This is the most annoying thing about the Surface Pro 3

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 was announced earlier today and by the paper specs and demos shown by Microsoft, the tablet should be a fantastic device for consumers (and the enterprise) to use on a daily basis. While we take our Surface Pro 3 out for spin to gather our thoughts and construct our upcoming review, there is one small little detail driving us nuts.

Now, before you head to the comments and start writing gibberish about how we hate Microsoft or we are anti-fanboys, this is a small quibble that can be fixed with a software update. Besides, it’s not even that big of a deal, until you notice it and then every time you open the Charms bar it eats away a tiny bit at your soul because the buttons do not align.

Grid lines to show off-center alignment.

Yes, folks, the biggest complaint about the Surface Pro 3 after using one for a decent amount of time today is that the Windows key on the side of the device and the Windows button inside the Charms bar do not line up. They are off-centered to a noticeable degree and if you have OCD about things being neat and tidy, then it will drive you bonkers.

It’s a big deal about nothing really, and frankly, after spending this much time with the device and this is what it is driving me nuts, that’s a very good sign.

The device is not perfect and we know that other issues may arise as we dig deeper into the product while we review it, but for now, this is it. And for those of you from Microsoft reading this, if this is the only complaint to arise so far, that’s a very, very good thing.

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Interesting to note the thumbnail graphic on the main page for this article has changed to a Nokia logo...

I'm a Lean/Six Sigma guy, so I do look at processes, efficiencies, and order, but this issue is 100% aesthetic subjectivity. It doesn't bother me a bit.

Are you kidding me? That's the most BS I've read in one article on Neowin. I never read any article about a new Apple device where the author dedicates a whole article to 1 fault of the device and expects to find more faults with the device. Ah well, I guess clicks do matter nowadays, not the quality of the article

There is another issue with the design of the new Surface Pro: if you click the Type Cover up against the screen bezel, you can't swipe up over the edge of the display to open an app bar.

So you have to use the top edge. Not a deal breaker but it also doesn't feel well designed.

derekaw said,
Apple would NEVER do that. This shows that MS really don't get design and the little things that people notice.

Damn right! Apple have no touch screen on the MB Air at all.

derekaw said,
Apple would NEVER do that. This shows that MS really don't get design and the little things that people notice.

Apple are all style no substance, the reason they're running old tech in some new devices...

Tidosho said,
Apple are all style no substance, the reason they're running old tech in some new devices...

Yet Microsoft is now following the same path as Apple.

.Neo said,

Yet Microsoft is now following the same path as Apple.

That's a personal opinion. I find the Surface and Windows 8 to be just fine, I got used to it easily, but then most techies like me have to if we want to earn moolah to put food on the table :) In terms of hardware the Surface will outrun any iPad by miles.

More ports would be nice, but it's not a big deal to carry a hub. Heck, my big ASUS laptop only has 2 USB ports.

But yeah, given the larger size, they certainly have the room to add another port or two.

Seems a silly place to put the Start Button in the first place, looks way better centered down the bottom.

Surely with an OS that's Landscape-centric that's where it should be.

Walrush said,
Seems a silly place to put the Start Button in the first place, looks way better centered down the bottom.

Surely with an OS that's Landscape-centric that's where it should be.


Keyboard blocks it when you fold it up to angle it. Maybe the top instead?

really? just few millimeter off and its not even running the final sp3 optimized version which they said will come tomorrow. this can be easily fixed in a software update.

I don't know about all of you, but this almost merits filing a shareholder lawsuit against Microsoft for failure to align icons WITH text labels with an icon WITHOUT a text label.

Nas said,
I don't know about all of you, but this almost merits filing a shareholder lawsuit against Microsoft for failure to align icons WITH text labels with an icon WITHOUT a text label.

