back to article Clock ticking for Surface 3 as Microsoft preps for globo-launch

Given the losses Microsoft has racked up with the Surface "design point", the firm could be forgiven for drawing a line under the project rather than sending the third generation product to Britain. In a blog post, Microsoft this week confirmed the Pro 3 model will hit the streets in 25 countries including the UK on 28 August …

  1. hplasm
    Devil

    "Surface is a B2B machine"

    Box to bin?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Surface is a B2B machine"

      Bounce 2 Break?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: "Surface is a B2B machine"

      @hplasm - "Box to bin?"

      Why - are you incapable of figuring out how to turn one on and use it? I've never laid hands on one, but I certainly don't feel so stupid that I couldn't get some use out of it.

      1. hplasm
        Windows

        Re: "Surface is a B2B machine"

        " I certainly don't feel so stupid that I couldn't get some use out of it."

        But stupid enough to want to pay for one?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Holmes

          Re: "Surface is a B2B machine"

          You're the one that said "box to bin". If I did pay for one I would certainly figure out how to use it rather than binning it.

          I've got an HP ultrabook with Win 8.1 and a screen that detaches as a tablet - and I've got plenty of use out of it. About the last thing I would do would be to throw it in the trash.

          1. hplasm
            Meh

            Re: "Surface is a B2B machine"

            I did say 'box to bin'.

            I didn't say I'd buy one of these.

            I'm not that daft.

  2. AMBxx Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I'd love one, but

    The price !! I can get a similar laptop for half the price.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: I'd love one, but

      Have to agree, the price puts me off.

      The surface looks nice, leaves plenty of room in my bag for other tat, and doesn't cause me any balance problems that weren't already due to nature or poor choice of footwear. But I'm not going to be paying a premium one.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I'd love one, but

        You can't get a similar laptop for half the price. That's like saying you can get a car with the same handling as a Ferrari for the half the price... the packaging matters to most people.

        I do agree though that the pricing is off if you want to market it as a tablet. Competing against the MacBook Air, it looks nice. Competing against the iPad, while internally it's in a whole different league, most consumers aren't going to know that.

        1. Hellcat

          Re: I'd love one, but

          If they want to get some traction they need to drop the price on the RT versions. As much as I enjoy using ours, I wouldn't buy another at the current full price. £280 for the original and £360 for the 2nd gen are just too high co compete against the current market with the old/new iPads being £330/400 and every price point satisfied in the world of Droids.

          When MS dropped the price about a year ago you could not find a Surface for sale anywhere. As soon as they went into stock they were sold. Ebay was flooded with people trying to make a quick buck on ones they have bought for cheap. If MS are serious about breaking into the market they need to take a short-term hit for long term success. That would be the price to pay for bringing a good product, but missing the boat by a good couple of years.

        2. Jim in Hayward

          Re: I'd love one, but

          JDX - You forget, Microsoft is the Ford of the computing world. That includes all things they do, software AND the trinkets they like to call hardware. If you want a Ferrari check out Apple's products.

      2. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: I'd love one, but

        +1 I'd consider a Win8 tab but the Surface is just too expensive. Especially when you add another £100 for a bad keyboard/cover.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd love one, but

      Similar? Touch screen? Detachable keyboard? SSD and Core i7? Once you add all of those you will find the price is pretty much in line - and we're only basing this on US prices at the moment. UK will of course pay 20% + more.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: I'd love one, but

        @AC you win the prize for noticing MS are again targeting the ultrabook market. Now explain how that's going to be different the 3rd time, it didn't work before and the real ultrabook market has it's own sales problems.

        ...and 12" is still too small a screen for the bulk of that market. MS seem persistently a few years behind what the market wants, legacy of so many years just telling users what they would get.

