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Can Microsoft's new Surface 3 replace your notebook?

By Sarah K. White | May 4, 2015
Microsoft wants you to abandon your preconceived notions of a laptop and embrace the Surface as more than just a tablet. In fact, Microsoft wants you to ditch your cumbersome notebook and one-dimensional tablet -- presumably your iPad -- and replace them with one device: the Surface 3. But even with an adjustable kickstand and full Windows 8.1, can the Surface 3 compete with a traditional notebook, or tablet for that matter?

Best of both worlds?

It seems Microsoft finally struck a balance between performance, price and usability with the Surface 3. Microsoft stayed confident with its Surface design, tweaking it over the years to fit user's needs. And the changes from the first iteration of the Surface to the latest Surface 3 show the company is paying attention. Whether or not the Surface 3 is a "tablet that can replace your laptop," will ultimately boil down to personal preference. For me, I could use the Surface 3 as my regular device — tablet or notebook. I think it's an especially great option for anyone who doesn't want to carry a notebook and a tablet when traveling.

If you are more interested in a tablet for entertainment, and you just want to stream video and use apps, the iPad Air 2 is a great option. But if you want a workhorse that can take you from the office to vacation, without skipping a beat, the Surface 3 is the way to go.

It was hard to find any real cons on the Surface 3, other than the nagging kickstand issue that persists — but lessens — with each passing iteration. And, of course, the lack of available apps in the Windows App store. But with the desktop experience, you really won't miss the apps, and you will find you have access to far more content than you would on an Android or iOS tablet. The only other question is price, once you factor in the keyboard, the 128GB model will cost you around $700 in the end.

While even Microsoft wants you to compare the Surface to the iPad, the iPad isn't trying to be anything more than a tablet. Apple isn't asking you to type emails and create Excel spreadsheets on the iPad even though you can. And it certainly isn't asking you to ditch you're notebook — they have a whole line up of Macs to complement your iPad. But ultimately, if it's one device you want, rather than two, the Surface 3 is one of the best options out there. It will give you the mobility and performance you want out of a notebook or tablet in a decent price range.


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