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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 becomes the fastest tablet

Updated on July 18, 2015
Naveed Ahmed 624 profile image

Technology makes us stand in the present. We should abreast ourselves with tech developments at-least directly related to our lives.

Surface Pro 3
Surface Pro 3 | Source
Surface 3
Surface 3 | Source
Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9 | Source

According to Which? test, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 becomes the fastest tablet

Modern high-end tablets now carry capabilities comparable to personal computers and laptops. iPad Air 2 used to be the fastest tablet since it was released in October last year, but not any more with the onset of the Surface Pro 3 i5 version from May 2015. Although Apple still has the largest number of tablets in the market with endless options, Google and Microsoft are also competing for the top spot in regard to power of tablets. Companies such as Tesco are also making a mark.

Surface Pro 3 has outdone Air 2 after scoring 5,069 points on the cross-platform Geekbench benchmark testing (conducted by Which?) against 4,046 points by the latter. Google Nexus 9 was a good chase after the iPad Air 2 (managed 3,537 points on the third spot) but as we know, falls short on a number of areas. Not only does it run on a slower Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, it misses many of the high-end offerings on Air 2 and Surface.

Surface Pro 3 i5 version that beat Air 2 in speed uses a desktop grade processor. The new score is considerable given that Microsoft has incorporated a power-consuming display due to its huge size (12") and resolution. Microsoft might win in the business market categories although Apple sells the device for everyday application such as entertainment.

Unlike its lower-cost version (Surface 3) that runs on a full Windows 8.1, Surface Pro 3 runs on a Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 10. It also offers users an option of remote desktop connection hosting. Users can choose either 64 or 128GB memory with 4GB RAM. The other option available is either a 256GB or 512GB alongside an 8GB of RAM. On the other hand Air 2 offers offers 2GB of RAM.

Newest version of Surface Pro 3

Microsoft launched Surface 3 as a low-cost option to the Surface Pro 3. Surface 3 becomes the first non-"Pro" Surface to run full Windows and desktop applications.

The Intel Atom quad core processor for the new Surface 3 manages a speed of 1.6GHz - 2.4GHz. Microsoft Surface 3 also offers an option of up to 2 or 4GB for this device.

Highest performance on Surface is made possible due to the use of an Atom processor that is highest in performance in the market today. The Quad-core Intel® Atom™ x7 processor from Intel not only makes it possible to multitask at a high speed, but also comes with advanced power management options. Tasks such as rendering video or complex 3D modeling can be done easily on the device. The processor conserves power whilst performing tasks at high speed.

The system-on-a-chip processor, which is Intel's newest market offering, does not require a fan to cool and still works quietly. Its speed and power makes the device a choice for writing, playing games and browsing the internet.

Vision to replace the laptop

Clicking on the Surface 3 Type Cover switches the device to act as a laptop. The latest version of the tablet runs all applications that a laptop can run, including full Windows and Office applications. It means laptop enthusiasts will not miss applications such as Outlook, Word and Excel among others needed in the office or at school. Conversion into a laptop makes users have an unmatched typing experience unseen in any laptop before. A still better typing experience is possible since Pro 3 and Surface 3 can be hooked to an external keyboard and mouse. The device is excellent with a keyboard cover. Although this allows quick typing, the writing experience has also been made better on Surface 3 with the optimized digital pen that allows users to write and draw images fast on a high-resolution screen with applications such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Fresh Paint. Air 2 does not come with a pen input. Incorporation of the full-size USB 3.0 port makes it possible to connect other high-speed devices.

What's more, desktop workstation lovers and movie/game enthusiasts can connect the device to a HD monitor for a better image and video quality. Further and better viewing experience is made possible through the Mini DisplayPort on Pro and Surface 3, which can make it possible to drive display peripherals at a 2560 × 1600 pixel resolution in variety of interfaces such as the VGA, DVI, or HDMI. The Surface 3 Docking Station makes this connection possible. The device can also be employed for business. It can be hooked to a printer and other peripherals. The iPad Air 2 won't offer you with split-screen multitasking but Surface 3 will, using Modern UI apps or via the desktop.

Panos Panay, the Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Surface said during the release of the device that the device was developed with an aim of replacing even the high-end laptops, and that dream has been achieved. The Surface 3 comes with three preset positions. It can be used on the traditional desk thanks to the narrow angle. Users will also find it comfortable to use on a lap as any laptop, thanks to the intermediate angle. Natural writing capability is achieved by incorporating a wide angle.

Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Air 2 vs Google Nexus 9

Surface Pro 3
iPad Air 2
Google Nexus 9
5069 points
4046 points.
3537 points
IPS 12" 2160x1440 pixels, 216 ppi
IPS 9.7", 2048 x 1536 pixels, 264 ppi
IPS LCD 8.9", 2048x1536 pixels
Stylus/Digital Pen
more precision and control
Anti Reflective display
Fingerprint sensor
Touch ID sensor
Intel Core i3/5/7 64-bit dual core, 1.5GHz- 3.3 GHz processor, Windows 8.1 Pro
A8X 64-bit tri-core 1.5 GHz
2.3GHz, Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and a Android 5.1.1 Lollipop O.S platform
4GB or 8 GB
Split screen multitasking
27.3 W-h, 10 hrs web
42 W-h, 9 hrs web
6700 MAh, 15 hours of web

The Pen Power

The power of the digital pen has been felt since it was launched it as many companies have responded by creating specific software tailored to allow use of the pen beyond the basics. These applications such as the OneNote by Microsoft and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator make the digital pen a quick replacement of the keyboard and mouse. Even the game markets are embracing the move, for instance the New York Times Crossword app. StaffPad is a music composition app popular for its digital pen interface capability that allows users to handwrite music, convert it to typeset score and play it back. Thus musicians will find the Surface 3 device useful.

The new Microsoft Surface 3 brings in the same pen experience on the Surface Pro 3. Pro 3 will allow a quick launching of Microsoft's OneNote app through the Stylus just by clicking the back end. The stylus also achieves hover pointing. The pen makes the Surface devices a good match for students who won't use traditional pens to take notes. Users of Surface 3 can use the Pen to take notes, create digital art and mark files such as pdfs and word. Much detail and accuracy can be achieved when performing these tasks because the pen has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pen is also available in black, red, blue and silver colors.

Application as a Mobile Device

All devices can be applied as mobile devices but Pro 3 does not have a LTE Cellular option available on Air 2. Surface 3 (4G LTE) on the device offers users mobile-broadband experience. Its smaller size also makes it better for use as a mobile device than the Pro 3 and its slimness makes it better than both Pro 3 and Air 2. However, the experience on Air 2 is still unmatched due to its size (length and width). Compared to Pro’s 5 MP cameras, Surface 3 has a 8MP rear and a 3.5MP front-facing camera. Both cameras can manage 1080p in video quality. Not only is the rear camera on Surface capable of capturing better images, it can also capture barcodes and document images clearly.

Other Features


Surface 3 manages a larger display at 10.8" compared to 9.7" by Air 2. Surface 3 Pro is largest at 12”. In regard to quality of pictures/images and video, Air 2 is still superior with 2048x1536 pixels and a 264 ppi compared to Surface 3's 1920x1280 pixels and 214 ppi full HD Plus display. Pro 3 has a resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels. The devices have an IPS display type although Air 2 beats Microsoft device by having an anti-reflective display.

Processor Capability

Through the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft offers a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i3 and either i5 or i7 processor option. Air 2 uses a 1.5GHz A8X 64-bit tri core processor. Pro 3 users have three options for the Intel Core (Haswell) processor tiers. Pro beats Air 2 since it can manage split-screen multitasking. However, Pro 3 does not have a finger point sensor present on Air 2, although it has compass, ambient light, accelerometer, and gyroscope sensors.

Battery backup

The battery on the new Surface 3 makes the device as a companion at school and workplace just as the Pro 3, since it can last for up to 10 hours on a video playback. Pro 3 can manage 10 hours of web. This is in comparison to the 10hrs of web possible on the Air 2. Surface 3 uses same charger connector employed on many mobile devices - the Micro USB charger,

Size, Color and Storage

Although larger than the iPad Air 2 (170mm x 240mm x 6.1mm), the Surface 3 (187mm x 267mm x 8.7mm) is smaller than the Surface Pro 3. Surface 3 is also heavier at 622g compared to 437g by Air 2 and 887g of a laptop. While the Surface 3 is made of magnesium, the Apple's offering is made of Aluminum. Air comes with three color offerings, namely silver, space gray and gold.

Not so many devices afford 1TB of Onedrive storage like the new Surface 3. Like the Pro, the new device also offers the option of using a microSD that allows exchange of files through memory cards.

Surface 3 has a size of 10.52" x 7.36" and is very slim at 0.34". It also offers large screen experience at 10.8".

Having read about or used the Surface Pro 3? How did you find it?

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Microsoft Surface Pro 3


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    • Hanzamfafa profile image

      Mike Leal 

      2 years ago from London

      This is an excellent review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Thanks for sharing.


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