        1. mmeier

          Re: I'd love one, but

          Actually they target the same market as

          Thinkpad Yoga

          Fujitsu Q902 (and the 704)

          HP Pro x2 612

          and similar units. It would be interesting to see how the S/P compete there.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I'd love one, but

          I disagree 12" is too small for the ultrabook market. My mum bought a 11" (I think) 2-in-1 tablet/laptop recently and I was quite impressed how useful it was. I wouldn't choose to work on it 8 hours a day but that's not really the intention.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'd love one, but

            Well, it's it's ok for your mum..

          2. Tom 38 Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: I'd love one, but

            I disagree 12" is too small for the ultrabook market. My mum bought a 11" (I think) 2-in-1 tablet/laptop

            So, not an ultrabook then?

            I disagree 12" is too small for the ultrabook market. My mum bought a shiatsu dog recently and I was quite impressed how useful it was. I wouldn't choose to work on it 8 hours a day but that's not really the intention.

      2. VinceH

        Re: I'd love one, but

        "Similar? Touch screen? Detachable keyboard? SSD and Core i7? Once you add all of those you will find the price is pretty much in line - and we're only basing this on US prices at the moment. UK will of course pay 20% + more."

        Or, rather than assume what it will cost, we could look check Microsoft's website, where it's already priced and available to pre-order, and get the actual price.

        Starting at £639 - which is also the only option available at the moment (i3, 64GB, 4GB RAM); other options are listed, but not yet priced or selectable.

        That's about £100 more than (IIRC) I paid for my current laptop back in February. i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 17" screen.

        The closest Surface Pro match to what I have is the 256GBm, i5, 8GB RAM option (going by processor and RAM, or the Core i7 with 512GB to try to bring the storage up a bit), which isn't yet priced, as I said.

        So I'm inclined to think AMBxx isn't far off in his comment.

        As you say, though: Touch screen? Detachable keyboard? SSD?

        To which I say: Bigger screen. More USB ports. More connectivity in general (Where I am at the mo, I'm using an external mouse and keyboard, and a 27" 1080p monitor via VGA, although there's also an HDMI port). More storage. The Surface just doesn't compare, IMO.

        I won't go so far as to say better keyboard, because as is the current annoying trend, the built in keyboard is annoyingly flat. Ugh.

        1. Hellcat

          Re: I'd love one, but

          As you say, though: Touch screen? Detachable keyboard? SSD?

          To which I say: Bigger screen. More USB ports. More connectivity in general

          So we have identified one is a tablet, and the other a laptop, and you can only compare them so much. After that they both have advantages that the other cannot perform so comparing is pointless unless you want to discuss which features are people willing to compromise to have the alternative.

          Would you drop the ability to use touchscreen and function as a tablet for extra USB ports and a wider screen? YMMV.

          For me, having SSD is a no-brainer on a PC/laptop/tablet. I'd rather have 1/4 the storage but 4 times the speed. Storing junk is what NAS devices are for.

          1. VinceH

            Re: I'd love one, but

            "So we have identified one is a tablet, and the other a laptop, and you can only compare them so much"

            Despite my previous comment, I do actually agree with you on that. I've said before I'd like a compromise between a decent laptop and a tablet (because as someone else said upthread, it'll take a lot less space in my bag) - but the Surface Pro 3 ain't it, not by a long way. Especially considering the price.

            I think the last time I said this was probably over a year ago, and I said something along the lines of "Hopefully, I by the time I need to replace my laptop, something that'll match my needs will be available..." - but I didn't expect at that point to have to get an emergency replacement in February; I thought I had a few years yet. So that expectation still stands - by the time I have to replace this laptop, I'd hope something suitable will be available.

            (And I hope making that comment hasn't cursed this laptop to develop an unexpected fault at an inopportune time!)

            "I'd rather have 1/4 the storage but 4 times the speed. Storing junk is what NAS devices are for."

