The Surface Pro 3 is the best Windows 8 machine you can buy. But don’t take that as a compliment.

When I was in the Boy Scouts in elementary school, I won first place in the “turtle race” at the Pinewood Derby. The slowest car. The best of the worst. I got a trophy and everything.

That’s what it feels like calling the Surface Pro 3 the best Windows 8 machine. It’s a sad award for being at the top of the lowest class. It’s not the hardware that’s the problem, but Windows 8.

From my review:

But the problem with the Surface 2 is that Microsoft changed very little in how the tablet fundamentally works. Last year, Microsoft fans defended the original Surface’s failings by calling it a first-generation product. It’d get better in time, they promised. The Surface 2 did get better, but not in the way it needed to. It’s still largely the same curious experience, just in a thinner and lighter package.

The Microsoft discounts are particularly tailored for portables with small displays that would likely appear this fall, these people said.

Such discounts could help reduce the price and increase the appeal of laptop computers running Windows 8, which was released last fall and offers a new touch-based computer interface. Analysts say sales have been slow, hobbled in part by the lack of devices equipped with the kind of touch-based displays that are common on tablets.

To be fair, it sounds like Microsoft is only discounting Windows 8 licenses for smaller tablets. It’s also possible this is actually for the new Windows Blue we’ve been hearing about lately.


…the problem is Microsoft is trying too hard to bring us the future today, and technology hasn’t caught up with an ambitious product like the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro had the potential to be as disruptive to desktop computing as the iPhone was to mobile phones, but in order to get it out the door within a reasonable period of time following the Windows 8 launch last fall, Microsoft had to fudge key features that people really care about such as battery life.

But that’s a small added value for a laptop replacement that doesn’t do a great job at replacing your laptop.

You can’t rest the Surface Pro comfortably on your lap without it flopping around. You can ‘t adjust the angle of the screen when it’s propped on a table with the built in kickstand. You need to spend at least another $100 to get the full laptop-like experience with one of the special keyboard covers. At 10 inches, the screen feels a bit small for traditional desktop computing. The cheapest model only has 23 GB of free storage, so you’ll have to buy a separate memory card because you’ll definitely need more than that.