Surface 3 with Type Cover Review: Can the Bundle Replace Your Laptop?

Surface 3 with Type Cover
Surface 3 with Type Cover
Surface 3 with Type Cover

Microsoft Surface 3 is a Windows 8 (or Windows 10) tablet. You can use it in tablet mode or desktop mode with a Type Cover.

Microsoft claims that it can replace your laptop. Is it true?

I had an opportunity to use a Surface 3 and Type Cover for a few weeks. Read on for my review to find out more.

Disclosure: I do not use Windows 8 in tablet mode at all. I set it to login directly into desktop mode.

Surface 3 Design

Surface 3 is not the thinnest tablet but it has a good build. It is lightweight at only 622 gram. Simply drop it in your bag and you are Windows productivity ready on the go.

It has 1x full-size USB 3.0 port, 1x mini DisplayPort and a microSD memory card slot hidden under the kickstand. It is equipped with 3.5MP front camera and 8MP rear camera. The power button and volume rocker are on the same side.

You charge Surface 3 via a microUSB port — yes, the same charging port found on other non-Apple smartphones.

Tip: With optional accessory, you can turn the microUSB port into a full-size USB port, too.

Surface 3 ports
Surface 3 ports

Single USB port means you may need a USB hub to connect to computer accessories. The upper position of USB port in laptop mode make your USB hub hanging in the air. It is ugly.

I would suggest Microsoft to replace the microSD memory card reader with a standard SD memory card reader. I would rather have an SD card reader to conveniently import my camera’s photos for editing and upload.

Surface 3 microSD card slot
Surface 3 microSD card slot

It is not a smartphone, you do not add a microSD memory card to expands the storage space. 128GB is enough for most users, and we have portable external storage.

The kickstand with shining Microsoft logo can adjust to 3 angles. I find it limited. I have to adjust myself to find a better viewing angle.

The thin kickstand can hold the tablet firmly on a flat surface. No bouncing nor shaking when you tap on its touchscreen. But Surface 3 is standing less stable — because the small surface of the kickstand and tablet body — when you place it on a non-flat surface, such as your laps.

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Performance

Surface 3 a Windows 8 tablet computer (Windows 10 ready), it runs all your Windows desktop software — A great improvement from previous Surface RT which runs only Windows Store apps.

The main advantages of using Surface 3 is its portability. It is smaller and lighter than Ultrabook laptop, yet it has the power to run your Windows software.

Surface 3
Surface 3 running Windows 8

The Windows tablet is powered by Intel Atom x7-z8700 @ 1.6GHz processor with 2GB/4GB RAM and 64GB/128GB SSD storage.

Intel Atom is not a powerful processor but it can handle most computing tasks, such as running office suite, web surfing, playing videos and music, simple graphic editing.

The 10.8-inch FullHD (1920×1280) display is so bright that I have to set the 3rd lowest level to type this article.

You will need to wear a pair of sunglasses at its highest brightness level. The bright display may be useful to show screen content under direct sunlight.

For a tablet, Surface 3’s stereo speakers with Dolby audio have clear and loud audio output. The battery last around 6 to 8 hours for my moderate usage: web surfing and streaming online music.

Surface 3 does not come with useless pre-installed 3rd party software (bloatware). What you get is a tablet with clean, pure Windows installation. The 128GB model has 100GB usable disk space out of the box.

It also comes with free 1-year Microsoft Office 365, which you can online download and activate.

Surface 3 Type Cover

Surface 3
Surface 3

Surface 3 is not complete without the Surface 3 Type Cover, and it will cost you additional RM479. Surface 3 and Type Cover should be sold as a bundle, instead of additional purchase.

Recently, Microsoft (finally) make a Surface 3 and Type Cover bundle with 10% discount.

Type Cover does 2 things: 1. Protect your Surface 3 and 2. Adds a physical keyboard to Surface 3. It does not expand any Surface 3’s input/output ports.

Surface 3
Surface 3 Type Cover

The Type Cover feels flimsy with a smooth leather-like surface, which adds grip and avoid fingerprints and smudge.

Surface 3 Type Cover attach magnetically to Surface 3 and draw power via metal pins. It is strong and does not detach easily.

