and mobile OS

I'm curious: does anybody besides OS developers want this to be the case? I don't want the way I interact with a tablet to be the way I interact with a laptop or a desktop.


I really can't even use a computer that's less than 4 gb these days, especially once chrome gets it's grubby hands all over my RAM. Just running baseline I find that most windows systems take up about two GB of RAM, and after you load up chrome, word, whatever; it hits the 4GB+ range. I mean, we're starting to see phones with 2GB of ram, it's completely unacceptable for a modern tablet.


>> I mean, we're starting to see phones with 2GB of ram, it's completely unacceptable for a modern tablet.

I run Chrome with a lot of tabs open on my Asus Vivotab Note and I don't really feel the pain of having only 2GB. I'm one of those guys with bad habits about closing tabs.

The thing you have to remember -- Atoms are serviceable CPUs, but they're nothing like the Core series. If you're looking to do heavy lifting, you should probably go for a Surface Pro anyways.


I really think this comment is overblown. Until 2-3 months ago, I was using a T400 from 2009. It had 4 gigs of ram. I could happily hum away with Firefox with like 30 tabs open, Chrome with like 10 tabs open, IPython notebook chugging away, and Grooveshark/Flash burning up my cycles. While it certainly was not as smooth or as fast as I would have liked it, it certainly never really held me back.


> especially once chrome gets it's grubby hands all over my RAM

Have you considered switching to Firefox, which is a bit more conservative with memory usage? :)


How much RAM does the Ipad have?


Current iPads have 1GB of RAM. They also constantly evict background applications and even backgrounded tabs in the web browser. Switching browser tabs on iOS is always a gamble as to whether it'll reload the page or not. This makes it impossible to, for example, write a comment in one tab while referencing some material in a different one with any kind of reliability.

iOS is extremely memory efficient but it comes at a cost which can be quite high for some.


The iPad Air 2 is the first iOS device with 2 GB of RAM, I believe.


Whoops, clearly I'm a bit behind the times. Thanks to both of you for the updated info.


The iPad Air 2 has 2 GB RAM.


Does it matter? The normal usage patterns for Windows (and OS X) is very different and requires more RAM than the typical usage patterns on an iOS devices


Indeed. I currently only have Chrome, Outlook, and Lync open and am using 4.2 GB of RAM. Over half of that is Chrome alone.

Now, granted, the OS does use more RAM has availability increases (I have 16 GB) however Chrome is a beast no matter what.


Do you use adblock? Chrome's extensions can eat up more RAM than chrome itself, and you don't always see it as a separate process. I keep my extensions minimal, and can use chrome just fine on a 2 GB system.


8 GB is absolute bare minimum in 2015 (I'd say 2012 but the world seems to disagree). I'd be very hesitant buying something today that didn't have 16 GB. Unfortunately that is quite hard to come by in the ultrabook range.

But 2 GB? And maximum 4 ? Just kills me inside. Way to ruin the device.


I don't have anything with more than 4GB. I use Linux often, but my main driver is a Windows tablet (Acer Iconia W700). I used many applications at a time, including stuff like Eclipse, and occasionally a Debian VM with 2GB assigned. I have no trouble with 4GB of RAM, although I was forced to switch away from Chrome. IE11 and Firefox work great though.


Depends. My development machine is a laptop with 4G of RAM (but a terabyte hard drive). Then again I rarely even fire up X11 when I'm programming, so my needs are pretty sparse.


Minimum for doing what?

My home workstation has 32GB and I can remote into that anytime I want from every device that I own, so I tend to lean on that.


Most people don't have 2 computers. Also, most people that do have two computers don't know how/don't want to know how to log into their desktop remotely.


Surfing the web or doing any form of multitasking.

But of course, the sad reality is that the only reason there is a 2 GB version is so that they can have a ridiculous premium for the 4 GB version yet still lure customers with the low starting price point.

I wonder if, when the market has matured enough, that there will be honest companies making products that tries to make good mainstream products rather than trying to get away with whatever they can. There is no reason what so ever that there should be any high-end smartphone available for purchase with less than 64 GB of storage. But now we have 16 GB and, for a $100 GB premium you get, gasp, 32 GB!

Phone storage has not gone up, in many cases down, in the last five years... And that's like 120 years in the tech world.

But hey, 2 GB of ram is certainly enough for the 5 min demo you get in the store...


$100 more for 2x RAM and storage, that doesn't seem like a "ridiculous premium". Unless you mean ridiculous in some other way than the actual dollar amount.


Considering that $100 easily buys you an 8GB so-dimm or an 80 GB intel m.2 ssd at retail prices, I think it is pretty steep for an increase of 2GB of ram and 32GB [ed: whops, 64GB, but still] of storage...


I'm running Chrome, Excel and Outlook right now on my 2 Gb, Win8.1 Pro x86 Atom tablet and it's great. What kind of problems are you imagining?

I love having full control on a tablet that lasts 10 hours and fits in most of my pants and jacket pockets.


Windows' use of WinSXS and RAM scales with the available capacity. That behavior with WinSXS particularly irks me as it implies acknowledgment that most of those files are unnecessary, yet there's nothing you can do to combat the cancerous tumor that grows in a 128-256gb partition.

I've found 2gb to be perfectly usable with Win7 and 8, Chrome's voracious appetite for memory would be a sticking point, except I've noticed that it does a better job of managing itself when RAM is limited. Chrome runs just fine on 1gb Chromebooks despite having just 768-512mb available most of the time. I will say that the Atom processor is a concern with Chrome even though I know the latest versions are roughly 2-3x more powerful than the Pineview dual core I had in my old Dell netbook. Chrome routinely maxed out the processor on every page load while Firefox and IE never needed more than 25% of the available CPU horsepower. Tripling the available power would eliminate the 5 second lockups I experienced but it could still be a slow, stuttery user experience.