            The problem with storing stuff on a NAS (rather than just for backups) is that I'd then have to carry the NAS around with me, because I never know which clients are going to call me, and therefore which data I'll need to access to deal with them. The data needs to be accessible to me - and I'd quite like access to my own stuff as well. I don't want to put any of that in the cloud.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'd love one, but

              Seriously, a tablet is just a toy. Something to pass the time with.

              If I'm going to spend £639 (closer to £800 when you include "optional" accessories) to "work" on, then I want a machine, not a toy. I also want it to last at least a year or two.

              As for bag space - I don't use a hand-bag, and my E7240 folds flatter than a shirt.

              I wont be paying that much just so they can re-coup their losses of their other disaster products.

              1. mmeier

                Re: I'd love one, but

                Strange, I considered a core-i Windows unit with NTRIG digitizer and all a proper maschine. Can do anything short of massiv programming. And the 8GB / 256GB unit should handle even that

        2. Greogr

          Re: I'd love one, but

          Are you serious?? you went trough the trouble of finding a link to MS store where they sell them but couldn;t me asked to do anything else.. They are all priced already.

          I pre-ordered 256/i5/8GB as it seemed like best value for money. Sure it's pricey at £1.109 if we add accessories (keyboard and docking station) it comes just shy of £1400.

          I will let you know if it's worth it once i get it:)

          1. VinceH

            Re: I'd love one, but

            Are you serious?? you went trough the trouble of finding a link to MS store where they sell them but couldn;t me asked to do anything else.. They are all priced already."

            *checks again*

            Sorry - my bad. I didn't notice that the pre-order button takes you to a website on a different domain - microsoftstore.com, on which I therefore hadn't permitted Javascript. The four alternative specifications therefore couldn't be selected, so I took that as meaning they weren't (yet) available as options.

            I now see, therefore, that the one that closest matches my laptop in terms of processor/memory is indeed about twice what I paid - and the one with the most desirable amount of storage is about three times what I paid.

            Yeah... I'll stick with a laptop for a while, and a separate tablet (which I only really use at home anyway).

    3. h3

      Re: I'd love one, but

      I will get one if the gen2 is about that price in the near future.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Watch out for...

    Wall to wall Surface's in Dixons-CarphoneFlophouse at the end of the month.

    I am sure there will be a lot of people playing with the things but how many will buy them and instead plump for a cheapo Dell/Hp Laptop or even a MacBook rather than one of these?

    No doubt the MS PR Machine will be going full blast with 'spokesperson' popping up on all sorts of programmes but how many will they sell? Enough to cover the cost of the PR/Ad campaign? Lets hope so.

  4. Anonymoist Cowyard

    Microsoft, more money than they know how to spend.

    Pouring unwanted Surface tablets onto the world is perhaps one of the worst ways to get rid of unwanted cash. The danger is, your shareholders might spot that everything you now have is virtually worthless and irreverent in 2014.

    1. GregC
      Headmaster

      Re: "everything you now have is virtually worthless and irreverent in 2014."

      Irreverent? Surface makes non-PC jokes now?

      Sorry. Sometimes my inner pedant forces it's way out.

      Thinking about it though, describing Surface as being a bit of a joke probably isn't far off...

  5. DanDare

    Surface

    The device is causing an awful lot of interest in the B2B sector, with large organisations looking to adopt it already. Whilst the price point is seen as high, the ability of the device to replace a tablet and a notebook in the corporate world actually demonstrates a saving to most businesses. Add that to the fact that you can dock it and run two 4k monitors off it, also gives it another huge market to win in, that being creative design.

    Whilst the Surface2 was somewhat cumbersome (however still a good device) the Surface3 will prove a revelation in the Corporate world.

    And no, I don't work for MS, or have any affiliation to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surface

      I work for one of the worlds largest banks and we are currently trialling the use of the Surface Pro 3. Our CEO, CIO and a whole bunch of senior execs have been given a device and they love them. This is the ultimate exec device, full corporate desktop + light tablet form factor with the best pen input I've ever seen.

