When you take something thin and try to turn it into a speaker, the typical result is flat, tinny sounding audio that crackles the louder you turn it up. So, when Microsoft said that the speakers were 45% louder in the Surface Pro 3 when compared to the previous generation of devices, our skepticism shifted towards louder, cheaper sounding audio.
We know that audio preferences are about as diverse as the users who may buy the Pro 3 and what one may consider 'good' audio, others may think its comparable to a phonograph. With that being said, I tried to keep expectations in-line with other comparables such as the Acer S7.
For starters, the Pro 3 is only 0.36 inches thick and expecting the lows to be anything other than absent, would be a foolish mistake. But, knowing that Microsoft had only a few tenths of an inch to work with, they have done a reasonably good job at getting quality audio out of small speakers.
As you would expect, the highs were acceptable, the mids were average for a laptop style speaker and the lows, well, they are absent from the experience. But, one nice thing about the Pro 3, is that it does get loud, much louder than we initially expected from the two small speakers that are seated facing the front of the device. The Pro 3 also supports ''Dolby Audio-enhanced sound' which is a tuning mechanism to make sure that the tiny speakers output the best possible sound.
The audio from the Pro 3 will suffice for most users who need to watch a quick YouTube video or partake in an office webinar, and with the volume boost you can do so and annoy those around you as well. But for any serious audio experience, we still highly recommend getting a quality set of cans for your ears or using a set of external speakers. Because let’s be honest, while the speakers meet our expectations for what audio should be from a tablet this thin, it’s still laptop speaker audio which will always fall below that of dedicated setups.
For those curious, I have used the speakers quite a bit, everything from Spotify to Skype and the results have met expectations. I was a bit concerned about testing out Skype as laptop speakers and cell phones traditionally have made voices sound a bit ‘tinny’ compared to the actual tones of the conversation and I can still detect a bit of that going on here but it’s not all that bad and not nearly as notable as a smartphone speaker.
But again, for a device that is only 0.36 inches thin, Microsoft has done a good job of making sure that the speakers are not abysmal. In fact, we would say that they are comparable to ultrabooks, and thanks to their increased output they are capable of filling a decent sized room with modest sound.