128GB minimum storage? You'd have to be installing like a lot of software then? Even my main development machines (2 Visual Studio versions, 2 Matlab versions, 2 Labview versions, Office and utilities) only take 70-80GB. I think a more typical user like my mom who only uses a browser, office and some utilities would be just fine with 64GB for Windows and software. Also a bare Windows 10 install uses about 1 GB of ram after startup so there is some room to play with. Not that I'd ever buy something running full Windows and only has 2GB of ram, nor ever recommend it, just pointing out that depending on who is going to use it this machine might effectively do the trick.


> 128GB minimum storage? You'd have to be installing like a lot of software then?

Nope. Windows grows over time. So a Windows install that fit into 40 GB would grow to over 100 GB over a two or three years.

Heck we had to pull an entire rack of servers because the idiots that set them up partitioned the drive into a 100 GB C: and a massive D:, and Windows consumed all the space on C: just through Windows Update and then started falling over.

We had to rebuilds the machines with a 200 GB C: and they have been running fine ever since.


Err I'm running Windows 8 on a 32Gb HP Stream 7. Heaps of music, and 3 movies, and the recovery partition and still have 17GB free. What causes your install to grow so much?


Windows Update mostly.


And you can clean that stuff up with the disk cleanup app. You don't need to retain those old install files forever.


That will clear out Service Packs and some uninstaller files, it won't clean up WinSXS.


Have you gone through these commands? AFAIK, windows will do it automatically on small disk systems.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn251565.aspx


That certainly has not been my experience. My windows install (minus user folder and my own dev/game/application folders) has not grown appreciably since I initially set up the box.

Obviously user folders can grow quickly, but I wouldn't put the blame on Windows for that.


Not with Windows 10, that was a specific focus of it, and they've introduced new compression for OS files.


> I've seen a lot of Windows installs use up more than 64 GB

Windows installs themselves or with other software installed? The latter makes sense but I've never seen anywhere close in the former. 32GB would be a bad idea but 64GB I think is fine for the majority of people.


I find it a bit disturbing that giving an operating system 32GB would be considered too small. I've not played with win8, but my win7 install started out at 20GB, and damned if I can figure out what consumes all that space out of the box.


> I find it a bit disturbing that giving an operating system 32GB would be considered too small. I've not played with win8, but my win7 install started out at 20GB, and damned if I can figure out what consumes all that space out of the box.

I just don't think 32GB is big enough in general minus some space for the OS but I don't think I've had the same type of issue as you. The majority of my OS installs have been roughly 10GB which isn't far off from iOS and might include some restore stuff. But it's also been a while since I checked.


>> That 2 GB, 64 GB model just looks painful to use.

That really depends on your use case.

I've been using the Asus Vivotab Note 8 for several months (2gb/64gb), and I haven't even come close to feeling a need to put an SD card in it yet. I use it as a complement to my laptop. Mostly for consumption, communication and note-taking with OneNote. I don't think you'd want to do any heavy lifting on an Atom-based machine -- you'd be better off with a Pro in that case.

I'd love to see Microsoft release a Surface Mini with that Surface Pen. Having a Wacom pen on my Vivotab is great, except at the edges.


I have a 32 GB asus t100, with a 32 GB SD card, and have about 15 GB free overall despite a full complement of software. 64 GB is doable, especially now that they've changed things so you're not losing space to a recovery partition. Doable, but not great, just like the 2 GB RAM.

I may end up replacing my t100 with the 128 GB surface 3, especially given the small price difference.


If I recall correctly, the memory reported as being used by the OS includes disk caches. I'd also want at least 4GB, though, if I'm running a full windows install and want to multi-task.


I would rate this as a simple-use tablet, not to be used for complex tasks like development with 20 apps open. So if you need it for office apps, email, web surfing, and then a few simple-use apps, you're going to be okay. And the SD slot allows you to add 64gb more space. It's pretty much a student machine. Not Pro.

If you're a Pro, then buy a Pro or get a MacBook Pro and VM Windows.

But as just a tablet, this is _close_ to a great deal (I think they can do better and probably will drop the price by the holidays).


I'm running Word, Outlook, and several chrome tabs on Win 7 and I'm at 2.7gb. This is a tablet, not a desktop replacement.


The WinSXS bloat has been fixed in the latest versions, so the disk space required for an OS is more or less static now, barring any new functionality that requires new files.


For $500 I can get a real ultrabook.

Like Dell XPS 11

2560 x 1440 display

4GB RAM

128GB SSD

http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/665236/Dell-XPS-11-XPS...


With a shorter battery life, more than twice as heavy, and cumbersome to use in the "tablet" mode. The deep discount on the $1200 ultrabook also seems unusual, like they're having a fire sale just to get it out of stock.


Considering the reviews I found[1], I suspect "fire sale" is exactly what this is.

[1] http://www.engadget.com/products/dell/xps/11/


Not a very fair comparision since at this point that laptop is EOL'ed and its original price is 1199.


Oddly, I ventured out to find the current price of the XPS 11 and Dell doesn't even publish it. You have to call for pricing (oh how Dell has changed). The XPS 12 starts at 149 so I'm assuming the 11 is a bit lower?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-11-9p33/pd?p=xps-11-9p33&view=p...


XPS 11 is end of lifed and discontinued from what I understand.


EOL or not, many of its specs are better. Some are worse, I admit.


LOL at using Windows on a high DPI screen. Windows 8 improved a lot, but using any Desktop apps (Photoshop, IE, Chrome, etc.) is horrible, everything is super tiny. They haven't really given much though to scaling yet, even in Windows 10 scaling is still being figured out.


This is so patently false I'm not sure if you aren't just trolling. I use windows 8 on a 150 DPI screen (28" 4k) on my work desktop and a 220 DPI screen on my laptop (rMBP). Both have no problems, and most commercial apps already support it (chrome, IE no problem, I've heard phtoshop is ok as well).


The post you are responding to is a bit hyperbolic, but "HiDPI" scaling on Windows is still pretty hit or miss with lots of major apps. (Chrome isn't one of them, despite its mention in these posts -- since Chrome 37 it has done proper DPI scaling on Windows, and that release has been out for quite a while now).

