1. Hockeymac18's Avatar
    I've been very interested in getting a surface pro for a while now (a few years), but have really backed off because my old Macbook has been holding up ok. It's been getting worse and worse, though, and I'm really starting to seriously look at replacements for it.

    I love pretty much everything about the Surface Pro from what I've used of it, but it's always on tables, usually in a demo area. That's really not how I use my laptop. I would say 80-90% of the time, my laptop is on my lap somewhere. Either on the train, on a plane, at a conference, or just out in the park. It seems like the standard surface keyboard and kickstand solution is pretty useless for this type of use case...

    Can owners of it comment on this? Is there a third party solution for this problem (say similar to those hard keyboards you find for ipads)? I feel like this is a ripe area for a third party manufacturer to come in and address, and I'm a bit surprised no one has done this yet...

    Or maybe I'm over thinking it and I just don't need to use the keyboard that much? I suppose in these situations one would just use the touch screen? But then when I really think about it, I use my keyboard a lot on my Macbook (I do a lot of coding during my commute on the train). So maybe the Surface Pro isn't the product for me (which would be a shame...because everything else about it seems perfect for me).

    Ideally it would be nice if there were two options: the normal surface keyboard (great for most situations) and another keyboard solution that provided sturdy lap use.
    04-16-2015 09:03 PM
  2. stephen_az's Avatar
    I've been very interested in getting a surface pro for a while now (a few years), but have really backed off because my old Macbook has been holding up ok. It's been getting worse and worse, though, and I'm really starting to seriously look at replacements for it.

    I love pretty much everything about the Surface Pro from what I've used of it, but it's always on tables, usually in a demo area. That's really not how I use my laptop. I would say 80-90% of the time, my laptop is on my lap somewhere. Either on the train, on a plane, at a conference, or just out in the park. It seems like the standard surface keyboard and kickstand solution is pretty useless for this type of use case...

    Can owners of it comment on this? Is there a third party solution for this problem (say similar to those hard keyboards you find for ipads)? I feel like this is a ripe area for a third party manufacturer to come in and address, and I'm a bit surprised no one has done this yet...

    Or maybe I'm over thinking it and I just don't need to use the keyboard that much? I suppose in these situations one would just use the touch screen? But then when I really think about it, I use my keyboard a lot on my Macbook (I do a lot of coding during my commute on the train). So maybe the Surface Pro isn't the product for me (which would be a shame...because everything else about it seems perfect for me).

    Ideally it would be nice if there were two options: the normal surface keyboard (great for most situations) and another keyboard solution that provided sturdy lap use.
    Given you have already said you consider it useless for lap use you have pretty much minimized the value of any discussion. As it stands, no there are no hard keyboards that connect to the tablet and probably never will be given it conflicts with the Surface concept. You can buy a case and BT keyboard but I have never seen the need for either of those. As it stands, I use my SP3 in my lap on a regular basis and have never had a problem. I have also used it on seatback trays in planes and when in the passenger seat in a car. I also type while reclining in bed or on a couch. Actually, I am doing that as I type now. If you have a Microsoft store nearby the people are quite friendly and you can easily test from your lap. Otherwise, if you simply want something that has the lap form factor of a laptop, buy a laptop.
    Hockeymac18 likes this.
    04-16-2015 09:25 PM
  3. Hockeymac18's Avatar
    I didn't say I consider the Surface Pro 3 useless for lap use. I said it seems like the Surface Pro 3 with the standard keyboard would be a bit useless in a typical lap scenario. And this is why I've reached out to real life users of the tablet/laptop hybrid. I want to hear from real users on their experience here. You don't need that defensive tone ("you have pretty much minimized the value of any discussion" was a bit unnecessary).

    I've watched many videos of people using the SP3 in their laps, and it always seems a bit rigid, like they have to make sure to sit a certain way. It doesn't seem like you could just lounge back like you might with a standard laptop.

    At any rate, I don't see how it's such a ridiculous premise to think about this. If the Surface really wants to become a replacement for a tablet and a laptop, it has to be able to excel at both. From my use of it in stores, it seems phenomenal in tablet form and on top of tables. I'm just worried about the lap scenario (which is how I use my laptop mostly). I don't think it's unfair to want a laptop replacement to be able to handle this use case well.

    And I don't really get the "Surface concept" comment. Sure, I get what you're saying, but I don't see the big deal about wanting to make it a better product in certain situations. the iPad concept doesn't include keyboards, either, but you see a ton of people using them with their iPads, especially on trains/planes, etc (because they're useful). The 3rd party accessory area fir the surface looks like it's ripe to deliver something on this front.

