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Surface 3 Plus: An Imaginary Device
What it is.
The newest member of the Microsoft Surface family that combines Windows 9 and Intel Atom CherryTrail SOC in a compelling $449 package.
10.6” 1080p Super AMOLED+ Display
64 bit Intel Atom CherryTrail Quad Core Processor clocked at 2.6ghz
4 GB DDR3 RAM
128 GB SSD
Front Facing Stereo Speakers tuned by JBL
720p Front Facing Cam with Continuous Focus and Improved Low Light Performance.
5 MP Rear Camera with LED Flash
4 Microphones for Stereo Sound and Noise Cancellation.
The overall feel of the device is high quality, however it does not have the magnesium alloy construction that we have come to love and expect from a Microsoft Surface Tablet. It is still exactly the same shape and dimensions of a Surface Pro 2, but it is constructed mainly out of Plastic. The back of the device is divided into two parts. The top part is covered in your choice of Black or White Soft-Touch Plastic, the lower portion of the device which is the 2 stage Kickstand, is also in Soft-Touch Plastic but comes in a variety of colors from Microsoft, there are 4 colors to choose from right now (red, blue, green, and yellow), but Microsoft say there will be more colors available at launch.
It’s not all plastic though, the surface 3 plus comes with a magnesium border to help keep things classy.
The layout is pretty much the same as the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, with the exception that it now has 2 Full sized USB 3.0 Super Speed Ports.
The Microsoft Surface 3 Plus has the Best battery Life of any tablet period.
Consider this, last year’s Asus t100 came with a 32Wh battery that pushed 12 hours on a BayTrail processor. The newer Cherry trail processor is upto 15% more efficient than BayTrail was, that alone would give it a battery life of 14 hours, but Microsoft decided to go one up, they boosted the battery capacity to 46Wh giving the new Surface 3 Plus an astounding 19 hours of real world battery time.
If you use it for 1 hour of web browsing, and watch a movie every day, it could theoretically last you an entire week on a full charge, and this is from a device that runs a full Windows OS and does it pretty well.
This is Microsoft’s first foray into the world of Intel Atom, and understandably so, the previous Atom chips were usually wimps, but last years’ BayTrail showed what Intel was capable of delivering. This year however the x86 chips have advanced to a level where they can outperform and last longer than its ARM rivals. It is a game changer and we believe if Intel could have focused on such technology a few years ago, the mobile landscape would have been much different today.
The CPU is Quad-Core Atom and runs at 2.6ghz which makes the device zippy. This thing is actually fast and combined with vastly improved graphics this system blazes through your music and movies, and it is pretty decent for productivity too.
The Extra graphics horsepower means we can load up some gaming titles from a couple years ago and play them at low to medium settings.
What’s new is the fact that Microsoft is not focusing on the productivity aspect of this fine device even though it’s quite a capable little thing. Microsoft is heavily marketing this as a multimedia monster which should make watching videos, listening to music, playing games, and all general entertainment much more pleasant.
One of the biggest selling points of this device are the Super AMOLED+ 1080p screen with Clear Black Technology that offers vivid colors and the deepest blacks. It is almost as good as the screen on the Kindle Fire HDX. Microsoft also took their time explaining the merits of its new front facing stereo speakers tuned by JBL. MS claims these are the best speakers that have ever been put on a tablet. These things are LOUD. We would go as far as saying that they are even louder than most laptops we have seen. How they fit such high performing speakers inside such a small device is a feat of its own.
Another Really nice feature of this Tablet is the fact that MS baked in the wireless technology for connecting to its Xbox Controllers, this means you don’t need to buy a USB dongle just for playing games. Just pair your xbox360 or xbox one controller directly to the tablet and you are good to game
There is no Stylus for this device. However all other Microsoft Surface Pro 2 accessories are compatible with this tablet, including the touch and type covers, the power cover, and the desktop docking station.
We have used this device for over a week now, and we are very pleased with the device. The Battery Lasts super long and that takes it to whole new level of possibilities. The tablet really shines when u play videos on it, the screen is fantastic and the sound is unbelievable for a tablet. When playing games, there is enough power to chug along without lagging much and it’s a pretty nice experience being able to play games and not have to worry about the battery. The built in xbox wireless receiver turns this into a mini gaming console, just plug in the HDMI output into your TV and you can game easily from across the room on a big screen.
The Microsoft Surface 3 Plus runs on the latest edition of Windows. Windows 9 largely addresses many of the complaints and inconsistencies of the previous version. There is a much larger selection of apps in the windows store, and it seems that with the new features of Windows 9, and the larger app library, even an RT only system could be used as a daily driver. The much improved Windows 9 is available on this tablet a full 3 months before it will be available anywhere else. Microsoft hopes that it should help push the tablet off the shelves far quicker than any surface before it.
This device delivers the best of Intel’s Atom with the best of Windows, in a great hardware design that still manages to hold its own. The whole experience really is greater than the sum of its parts.
We are glad Microsoft decided to go the Atom route and in doing so created what could arguably be a game changer in the world of tablets. The performance is good if not great, and it is fast enough for most people, the hardware design stands out among the crowd, and the battery life is a sweet bonus. But the greatest achievement is bringing together all the things and making the right compromises, to bring it at a price significantly less than an iPad. Its not the fastest machine in the world, but it is every bit as good as you need it to be.
