1. jwpear's Avatar
    I have a Surface Pro 1 and Surface 2. I want to sell those and move from the two devices to one. I've been considering both a Surface Pro 3 and a Surface 3. But I'm torn because there are aspects of both the gen 3 devices that just don't sit quite right.

    I love the light weight of the S2 and really find that it meets my needs most of the time. The S2 works quite well when I just want to browse the web, email, read with the Kindle app, watch Netflix, do some light photo editing, etc. So mostly consumption.

    I find the size of the S2 to be perfect for the casual, mostly consumption needs I mentioned above. Given how much I like the S2, the S3 seems like it might be a good device to replace my S2. But there are a few things that concern me with the S3.

    I've read that charging the S3 is VERY slow due to the use of USB charging. There are times when my S2 is low on charge because it has been sitting a few days or I forgot to plug in before bed. I like that I can plug in for a few hours and it is good to go. I don't believe a quick 2-3 hour full charge is possible with the S3. But I also don't think the S3 will drain the battery just sitting as quickly as the S2.

    I've also read the S3 uses eMMC and the disk performance is very low, particularly with updates. I know the S3 uses the latest Atom processor, but I'm still a little hesitant about it. I have an Acer Iconia that I got at Build a few years ago and it generally has a sluggish feel to it and is painfully slow at applying updates. It uses eMMC and an Atom processor. I tried Windows 10 on it and it absolutely sucked. Tap something and wait forever. Obviously, Windows 10 isn't finished, but the Iconia was just too slow to run it at this time. It may never be fast enough. I'm nervous about the S3's use of eMMC and Atom, particularly with Windows 10.

    There are times where the S2 feels sluggish and this seems to be getting worse and more frequent as it gets older (or gets more Windows updates). I'm not sure if it is disk access or RAM that's the problem. I'm thinking of doing a reset to see if that helps. Anyway, this makes me a little apprehensive with the S3's performance over time.

    If the S3 is no faster than the S2, then it doesn't seem like a good move.

    Until the S3 was announced, I was planning to move to a SP3. I love the performance and flexibility of my SP1. But the weight is just too much for those casual consumption moments. I've really been spoiled by the lightness of the S2. The SP3 is a little lighter than the SP1, but it is still heavier than the S2 and S3. I feel like the SP3's dimensions will throw off the balance of the device for consumption as well. I do like that the SP3 can be used for real work--development and other desktop apps that I might need. But if I'm honest, I rarely do that with my SP1. The screen is just too small. I'm not entirely convinced the SP3's 12 inch screen would make that much of a difference. Maybe it would. It's tough to know without actually having the device to use for a bit.

    The price of the S3 is attractive compared to a new SP3. I bought my SP1 new from Microsoft. I got my S2 as a refurb on eBay for less than $200. I've been pleased with that purchase. So if I go the SP3 route, I'm thinking of buying a refurb or something used.

    So I'm curious about the battery charge time and performance concerns I've outlined on the S3. And I'm curious if anyone has tried the S3 and then switched to the SP3 or vice versa.

    Appreciate any thoughts.
    06-27-2015 04:55 PM
  2. Zachary Boddy's Avatar
    First off, the 12in screen on the SP3 does make a rather large difference, in both screen real estate and aspect ratio (the SP3 uses a slightly unique aspect ratio that actually works rather well).
    From what you've said, I think the S3 will work better. It's screen size is similar to both the S2 and SP1 yet it's lighter and has a better screen. Bottom line, it already has something over the S2 by running full Windows 8.1
    In my opinion, final Windows 10 will run better than Windows 8.1 on devices like the S3. Windows 10 is more compact, more efficient, and built to run on any number of devices.
    The S3 performance is perfectly good for casual use. It's more powerful than the S2 (not sure about the SP1 but it should be in the same ballpark). As long as you don't plan to do anything heavy it's perfectly good. There are far worse processors out there, even in machines of similar price.

    I'd go for the S3:
    Full Windows
    Enough power for any casual use
    Good battery life
    Great screen

    Now it's not great for charging but it's not horrible either. A few hours will get you enough juice to go for at least a little while. Plus, you can't beat that attractive price tag.
    I know this has been kind of scattered and not all that organized but I'm sort of in a hurry. Just a quick tip: spend the extra money to get the top spec S3, it's well worth it.
    jwpear likes this.
    06-27-2015 05:24 PM
  3. illegaloperation's Avatar
    I am guessing that what you have is the Acer Iconia W3 which handed out at BUILD 2013.

    Acer Iconia W3 has an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail Processor. Intel essentially shoehorned a netbook processor onto a tablet.

    Surface 3 has an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 which has performance comparable to an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

    eMMC on the Surface 3 is nowhere as fast as SSD, but it's faster than traditional hard drive.

    The best comparison to the Surface 3 is a computer with Intel Core 2 Duo and traditional hard drive.

    Surface 3 is designed to be lighter and more portable (it's lighter and thinner than Surface 2), but it isn't designed to be a laptop replacement like Surface Pro 3.

    That said, some people on this forum have use Surface 3 to do some minor Photoshop work without much issue.
    jwpear likes this.
    06-27-2015 06:41 PM
  4. jwpear's Avatar
    I went to Best Buy this evening (no MS store here) and looked at both the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. The S3 does have a very nice form factor and feels really good in hand. It feels snappy just starting apps and navigating around a bit. Of course, I couldn't really put it through the paces of my normal usage on their locked down demo machines.

    I also tried the SP3 again. The SP3 certainly feels heavier after holding the S2, but it feels lighter than my SP1. And the thinness of the SP3 is nice compared to the SP1. The SP3 is just about the same thickness of my S2.