I like the row of function keys. The keyboard is backlit and you can adjust the brightness level using function keys. Neat!

Volume control is not found on Type Cover keyboard. Microsoft wants you to use the volume rocker on the tablet.

Surface 3
Surface 3 Type Cover

Surface 3 Type Cover has a small trackpad to keep your palm on the keyboard, do not need to raise up your hand to touch the screen. Web page scrolling is a bit lagging using the trackpad.

The trackpad is usable, but I wish it is bigger. Am I asking too much, considering the small size of Type Cover?

The Surface 3 Type Cover’s magnetic flap folds up and snaps to the front of the tablet to raises the keyboard for comfortable typing angle, but it will  slightly blocking finger access to windows taskbar at the bottom. Not a problem if you use a mouse or trackpad, though.

The keyboard keys’ travel distance is shallow, the key size is near to full-size keyboard. It is comfortable to type and definitely better than virtual touch keyboard.

Conclusion

Surface 3
Surface 3 with Type Cover in tablet mode

In a nutshell, I like Surface 3 because it is a lightweight, no bloatware, and stable Windows tablet.

Surface 3 is a Microsoft hardware. Logically, it will highly supported by Microsoft Windows operating system and drivers. Thus, fewer problems and more stable than the other OEM computers.

This is the confidence you get when you are buying a Microsoft Surface device.

I would recommend it anyone who need a portable Windows computer for office work. Just make sure you buy the Surface 3 Type Cover, too. It is a must-have.

The only deal breaker would be the Surface 3 price. It is RM1,989 (64GB) or RM2,389 (128GB), plus RM479 for Surface 3 Type Cover.

The total cost of the Surface 3 bundle can buy you a lightweight and more powerful ultrabook computer.

Photo Gallery: Surface 3 and Type Cover

Hands-on: Acer Aspire Switch 10 E 2-in-1 Laptop in Malaysia

ACER Aspire Switch 10 E
ACER Aspire Switch 10 E
ACER Aspire Switch 10 E

Aspire Switch 10 E, Acer’s latest 2-in–1 laptop, was launched in Malaysia on 28 April 2015. The launch was held at Acer’s latest concept store at Quill City Mall, Kuala Lumpur.

The second generation Acer 2-in–1 laptop won the Red Dot design award and features Acer Snap Hinge 2 with a guiding plane design. It works in 4 different modes: laptop, tablet, display and tent.

Acer Aspire Switch 10 E modes
Acer Aspire Switch 10 E modes

I tested the Acer Snap Hinge 2 and it works well, easy to attach and detach. Once attached, it holds the pad and keyboard dock firmly together and does not fall off.

Aspire Switch 10 E features textile pattern on the top cover and underside to prevent scratches, fingerprints and provides better grip.

The 2-in–1 is powered by Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor and 2GB DDL3L RAM. It runs full version Windows 8.1 and free upgrade to Windows 10 when it is ready. Also, you get free Microsoft Office 365 Home & Students license with every Aspire Switch 10 E.

ACER Aspire Switch 10 E
ACER Aspire Switch 10 E

Comparing to 1st generation Acer Aspire Switch 10’s 1366 x 768 pixel display, Aspire Switch 10 E display has a lower resolution at 1280 x 800 pixels. Maybe it is an ideal resolution for the 10.1-inch display?

New Aspire Switch 10 E has dual 2M camera on the rear and front, supporting 720p HD video recording. It is an upgrade from the single front camera of last year Aspire Switch 10.

 

For connectivity, the tablet part of Aspire Switch 10 E has a microUSD memory card reader, headphone/speaker jack, micro HDMI port, a micro USD 2.0 port. The dock has a normal size USB 2.0 port.

Aspire Switch 10 E has two configurations in Malaysia: SW5–013 with 32GB eMMC + 500GB hard drive and SW5–013 with 64GB eMMC.

The 32GB eMMC + 500GB configuration has Acer SwitchLock build-in hard drive protection to safeguard your data when the keyboard dock is lost or stolen. Data in the hard drive is not accessible without the tablet.

Aspire Switch 10 E has Blue Light Shield to reduce the blue-light emission to protect your eyes. Switch to “Long Hour Mode” for less strain on your eyes and maximizing12 hours battery life.