      I know people just hate to see MS succeed - but they have with this iteration of the Surface.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surface

        You work for one of the worlds largest banks, and you're that familiar with your CEO?

        Who are you trying to convince?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surface

          Quite familiar with the CIO yes...and have met the CEO on occasion. They're just people.

          And not sure what you mean by 'that' familiar - familiar enough to provide them a tablet device?

      2. hplasm
        Mushroom

        Re: Surface

        "Our CEO, CIO and a whole bunch of senior execs have been given a device and they love them."

        This explains why the banking sector is covered in its own shit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surface

      The device is causing an awful lot of interest in the B2B sector, with large organisations looking to adopt it already

      I'm sorry, but I don't see that where I am. If anything, they're trying to break from Microsoft. The first question I'm always being asked is: "what are the alternatives".

      Which isn't very good for me career, considering I've worked with MS tech for 2 decades.

    3. mmeier

      Re: Surface

      If you take the price and compare it to units with a similar capability that BUSINESS will buy, the S/Ps are actually in the middle of the price range. Business buys Lenovo, HP, Fujitsu and a comparable convertible or 2in1 from those companies starts at the 1000€ tag.

    4. Tom 35

      Re: Surface

      "the ability of the device to replace a tablet and a notebook in the corporate world actually demonstrates a saving to most businesses."

      Most businesses that have a tablet to replace... so almost none.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too crazy for Boys Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town

    If the surface pro is competing with an iPad Air then an iPad Air is half the price and bluetooth keyboards are cheap enough

    If the surface pro is competing with a MacBook Air then the air is cheaper has a better keyboard and should the rumours of a retina version with Broadwell be true and is announced next month it will blow this out of the water if it is the same price as existing models...

    Microsoft should leave the hardware to other guys and focus on their software and making a coherent unified platform like they keep threatening... This is just a massive sinkhole and I don't know how the shareholders tolerate wasting money like this. They'll never be compete with the other hardware manufacturers and Apple can only get away with charging what they do, because they offer something different in OS X that nobody else has and they have a great marketing team.

    I think it is time Nadella stopped trying to emulate Apple and took a leaf out of the recent Google playbook and cut back on all these loss making schemes and focused their energies and efforts into profitable core business

    1. mmeier

      Re: Too crazy for Boys Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town

      Actually doing the S/P is a smart move from MS even if they only make a black zero out of it. The unit shows what can be done and at what pricetag(1). Keeps the other manufacturers "in check" a bit since customers will compare the well build S/P units with what Lenovo/Dell/Fujitsu/HP offers.

      As for the Air: It is not a competition if I am shopping for a tablet pc. Simply because it has no inductive stylus and none of the needed support software. Same the other way round, if I shop for a pure notebook the S/P is not in the race since I do not pay for stuff I do not use.

      Competing against an iPad(or an AndyPad) - depends on where it does. If a customer wants "mobile tablet devise that supports something similar to your desktop software" then an S/P is a good way since in 92+ percent of the cases it WILL run the desktop software in question (if Apple sold MacOS we could get 97+ percent). While not S/P we actually have customers who decided against iThingy+Webversion/Appversion (that they had to pay a lot for) and for Dell Lat10/Lenovo TPT2+the Application the use (only paying licences). Since we still do good business with them they seem to like our recommendations.

  7. Tyrion
    Mushroom

    Software is the real problem

    Even ignoring the ridiculous price, weight, and poor batteries of these things, the software is just horrible. I'd rather have my whole body waxed than have to use Windows 8's Metrosexual UI. And the desktop doesn't lend itself well to touch. So anywhich way you look at it, the experience is substandard compared to ordinary laptops (including Chromebooks) and competing Android/Apple tablets.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Software is the real problem

      Can it run Win 7 Pro 64-bit?

