like the Apple iPad are fun, but theyíre not exactly a
replacement for a full-blown computer.
an iPad user, Iíve often wondered whether it could
ever take the place of my laptop.
the answer is no ó not yet, at least.
iOS is a nice operating system, but it canít run
users are lucky ó they can have the best of both
worlds: the small size and large touch-screen of a
tablet along with a full copy of Windows and the ability
to run all their favorite Windows programs.
been using a Microsoft Surface 3 tablet for the last
week, and itís a pretty darn good Windows computer.
even better because the version I used is the new
Surface 3 LTE with built-in cellular data from AT&T.
you remember your Microsoft Surface history, each
generation of Surface tablets had two versions ó a
cheaper version called Surface, which ran a neutered
operating system called Windows RT, and a more expensive
version called Surface Pro, running a full version of
Windows RT Surface computers ran on ARM processors,
which is why they didnít run full Windows. Surface Pro
tablets ran Intel processors.
with the Surface 3, both the Surface and the Surface Pro
use Intel processors and can run a full version of
Windows 10, although the Surface 3 LTE model I used
ships with Windows 8.1.
QUESTION OF HARDWARE
difference between the Surface 3 LTE ($499 with a data
contract) and the Surface Pro 3 (starting at $799) is in
Surface 3 LTE ships with an Intel Atom X7 quad-core
processor running at 1.6 GHz with 2 gigabytes of RAM and
64 gigabytes of storage. It has a 10.8-inch display.
give you some reference, the lowest-priced Surface Pro 3
has a 12-inch display with an Intel Core i3 CPU running
at 1.5 GHz with 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of
can also go crazy and spend up to $1,799 on a Surface
Pro 3 if you max it out.
Surface 3 LTEís display has a resolution of 1920 by
1080 pixels with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 plus
supplement the onboard storage, the Surface 3 LTE has a
microSD card slot to accommodate up to 128 more
gigabytes of storage. The physical dimensions are 10.5
inches by 7.36 inches by 0.34 inches, and it weighs 22.4
Windows 8.1, the tablet comes with a one-year
subscription to Office 365 with full versions of Word,
Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and more.
Surface 3 LTE has a full-size USB 3.0 port and a Mini
DisplayPort, so you can attach any USB accessory and
output to a larger monitor.
built-in kickstand now can adjust to three viewing
angles, which is great when you use the Type Cover, a
$129 option. The Type Cover has a built-in trackpad to
control the Surfaceís pointer.
though I use a Mac, I had no problem setting up the
Surface 3 LTE to do all my work tasks. The Type Coverís
trackpad is easy to use, but itís not very big, so I
did prefer to use a mouse with the Surface 3 LTE.
connected hard drives and thumb drives, and easily
connected my external monitor.
do wish the Surface 3 LTE had more RAM. Windows can get
a bit bogged down with just 2 gigabytes of RAM. Given
the speed of this tablet running Windows 8.1, Iím not
sure I could recommend upgrading to Windows 10.
be fair, Microsoft lists 2 gigabytes of RAM as the
minimum requirement for Windows 10, but I wish there
were more RAM available, even if it cost more money.
the Surface 3 LTE is a great starter computer and a
really nice tablet. You will need to get set up with a
data plan, but itís pretty inexpensive to add to an
existing AT&T family plan.
Runs Windows, nice accessories, bright and clear touch
Needs more RAM, Type Cover is expensive.
line: Great size and features make this a good choice
for those who arenít power users.