    I don't think it would be all that difficult to build (basically what a lot of hybrid tablets are doing with their snap-in keyboards). I could see myself using something like that and also using the standard keyboard - probably using the sturdy keyboard for many things, but the standard keyboard would be great when I just want to grab the device and go (plus I love the look of them).

    As you have said, you don't mind using it on your lap. And I thank you for that input. I will take your advice and try it out in the store.
    Gergolos likes this.
    04-17-2015 05:33 PM
  4. Guzzler3's Avatar
    I'll be the first to chime in on the lap' ability of my SP3. I use it 80% of the time on my lap without any issues. I'm not a small guy either, 6'1", 170 lbs. I use it with my legs straight, legs crossed, in a chair, lying on the sofa, just about everywhere. The fully adjustable kickstand and the fold up part on the keyboard make it rather stable.

    I will admit in the beginning I was "Aaaa man, this isn't going to work" for lap use, but after experimenting and just plain using it on my lap, I don't find that the case anymore. There is just a learning curve, just like learning Windows 8.1 was hard at first, but soon you learn to actually like it.

    I actually prefer my SP3 for lap use over my old ASUS UX31E Ultrabook (a MacBook Air clone). I feels lighter (even though it isn't) and thinner (even though it isn't). The fact that when reading books I can put in portrait mode really, REALLY makes a difference over a conventional laptop.

    The only thing I do miss from my ASUS UX31E Ultrabook, was the speed of the SSD. Damn that thing was FAST with a PCIe gum stick SSD!!! But I don't miss it getting overheated easily if put down on a soft surface that might block the air vents.
    Hockeymac18 likes this.
    04-17-2015 07:41 PM
  5. Hockeymac18's Avatar
    I'll be the first to chime in on the lap' ability of my SP3. I use it 80% of the time on my lap without any issues. I'm not a small guy either, 6'1", 170 lbs. I use it with my legs straight, legs crossed, in a chair, lying on the sofa, just about everywhere. The fully adjustable kickstand and the fold up part on the keyboard make it rather stable.

    I will admit in the beginning I was "Aaaa man, this isn't going to work" for lap use, but after experimenting and just plain using it on my lap, I don't find that the case anymore. There is just a learning curve, just like learning Windows 8.1 was hard at first, but soon you learn to actually like it.

    I actually prefer my SP3 for lap use over my old ASUS UX31E Ultrabook (a MacBook Air clone). I feels lighter (even though it isn't) and thinner (even though it isn't). The fact that when reading books I can put in portrait mode really, REALLY makes a difference over a conventional laptop.

    The only thing I do miss from my ASUS UX31E Ultrabook, was the speed of the SSD. Damn that thing was FAST with a PCIe gum stick SSD!!! But I don't miss it getting overheated easily if put down on a soft surface that might block the air vents.
    Thanks for this great feedback! This is exactly the perspective I was hoping someone would chime in with.
    04-18-2015 12:25 AM
  6. Luke Praeuner's Avatar
    In my experience, the SP3 works in about any situation that a laptop would. But like Guzzler pointed out, there is a bit of a learning curve. The one thing that I've noticed a lot of people leave out in these types of discussions is the issue of using it on your lap while wearing shorts. Typical shorts, while one is sitting, fall a few inches above the knee. That is exactly where the kickstand sends up sitting in a lot of scenarios. Unless you have some awkward callouses on your lower thigh, this will get uncomfortable after just a couple minutes due to the kickstand digging into your skin. The only remedies I've found for this is either pulling your shorts a bit lower than usual so they cover your knee, or simply changing into a pair of pants (which I have done on a few occasions where I knew I would be using it on my lap for an extended period of time).
    04-18-2015 02:18 PM
  7. bluemoongreg's Avatar
    My experience echoes Guzzler3. Assumed that using it in my lap wasn't going to be a great experience compared to a traditional laptop form factor. Overlooked it though- figured I'd almost always have a flat surface to sit it on at work, & would mostly use it as a tablet in portrait orientation at home.
    In reality, I've been able to find a stable, comfortable position for it in my lap no matter how I'm sitting. And now that I have a decent amount of experience with the kickstand, I can have it adjusted & ready to go as fast as I ever could with a traditional laptop.
    04-19-2015 07:05 PM
  8. Adiliyo's Avatar
    I've only had my sp3 for a couple days but so far i've been pleasantly surprised with how well it works in the lap, on a couch, in a chair, legs crossed it's worked great in pretty much every position I use it in. it stays balanced quite well (i had an ativ with the keyboard dock and that thing was a nightmare due to it always wanting to flip over due to the poor weight distribution)

    i had the original surface as well and the new kickstand plus the new way the keyboard attaches changes everything. it's quite amazing.

