Surface 3 :: Five months in

by Volker Weber


When I first tried Surface, it was out of curiosity. I used it for news reading — Nextgen Reader is really nice — and checking up on social media. Then Windows 10 came along and Surface started to shine. Now it has become a daily driver. As always, a few observations in no particular order:

Surface 3 is light and durable. I like to throw it in my bag, just like I did two days ago when traveling to Köln for the IBM event. I can quickly take some notes with the pen, and on the train I can type a few pages in Word Mobile. Surface would run the full Office suite and I am actually licensed for that. But Word Mobile fits the bill very nicely.

I have not been treating Surface 3 very well. It looks beaten, with a big scratch on the back and a few dings. When I talked to Ralf Groene, I showed him the marks, and we both agreed that it ages well. You may chip some of the ceramic, that hardens the magnesium body or the aluminum kickstand, but it's almost the same color as the material.

From a curiosity to a daily driver — who would have thought?


Speaking of Edge and Win10 compared to Exploder and Win8.1, what I really am missing are gestures like swipe left for "back".
Apart from that, I am using my Surface 3 daily, too.

Christoph Rummel, 2015-10-22

I have had one with LTE now for 5 weeks as a replacement for the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. And as always, if something seems to be interesting for me and vowe recommend it, I never got disappointed so far.

The machine fit my needs perfectly for taking handwritten notes, reading documents, mail, news (via Ready), and even Android works with AMD Duos fine (still needed as e.g. there is no Windows App for reading c't or even do it in the browser).

Windows 10 in Tablet Mode works fine and for most of the things suitable apps are available.

Best thing compared to the Galaxy Note 10 is the screen. The different screen factor and the slightly bigger size makes A4 documents or even magazines perfectly readable.

And as vowe mentioned, the system is quick enough for everything so far 4GB memory and 128GB storage are enough as well.

I use it as a full time tablet without the keyboard. If I really need a hardware keyboard (not that often) my locker is full of Bluetooth keyboards light enough to live in the bag next to the tablet.

And finally Windows 10, I like it, and yes there are still issues but not that much to outshine the ability to run native desktop programs.

So once again thanks vowe for the excellent descriptions of practical use made me spend the money for good and useful stuff like the Surface or the Dyson and several other things.

Sven Semel, 2015-10-22

My Surface 3 is low on power even if I do not work with it. Volker, have you seen this, too? (OK, you are working with it EVERY day ;-)

Peter Meuser, 2015-10-24

Low on power after ONE day not in use...

Peter Meuser, 2015-10-24

Peter, I can see that on mine as well occasionally. That comes along with high CPU usage (30-40%) of two processes, System and System Interrupts. The runtime on battery is than down to 3 or 4 hours and if in sleep mode it never teaches the hibernation time of 4 hours and drains the battery completely. Forums are full of reports of that issue on the Pro, some users reported it's related to audio usage, others on a inserted SD card on that machines. Both reasons are not valid on the Surface 3 (at least not on mine).

If I see that issue, most of the time a reboot fixed it, if not the first time than always after a immediate second reboot. As this is really annoying I started digging down deeper for the root cause. So far if I see this high CPU usage because of system and system interrupt process in the device manager a second I2C HID device shows up throwing an error that the device reports an invalid hid device type and hence could not be started. Most of the time the issue shows up after hibernation or coming back from sleep mode.

So to me it seems that some sensor or at least it's driver has trouble during wakeup from power saving modes.

Sven Semel, 2015-10-25

Sven, my willingness to dig into these type of issues is fading away after working 25+ years with Windows. The Surface platform will show, what to expect from Windows 10 at its best.

Peter Meuser, 2015-10-25

I have had my shares of difficulties after installing W10 on Surface when the new drivers were not included. I have also had one occasion where the battery should have been full and it wasn't. But although I use it every day, it's holding up quite nicely. As Peter said, if something does not work, I am quick to discard it.

Volker Weber, 2015-10-25

I'm working since Windows 3 with that OS and I'm curious how that develops with Windows 10 on Microsoft's own hardware.

As I use that device like Volker on a daily basis for work and W10 is still new, as the device is to me, I have a limited time budget to look in such issues. I book that against the "get used to the new system/device account".

So far it still looks good and the possibilities to have a full Windows on the tablet make the device for my use case very suitable. But yes after all the years in IT the motivation to tweak around to get something working as expected is limited over here as well.

Sven Semel, 2015-10-25

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