Photoshop (since it was also mentioned) has very limited support for real scaling (beyond the OS's default of render as if on a low-dpi screen and then bitmap scale the UI up, which looks horrible, especially when combined with an app you are using to do precise bitmap editing) -- the only meaningful option it gives you is to scale everything in the UI up 200%, which is better than nothing (and what I have to do on my 3840x2160 Toshiba laptop to get a usable UI), but not a really flexible solution and even this is considered an "expirmental feature" in the very latest version.

Adobe Lightroom, on the other hand, has effortless scaling and just works great on screens at any DPI.

The point being there is plenty of support in the OS for apps that effectively scale, it is just that there are a lot of Win32 legacy apps out there which would require a near rewrite of the UI layer to scale well, it is by no means something the OS handles for you automatically (beyond the clumsy bitmap scaling default) if your code targets the older UI APIs, and there are (still) plenty of gotchas you do actually run into when running Windows apps on high DPI screens, though things are certainly improving in this regard.


My wife is into Photoshop (as a designer) and Illustrator, but uses them on Macs exclusively, so I can't judge there. It is crazy: Adobe got flack for not supporting macs well enough with GPU acceleration when macs were going out of style....and now, Macs are back with a vengeance and they are neglecting Windows instead :)


I have rMBP too and no I'm not trolling, you must not be using it at the full resolution. If you use Windows at the full resolution for the device, everything gets extremely small, so you have to increase the font/title bar size, even then you have to turn on zoom on IE and Chrome and the UI elements on all Desktop apps is incredibly tiny. Playing games is incredibly annoying because of how tiny everything is. Most Desktop apps do not support scaling in Windows the way one think it would. If you are fine with using one Metro app (or two with one pinned) at a time, then it's perfect.

Even in Windows 10, the new update has issues with scaling. It now caps out correctly (1920 x 1200), but it is blurry as hell.


That's just wrong... what you're saying makes me think you're not having the scaling factor (equivalent of OS X scaling) enabled in display settings.


MS have really low bar for high end laptop. 16G at least of ram or go away ...

Edit: It was about 3 pro ... ignore.


It's just sleazy that all of their advertising is centered on how the keyboard differentiates the device from other tablets and then the keyboard isn't included in the base price.


I strongly agree with this.

The keyboard is great. Having a choice of keyboards is also great. However Microsoft makes the keyboard a core part of this device (both literally, and in adverts) so to me there should be no scenario where it doesn't ship with one.

They should just set the price at $599 and include the keyboard. At least it is an "out the door" price then, not $500 with a hidden $100 tack-on.


I believe the idea behind not including it is that you can choose the color of your keyboard without them having to anticipate demand for certain colors and package them together. I don't think that's a very good rationalization (just give them an option for keyboard color and ship a second box!), however.


Nobody needs colored keyboards. The keyboard color should just match the device it's made for.


I'm kind of dumbfounded by this. People like personalized goods, this is no different from picking a colored iPad case or wanting your car in some color other than Ford Black.


Nobody needs colored keyboards.

You can make this argument all the way down to basic sustenance, healthcare, and shelter. No-one needs more than those things.


Seems like they are damned if they do, damned if they don't. They attempted to make the Kinect sensor a core part of the Xbox One (including making it central in their advertising, etc) but eventually bowed to pressure to unbundle it in order to sell a $100-cheaper SKU.


A keyboard is a bit more fundamental to a computing experience than a hardly-used peripheral is to a gaming experience.


Not at all because these are tablet computers. I own a few of them and I can honestly say that I only use the keyboard when I'm sitting at a desk with it...and the keyboard I use there is an MS Natural keyboard.

If I travel, I take my Typecover with me, but I mostly work at home.


I don't entirely disagree, but my point was that it's a lot harder to use a computer without a physical keyboard/mouse than it is to use an Xbox without a Kinect. You can certainly use a Surface with no type cover, but even in Modern IE and other apps I prefer to type with a hardware keyboard.

Let me put it this way: by having a computer (even if it has a tablet form factor, it is a Real Computer) without a mouse/keyboard, you give up half its potential (if not more, depending on how you use it). By having an Xbox without a Kinect you give up none of its core capabilities, just some of its extra navigational features and a distinct minority of exclusive games.


It depends on how you work, so I disagree that you always lose the core functionality. I could totally go without the type cover if I wanted to because I just don't travel much.

As a matter of fact, I think when the Surface Pro 4 comes out, I will not buy the type cover and take the savings instead. In any case, I really, really disagree that Microsoft is being sleazy by offering a choice. It's more like they're going all-in on the idea that you can use all of Windows without a physical keyboard.


> I could totally go without the type cover if I wanted to because I just don't travel much.

But also because you have another keyboard and don't mind forking over money for a docking station or plugging in. You're replacing the type cover with another keyboard, but that's still something you had to buy.

> when the Surface Pro 4 comes out, I will not buy the type cover and take the savings instead

Microsoft has announced that the SP3 type cover will be compatible with the next Pro model, so you wouldn't have to at any rate :D

> In any case, I really, really disagree that Microsoft is being sleazy by offering a choice.

I agree with you, but I don't think they're offering the choice you think they are[1]. They bill it as "The Tablet That Can Replace Your Laptop," right above a picture of the products with the type cover on them. The intended use-case clearly involves the type cover.

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_pa...

In case you don't want to follow the link: the choice is the color of the cover, not whether or not to have a cover.


> "The Tablet That Can Replace Your Laptop,"...the intended use case.

So, what is your point here? That they should always bundle the keyboard so that users like me have to pay $100 more every single time? I don't understand what your complaint is or what you think Microsoft is doing wrong.

From the reddit comment that you linked to from the Surface Team:

> "... and some people definitely wanted to buy without cover."

That's going to be me when I get the Surface Pro 4. I don't have a Surface Pro 3, so I don't already have a compatible Type Cover already.