    if you can go to a best buy or a msft store, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to test out your various sitting positions and see if it works for you.
    04-20-2015 02:26 PM
  9. CliveSinclair's Avatar
    I'm 5' 7" and imo the SP3 is better than any laptop I have owned for use in various positions (I still own a 15" Macbook Pro). On my Lap it is great. Ever tried using a 15" laptop on some economy seats on aircraft.... no issues with a SP3 - either as a tablet or with keyboard.

    One thing that is often overlooked when using the SP3 on your lap...... you don't get any 'heat' issues that you do with a conventional laptop - as the only part in contact with your lap is the keyboard. At home, I have to use a laptop 'tray' to keep the heat off my legs.
    04-21-2015 03:02 AM
  10. Tsang Fai's Avatar
    I didn't say I consider the Surface Pro 3 useless for lap use. I said it seems like the Surface Pro 3 with the standard keyboard would be a bit useless in a typical lap scenario. And this is why I've reached out to real life users of the tablet/laptop hybrid. I want to hear from real users on their experience here. You don't need that defensive tone ("you have pretty much minimized the value of any discussion" was a bit unnecessary).

    I've watched many videos of people using the SP3 in their laps, and it always seems a bit rigid, like they have to make sure to sit a certain way. It doesn't seem like you could just lounge back like you might with a standard laptop.

    At any rate, I don't see how it's such a ridiculous premise to think about this. If the Surface really wants to become a replacement for a tablet and a laptop, it has to be able to excel at both. From my use of it in stores, it seems phenomenal in tablet form and on top of tables. I'm just worried about the lap scenario (which is how I use my laptop mostly). I don't think it's unfair to want a laptop replacement to be able to handle this use case well.

    And I don't really get the "Surface concept" comment. Sure, I get what you're saying, but I don't see the big deal about wanting to make it a better product in certain situations. the iPad concept doesn't include keyboards, either, but you see a ton of people using them with their iPads, especially on trains/planes, etc (because they're useful). The 3rd party accessory area fir the surface looks like it's ripe to deliver something on this front.

    I don't think it would be all that difficult to build (basically what a lot of hybrid tablets are doing with their snap-in keyboards). I could see myself using something like that and also using the standard keyboard - probably using the sturdy keyboard for many things, but the standard keyboard would be great when I just want to grab the device and go (plus I love the look of them).

    As you have said, you don't mind using it on your lap. And I thank you for that input. I will take your advice and try it out in the store.
    Fully understand that you have the worry on the "laptability" of Surface Pro 3. As SP3's typecover is not a traditional laptop keyboard, it is natural that people would question how well it sits on one's lap.

    As a user who has been using SP3 (almost > 4 hours daily) for over 8 months, I can assure that laptability of Surface Pro 3 is not bad. My legs are not long and still find it comfortable to work on my lap.

    Yes, you need to try it, feel it. Your own experience is the most important.

    And one usage of SP3 that you can never do with a traditional laptop (see picture below). I enjoy this position sometimes when I rest on the bed ;P

    laptability.jpg
    Last edited by Tsang Fai; 04-21-2015 at 10:00 AM.
    04-21-2015 09:34 AM
  11. sinime's Avatar
    FWIW, I use my Surface Pro 2 with a type cover 2 in my lap, while sitting on my recliner, on a daily basis.

    I've never thought of it as an issue.
    04-21-2015 11:30 AM
  12. Adiliyo's Avatar
    I'm 5' 7" and imo the SP3 is better than any laptop I have owned for use in various positions (I still own a 15" Macbook Pro). On my Lap it is great. Ever tried using a 15" laptop on some economy seats on aircraft.... no issues with a SP3 - either as a tablet or with keyboard.

