We are in the middle of a mobile computing revolution. With manufacturers bringing smaller lighter and more powerful mobile computing to the masses and consumers realising the benefits of mobile computing. A significant step was made with Microsoft releasing their Surface tablet. This delivered an almost killer combination – the transportability, battery and instant-on features of a tablet with the familiar windows operating system and full office productivity suite included. Although it was heavily criticized for running Windows RT rather than a full version of Windows (limiting the device to run only those applications available through the windows store) this also had its benefits – Increased security: viruses and malware designed to run on an Intel chipset with windows would not work or execute on an RT device. This was due to the processor being an ARM rather than an Intel. But this is almost the only major criticism – consumers were not able to install things like iTunes and Chrome.
The only other notable observation is the screens aspect ratio – a widescreen tablet is great for watching movies and videos, however if you ever have to use the on-screen keyboard or view web pages, the lack of “vertical real estate” really becomes an issue! With the on-screen keyboard open, you can see very little of any document you might be editing or creating!
Microsoft changed their approach with the launch of the Surface Pro 3 which was a major leap forward. An all day device, extremely thin and light with a 4:3 screen and a killer keyboard.
Microsoft have now launched the Surface 3 (the consumer version of the Pro range) It shares the 4:3 screen ratio (although a little smaller at 10.8″ ) but its built on an Intel Atom x7 quad core processor which delivers performance on par with an earlier generation Core i3 processor.
This means that instead of running the RT (rather restricted version) of windows, it runs the full blown windows 8.1. This allows it to run iTunes, Chrome and any other windows software. What’s more, it not only supports the new Bluetooth surface pen but also has a 10 hour battery. All this for a little over £400. Although you can buy a laptop for less than this, I don’t believe you can can buy a device that is as portable, with a 10 hour battery, and usable performance.