If I buy one to replace my Dell Venue 8 Pro (which I use fully without a keyboard), I will not need a keyboard at all...and I still count it as a laptop replacement since I can (and do) everything that I could on a laptop by using the virtual keyboard. If buy one to replace my Surface Pro (1st gen), then I'm going to use a $30 full size keyboard when I'm sitting and the virtual keyboard when I'm walking around with it. So, I'm glad that they don't bundle the keyboard.

In any case, I just don't understand how anyone could possibly have a problem with this.


At the very least Microsoft should include some base level keyboard with the device and keep an upgrade available.


What's puzzling is that in the "what's in the box" section of the product page, which is where I look for this kind of "gotcha", there is no mention or photo of the stylus being included. I'm sure it is, but it seems like a colossal marketing oversight to not explicitly state that the pen is included in the box. And in the tech specs it states there is support for the surface pen...but again nothing about a pen being part of the tech specs.

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productI...


The pre-order page explicitly states that the stylus is not included. Tricky marketing!


I would assume that one of the pens would not be included then. Because it's specifically spelled out (and shown) as being included in the Surface 3 Pro.


That is the case. All the way at the bottom of that page: [6] Surface Pen sold separately.


The announcement page says pen wouldn't be included.


It'll work with a finger or generic capacitive stylus just not be as accurate. Since they support both modes, they can leave the relatively expensive stylus out.


My first thoughts as well. All the marketing images of the product have the screen connected to the keyboard but the keyboard isn't included.


Yes, this has always bothered me, too.

"Checkout the new Surface - it's only $500 just like the iPad, but unlike the iPad it comes with a keyboard, too!

Oh btw, you actually have to pay $130 more for the keyboard."


Wish they could have gone with the new USB standard. These form factors would really benefit from it.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8377/usb-typec-connector-speci...


I agree, if only because I want adoption of that new connector type to spread quickly.

But given that it only has one USB port, I'm not surprised that Microsoft chose not to ship something that would basically require an adapter.

I imagine they are shaving pennies to keep cost down without giving up quality, but I wonder what the added cost would be to have two USB ports? (And how much extra the new USB parts would cost?)


I would think having two USB-C connectors poses a problem.

If you allow charging over only one of the connectors, customers will find that highly confusing.

If you allow charging the device over both, you have to be prepared for the case where people plug in two power sources (yes, some users will do that, if you give them half a chance).

I think your best bet would be to go for #2. I think that requires software (or maybe hardware) that reliably handles the 'two power sources' problem. I wouldn't run that on the main OS and CPU, so you need something else, maybe a single chip that drives two USB type C connectors. I guess those may not yet exist.

(That's quite loose thinking, so it may be hugely incorrect. Educate me)


It wouldn't be much of a challenge at all to support two power sources, or at least to keep them from doing any harm. Couple of diode-connected MOSFETs, maybe a penny each at the scales we're talking about.


Doesn't the new Chromebook Pixel have to USB Type C ports? So precedent exists.


Perhaps space was more of a concern than cost?


Wow, at that price point and feature set, I think Microsoft finally has something that can plausibly be considered an iPad-killer.


When I can actually download an MP3 from my browser and open it on my iPad I'll consider using it as an actual thing again.

Until then? It's not a computer. This is.


Kind of off topic, but related: I recently bought an audio book from Humble Bundle and have been trying to figure out how to put it on my iPhone.I don't listen to audio books at home, only in the car or while I'm walking.

Anyone know how to easily download an audiobook from Humble Bundle and put it on an iPhone to listen to later?


As others said - canonical way is to use iTunes.

Another way is to use app like GoodReader, which has a file system of its own, you can create folders, and you can download files from websites/URLs to them. GoodReader can not only store and organize your files, but it also opens all the popular formats in the app (PDFs, images, MP3s, etc.).


GoodReader can also sync files via an iOS web server, and open-standard SSH (sftp) and WebDAV, not just the usual cloud storage vendors.


I download those to dropbox, then either sync them in the dropbox app, or use an app like goodreader or eddy (there are others), which can play from a dropbox folder


If I am not mistaken what they give you is a huge MP3. You need to download it, import it to iTunes, and put it on your phone just like you would any other MP3.


Wouldn't it just be magical if you could download any file to your phone without needing a computer? Because that's what my $180 (without a contract) Moto G allows me to do.


Most of the ways I can think of pretty much involve iTunes for syncing the audiobook to your device. It's the one thing I can't stand about being an iDevice user. Another way to do it though might be to upload it to DropBox, open it from there, then maybe try to save it in your phone somehow?


The "easy" thing to do is to download it to your computer and sync it through iTunes.

As far as 3rd party audiobook player solutions, no idea. Maybe there's one that can download it, or maybe they're all tied in to their own audiobook stores. That seems to be the trend these days :(


I don't have an iPad, but perhaps you could download it on your laptop in a Dropbox folder (or a similar service), and then open it in the Dropbox app using something like VLC?

That's how I use my Android tablet, at least.


I had tried that in the past, and it didn't quite work well.

I'd bet that it's been updated to integrate better, though. Could be a pretty good solution if you're used to using Dropbox.


CopyTrans Manager (free)


No it's not related. HN is not your tech support forum. Especially not for trivially google-able issues.


You'd think it was trivial, but it's shockingly hard to do without using iTunes. For a person who frequents HN, that's extremely unintuitive. And iTunes is terrible, so that solution is out.

It took me forever to realize that just because I can kinda-sorta interact with my iPhone as a storage device doesn't mean that it's even remotely going to actually behave as one. The whole process is infuriating if you go in expecting it to be simple (which, given it's an iPhone, one might reasonably expect). Try to find an obvious way to put an mp3 on an iPhone without some odd middleware software; some of the software looks sketchy - and/or has a cost, and a many suggestions are to just use Google Play or Amazon Music. I also like the Winamp plugin from 2010, as well. That sort of list is pretty much the opposite of trivial. I mean, if it was drag-and-drop, sure, but this that ain't.