    One thing that is often overlooked when using the SP3 on your lap...... you don't get any 'heat' issues that you do with a conventional laptop - as the only part in contact with your lap is the keyboard. At home, I have to use a laptop 'tray' to keep the heat off my legs.
    i hadn't thought of this benefit (the heat) my macbooks were notorious for being uncomfortable leg warmers!
    04-22-2015 12:52 PM
  13. rory753's Avatar
    I've recently got a SP3, after a long time with an sp2, and I have to say, it's remarkably better. The aspect ratio improves the height seen, and makes the sp3 much more workable. the new keyboard and the fully adjustable stand also make a huge difference for working on a lap, since the screen is now truly viewable at whatever posture you sit at.

    Things that differentiate this for me from a laptop are the stylus and camera, and their ability together to take notes. Being able to annotate pictures and plan sets and capture more information then simply typing or taking a photo alone has been truly valuable for me. I also enjoy the support I get from the msft store if I have questions about the product.
    04-22-2015 06:45 PM
  14. Aaron Yawn's Avatar
    I use.mine every day in my lap on the couch and even on bed. Works great and is extremely versatile. I do not think you would regret the purchase and will find it can meat almost any need. I use mine for work, masters program and fun. You won't be playing any hardcore games of course, but it isn't designed for that anyways
    04-22-2015 06:57 PM
  15. Dana Wolak's Avatar
    Everyone raves about the SP3's lap-ability but I think it's a lack of ability. I use my SP3 as a laptop and I find it frustrating to use when it's not on a hard surface (eg my lap). I found this forum when I was looking for an accessory that might make using the SP3 in this way easier for me. I'm annoyed with my surface constantly falling forward and closing when I am using it on an uneven surface.

    On that note, are there items, such as hard cases, that will fix this problem? I need some stability!

    PS: I do like the surface when I use it at the table.
    10-23-2015 12:47 PM
  16. EMitchell's Avatar
    I can echo some of the comments above, I've been using my Pro 3 on my lap for a few months, there was a learning curve with using it on my lap. Since the stability point is set between the bottom edge of the surface and the bottom edge of the kick-stand, an uneven surface will be more unstable than if there were a rigid connection to the keyboard. I've had mine fall backward, detaching itself immediately from the keyboard and fall to a (luckily!) carpeted floor. I hate to think what might have happened on a cement floor. And I've also experienced the edge of the kickstand digging into my legs after using it on my lap - definitely a drawback. However I have made it work. I've just completed a tour through Europe with it, and for things like using it on a train or a long plane flight, it's just great. I could just lean it against the seat back in front of me and not use the kickstand at all, it is really fantastic for limited space situations.
    If you really want to make it more rigid, there are cases available that will emulate a flat surface, such as this one:

    Amazon.com: MoKo Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Case - Ultra Slim Lightweight Shell Stand Cover Case for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12 Inch Tablet, BLACK: Computers & Accessories

    However just a word of caution, the fan vents around the edges shouldn't be blocked, if you decide to look at cases or shells, make sure they don't block the air flow, or the system will get hot fast.
    10-25-2015 08:29 AM
  17. Stephanie Marsh's Avatar
    I'm late to the party, but whatever. I hate using the SP3 on my lap. It feels flimsy and unstable. I wish there was a case that existed that would solve the problem (one that would hold both the SP3 and keyboard, but remain open on its own and eliminate the need for the kickstand). Seriously, maybe this is pure silliness, but its lap-unusability (creating words here, people) is making me consider selling the device despite loving everything else about it.
    02-28-2016 12:14 AM
  18. Danariel's Avatar
    Crap, can't post links yet - need 9 more posts.

    This case might do what you're looking for. It's on Amazon.
    Surface Pro 3 Case, ESR New Intelligent Series Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet Case Folio Case Stand Case [Built-in Stand with Multiple viewing Angles]for Surface Pro 3_Black
    02-28-2016 01:05 AM
  19. eusty's Avatar
    Crap, can't post links yet - need 9 more posts.
    Surface Pro 3 Case, ESRŪ New Intelligent Series - Clicky Link
    Danariel likes this.
    02-28-2016 06:04 PM
  20. Danariel's Avatar
    Thanks, eusty!
    02-28-2016 06:34 PM
  21. djbobbyryan's Avatar
    That is a pretty **** comment. 1) It's a valid question. The Surface 3 or 4 does not work well in your lap because the stand doesn't work well that way, so it closes up. 2) I think you mean it conflicts with the Surface "Book" concept. 3) I have both the Surface PRO and Surface Book and I can confirm the Surface does not work well on your lap. You would need a 3rd party case that can keep the screen vertical without relying on the built-in stand.
    06-01-2017 12:37 PM

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