The Surface Pro 3 has arrived and here are our first impressions. (text continues after the video version).
It’s a lovely thing to hold. It’s light, thin and has a sort of soft and warm feel to the metal casing. The movement of the kick stand is very reassuring, feels like it will stand up to a lot of poking, pressing and messing about. The type cover is a gorgeous purple velvety thing that snaps magically into the Surface and closes to protect the screen. The keyboard is a bit squishy but totally usable, the track pad is actually very nice indeed. The pen is perhaps slightly less posh than you’d think but it’s a wonderful thing that I believe will come into its own as I start using the system. It’s annoying there’s nowhere to put it – there is a little tag that you can stick onto the type cover but that makes it less lovely somehow – it can also attach magnetically to the side but it’s not a strong or neat connection – it’ll do, but it detracts a little from an otherwise sublime unboxing experience.
Once Windows has sorted itself out then it boots to the desktop in no time at all – there’s no BIOS readout, POST or windows loading screen, just the word “Surface” shining white on a black background for a few seconds. The screen is just stunning – the resolution, finesse and detail is very very good indeed. Laptops often leave you with all sorts of bits of DAW software hanging off the screen but this isn’t going to suffer from those sorts of issues – when I plonk it next to my studio computer it makes my 1920×1080 24” screens look a bit mickey mouse.
In casual use over the last week I’ve really enjoyed the hybrid nature of combining touch screen and touch pad – Windows 8 makes more sense in this format and I’ve found myself using all sorts of Windows store apps that I don’t on my desktop machine – even with a large touch screen monitor. And in the all important late night duvet test the Surface with the kickstand is much easier to balance for watching telly in bed than our iPad.
But once you get over the initial coolness, and as my wife pointed out when she asked me for a tour – it’s just a computer – and that’s very true. It’s a great piece of hardware but what’s important is how well it runs music gear, how well it connects up and how useful the touch screen and pen actually are – that’s the point of what we’re talking about.
So, over the next few weeks we’re going to be getting down to the nitty gritty of running music software and hardware, and I’ve already discovered that there are some issues to overcome.
Coming soon….. reviews of Stagelight, FL Studio Groove, Emulator, Usine Hollyhock and we’ll be talking about how well it runs Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton, Sonar and the like, and the best way to get everything plugged in. So subscribe and sign up and share your thoughts below or on our blog at surfaceproaudio.com or in whatever form of media you fancy.