Posts with tag surface mini

Microsoft keeps swinging, but keeps missing

Why won’t Microsoft let me buy the ideal Surface tablet?




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For a brief while, I owned a Surface tablet.

I got a really good deal on one, almost a year or so back now. My Surface was an original, 32GB Surface RT tablet, the one that Microsoft is still happy to sell you for a now-outrageous $299.  The original Surface has always been something of a mixed bag – too heavy and unwieldy to use to be a particularly good tablet, with no real desktop application support and a slow processor holding it back from being a good laptop replacement.

Barely six months after purchasing my original Surface tablet, I sold it. I found that, for my use case, the Surface just wasn’t good enough at doing the things I wanted to do with the tablet form factor. It was awkwardly shaped, so I didn’t really enjoy holding it to watch movies, or reading books; it was slow, so it was frustrating to browse the web with – and it didn’t work at all on my lap, so there goes my using Microsoft Office with.

I sold that Surface, and instead I bought – after a couple of weeks of deciding on what my replacement would be – an iPad mini with Retina Display. I had owned an iPad mini before, an original generation, that I used mostly to read books on. While using my Surface I often longed for the convenience of the iPad mini’s form factor; the small, light frame that was a perfect companion to Netflix and the Kindle application. And while the original iPad mini was no speed demon, it was definitely faster than my Surface RT.

And ever since, I’ve been extremely happy with my new iPad mini. While I do sometimes long for the ability to plug in a keyboard and get access to a real trackpad – even a bad one – the benefits of the iPad mini’s form factor far, far outweighs the negatives. That’s why I was so excited this month when Microsoft issued invitations to the media to attend a “small” gathering, one that we all – myself included – took to be the introduction of the elusiveelusive 7-to-8″ Surface tablet. Such a device, I thought, could be my ideal Surface tablet – one small and light enough to read comfortably on, yet powerful enough to do actual work on with that keyboard attachment. It could have easily replaced the original, aging Surface RT in Microsoft’s lineup as a $299 device actually worthy of the price tag if given beefier internals.image-024-cyan-e1400563534859

But that device never came. Instead, we got the Surface Pro 3 – a device that, again, aims to be more of a laptop replacement than an actual tablet. That’s fine, of course. There’s nothing wrong with such a tablet, and though I haven’t gotten my hands on a Surface Pro 3 just yet, I would be interested to give it a try and see for myself how it does. But I know that, based on my experience with my original Surface, that it’s not the tablet I’m looking for. It’ll still be too heavy for me to read a book on, too inconvenient for me to hold as a book in bed – though that 3:2 aspect ratio is a blessing, and an aspect that I would love to see trickle down to other Surface models, including that elusive Surface Mini if it ever comes.

And boy, do I hope it comes. I feel strongly as though that could be the perfect tablet for me, and I would absolutely spend $300 of my hard earned money to pay for it. But until Microsoft realizes that they’re ignoring – either intentionally or unintentionally – such a huge segment of the market, I don’t think I would go out of my to buy a Surface product ever again. I gave them a shot, and it didn’t work out. Are you willing to go the extra mile, Microsoft?


Surface Pro 3

The Surface 3 Event




image-left-cyan-hero-e1400563125164About two weeks ago, Microsoft sent out invitations to a “small” Surface event in New York City. We at Haverzine were unfortunately unable to be there in person but Microsoft has provided us with a live webcast of the event so we’ve been able to watch everything as it happened.

So, what goodies has Microsoft given to us this year? It turns out that the “small” hint in this year’s invite was nothing more than a red herring as no Surface Mini was unveiled today. There was also no mention of any upcoming Windows RT devices which hopefully means that Windows RT is on the way out. What we did see today was the unveiling of a brand-new Surface Pro, known as Surface Pro 3.

surfacepro3_1jpgSurface Pro 3 is, as you’d expect, an x86 machine – this time, the Surface comes in Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 variants. The device has been made much thinner; it no longer appears to be the thick, heavy slab the previous generations were but seems to be a very thin and light device much like its underpowered cousin, the Surface RT. It’s only 0.36 inches thick and weighs only 1.76 pounds which is much lighter than a Macbook Air. Battery life has also been slightly improved, coming in at up to 9 hours without the Power Cover.

The Surface Pro 3 also packs in a better screen than the past two generations – it features a 3:2 aspect ratio display running at 2160×1440. To fit this new display, the device had to be enlarged. Instead of the more sane 10.8″ of the previous Surface Pro or the 9.5″ of the iPad, the Pro 3 is a monster 12″. Perhaps that won’t be an issue as the device has been made thinner and lighter, but the only way to test that for sure is to get one and use it (hint hint).

surfacepro3_2Of course, the ever popular (or perhaps more accurately, infamous) kickstand is still present. Where Surface Pro 2 had two movements, the Pro 3 has 150 degrees of movement and can be moved into any angle you want; the only hard limitation is 150 degrees as seen above. The above placement is also known as “canvas” mode and is aimed at people who use Photoshop often.

image-024-cyan-e1400563534859Type Cover has been improved with a larger and more responsive trackpad and a new form factor to fit the large 12″ size of the Surface Pro 3. To help add rigidity to the device when using it on the lap, there’s an extra set of magnets to get rid of that slight shifting the previous generation Type Covers had. And in case black or purple wasn’t the color you wanted, there’s three new colors for Type Cover: Dark blue, light blue and red.

Pen improvements also make their presence. Working to make the pen feel more like a real pen on real paper, they’ve enhanced the detail where you can write exactly where you want to. Not only that, but the pen even feels like a real pen – clicking the top of the pen like your average ballpoint pen will turn on the Surface and automatically open OneNote. Double-clicking the pen will send the device into an “acid wash” mode, which essentially lets you either quickly take a photo or screenshot, import it to OneNote and write notes on it.

Other interesting tidbits include: The speakers have been improved with a supposed 40% volume increase over Pro 2 and now are front-facing. A docking station is also available if you need that sort of thing and can drive a 4k display. The USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort and microSD card slot are all still present.

Interested parties can pre-order a Surface Pro 3 and prices will start at $799 for a Surface with 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a Core i3 processor. It’s also possible to order a device with 512GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and a Core i7 but that’ll run you $2,000.


Here comes the Surface Mini

Microsoft sending out invitations to a “small” Surface gathering




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Well, this is a surprise – Microsoft has just sent out invitations to the press, inviting them to go and attend what they’re calling a “small” gathering. What could this mean? Well, we’re not betting men around here, but if I were – I’d be putting a crisp $200 on a Surface Mini.

Microsoft’s Surface press event takes place on May 20th, so be sure to check back here on that fateful day to find out what Microsoft has up their sleeves.