It is highly recommended that Microsoft brings such a device to market.
2013 has been a great year for the tech industry. After many years of waiting, Sony and Microsoft announced their new gaming consoles, PS4 and the Xbox One, alongwith brand new contenders in the space like OUYA. Intel has revealed its latest and greatest Haswell Chips that bring the greatest increase in graphics performance and greatest increase in battery life for mobile cpus in recent memory. Intel has also completely changed its Atom architecture, and is now being used by Samsung for its Galaxy Tablets which is a huge push for Intel in the mobile market. Microsoft is going to offer, for the first time in history a new version of Windows as a free update to existing customers. Apple is completely redesigning its ageing iOS, it is still under wraps but we will know what changes they have made in a couple weeks time. BlackBerry has made a comeback with two brand new phones and a completely new Operating System. HTC has made a comeback with its ONE and is hailed as a much better smartphone than the Samsung Galaxy S4, the heir of the king of yesteryear the Samsung Galaxy S3.
At first look it looks alot like the Asus Transformer Book, a windows 8 tablet with a keyboard dock that turns the tablet into an ultrabook. But this is a lot more than just that. This device has 2 completely different processors, an Intel Core series Haswell Processor and an Intel Atom CPU.
The reason why it needs two independent processors is because this Transformer Book is actually made up of two completely independent devices. The tablet part houses the Atom Processor , a 19Wh battery, and 64 GB of memory to run the latest and greatest version of ….. wait for it …… Android. The Keyboard Dock houses a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 Haswell Processor, 1TB of hard drive space, and its own 33Wh battery to run a Full Windows 8 OS. This configuration enables the device to run Windows and Android simultaneously ! Does that make it the Perfect Device ? Not quite! But it is a step in the right direction.
But the way the Asus Transformer Book Trio accomplishes dual simultaneous OS is not the Perfect solution. The Tablet is a stand alone Android Tablet and the Keyboard dock is a completely different device, its a Windows PC in its own. The only time these devices show any relation to each other is when the tablet is docked in to the keyboard, at that point you can choose whether you want to use the keyboard as an extension of the Android Tablet, or you want to use the tablet as a screen for the Windows PC living in the keyboard dock.
So what is a better way to approach the dream of simultaneous OS on a single Device ??
Surprisingly the solution comes from a gaming console. The Xbox One to be precise.
Microsoft has taken a very unique and elegant approach with how the OS on the Xbox One works. It actually runs Three Different Operating Systems simultaneously. Microsoft decided to use a Windows Type OS to run all the multimedia and apps like Skype etc. and used a separate OS dedicated entirely for playing Games, this way no matter what apps are running, the game performance isn’t affected. The way Microsoft made it possible to run both Operating systems simultaneously on the same screen and share some things like Internet and profiles, is by using a Third OS. Think of this Third OS as the primary OS that boots up the Xbox One and also acts as a container that loads the Game OS and Windows OS simultaneously. This is pure genius. It makes switching between Operating Systems as easy as it is to switch from Browser to Media player on your PC. Microsoft even showed a demo running a Next Generation Video Game and Skype Simultaneously on the same screen but in different Operating Systems !!
So what would Constitute a Perfect Device then ?
The Perfect Device would need Modular Hardware, and Multiple Operating Systems that can truly run simultaneously.
For such a device to exist, unlike the Asus Transformer Trio, the high powered Processor ( Intel Core i7 or similar) cannot be separated from the mobile centric Processor ( Intel Atom if x86 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 if ARM ). Both these Processors will need to be side by side in the same device sharing resources like Wifi, Disc Space, USB ports and Batteries. Above all, everything will need to be housed in the tablet part of the device.
The Keyboard Dock for such a device would be very similar to ASUS Transformer series, offering a large battery and many Ports. However, since this device is running two (or more) completely different Operating systems, the Keyboard Dock can offer something for the Mobile OS as well, like additional memory, or more powerful antennae. A discrete graphics card for PC gaming could be optionally available in a higher priced version of the dock.
For software, there will need to be a set-up similar to the Xbox One. A Primary OS will boot the device and load both the Windows 8.* Pro and the Mobile OS (whether it is Android, BlackBerry10, Firefox OS, Jolla Sailfish, Ubuntu Touch or even a media centre like XBMC or Plex ) simultaneously.
The user should then be able to move between operating systems with great ease and efficiency, or even run two different operating systems on the same screen without sacrificing performance or functionality of either!
Now That would be the Perfect Device !
The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 Side by Side.
Notice the Screen Real estate is virtually the same when typing, Z10 is Taller, has a Smaller Battery and a regular White Theme. The Q10 Is less Tall, has a much larger battery and a much smaller more efficient screen with a Black Theme to run. Q10 is also about a $100 more expensive than the Z10.
Is it Worth Spending $100 extra on the Q10 for the Physical Keyboard and a Larger Battery when you are letting go of the Larger Touch-screen and the Smart Virtual Keyboard and Greater Android and Native App Compatibility ?