That's an Apple iSheep zombie trick. MS followers (hopefully) have more sense. I for one don't pick fault with little easily-fixed things like that, but - I'm a guy who's bothered by cracks in laptop plastics, cause they usually get worse! Things like this button align glitch aren't physical, they're digital glitches.

The simplest solution is to remove the word "Start" from the charm bar button. Keep the text for the rest.

I think we all know by now what that button does!

Surprised Nadella didn't pick it up when signing for RTM. Obviously he/Microsoft are not perfectionists like Apple in the Jobs era.

68k said,
Surprised Nadella didn't pick it up when signing for RTM. Obviously he/Microsoft are not perfectionists like Apple in the Jobs era.

who cares about few millimeter up or down. I prefer MS products over apple all the time. you feel like you should think like someone else when you are using apple products. everything is forced upon you. also speaking of perfectionist, nobody forgets about historical comments on iphone 4 antenna issue that "People holding it wrong" right?

68k said,
Surprised Nadella didn't pick it up when signing for RTM. Obviously he/Microsoft are not perfectionists like Apple in the Jobs era.

I'm assuming that is sarcasm given that there is a laundry list of issues that existed under Steve Job's watch - from iPhone 4 to the Cube, iBook issues, PowerBook with the dying DIMM slot, dying nVidia GPU's with the whole GeForce 8400 fiasco etc. Any product that is mass produced is going to have quirks and issues - these are things created by humans and assembled by humans and humans, no matter how you pay them, are going to make mistakes.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

I'm assuming that is sarcasm given that there is a laundry list of issues that existed under Steve Job's watch - from iPhone 4 to the Cube, iBook issues, PowerBook with the dying DIMM slot, dying nVidia GPU's with the whole GeForce 8400 fiasco etc. Any product that is mass produced is going to have quirks and issues - these are things created by humans and assembled by humans and humans, no matter how you pay them, are going to make mistakes.

These issues came about several months/years after the devices hit the market. The 8600 (not 8400) fiasco wasn't Apple's fault - it was Nvidia's RE quality control/solder supplier. I've come across many PC laptops fail because of it too (including machines I've owned).

The Windows logo alignment issue is something that should have been noticed BEFORE hitting the market/being presented to the public. I honestly think it's a minor quirk. It wouldn't put me off from buying the device (if I had a use for it). However, I think a physical button (like the iPad's) would have been better.

trojan_market said,

who cares about few millimeter up or down. I prefer MS products over apple all the time. you feel like you should think like someone else when you are using apple products. everything is forced upon you. also speaking of perfectionist, nobody forgets about historical comments on iphone 4 antenna issue that "People holding it wrong" right?
It depends how you use Apple products. ie. if you just rely on using a mouse/touch-pad for navigation, of course it's going to be slow. Learn some keyboard shortcuts/Terminal commands/scripting/(disable mouse acceleration/forget about Mission Control), and you'll be able to get work done on a Mac just as fast as on Windows.

RE antenna-gate, Apple had to take a risk. Unfortunately it was discovered at a very inconvenient time, but the iPhone 4 certainly wasn't designed on purpose to have this issue.

iPads and Surfaces are just toys to me. Full stop. I just use an old iPad to read books on these days.

68k said,

iPads and Surfaces are just toys to me. Full stop. I just use an old iPad to read books on these days.

Please distinguish. ipad is a toy, surface is not. in the office I am working I see several people using Surface pros to get things done. all you need is a dock station to turn it into a work station and take it out while going home. can ipad Do that?

The button is centred. The button says Start under it. The button and the text together are centred.

Are you saying they should do away with the text under the button? :p

I like all Surface devices so far. The hardware and software made by Microsoft is good. What annoys me is the apps in the Microsoft Store are added but not updated as frequently as the apps in the Apple Store. I don't know if Microsoft is to blame. Maybe they charge developers when they update their apps.

there is no charge. you could blame developers but you can also blame Microsoft for late entry in tablet business and original windows 8 issues which they fixed on 8.1. and the latest update. people using surface tablets less than ipad so thats why developers spend less time because of lack of competition and strong userbase.

