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Surface Pro 3: One Way It Challenges the iPad

by Brandon Russell | May 27, 2014May 27, 2014 5:15 pm EST

The Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s new all-arounder, a device designed for both work and play. This is the company’s most recent attempt at reinventing the laptop/tablet hybrid, and the company’s message is crystal clear: it’s going straight after Apple’s MacBook Air. But with Microsoft admitting so many laptop owners also own a tablet, does anybody even care? They didn’t seem to when the first Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 came out, so what has changed this time? A lot actually.

Not just from a design stand point—the Surface Pro 3 has a larger screen, and is also thinner and lighter—the Surface Pro 3 is once again putting emphasis on the stylus, which Microsoft says is much improved this time around. Many of you were curious to see what was different in this iteration, so we thought we’d go more in-depth in the video above.

For starters, Microsoft claims the aluminum build of the pen feels more like a real pen, and is therefore more premium in nature. It looks fairly unassuming—a pen is a pen—with a small plastic tip, and a button that easily opens OneNote. Much of the Surface Pro 3’s functionality is predicated on the keyboard for productivity, but in case you don’t actually have that additional accessory, the pen is a mighty useful tool for jotting down notes and marking up documents. There’s also a neat palm-blocking feature so the device doesn’t register any accidental touches.

In terms of accuracy, the Surface Pro 3 pen feels reasonably similar to putting pen to paper, about at natural as touching plastic to glass can be. And it’s pretty responsive, too, and will no doubt make an excellent companion for artists. On a laptop, it’s definitely a strange thing to rely on a stylus to get work done, but it shows the Surface Pro 3’s flexibility, which you certainly can’t say for the MacBook Air.

We’re still putting the Surface Pro 3 through its paces, so we’ll have a full review for you soon. In the meantime, you can check out our quick hands-on here, and don’t forget to see the pen in action in the video above.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.