Personally? I ended up just uploading my music to Amazon and use their app. It's less infuriating than the Music app on the stock iPhone.


iTunes is out? Well, that's a pointless constraint if I've ever seen one. Yes it's terrible software, but plenty of people run terrible software once in a blue moon because it's the only way to accomplish some task.

Also, you say "For a person who frequents HN that's extremely unintuitive"... are you implying HN users are incapable of using google? That HN users are not aware that a locked-down Apple ecosystem means there's no user freedom?

I'd expect the users of HN to be a large overlap with the people familiar with Stallman's views and how Apple is known to behave. I would not expect the regular man on the street to know what "walled garden" meant in terms of apps nor what "closed source lockin" meant, but I'd expect the average HN user to be very familiar with those concepts.

I find your claim that such a simple idea is unintuitive to an HN user demeaning towards all of us.


Specifically, I meant that usually there's a reasonable work-around. Something you can probe, inspect, and otherwise work with. In this case there really just isn't anything useful at a high level.

A better term might be it seems to violate the Law of Least Astonishment, but from the hacker perspective instead: I have a device that's really just spoofing acting like a storage device. There's a lot of side trips that normally can be taken to work around this, and each are the same sort of no-op, since it's not for real. This sort of thing was common for the old 'dumb' phones, but it seemed like it was because they were too dumb to behave properly; now here's a smart phone being dumb. It's a bit unexpected, at least for what seem like obvious things like "add mp3". But there we are. The whole time there's a feeling of "gosh, surely there's a better way" and there just really isn't: install iTunes and let it do whatever it wants, or you just don't get to put that mp3 on your phone.

And wanting to avoid installing iTunes isn't pointless. I mean, you may not see it, but there are certainly reasons not to. Heck, just failing to update iTunes was useful for a few years due to some odd DRM workarounds (mostly for a WinAmp addon that read iTunes music files). Besides, it's fairly invasive - you may only use it rarely, but it installs a couple services and tries to jump in when the phone connects (all can be administered, but it's a pain cleaning up that mess). While I've finally come to just tolerate it, I don't appreciate it.

(Perhaps I should use counterintuitive? I would hope that would get the same idea across without somehow triggering offense. The problem I'm describing is of expectation and should be orthogonal to intelligence. There's a lot of subjectivity to it, but no reason to take offense. Mindsets filter, so why would a hacker find the same things intuitive as your average user?)


Where does Apple keep their Linux versions of iTunes?

Yep. Exactly. Believe it or not, a lot of technical people use Linux machines.


It is trivial. And it is not shockingly hard. It's precisely as hard as anyone would expect it to be. Apple doesn't want you to do it, so you need multiple third party apps that risk being banned from the app store to implement it.

(to clarify: If it were impossible, which it very well might be, that would still not be shocking)


You're of course correct; the term shocking here is pure rhetoric. It would be shocking only if probing for a solution actually caused the device to electrically feedback, which would then be both literally and figuratively shocking :P (I've ruled this out so far, I hope.)


It's not trivial. They give me 50 mp3s in a zip folder. The guy was talking about troubles downloading an mp3 to an iOS device. Please, feel free to send me a LMGTFY that has a result showing how to open a zip file of mp3s on an iOS device without having iTunes on a desktop.


As I've said above - you can upload the file to iOS device using GoodReader, and it can extract the zip archive as well.


"without itunes" is a pointless constraint that the parent did not have.

Searching "transfer mp3 to iphone" will give you hundreds of results telling you how to install iTunes and transfer the mp3s.


There's Android for that*

* [I know I'm not being helpful, but I couldn't resist. Haven't tried doing that on my iPhone when I had one, but pretty easy to move stuff around on Android or other OS'es]


Yeah. Let me know when GarageBand runs on an Android and I'll buy one in half a second. I require that app to compose on the go and open my projects in Logic Pro afterwards. It's absolutely the most critical part of my workflow.

Composing on the subway, to open files later in Logic and make them into full-blown musical pieces? It's literally what sold me on the platform.

Oh. Wait. GarageBand is, and always will be, iOS/Mac OS only. Guess I can't use Android.

But then, as a musician, what breaks my workflow more than not being able to simply download MP3's onto my device? It makes me want to bang my head against a wall.


I don't know about iPad-killer, but finally something worth checking out.


Agreed. I don't think will have a iAnything killer until other companies step up their marketing in a big way. Apple is a marketing behemoth.


What's the difference between a "price point" and a "price"?


The iPad is a lifestyle device, whereas the Surface is a productivity device. The iPad Air 2 is deathly thin and a bit lighter. It is also much much more simpler, has many more (interesting) applications tailored just iPad, where as using the Surface as a tablet is more iffy (ms's app store is filled with garbage and tons of rip offs and clones). When it comes to consumer purchases, play always wins over work. It's Microsoft's job to market this tablet to the masses, so the productivity angle is not very persuasive.


Really? You don't think it's overpriced?


The Atom CPU in the Surface 3 doesn't seem competitive with the A8X in the iPad Air 2. Geekbench results:

  Uploaded	Model			Processor		Frequency	Cores	Platform	Single-Core Score	Multi-Core Score
  Feb 21, 2015	Intel CHERRYVIEW	Intel Atom x7-Z8700	1601		4	Windows 32-bit		984		3210
  Feb 13, 2015	Intel CHERRYVIEW	Intel Atom x7-Z8700	1601		4	Windows 64-bit		990		3451

  Uploaded	Model			Processor		Frequency	Cores	Platform	Single-Core Score	Multi-Core Score
  Jan 27, 2015	iPad Air 2		Apple A8X		1500		3	iOS 64-bit		1814		4665


I'm definitely going to keep my eye on this. My iPad 3(30-pin connector) is still going strong for me, but I'm highly considering this when it's released. The fact that it'll run Windows 10 is definitely exciting too, though I wonder if it will get bogged down upon the arrival of Windows 10 as certain iOS devices have for certain iOS releases. Glad to see Microsoft is making strides in this space.


