By now I’m sure you have heard of the Surface Pro 3. It’s Microsoft’s new laptop/tablet combination and it’s making waves. There is a multitude of reviews out there that talk about specs and comparisons. If that is what you are after, this is not the review for you. This review of the Surface Pro 3 is from my point of view, which I am pretty sure is different than the average reviewer.
First a bit about me to put this review in perspective. I am 46 years old, with a career as a software developer. At the end of December 2013 I had a stroke. It paralyzed the entire right side of my body. I spend a lot of time in the hospital and then a lot of time in rehab. That story is here if you are interested. Basically the right side of my body is still paralyzed and I have problems mentally, communication being a large part of that.
Near the end of my rehab Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3. “Is this going to be released to the public?” I thought to myself. Once I found out it was, I had to have one. This post is about my experience so far with the Surface Pro 3 and how it fits in my post-stroke life.
I ordered a top of line i7 with 8 GB of ram and 512 GB of storage. Go big or go home is my motto. I also ordered the keyboard and the docking station. I cancelled the docking station, simply because I didn’t know if I would need it. I haven’t yet.
My surface was shipped as soon as the I7’s were ready. I got an email from Microsoft that it shipped and then I sat on the UPS tracking site pressing ‘enter’ every 10 minutes and watched my tiny new toy make its way to my house across the US and Canada. I’d swear I almost destroyed the ‘enter’ key on my old laptop but who cared? I had a new one to abuse and if I destroyed the new one I could always buy a new keyboard. Score 1 for the Surface.
Before I go any further I want to tell you that if you are looking for a review that is going to say anything bad about the Surface stop reading now – you will be disappointed. This machine is ideal for someone with disabilities like mine.
Well we might as start with the keyboard. It makes a great base for the kickstand. That is basically the only way I have used it so far. Because my right arm is unusable, I use the on-screen keyboard for all text entry. The on-screen keyboard is a one handed persons best friend. The Surface’s keyboard does seem to be very well made and I sure there are one-handed people who can use it. Just not me. Yet.
Next I will tackle the kickstand. When using the Surface as a tablet this feature alone is worth its weight in gold to me. My iPad is gathering dust now, mostly because it doesn’t have some sort of kickstand built it. There are 3rd party solutions available for the iPad, but I like the fact the kickstand is built-in. It feels very sturdy and after a couple of days it loosened up so I could deploy it with my one hand. This kickstand alone is, in my option, reason to consider the Surface Pro 3.
The primary reason the Surface caught my eye and ultimately the primary reason I bought it for is its size. It is just under 2 lbs and the thickness is less than a pen. The laptop I had before it (and had just bought before the stroke) weighed around 5.5 lbs. The difference is astounding, especially when you only have one arm to move it around with.
The Surface has a 12” touch screen. This might seem small but the iPad screen is only 9” and a lot of UltraBooks only have 13” screens. When you hold it in your hand(s) you will see that it’s a good size. The resolution is 2160 x 1440. Awesome. Until you have to use it in desktop mode without a mouse. Painful is a good word for the experience. Try copying a file using file explorer and you will know what I mean. App Store here I come. Hopefully the next version of Windows will address issues like this.
The pen is “interesting”. I have not used it much because I cannot print or write with my left hand. However I plan on changing that at some point and I plan on using the Surface and its pen to learn how to do it. I think this will be a major upside to the surface – I just haven’t done it yet. I have used the pen to show friends what it can do, and I am pleased with its capabilities. For example by pressing the top of it, it will launch OneNote so you can take notes. There’s a lot more the pen can do. Look to other reviews for more information.
If you want to read about the rest of the specs you can go to one of the other reviews out there. There are plenty of them to choose from.
From the second I got the Surface Pro 3 I knew it was exactly the machine I needed. I wanted something I could grab at a moment’s notice and use like an iPad and at another time use as a full blown computer. This machine does both. It has its flaws and Microsoft knows it. Very seldom a week goes by without some kind of update. That’s ok though, it means they are fixing bugs or adding functionality.
If you are a stroke survivor or are reading this because you know one and they are looking for a computer or tablet then I suggest that you consider the Surface Pro 3. It is unimaginably light, has a kickstand built in, powerful and runs most of the software written for Windows over the years. An iPad or Android tablet may be all that you need but I suggest you look at the Surface Pro 3 as well.
I have a lot more I could mention but the stroke saps energy out of out me like you wouldn’t believe. I’m going to end it here for now.
If you have any questions or comments I am more than happy to try and help. Just leave a comment.