Surface 3 – Smaller shouldn’t mean cheaper


I currently own a Surface 3, and a Surface Pro 4 i7, and as someone who travels a lot in Europe working away from my ‘office’ is important.

Unusually, I actually prefer the Surface 3 to travel with as it is more usable onboard an aircraft – for me the SP4 is just slightly too big, but now two years old, I’m really hoping there will be a refresh of the 11 inch(ish) design.

Just like the iPad Pro series – with very small differences between the larger and smaller sizes, I really wish that Microsoft wouldn’t see the smaller Surface as a cheaper device this time around and cut corners for the sake of price.

While I understand and support that such a device would run on ARM – that would bring cellular which I would find incredibly useful. Have smaller bezels, although keep the same footprint with a slightly larger screen (11 inches?), and carry over as much as possible from the pro series. 

Just because its smaller doesn’t mean that it isn’t a pro device.

Comments (9)

9 responses to “Surface 3 – Smaller shouldn’t mean cheaper”

  1. 5177

    I think Microsoft is only going to make high end devices now that are specific to getting work done. As much as I would like them to make a smaller Surface I don't think it would sell well and after the failures of Surface RT and Surface Mini I think they are going to leave smaller and or cheaper devices to OEM partners.

    • 289

      In reply to aways987:

      If they do it, it will still be a premium device.  Think of it as the "Executive Surface".  And given the mission of the Surface team to do new things and lead the way for OEM partners, it does make some sense that MS would be the ones to lead the charge for Windows on ARM.  It just needs to be at least remotely profitable and create a space where other OEMs can come in and compete at a range of price points.  I don't think the lesson of Surface RT and Surface Mini was "don't make small devices"; I think the lesson was "don't offer devices based on Windows light".

      • 187

        In reply to Chris_Kez: With smaller Windows devices (firstly with Netbooks and then Surface RT/3) it has always been about price and making it cheap. I'm saying there is a market for those of us who want a slightly smaller and ultra portable device, no compromises. 
        I am writing this on a iPad Pro 9.7 which is a little too small for my liking - 11 inch would be about perfect, but Apple obviously believe that smaller doesn't been less hugely cheaper or inferior specs. 
        A 12+ inch laptop/Surface is just too big to get work done on an aircraft in Europe or a train in the UK.


  2. 8578

    Has MS committed to making an ARM-based Surface PC?

    Normally, I would consider a 11 inch screen too small for a PC, but since Surface devices are a hybrid, a smaller screen makes more sense for it than for a typical laptop. IMO a Surface PC is too expensive for a person who only occasionally needs a portable solution. Laptops are a better value for less mobile users. So, it's all a matter of balance between portability and usability. 

  3. 289

    I'm with you all the way.  Look at the Surface 3 and Surface 4 forums over at TabletPCReview and you'll see we're not alone.  Lots of folks have gotten behind the idea of a "Surface Air", a smaller and lighter (but still premium) device.  My hope is that MS will deliver this once they're ready to introduce the world to Windows on ARM.  It still won't be as powerful as an i5 or i7 based SP5, but should easily best the S3's Atom processor and slow eMMC while also providing better battery life and cellular connectivity.  I still expect it will be in the $600+ range (consistent with iPad Pro), which will elicit the usual howls of disapproval from everyone who wants Surface to be cheaper.

  4. 5664

    I'd gladly use an ARM Surface 4... I mean...

    ... I did for several years with my Surface RT. This honestly is a hilarious prospect. Two generations of ARM devices running RT. One Intel Atom device, then back to ARM.

    I'd still use my RT if they'd release a "Windows RT 10" update, or some sort of platform update to run newer UWP apps.

  5. 5496

    The 4 is not that much bigger. Only a quarter inch on each side.

  6. 6529

    while I agree with your sentiments I cannot support your proposal. why? because the 'pro' version is made for productivity. you CANNOT use win32 productivity software on anything below 11.6 and I would argue 12". the 3:2 ratio helps a lot but doesn't negate the limitations of a small device. the surface pro is the smallest possible device it could be and still be productive. I know this because I bought a surface pro 2 and was one of the people who gave feedback saying it was great for watching movies on but useless for getting work done because the screen and keyboard were too cramped. The surface pro 3 is NOT for watching movies on a plane(I know that wasn't what you said) but for getting work done hence the 3.2 and 12.3".

    the surface 3 is what Microsoft has designed for limited productivity and mainly consumption and the price and size reflects that.

    if a small PRO device was a good idea we'd still have the original surface size. we don't because it doesn't work. the surface pro only took off when the surface pro 3 came out because of the size.

    also your referencing the one of the few scenarios where the surface 2 in 1 style is compromised such as using it on an airplane with the keyboard and kickstand because it doesn't fit on the tray. if using it on a airplane is an issue for you I recommend this which basically makes it a MacBook air.