Microsoft’s Upcoming Surface Pro 3 Could Be The Ultimate Tablet PC
I feel like tablet PC users, including myself, can safely assume that the Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro 3 is probably the most anticipated, upcoming tablet PC. The Surface Pro 2 was and still is an amazing device in terms of quality and the nature of being able to replace a laptop. However, there were many ‘could have’s that users have expressed all over the internet as to what the Surface Pro 2 could have had to make it better. This is Microsoft’s chance to answer their customers and potential Surface Pro buyers for a better impression of their reliability and capability.
Read on to see what specifications should be and may be (realistically) included on the next Surface Pro!
Let’s begin by discussing the most common complaints of what people wish the Surface Pro 2 would have included/been improved on:
Having a Core i7 option
The current Surface Pro 2 does not have the option of coming with a Core i7 processor. This was a big let down for me, personally. If they had this option, I would have permanently opted for a Surface Pro 2.
More SSD storage
You can only go up to 512GB of SSD storage on the current Surface Pro. There are a ton of users who need a lot more space than 512GB.
Lack of Ports
The current Surface Pro 2 only supports 1 USB port. I understand that this is a fairly small and portable device, but I can safely suggest that we can fit another USB port on the next Surface Pro for enhanced versatility.
Thinner & Lighter
Many people did not appreciate the thickness of the Surface Pro 2, or the weight of it being a 10.1″ tablet. I personally think for what the specifications of this computer are/go up to, the Surface Pro 2 is too thick. If the next Surface Pro were to perhaps include a dedicated GPU, we could keep the thickness so that it makes actual sense to have it be as thick as it is now. Personally, the thickness of the current Surface Pro 2 does not bother me at all. In fact, I feel like its thickness gives it a more ‘expensive’ feeling to it or a sort of more premium touch to it. It could be maybe a tad bit thinner, but nothing paper-like, of course.
While the Surface Pro 2 delivered in stunning visuals and a bright screen — the screen itself is not of an ideal size; it’s too crammed. For the price that many pay for the Surface Pro 2, I say a bigger screen should be a part of that. I’m not asking for anything major, but to make it at least 11.6″ would be simply amazing. Then we’d be able to support a QHD resolution as well.
The Surface Pro 2 is by no means cheap. At almost $2000, you’re getting a Core i5, and 512GB of storage. Yes, the Surface Pro is of great quality, but that’s still almost $2000 for the top model on the Surface Pro 2. Put this into perspective.
What could (and should) the next Surface Pro be like?
In terms of PROCESSOR: Considering Intel will soon be launching it’s line of next generation processors, the Broadwell family, the Surface Pro 3 may ideally (and SHOULD) feature the Broadwell line of processors. The Broadwell line will support mobile devices better, so why not opt for Broadwell on the Surface Pro 3? Haswell did a great job with the ULV (ultra low voltage) mobile processors and Broadwell is said to do it even better.
In terms of STORAGE: There should be no reason as to why Microsoft can’t offer 1TB of storage on their next Surface Pro 3. We already have 1TB SSDs on the market as aftermarket pieces and they are slowly getting cheaper by the day — whether it’s M.2, mSATA, 2.5″, or PCI. This is not a hard thing to implement. In addition to this, the structure of the Surface Pro is not after-market friendly, so therefore, Microsoft should give users more options to future-proof purchases since users wouldn’t be able to change parts themselves. For those who play a lot of games, or do a lot of production work, having a ton of storage is merely essential.
In terms of GRAPHICS: Some users have the need for a dedicated GPU, but I personally find that entirely absurd for what the Surface Pro is — a tablet PC. Having a dedicated GPU may render this device prone to overheating given its current thickness, unless Microsoft can construct a good internal design of the motherboard and fans. While I personally do NOT think it’s necessary — If Microsoft includes a dedicated GPU or has a dedicated GPU option on the Surface Pro 3, it should be to have an Nvidia Quadro-powered GPU rather than a GeForce one. This might be a crazy outlook for some of you, but think about it — serious gaming is not tablet-friendly and usually requires a tactile keyboard and responsive external mouse. The Surface Pro is a better productivity device than a gaming device (especially with the digitizer in mind). Besides, while the Quadro is optimized for rendering graphics or videos and other production tasks, it can still house some relatively impressive gaming power. Don’t forget that we have to keep the wattage and heat under control with a low-wattage device like the Surface Pro. As I mentioned above, the dedicated GPU idea is asking for a bit too much, but if Microsoft does not add a dedicated GPU, they should at least pack the Surface Pro 3 with Intel HD 5000 and Intel Iris graphics.
In terms of DISPLAY: While a FHD resolution (1920×1080) is perfect for almost everything, support for QHD/QHD+/4K displays is rapidly increasing. There shouldn’t be any reason as to why the next Surface Pro 3 can’t at least house a QHD (2560×1440) resolution (at the minimum).
In terms of RAM: I’m personally fine with 8GB of RAM on the Surface Pro. I think asking for 16GB of RAM may be a little too demanding — you might as well make this device a laptop. The Surface Pro is meant to be mobile, but powerful; however, 16GB of RAM may be overkill unless Microsoft can prove otherwise, just as I discussed about the dedicated GPU. Don’t forget that we have to keep the wattage and heat under control with a low-wattage device like the Surface Pro.
As you can see, the suggested terms above are merely enhancements since we don’t want to overpower or lose definition on what the Surface Pro 3 is supposed to be like. We want to stay realistic in what we want. Let’s take a look at the things that I (and you may too) like on the Surface Pro.
Things that should stay:
Wacom digitizer support: This is probably my favorite feature of the Surface Pro. So many artists have grown to love the idea of taking their serious tasks on the go with thanks to the pressure sensitivity support on the Surface Pro since it packs a Wacom digitizer. Students have also found this to be the ultimate device due to the note-taking nature because of the digitizer-support. I also think it’s very convenient to be able to store the pen onto the device itself as well.
Kickstand: It’s sturdy and useful. Why would you get rid of it?
Type Covers: Especially those tactile versions. But please make them cheaper and add more colors, Microsoft.
Let’s take a moment to review how the next Surface Pro 3 standard specifications may/should be like (this is excluding the 16GB idea and dedicated GPU idea). We don’t want to over-complicate things with the next Surface Pro 3 so that production is not slowed down due to having too many options when ordering your system:
In a nutshell, we have a bigger screen, stronger processor option (with better graphics), added 1TB storage option, added USB 3.0 port, and better resolution. To increase the productivity and inhibit potential delay in manufacturing from having too many customization options, the Surface Pro 3 can be manufactured in 4 ways:
i5/4GB with either 128GB or 256GB of storage
i7/8GB with either 512GB or 1TB of storage
Microsoft’s marketing approach to how this device is manufactured is rather simple, and to keep it simple for manufacturing purposes, one can choose from 4 devices, ideally depending on your needs. However, this is merely an idea and can be a bit blunt of an approach for those who have super specified needs. If it was my choice, I would make the storage options more versatile, regardless of the processor/RAM choice. It is important to be realistic when planning a device like the Surface Pro since you don’t want anything bottle-necking — you want to keep wattage and heat in mind. If Microsoft can honor better specifications such as the above, I would be okay with waiting until 2015 for the Surface Pro 3, just as long as there are new Broadwell processors and better storage options. As far as pricing goes, I don’t expect Microsoft to make this a cheap this device, but I don’t think the top model (i7/8GB/1TB) should pass $2500 USD.
I hope the Surface Pro 3 turns out to be as great as what I discussed above! Let me know in the comments about what you think.
Until next time,