I have to agree, that would drive me mad.

But then, my biggest question is why do you need two of the same buttons right next to each other? They function the same, right? If so, why?! If not, why not?!

Oh dear lord! How did this get past QA?! Let's burn all the SP3 devices! /s

I really am surprised that no one at MS noticed this. Come on Microsoft - attention to details!

The whole area of Windows logo "button" includes the "Start" label. That is why it looks not center alignment. In fact they are in center alignment perfectly.

I was looking forward to an upgraded Surface Pro 2 (which I suppose is the 3, but I wanted the same screen size).

I haven't seen one in person so yeah I guess I'm quick to judge. Wouldn't surprise me that once I actually see it and get a feel for how it is physically, I won't mind. Meh.

This does nothing but help convince me that I am correct in the thought that OCD is basically a First-World, Western-nation problem

Hmm doesn't the charm bar move? On my desktop, if I move the mouse to the top corner the charm bar moves up... and if I put the charm bar at the bottom corner it moves down.

Still a funny read and I can't wait to get my hands on one of these tomorrow :D

Just checked on my Yoga 2 Pro ... if I rotate to landscape so the windows button is over on the right, and swipe in the charms, it's not centered either. Of course, the windows logo on the bezel is rotated, and it seems closer than THIS image above, so it bothers me less... but still :-)

I'd rather the charms windows key go completely away. Replace it with a cortana button the placement doesn't bug me. Its the redundancy that has me pulling my hair out

deadonthefloor said,

I agree but offer a different solution:
Remove Start from charms bar when held in that orientation.

Which would annoy the crap out of me when I remote into a client to support them. A niche case I admit, but worth mentioning.

Now, a checkbox option and you're on to something...

j2006 said,
I thought the charms bar moves to where your finger swiped from? It does that on my desktop.

No, I wondered that too, but swiping from the top or bottom it opens centered (more or less :) ).

That's a mouse feature -- a nice one, but exclusive to the mouse.

I was ready to state "this criticism is stupid" but then I thought for 10 seconds and I actually agree: this kind of attention to the smallest details is what makes Apple's design awe inspiring. This can and should easily be fixed with a software update. Tweet at Panos and bring it to his attention!

Xabier Granja said,
I was ready to state "this criticism is stupid" but then I thought for 10 seconds and I actually agree: this kind of attention to the smallest details is what makes Apple's design awe inspiring. This can and should easily be fixed with a software update. Tweet at Panos and bring it to his attention!

Does the iPad design really fill you with awe? What about it is so special? It's little more than a colorized version of the Newton interface with a gimmicky 3D effect on the background.

Personally, I find a properly customized and alive Start Screen to be much more compelling.

pmbAustin said,
And yet, it took Apple until iOS 7 to properly align the "1" in the Calendar icon image... :-)

You made all the magic disappear for me.

Yes I know that, but Windows 8 has been out for a while, I wouldn't call it 'new' now...
How about... Modern? ooooh, or Metro! :p

On the other hand, if you draw a line along the bottom angled edge of the windows logo in the charms bar, it'll line up with the bottom edge of the button.

siah1214 said,
Oh lord that will actually drive me insane :(

Not a deal breaker but really :(


It will make me crazy too. Too bad, I rarely use that charms bar.

Pluto is a Planet said,
If only they drew the gridlines to show that it was the baselines that match up...

they're both centered, but one has a text label

mrp04 said,
We don't. It's pretty obvious in the top picture

Ermmm... I know! :p That is what I meant! It was already obvious.

haha, funny read. :) It would get annoying to me as those short of things always catch my eye. Like the image yesterday on the front page of the S5 and the marks on the back looking like they dont line up. Minor personal annoyance that doesnt take anything away from the device.

