I recently got a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, a very nice tablet computer. The interesting thing about this tablet is the fact that unlike my Android tablets, or iPad, this is a full computer, able to run desktop applications. (Even Ubuntu Linux can be loaded on the blasted thing!)
Part of the reason I wanted to get a Surface is the fact that I’d like to resume working on my webcomic, Age of the Elements, and as far as I can tell, this device is similar to some Wacom tablets. The pen works very well, I had heard that the surface used Wacom tech for the pen, but that was only in the original and Surface 2 tablets. The Surface Pro 3 uses a NTrig pen instead. At first I was skeptical, the pen requires a AAA battery to work, unlike Wacom pens, and it has a lot fewer configuration options than my older graphics tablets (Wacom Intuos and Bamboo Fun) which can be troublesome.
So far I’ve used Photoshop Elements 7, GIMP, and the Krita image editors on the device, all of them work well, though GIMP has a bug that makes the image update extremely slowly, though that was fixed by downgrading some of GIMPs .dll files. They should really fix that soon… So far I’ve taken a liking to Krita, though it has a mildly annoying issue where it will scroll up or down randomly when drawing (Probably a configuration issue I believe…) All of these applications detect the Stylus properly and have full pressure sensitivity, which can be tweaked via the ‘Surface’ App, or in the art applications themselves. It is very nice not needing to carry any extra equipment around when I feel like drawing, I just need to take this out and start.
The type keyboard is surprisingly nice. Not as nice as a good mechanical keyboard, but given how thin the keyboard is, it is a pleasure to type with. It disconnects from the device fairly easily, but won’t just fall off, as the magnet that holds it in place is very powerful. The on-screen keyboard is also nice, but nothing to write home about. It works about the same as the on-screen keyboards that my Android devices and iPad have.
I can see why Microsoft designed Windows 8 the way they did, Windows 8 Apps work very well, I haven’t installed any start-menu replacements, as those would actually make life more difficult than the standard w8 menu. They really should have done more work to the desktop interface though, as some parts are too small to use easily without the stylus, or a mouse.
The kickstand is also a interesting part of the device, it can go to a very low angle which is useful for drawing, and the keyboard makes it difficult to push around when flipped under the device which is very nice while drawing.
Well those are my experiences With the Surface Pro 3 so far, I’m going to keep on using it, it has some faults, but it’s good enough for me to use it in place of my standard laptops in most situations.