I was honestly hoping they'd give up on the whole touchscreen + mouse/keyboard interface integration, this announcement pretty much confirms they're in it for the long haul. Both inputs are vastly different so their UIs are full of compromises and over-sized controls.


Have you tried Windows 8.1 on a touch screen (especially a tablet)? I find Windows 8.1 awkward to use on a desktop or non-touchscreen computer but for a touchscreen? I absolutely LOVE the interface for launching applications. I'm actually kind of sad it's all going away in favor of something closer to the desktop in Windows 10; I would have liked the Windows 8.1 style to stay when in a touchscreen or tablet mode.


My understanding is that tablet devices will have some defaults to keep them closer to 8.1 than the desktop-friendly changes made for Win10. I am currently running Win10 and can confirm you are able to set the default behavior of the start menu to the 8.1 screen or Win7 menu behavior. Not sure if that addresses all of your concerns but it does seem like Microsoft understands at least some people enjoyed the start screen.


Ah that's good; I installed and tried out Windows 10 a few weeks ago on my tablet / convertible and I didn't see any way to bring a Windows 8.1 like menu back only the Windows 10 start menu. I'll have to look into it, thanks!


If you swipe from the right side of the screen to bring up the notification center, you'll see a "Tablet Mode" button on the bottom that makes the OS more tablet friendly.


...But Windows 10 pretty completely addresses that.


Not fully, It is still full of massive compromises. Tablet mode is still broken and confusing and there's only two more months until it ships!


Does anybody have experience of running Linux on previous Surface devices?


Yes, I've been using a Surface Pro 3 as my primary computer since last year, with Ubuntu (dual boot with Windows, secure boot, no problems). It works well enough after I made my own kernel patch to have both multi-touch trackpad and keyboard with the type cover. There are patches for the cameras too but I haven't used them yet. Wireless is iffy but it works every time if I connect manually instead of letting it connect automatically.

Touch works surprisingly well, but multitouch support in Ubuntu is quite primitive still. The pen works allright but without pressure sensitivity.

Coming from a ThinkPad W500 I'm very happy with it but it still has rough edges, like the lack of suspend mode. I do a full shutdown instead.


> like the lack of suspend mode.

Huh? Some UEFI trickiness, or some kind of quirky intel cpu? Do you mean that it doesn't work for Ubuntu, or that there's no way to get s2disk/s2ram to work on the thing with a Linux kernel?


It does not have S3 power mode, that is no suspend to RAM but only Microsoft Connected Standby (AKA Intel IntantGo) which is how it works in Windows 8.1, although hybernate (suspend to disk) has been reported as working in Linux.

I starting setting hybernate up but I needed it encrypted and it seemed like too much trouble; AFAIK there is no special difficulty in this machine.

Another thing I forgot to mention and I actually find quite annoying is the volume buttons, which don't work for now. There was some tentative patch / module when I last tried last Christmas but it did not work at all.


> It does not have S3 power mode, that is no suspend to RAM but only Microsoft Connected Standby (AKA Intel IntantGo)

Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying. Another thing to look for if/when buying new hardware then (lack of s3/and or instantGo support arriving in Linux)

> I starting setting hybernate up but I needed it encrypted and it seemed like too much trouble

Not sure what you mean here. You'll need the encryption key on startup, of course (but you need that on a full boot anyway). Perhaps look into putting the/a copy of the key on an usb stick?

Unless Ubuntu has been been messing with the cryptsetup/luks boot/initrd-magic as found in Debian, it should "just work".

Works fine on my Thinkpad -- I generally just do "s2disk" from the command-line (I did look into getting S3+S1 to work -- that is first s2ram and disk, then after a while turn off, awakening from disk rather than ram -- that was a bit more of a hassle to get working -- and in the end I rarely need it anyway).

Fwiw I use the "hibernate" package along with a fully encrypted (except /boot) system, using cryptsetup/luks.

[edit: Tangentially related:

http://www.oxygenimpaired.com/ubuntu-with-grub2-luks-encrypt...

(note the bit about preparing the usb key with the encryption key is in a linked post)

I'm not sure I see much value in having the key be some random part of a randomzied usb stick... but it mentions most of the things required to mount encrypted partitions -- and the keyscript-option.

Also, be wary of Dragons when systemd comes around:

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=618862 ]


I'm not saying don't do it. I am just suggesting that you may have a better user experience buying something more traditional like a Macbook Air.

I suggest this for one simple reason: Many of the Surface's features are ultimately software/driver driven. For example, the keyboard, the pen (both halfs), even much of the touch interaction, and on screen keyboard.

So unless you have really incredible driver support, the Surface is going to just be obnoxious to try and use. You might wind up with a USB keyboard/mouse plugged in most of the time.

Can it be done? Maybe. Should it? Depends how much you like pain.


One possibility, if you really like the Surface hardware but want to run Linux, is to run Linux on a VM on the Surface Pro 3 (only the Pro, though, not this new Surface 3), which comes with a version of Windows that includes the Hyper-V hypervisor. That way you get the Windows drivers backing a Linux instance. From reports (haven't tried it myself) it works fairly well, with the one catch being that the Surface Pro's "connected standby" power management is disabled when Hyper-V is active, and it falls back to more traditional hibernate/wake power management.


I'm interested in this question too. I set my girlfriend up with the Surface Pro 3, and besides it being awkward on her lap (ironically, the Surface needs a surface), I think its an amazing machine, especially for the price. It isn't quite Apple level with the hardware design, but it's close and it feels like Windows 8 was designed for it.

My worry is that Ubuntu wouldn't really work with the touch screen.

Edit: I should mention, she got the i5 1.9 GHz and mostly uses it for work (Excel / Outlook) and video (Skype / Netflix). No fan issues.


Well, her use case is exactly where this Surface would work well (and maybe a Pro is a bit of an overkill).