Cosmocronos said,
Personally I found the "end of August" availability for the I7 the most annoying, and dumb, thing but.... to each his own...

This.

Odd. I thought for sure this was going to be a complaint about the Windows key location, which is, IMHO, redundant because of the Start button on the Charms bar.

Ian William said,
Odd. I thought for sure this was going to be a complaint about the Windows key location, which is, IMHO, redundant because of the Start button on the Charms bar.

Not really. You have to swipe for charms. This Windows key is just a tap away from you.

FMH said,

Not really. You have to swipe for charms. This Windows key is just a tap away from you.

And easily accidentally pressed. Don't even know how many times I accidentally pressed the Windows button on my Surface RT when I had one.

mrp04 said,

And easily accidentally pressed. Don't even know how many times I accidentally pressed the Windows button on my Surface RT when I had one.


Perhaps, but at least it's lightning fast to return where you were by just pressing it again.

mrp04 said,

And easily accidentally pressed. Don't even know how many times I accidentally pressed the Windows button on my Surface RT when I had one.


One of my friends tried it at the press event and they said that behaviour has changed... you need to actually press it in order for it to work. Whereas before it would go if you simply tapped or hovered it.

Ian William said,
Odd. I thought for sure this was going to be a complaint about the Windows key location, which is, IMHO, redundant because of the Start button on the Charms bar.

You need a second button to log into a domain connected machine. Hold Windows, then hit power.

That's pretty much the entire point of the post, if you would have read all of it, and that's a very good thing as it means the Surface Pro 3 is a fantastic device.

bdsams said,
That's pretty much the entire point of the post, if you would have read all of it, and that's a very good thing as it means the Surface Pro 3 is a fantastic device.

Brad, any comments on battery life?

Hard to say at this point, I've used it a decent amount today and it still has juice. I don't think their claim of 9hrs (I think that was the claim) is too far off from reality.

I would actually have a problem with this. Yes, silly thing to post about, but that will keep me from considering this thing until they fix it. OCD

What? I was wonder when the MS fan was going to point out the awkward placement of that button.

It is ludicrous to think the button will not get in the way.

dingl_ said,
Wow, grasping at straws

Worse, this isn't grasping at straws for comments on a pretty nice looking device. This is grasping for a news post.

Correction: the buttons DO align. One button is just an icon, the other is an icon with a text label. Stop looking for the icons to align and try to be sane.

Adam Booth said,
I would actually have a problem with this. Yes, silly thing to post about, but that will keep me from considering this thing until they fix it. OCD

It would be cheaper for them to not fix it and let you keep your money.

Beside, if you turn the surface pro 2 to portrait and bring out the charms bar, it's exactly the same (slightly off centered, yet no one said anything.) plus the home button is rotated 90 degrees which should have also given you OCD guys fits...lol

Edited by uxo22, May 21 2014, 4:01am :

dingl_ said,
Wow, grasping at straws

I bet dude who wrote this article is apple user. being picky about icons and pixels yet not being able to see the whole picture and ability of device and software. classic apple style. nice and shiny but lack of functionality

bdsams said,
Hard to say at this point, I've used it a decent amount today and it still has juice. I don't think their claim of 9hrs (I think that was the claim) is too far off from reality.

I'd assume that the 9 hours quoted is very much dependent on the applications being used and how optimised they are for battery life - it'll be interesting to see the results of Adobe's own software given that they insist on re-inveting the wheel by having their own custom GUI kit etc.

Adam Booth said,

I would actually have a problem with this. Yes, silly thing to post about, but that will keep me from considering this thing until they fix it. OCD
You could just learn the keyboard shortcut associated with each charm like I and many others have and avoid the swiping gesture altogether.

trojan_market said,

I bet dude who wrote this article is apple user. being picky about icons and pixels yet not being able to see the whole picture and ability of device and software. classic apple style. nice and shiny but lack of functionality
This is the hardest I've ever seen someone try to be a troll. It really is.