      1. mmeier

        Re: Software is the real problem

        Should be doable. It is a Notebook after all and Win8 certified so you can disable secure boot. Win7 has all the support functions/software for the stylus (HWR recognition, MS Journal etc) at (almost) the same quality as Win8. Only question is wether the NTrig stylus used has a W7 driver (NTrig drivers for W7 exist since the Q702 and Q550 used NTrig)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd rather have my whole body waxed than have to use Windows 8..

      Actually I did have my body waxed once, and it certainly wasn't anywhere near as bad as using metro.

      (The gap might have been less had it not been a particularly nice girl doing the waxing.)

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I'd rather have my whole body waxed than have to use Windows 8..

        W8 on a touch-screen is just fine. So in tablet mode it's not an issue.

        And you can set it to boot to desktop. Even if you hate the start screen, I reckon I spend about 2 minutes a day using the start menu on W7, out of 8 hours work. I'm not going to get too upset by something I spend 0.4% of my time on :)

  8. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    (UK) pricing has yet to be confirmed

    Scratch out the "$" and write-in the "£" (keeping the digits the same of course).

    10: PRINT "Things are more expensive in the UK because the CoL is higher."

    20: PRINT "The CoL is higher in the UK because things are more expensive."

    30 GOTO 10

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd love to have one of these

    As I spend quite a lot if time on the road (and in the air). It would have to be the i7 model though. By the time the corporate IS has made it compliant, it'll have i3 (or worse) level performance.

    Anon? You can probably work it out (and where I'm not posting from).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The big boss just bought one for himself

    His Sony touch screen ultrabook just died (3rd time, out of warranty this time) so time for a new toy.

    Everyone else gets cheap Dell laptops.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh surprise, a flood of anons

    A sudden flood of anonymous posters, the guaranteed accompaniment to every Microsoft product release. Really had hoped that would die with Ballmer but no, the same shit just sticks to MS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oh surprise, a flood of anons

      I was thinking the same, and all posts having a similar theme and writing style. Apart from ours, of course.

      By the way, I saw a bus full of bosses. They all had a pro-3, and they were all smiling. Even the driver had one.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The market these are aimed at just seems too small. For businesses, clearly the Surface Pro is aimed at the higher end of the market, and as someone said, in companies that would most likely be CEOs and Senior Management.

    So in a company of 500 thats about 10 users. Not really good figures.

    Also with a laptop, crack the screen, and you can happily replace for normally sub £100 and do it yourself. Whats the cost for a Surface screen? Is this easily done by an IT person within the business or would they need to send it off site? Faulty HDD? Laptop, 5 screws and your done. Quick google, says around 50 screws to access the Surface HDD.

    Personally, for a business there are too many draw backs compared to a laptop.

    For personal use, I would rather a higher spec'd laptop for less cost, and then a nexus or similar for any work i needed to do on a tablet which i find a laptop too cumbersome for.

    1. mmeier

      I have been using tablet pc and convertibles since 2004. And I have yet to crack a screen. The pre "Gorilla Glass" screens developed scratches over time but even that is a thing of the past. Basically any cracked screen is a sign of planned abuse, hostile neglect or an insurance case.

      Faulty HDD on an S/P won't happen. They all have SSD. If that fails => guarantee case.

      As for the "multiple devices": Have fun keeping the data in sync. It is doable between Windows units using OneDrive or Sharepoint. Between Windows and Android/iOS it quickly gets more hassle.

      And a notebook speced similar to a S/P3 + a decend tablet should cost at least the same.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Quote of the week:

        "Faulty HDD on an S/P won't happen. They all have SSD."

    2. wdmot

      SP3 repair

      @AC

      Replacing the screen on a Surface Pro 3 doesn't require removing any screws; replacing the SSD looks like it requires removing 1 screw... but that doesn't mean it's easy! See iFixit's teardown: https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+3+Teardown/26595

      Replacing a broken screen may not be too difficult (since it's already broken), but replacing/upgrading anything else inside likely means replacing the screen too, since it will probably break in the process of removing it to access the other components. Perhaps their "repair" centers have a way of doing it with special tools. In any case, I think the only thing you could upgrade would be the SSD; everything else is soldered on.