Eh, I figured the money was worth it since she wanted to do HDMI to a pretty decent projector. Plus, her last laptop lasted her 5 years and I figured a Surface Pro would too.


Haven't tried it myself, but check out http://www.reddit.com/r/surfacelinux




Does it overheat? Does it have a fan? Overheating and fan noise are a couple of the biggest complaints I heard about the Surface Pro 3.


Probably not/no, it doesn't. It has an Atom X7 with 2W SDP, while the least powerful Surface Pro 3 has 6W SDP, the i5 and i7 versions are somewhere closer to 10W.


When my Atom-based Vivotab Note runs at 100% CPU, it feels mildly warm. Which is nothing compared to when my Surface Pro 1 gets hot.


>> It also doesn’t require a fan for cooling, which allows the device to be thinner and quieter.

Seems like it doesn't have a fan, but until someone actually tests the device there is no real way to know if it will overheat or not.


There is. Worst case is 100% conversion of maximum power consumption to the heat. With 2W processor, you can safely assume overheating will not be an issue.

Other question would be whether processor is powerful enough to handle Windows 10 desktop applications (I am not talking about games, but even Skype is CPU hungry nowadays)


I hate to say it but I'm dreading whatever awful television commercials they'll start putting out. They really do make it embarrassing to own a Surface Pro 3.


I don't know about you but all I do all day is constantly click the keyboard on and off, and open/close the kick stand... Just over and over again, like I am a QA robot...

But seriously, Microsoft has some of the worst advertising period. I cannot think of a major company which is worse than Microsoft at advertising in general.


Are there any more cringe-worthy than Songsmith? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oGFogwcx-E


Maybe I'm getting old, but that wasn't as cringey as I remember it.

And the program actually seems pretty cool and hi-tech. Crank up the jazz-slider!


They can do it right when they want to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ZGGIdpfEM


I thought those Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads were great.


The "I am the best"[1] SP3 commercials were still better than the cringey Surface 2 commercials [2], IMO.

[1] https://youtu.be/1jP4O7rEHQ8

[2] http://www.ispot.tv/ad/75ZE/microsoft-surface-2-teacher


In the video, having the price starting at $799 and then dropping down to $499 was clever. Seems like a great deal.


I had an ASUS tablet a year ago (sold it to my brother who loves it). I do a lot of coffeehouse meetups with fellow entrepreneurs and one thing I loved about the ASUS was the pen and being able to draw pictures easily in OneNote.

Having played with the Surface Pro 3 tablet at BestBuy a few times, it's a dream to use. I've wanted a Surface Pro 3, but the price is prohibitive and I already have a Yoga Pro 2 and a MacBook Pro. I don't really need a development laptop, but I want that OneNote pen-drawing capability to communicate.

So the Surface 3 looks about right. I'd need the 4GB model with 128GB and with the SD slot you should be able to add more. And that pen. That pen is simply a dream to write with...and I want one.

I just wish they'd make a better (metal) keyboard and include it in the price.


> Having played with the Surface Pro 3 tablet at BestBuy a few times, it's a dream to use

> So the Surface 3 looks about right.

You realize this has much lower performance, and most likely won't give you the same experience, right?


It should manage drawing in OneNote ok, though.


The type cover seems like a good thing in theory, but in practice feels very "tacked on." Especially in that you have to find a level surface (no pun intended) to rest the device on.


That was the case for the old keyboard covers. The new ones are much better though.


You can actually prop it up on your lap; at least with the SP3. Still not good enough to satisfy my typing needs but not as bad as I feared.


I am looking forward to the Surface pro 4 announcement. edit: to clarify - I'd like to buy a surface pro, but it is a tough call knowing they have a yearly product release cycle.


Looks interesting until I see that it's $499 in the US and $945 (£639) in the UK. Why!

Edit: Was looking at the Surface Pro 3, the standard Surface is only ~$620. Not too bad I guess.


£419, not £639. That's $619 -- reasonable considering that the UK price contains VAT and there's some cost of repatriating the profit for MS.


The UK charges taxes at all different levels of industry. This causes imported products to be more expensive. Happens to the products in the USA too, but the overall tax rate is lower.


Plus in the UK taxes (VAT) is included in the headline price, whereas in the US taxes are shown during checkout (although, yes, US tax is typically around 5%, as opposed to the UK's 20%).

I did a quick calculation and it seems like the UK is "only" being overcharged by $21/£15 when you take into account VAT. Which may exist due to exchange rate shifting and the additional regulatory costs perhaps.

PS - An extra 15% sales tax for free healthcare is a good trade if you ask me. But each to their own. :)


Where are you seeing $499 US?

EDIT: Sorry, I get it now, this is the non-Pro version. I'd gone right to Amazon from a link here and it gave me the Surface 2 vs the Pro 3


Well, I'm not getting one for three reasons:

1. The laptop sometimes sits on my lap. The surface keyboard doesn't work as a laptop.

2. The resolution is a joke.

3. There is no sane pen storage. For a pen device, that's dumb. Thinkpads add a few mm, and have a hole you put it in which stores it securely. There's a move to move everything out of the device to make it small, but carrying around 50 gizmos is worse than one slightly bigger gizmo.


1366x768 is a joke. 1920x1280 is actually a pretty nice resolution, even if not a very common one.


So Windows RT is dead ? I'd say good riddance, it was just too closed. I remember having a family friend buying one of those devices and trying to install Chrome on it. Well, no luck, WinRT's closed policies won't allow that (and it's not a technical issue.). But their store policies will still allow fake "Chrome" apps packaging an IE webview.


Windows RT is deader than dead; they're the only thing Microsoft makes that isn't getting Windows 10. Lumias that AT&T sell for $50 off contract? Windows 10. Xbox One? Windows 10. Okay, I guess they still sell the 360 and it's not getting Windows 10. Everything else? Windows 10. But not Windows RT. (Windows 10 Mobile will be allowed onto tablets, but not ones above a certain screen size, so RT isn't able to get that, either.)