    With the security cables, it's tough to get a feel for how each would feel holding one handed to do some reading on the couch.

    I decided to purchase the SP3 to try it out first hand for my normal usage. My gut is telling me the SP3 will last me longer than the S3. It seems like the Core i5 and SSD is more future proof. The SP3 handles all the tablet usage scenarios, assuming it isn't too heavy for consumption excursions in the recliner. And I like that I can install Visual Studio and run Hyper-V on the SP3 if I want. I still doubt I'll do a lot of actual development on it, but the 12 inch 3:2 screen could very well change that.

    I'm going to try the SP3 for a bit. If it doesn't feel right, I'm going to take it back and try the S3.

    I appreciate the thoughts everyone gave.
    06-27-2015 09:16 PM
  5. jwpear's Avatar
    I am guessing that what you have is the Acer Iconia W3 which handed out at BUILD 2013.
    Yes, that's the exact machine. It is horrible. I hated the screen the moment I fired it up. The quality was so poor it hurt my eyes to look at it. The processor seemed okay considering the price and size of the device. I kept it just to do some testing, but really haven't used it much. I'll probably throw it on eBay soon.

    The Atom processor in the Iconia W3 gets a 679 Passmark rating compared to the S3's 1725. Huge difference. The SP1 scores a 3089 and the SP3 scores a 3759.
    06-27-2015 09:25 PM
  6. WillBthr's Avatar
    S3=no fan noise
    06-28-2015 07:42 PM
  7. mtalinm's Avatar
    jwpear, get the S3. I have owned the SP1, SP2, SP3, and S2 (missed only the original SRT).

    S3 is my favorite of all of them. It is, essentially, an iPad running full Windows (same size/shape/weight - as original, not "air"). Just lovely for browsing, emailing, Office stuff, basically anything not involving intensive computation.

    (I'll confess that I have an SP3 but that is because my job requires me to do lots of very computationally intensive stuff, and because I need more disk space, but it doesn't sound you need that. But I mostly leave the SP3 in its dock while I take the S3 *everywhere*. SP3 is just a wee bit big and heavy to use in portrait mode; also, its keyboard is floppy when compared to the S3.)

    You can always "try" one from Best Buy and take it back within 14 days if you don't like it. (or 30, if there is MSFT store near you)

    Also, your S2/Sp2 keyboard will fit it pretty well
    ClintRo likes this.
    06-28-2015 11:21 PM
  8. jwpear's Avatar
    @mtalinm You've definitely given me pause on the SP3. I think I'll get a S3 and try it. Makes sense to test drive it and take it back if it doesn't seem to fit what I need.

    The S3 is a nice device. It does feel really good in hand. So light, but feels solid. That's what I like about the S2. I'm not sold on the 12 inch SP3 size.
    ClintRo likes this.
    07-01-2015 12:18 PM
  9. ClintRo's Avatar
    I agree with this the size of the S3 is more manageable as long as it does everything you need and realize its limits.
    07-01-2015 03:48 PM
  10. LibbyLA's Avatar
    I have a Toshiba Portegé Z30 (13" portable, i7, 8G, 256G), SP3 (i5, 8G, 256G), Dell Venue 8 Pro (2G, 64G) in a Zagg keyboard case, and the S3 (4G, 128G) and the S3 is what I use over 95% of the time. I have put a JOTO nonglare screen protector on it and that makes it just about perfect for me. I didn't get as good a screen protector application as I'd like so I'll try again, but the screen protector makes a huge difference in usability for me.

    I run a statistical program called SAS, not on huge datasets and nothing really complicated, but the S3 is a little champ. It's just the right size for me, not too big, not too small.
    ClintRo likes this.
    07-01-2015 09:01 PM
  11. lbp775's Avatar
    S3 user coming from an SP1. You will definitely notice a difference in performance. It'll be something you will need to decide on for your uses. I've came to the conclusion that portability, convenience (microusb charge) and battery life was more important to me than processing power. I think too much has been made about charging times, it usually takes me 4-5 hours to charge up my S3. I usually plug it in overnight along with my phone. The difference being that now I only have to charge every 2-3 days. Of course your experience may be different than mine. It's also nice to hold a cool totally quiet device in your hands.
    07-02-2015 01:11 PM
  12. seremify's Avatar
    If you're really really worried about charging times, maybe try out the official Surface 3 dock? I was tempted by it's promise of rapid charging time for the Surface 3 with the 48w power supply but none of the reviews seem to touch on this topic.
    07-03-2015 01:37 AM
  13. mtalinm's Avatar
    If MSFT made an S3 with a faster chip, more memory & faster/bigger disk, it would be my main machine for everything. That said, they probably can't achieve that without tanking battery life.
    07-03-2015 10:51 AM
  14. vertigo_x's Avatar
    If you're really really worried about charging times, maybe try out the official Surface 3 dock? I was tempted by it's promise of rapid charging time for the Surface 3 with the 48w power supply but none of the reviews seem to touch on this topic.
    Or he could simply get a high-amperage charger from Amazon. I got a dual 2.4A output charger for my S3 and it charges is within a few hours. Definitely not the five hours of the original (and likely chintzy) charger.
    07-07-2015 08:08 AM
  15. P_Devil's Avatar
    If MSFT made an S3 with a faster chip, more memory & faster/bigger disk, it would be my main machine for everything. That said, they probably can't achieve that without tanking battery life.
    Or without making it a little bigger and heavier. Something along the lines of the Surface Pro 3... Ah, I see what they did there.
    07-08-2015 02:03 PM

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