  13. Cynicalmark

    Hooray

    At last a docking station coming to the UK. My Surface Pro has been great for use on the train and on surveys across the UK without having to lug a laptop or fight a fondleslab. From desk to on the road this device may not be a major number cruncher but it does demonstrate the direction we should be leaning.

  14. td97402

    The Surface Tablet that could have been!

    Can you imagine an ARM based Windows RT tablet that COULD join an Active Directory Domain and had a few really killer RT apps for business types baked in? Give it a 10-12 inch retina quality display and an aluminum back. Sell it for $400 or $500 with 4G. I believe that would have sold.

    Instead they had to shoehorn a lame implementation of "real" Windows into a tablet form factor with an Intel processor and so help me 64GB is the minimum storage because of the Windows bloat. Gave it a fairly crappy screen, initially, let me think, what else? Oh yeah, a starting price of $729 or somesuch. No thanks. I can buy nice Ultrabook any day of the week for that kind of money and have a form factor where "real" Windows actually makes sense.

    Finally, what is with the penchant for MS and others to push all of these convertibles? They aren't very good tablets and they aren't very good laptops either...

  15. kfpm

    Like with like?

    I really don't understand a lot of the comments on here. There is clearly a distinction between the Surface(/RT) and the Surface Pro, and they should be treated differently.

    The Surface Pro is clearly a Microsoft attempt to produce an Ultrabook, fully specced, and running full Windows whatever-the-version. As such, it has a lot of competition, and it's dog eat dog out there at the moment.

    The Surface(/RT) is a more interesting proposition. Criticism is made of not running the 'full' Windows, but, really, why is this such a problem? If you don't like the machine, or the platform, then there's plenty of alternatives out there for providing you with your full Windows. I see the Surface(/RT) as going up against the iPad Air in the corporate market, and it makes a very interesting comparison, when viewed in the context of reasonably successful Apple inroads into the corporate.

    For £100 less than the price of an iPad Air, you get a free version of Microsoft Office (business use notwithstanding), the luxury of a USB port, do you can dock away at home, and video output, for more docking. Spend an extra £100 and you get a keyboards which doubles up as a 'lid'.

    So what's the problem? Not enough RT apps? So what, if you want a corporate 'tablet', you just get Citrix sorted out, and all your desktop apps are there for you (as they are with the iPad too). Or is it all those games you're missing on your, er, corporate tablet?

    The only problem is a psychological one; All those nice decision-makers, playing their Sunday morning round of golf, understand fashion more than technology. The only way for Microsoft to defeat the current Apple-Is-King attitude is for Microsoft to bite the bullet by dropping the prices to a point where there can be no arguments, and to officially commit to the platform for the next few years.

  16. jmkni

    So is Windows RT officially dead?

    I don't see an ARM version of the new surface!

  17. Smoking Gun

    It's a solid hybrid device but to use it properly by the time you add the 'extras' it's an expensive offering.

    Microsoft continue to balls up their go to market strategy. I can buy a device cheaper from the Microsoft store than I can through an authorised reseller.

    Microsoft would be advised to note, you have a huge channel of partners who would sell these if they could. Surface Pro fills a niche, but I don't see Microsoft making big out of it.

  18. N2 Silver badge

    But

    Will it be warm in winter for my cat to sleep on?

    He never goes near my MBP cos its too cool.

  19. kwv-dc

    Without 4G what is the point?

    In no US store does Microsoft sell any model PC from any OEM with unlocked 4G.

    The Surface 3 Pro would be a decent I Pad replacement were this corrected .... but it won't be corrected.

    A really nice travel device would be the Dell XPS 18 with stylus & unlocked 4G .... but Michael Dell & Lawrence Tu apparently don't travel ..... and they haven't even updated this model to Haswell .....

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