Wondering if it's not a rebranding: with Windows 10 running on raspberry pi, what's the catch ? Are they simply abandoning the 9+inch tablet ARM devices?


Microsoft has cut down to basically three versions of Windows that they admit to:

* Windows 10 IoT, which runs x86 and ARM, and is the one that runs on the Raspberry Pi.

* Windows 10 Mobile, which replaces Windows Phone 8, and I believe is also x86 and ARM, for devices under a certain screen size. No desktop, runs the Windows Universal versions of Office.

* Windows 10, which replaces Windows 8 for desktop, and runs only on x86. Has a desktop and runs both versions of Office, desktop and Universal.

RT slotted between Mobile and the full Windows -- it had a desktop, but only for a special ARM version of Office. Now there's a version of Office for Windows Universal, and so you can run Office without the desktop. Thus, the version of Windows with a desktop that can't run any non-Office desktop apps is geting killed. You can either get Windows 10 Mobile without desktop, or full Windows.


> Well, no luck, WinRT's closed policies won't allow that (and it's not a technical issue.).

It's true that Microsoft doesn't allow alternative rendering engines on WinRT, but it is ARM instead of x86, so there is a technical component; Google would have to port Chrome.


The problem is that only store apps are allowed to be installed on Windows RT devices, and porting Chrome to a store app is not an insignificant amount of work, for what amounts to very little gain (RT customers would be the only ones who benefit).

There's an argument that future store-compatible apps are easily ported to WP10, but Google has very little incentive for any of this work.

If anything Mozilla had reasons to, but even they killed their efforts due to lack of customer interest.


Port?

Android, ChromeOS... Arm is a first-class compile target.


Yes, in theory. What a blessing it would be if cross-compatibility was always as simple as "recompile with this as the target."

That doesn't mean you can take Chromium for Windows and recompile targeting ARM and get something that works on jailbroken WinRT. As best as I can tell nobody has gotten Chromium running, but they have gotten many other x86 applications running.

People have already tried. There's more work than that involved.


Right, there's work involved, but it's taking code that already works on ARM, and already works on Win32, and making it work with the ARM version of Win32.

Since microsoft disallows that, there's much less incentive to do that work. But it's not an enormous barrier.


Slightly off-topic, but my wife needs a new PC with pen input (as she needs to draw a lot). Does anyone with an Atom tablet happen to know if this will work with Photoshop (it's the heaviest program she'll be using)? If not what are the alternatives? I heard the Lenovo Yoga 2 is better than the Surface Pro 3 but I'm terribly out of the topic since a while now.


Gabe at penny arcade uses an SP3 for his art, but it's mostly Illustrator, I think.

http://penny-arcade.com/news/post/2014/05/23/surface-pro-3


I would suggest a touch screen that supports a professional drawing stylus. There are styluses that can do more features. http://www.sensubrush.com/


Well, if you want to go pro, you would have to go with a Wacom Cintiq.


That's where we're coming from. She was using my Wacom Cintiq, but she's mainly comfortable working on the couch and she needs it for elaborate line drawings, rather than paintings (she works in education). The iPad just didn't work out because she's uses a special windows software for the whiteboards. So a Win 8 tablet with a digitizer seems like the perfect match, I'm just uncertain which tablet to buy.


Check out http://penny-arcade.com/news/post/2014/05/23/surface-pro-3, they've fixed many of the problems gabe pointed out (helps that Lynwood is near Redmond). I suggest trying one at a store somewhere.

The 10" with an Ntrig might be a better bet because if it is more portable. Otherwise, not many win tablets still have styluses (especially the Wacom resistive kinds).


Thanks! We already tried it and she liked it so far, but unfortunately, the tablet had only Paint installed. She doesn't do hardcore art, but the sketches she draws should have a certain quality (No jiggy edges, which I heard was a problem when drawing slowly). I think I'll ask for a demo with a sophisticated drawing app next time I'm in the store. But the linked article gives me hope that this might be perfect for her work.


Here's a good test to try in the store. You can do it in OneNote.

Using a business card as a ruler, try to draw a diagonal line, slowly (a few seconds to cross the card). Unless they have fixed it recently, the Surface Pro 3 cannot draw straight lines in this way, and they will be quite jagged.

In practice, you might never draw lines in this way, but the same jagged features will pop up everywhere, especially if you draw fine shapes carefully (as opposed to large strokes sloppily).


I really like Adobe's solution for this:

http://www.adobe.com/products/ink-and-slide.html

We need that at Surface...


Check out some of the newer Adobe mobile apps.

http://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/catalog/mobile.html


If I were an artist, I don't think that I could resist trying out the Cintiq Companion 2. It's a tablet computer from Wacom running full Windows 8.1 Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. But that's not all because you can plug it into any PC or Mac and then proceed to use the tablet as an input device.

Check it out - http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-displays/cintiq-comp...


Oh goodness, this is finally out??!? I had the Cintiq Companion (original), loved it, but unfortunately it was stolen (by a very lovely girl who needed it much more than I do :b) and the specs on the old one were starting to age a little.


+1 for lowering the price alone. Even though I don't like Windows much, I think Surface is quite a nice device for a lot of people.


This comes as a complete surprise to me. I had no idea it was coming out, and I've been generally excited about progress on the Surface.

I wonder if Mike Krahulik will be doing another write up, since his review of the Surface Pro 3 was immensely thorough.

Can't wait to see it at stores, I think I'll jump in on this one.

EDIT: I also hope they have a video showing Windows 10 on this Surface


With the Chromebook pixel having the same screen ratio, is 3:2 the new 4:3 ? Any context for this new trend?


Why the heck would they only have 2GB Ram? I know they are trying to achieve that sweet < $500 price range but they could have just externalize the RAM modules than just soldering directly to the motherboard.


Because paging with an ssd is pretty fast and these machines aren't meant for memory intensive apps anyway.


It is to expensive! Here you get the smallest SP3 Pro with i3 core for the same price tag. It has a bigger screen, more performance, double RAM and a better kickstand.


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