Surface Pro 3: Design plus thinness

To call the Pro 3 a tablet, almost seems unfair to the competition. Yes, it is a tablet but it’s really an ultrabook smashed into a tablet form factor.  When you compare the base Pro 3 to the other tablet competition, it’s not even close (albeit the Pro 3 usually commands a higher price point). But, when you add in the Type cover 3, it becomes an ultrabook, one that easily competes with the others at the ~$1000 price point.

But we are here to talk about the design and Microsoft’s best and brightest came together to create this surprisingly thin, but also powerful computer. For starters, you get one USB3 port, a display port, charging port (that has a few added bonuses), micro SD slot and a kickstand. We would love another USB port here, as the single port does require us to carry around a USB hub in the event that we need to connect more than one device to the Pro 3.

The design is unmistakable Surface, with a squared off design and tapered edges, it’s Surface DNA is present in the look and feel of the Pro 3.

The device only comes in one color and if you have seen the Surface 2, the color is the same as that device. Frankly, we love the color and prefer it to the black of the previous pro setup.

One issue we do have is that the paint appears to scratch relatively easily, as there are quite a few small marks on the back of the device. When chatting with a few others who have the Pro 3, some had noticed it while others had not. I’d like to think that I am generally careful with my devices, so the scratches were a bit of surprise. On the other hand, I have been using this device extensively as we work towards our final review.

When talking about the design, the first thing you do notice when you pick it up is not the exterior, but how ‘not-heavy’ the device feels in your hands. I say not-heavy because it is so light that you are almost caught off-guard. You expect a full sized tablet to have some heft, but with the Pro 3, all you get is lightness.

The device on the exterior is all professional and sports lean lines from every angle. From the vents that are tucked neatly into the sides of the tablet to the the kickstand that folds flush against the back, Microsoft has made a svelte looking tablet that performs as well as it looks.

In your hands the Pro 3 feels great. The angled edges make a subtle, but notable, difference when holding the device and make it feel a bit more ergonomic than a simple square design would have afforded.

The bezel of the device is the right size for the 12 inh display, While some may think that having a super-thin bezel would make for a good looking Pro 3, the practicality of it is likely not good. Think about it, with a thin or even no bezel, your hands, when holding the tablet, would be all over the display. Thus, having a modest sized bezel makes sense and, the Pro 3 seems to have found a sweet spot for the size.

Microsoft has done a good job of creating a device that stands out, and that's not an easy thing to do. Since all tablets are roughly the same shape, making a device that looks unique can be quite the challenge. But that's exactly what Microsoft has done here and with the third generation Surface launching soon, the dividends will start to be paid.

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