Surface 3 User Experiences


For anyone who owns and uses a Microsoft Surface 3 (not Pro). What is your experiences so far?


It is a great tablet, with a beautiful display and excellent portability. However, the experience reminds me of the Compaq Evo N620C I had. It is pretty sluggish, most of the time. I say, the processor is like a old Pentium M. This is just my experience. I may need to do a Windows reset!

Comments (24)

24 responses to “Surface 3 User Experiences”

  1. Xatom

    Great device. Used mine for travel but too slow now. Perfect form factor. MS should have a 10 inch SP with LTE.

  2. goeller

    Works for me. It sits in its' dock most of the time, but I move it to the l.r. as a chair side companion while I watch some TV. I mainly use a Surfacepro 4 and it is much faster than the 3. The Surface 3 is fast enough for me. It has performed perfectly the three years I have had it. I don't think it is riddled with bugs nor is it unreliable. I have the type cover and a Bluetooth mouse which with the dock and external monitor make a pretty damn good desktop p.c.

  3. jwpear

    I bought one when they first came out, used it a few days, and then took it back (bought an SP3, which I still use). S3 was too sluggish. The eMMC in combination with maximum of 4GB of RAM just killed it. I fully expected the performance to get worse with time.

    I thought the Atom processor in the S3 was just fine for the device's intended purpose. I've had other Atom-based devices, including a Dell Inspiron Mini that was a fantastic travel machine after replacing the HD with an SSD. I loved that freaking little machine and was hoping the S3 would be similar! If MS had just gone with a decent SSD, the S3 would have been a much better Windows tablet and travel device.

  4. skborders

    Reset will help if you don't put any Win32 programs on it. I like it for the most part, slow like everyone else says. The main problem is MS just quit updating it and some of the drivers are flakey. Audio quits working or has a lot of static. Restart and it is fine.

    I would like to try Windows 10S on it see how that runs, but I am not sure how to do it. I saw a post on WC were one of their team did it, so it must be possible.

    • evox81

      In reply to skborders:

      I'm guessing that would be a challenge, and probably not worth it. I once tried to do a fresh install on my Surface 3 via USB drive created with the media creation tool. I got it to install, but it was a pain. Windows wouldn't function properly on it. It was almost like Windows couldn't create any permanent files after the installation was complete. User accounts, files on the desktop/documents folder, they all disappeared after every reboot. I ended up having to use the official image from Microsoft to do a proper recovery.

  5. kcarson97404

    I love my Surface 3. I only very recently replaced it with a Surface Pro, which, of course is faster. But I miss that 10" screen. I still keep the Surface 3 around for light browsing and email use. But for nearly 3 years this was my primary laptop device and it worked as expected.

  6. jimchamplin

    I have a couple of machines of similar spec. A Lenovo Flex and a Dell Venue 10 Pro. The Lenovo has an Atom-based Celeron, while the Dell is a straight Atom. The Dell outperforms the Lenovo despite being several years older thanks to a higher-quality, faster SSD while the Lenovo is a poky eMMC card.

    That, above all else changes everything. An Atom with a real SSD can feel fairly snappy, sure it'll never run anything quickly, but the eMMC used in most Atom and Celeron systems is a crime against humanity.

  7. Chris_Kez

    Do you have the model with 2GB or 4GB RAM, and what are you using it for? It never hurts to reset, but this machine is never going to fly.

    I have a 4GB model and use it as a second computer around the house-- web browsing, email, netflix, etc. It's... fine. I also use it occasionally to take handwritten notes in OneNote. I've used it a few times as a travel computer for work, and I notice the lack of performance when using Excel and PowerPoint. The keyboard cover is okay for what it is-- an occasional input device-- but I give them points for making the keys backlit, which is a huge plus for use at night. I also have the Surface Arc Mouse, the one that flattens out. Altogether it makes for a decent little travel package, especially given how cheaply you can get them now.

    I think this was a device was that heading in the right direction but really needed a version two or version three to get dialed in. Folks on the forums at tabletpcreview have been pining away for an update because the form factor is so close for a portable pen-abled computer. If this had an m3 or fanless i5 (or a Snapdragon 845), a proper SSD, both Type A and Type C USB ports, and just a smaller version of the same screen in the new Surface Pro, this could be great.

  8. kherm

    I had an okay experience with my Surface 3, even though the performance was pretty trash. However, I pushed that little Atom x7 so hard that I had the screen turn yellow around the edges on two devices. This is what happens when you only have passive cooling, I guess. When I got the second replacement (my 3rd Surface 3) I sold it immediately and bought a Surface Pro 4

  9. Paul Thurrott

    Resetting won't help. Surface 3 performance is woefully bad.

  10. maethorechannen

    It's a bit on the slow side.

    This might sound odd, but what I'd really like to find is a keyboardless cover for it.

    Mostly it just sits in it's dock not doing much.

  11. Tony Barrett

    All Surface's are riddled with bugs and are unreliable. Wouldn't touch them. MS still don't have the experience or QA to design and test hardware like this. They make them pretty, slap on a high price tag to 'compete' with Apple, yet fall down in so many areas. There are better, more reputable suppliers who do this for a living, not as a sideline.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to ghostrider:

      I just got a Surface Book 2 - 15" and it is flippin amazing. You know nothing about which you speak. The thing is a beast and most likely the best PC I have ever used. Trying to compare an Apple laptop to the Surface line up is a joke. Surface is just in another league - Apple has lost their way in this category a few yeas ago now.

  12. illuminated

    Surface 3 is OK-ish. Perfect form factor but very slow SSD and battery life just OK. Power button is flaky and suspend function sometimes does not work right. Maybe just the power button issue.

    The new Surface Pro with i5 is much better. It is really fast, great screen, much longer battery life and no issues with suspend. It is also fanless. To me it is almost perfect.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to illuminated:

      That's an issue with a lot of Windows tablets. My Surface RT did it, an HP Stream 7 did it, the horrid NuVision Signature tablet did it multiple times a day. Even my Lenovo Flex 4 does it occasionally. The Dell Venue Pro does not thank dog.

      Go to wake it up, and it just never will. It flashes the screen but goes right back to sleep. You just have to turn it off and back on. If you had unsaved documents, too bad. Makes me wonder if it's an issue with eMMC. The Dell's SSD is connected via SATA and it doesn't have that issue. All of the others had eMMC storage and were flaky.

  13. Edward Grego

    I have one, the core i7 256gb, for me it's by far the best surface device made, and I've had them all (up to the first gen surface book, and I'm done with MS)... Mine is still perfectly usable, no issues at all...