ACER Aspire Switch 10 E side view
ACER Aspire Switch 10 E side view

The tablet weight 630 gram only but attaching keyboard dock will double its weight to 1.28KG for the dock with hard drive and 1.20KG for dock only. Acer Aspire Switch 10 E is still bulky when docked, especially when you view it from the side.

Acer Aspire Switch 10 E price in Malaysia is RM1,399 (32GB eMMC + 500GB) and RM1,099 (64GB eMMc). It is available in 5 colours: Moonstone While, Shark Grey, Peacock Blue, Magenta Pink and Coral Red.

Photo gallery: Acer Aspire Switch 10 E

Acer Concept Store @ Quill City Mall

Acer Concept Store at Quill City Mall, Kuala Lumpur
Acer Concept Store at Quill City Mall, Kuala Lumpur

The 1,195 square feet Acer Concept Store is managed by Brightstar. Acer will have new concept stores at Mid Valley Megamall and the Mines.

Acer is aiming to open more concept stores and to uplift existing stores for better customer experience. Currently, Acer has 16 service centres nationwide via Highpoint Service Network Sdn Bhd.

Acer is No. 1 brand for both PCs and laptops in Malaysia. The total PC shipment in Malaysia for 2014 was 414,841 units or 18.51% market share, total shipment for laptops was 319,375 units or 26.1%. (IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, February 2015).

Visit Acer Malaysia Facebook or call Acer Product Infoline at 1800–88–1288.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade: Everything You Need to Know

Windows 10 free upgrade

Windows 10 free upgrade download will available on 29 July 2015. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users can reserve now and start the download before the release date.

Windows 10 free upgrade
Windows 10 free upgrade

Good news! Finally, Microsoft officially announced the Windows 10 release date – July 29th, 2015! The new Windows operating system will be available in 190 markets globally.

All existing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users are eligible for FREE Windows 10 upgrade. You can download and install Windows 10 free of charge within 1 year after the release date (before 29 July 2016). You still have a lot of time to consider whether you want to upgrade or not… (check out new Windows 10 features below)

Reminder: It is a full version of Windows 10, not a trial. Free. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Microsoft want everyone install Windows 10!

Get Windows 10

Windows users are getting “Get Windows 10” icon in their system tray to reserve free Windows 10 upgrade.

Screenshot: Get Windows 10
Screenshot: Get Windows 10 (hat tip: weilian)

Click on the “Get Windows 10” icon to read how the reservation work. Basically, your computer will automatically download Windows 10 (3GB download size) as soon as it is available. You will then receive a notification when Windows 10 download is completed and you can choose a time to install Windows 10.

Click “Reserve your free upgrade” button to proceed. You need to confirm your email address so that Microsoft can send you a notification when Windows 10 is ready.

Why do you need to reserve while Windows 10 is a free upgrade? By reservation, you confirm your computer is compatible with Windows 10. Your computer must run Windows 7 Service Pack 1(SP1) or Windows 8.1. No Windows 10 upgrade for Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1, sorry.

Upgrade files will be downloaded to your PC before the release date to make final installation faster, no need to fight for the download bandwidth with millions of users after July 29, 2015.

You can turn off the Windows 10 upgrade notification by clicking “Customize” in the System Tray and turn off the Get Windows 10 app notifications in the menu.

You will still get free Windows 10 even you do not reserve. Don’t worry. Visit Windows 10 Q&A for more questions and answers.

Refer to the following Windows 10 upgrade edition table to see which Windows 10 edition you will getting.

Windows 10 upgrade editions
Windows 10 upgrade editions

Windows 10 system requirements

Basically, if your computer can run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 then it will run Windows 10. You can check to see if your computer meets the requirements by using “Check my PC” in the Get Windows 10 app.

Here are the Windows 10 system requirements:

  • Latest OS: Make sure you are running the latest version either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024×600

Windows 10 features

Windows 10 brings back the Start menu combining with Windows 8 live tiles to easily find your files, applications, and favorites.

Windows Hello enables you to unlock Windows with your face or fingerprint (requires an infrared camera or iris detection or fingerprint reader).

Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, is included in Windows 10 to provide recommendations, information and your todos with reminders.

Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer to be the Windows 10 web browser. You can write notes directly to web pages in Edge and share with your friends. It also built-in “reading view” and Cortana.

Xbox on Windows 10 brings Xbox Live gaming network to PC, enable you to compete against Xbox console players, and stream games from Xbox One console to Windows 10 at home. (Check Xbox Live Countries) Windows 10 supports DirectX 12 games for better gaming experience.

Other Windows 10 apps including Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Photo app, Music app, and more.

Windows 10 price

In case you missed the Windows 10 free upgrade period (1 year, duh!) or want to upgrade from older Windows, you can buy Windows 10 Home with $110USD. Windows 10 Pro will cost you $199USD. Windows 10 Pro Pack that upgrade Home edition to Pro edition is $99USD.

Will you upgrade to Windows 10? Why?

Surface Pro 3 Price in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia
Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia
Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 tablet computer with Windows 8.1 Pro is officially available in Malaysia from 28 August 2014. Price start from RM2729, exclude RM409 type cover.

Surface Pro 3 price & availability in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 price in Malaysia starts from RM 2,729 (Intel Core i3, 64GB, 4GB RAM version) up to RM6,779 for highest specs (Intel Core i7, 512GB, 8GB RAM).

  • RM 2,729 – Intel Core i3, 64GB, 4GB RAM
  • RM 3,299 – Intel Core i5, 128GB, 4GB RAM
  • RM 4,199 – Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8GB RAM
  • RM 4,999 – Intel Core i7, 256GB, 8GB RAM
  • RM 6,779 – Intel Core i7, 512GB, 8GB RAM

All Surface Pro 3 prices exclude the essential Surface Pro Type Cover, which will cost you extra RM409.

You can buy Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia from the following Microsoft retailers and resellers:

  • Aone Plus Supplies & Services
  • Harvey Norman
  • Machanics Sdn Bhd
  • PC Image Sdn Bhd
  • Senheng Electric & senQ Digital Station
  • SNS Network
  • Thunder Match Technology
  • Viewnet Computer System

Surface Pro 3 accessories price list:

  • Surface Pro Type Cover – RM409
  • Surface Pen – RM139
  • 36W power supply – RM249
  • Surface Ethernet adapter – RM159
  • Surface Pro 3 docking station – (available for pre-order)

About Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s latest hybrid tablet (laplet) computer running Windows 8.1 Pro.

It has a 12-inch touch display with 2160×1440 pixels (216 ppi) and powered by 4th generation Intel Core processor family (i3, i5, i7). Available storage option available from 64GB to 512GB, with microSD slot supporting up to 128GB. The build-in kickstand has multiple positions capable of opening up to 150 degrees.

The laplet has dual 5.0 megapixel cameras on rear and front, as well as, a full size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a headset jack. It has front-facing stereo speakers and dual microphones. A Surface Pen with pressure sensitivity included.

The battery life last up to 9 hours of web browsing on single charge. It is only 800g weight.

Thoughts

I wonder why don’t Microsoft just include the Surface Pro Type Cover with Surface Pro 3 as a bundle? So far I don’t see other third-party keyboard cover for Surface Pro 3 yet. Yes, you can use any bluetooth keyboard with Surface Pro 3.

The included Surface Pen is a gift if you want to take hand-written notes or drawing with pen on tablet. I have a Windows 8 tablet computer with pen, too. How often do I use the pen? None. Yet, my wife, who is a lecturer, would love to have a digital pen to make remarks on notes.

Surface Pro 3 processor, RAM, and storage are not user upgradable. I will avoid Intel i3 64GB version because Windows 8.1 Pro and Microsoft Office would taken up most of the space already.

Surface Pro 3 (Intel Core i7) seems to have over-heating problem and Microsoft promises a software fix.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is not your budget computer. It is for those who wants a lightweight Windows tablet computer with digital pen and don’t mind to pay more.

Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM with Windows Phone 8.1 Available in Malaysia

Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1
Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1
Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1

Windows Phone fans who are waiting for a budget smartphone with Dual SIM capacity would be happy to buy the new Lumia 630 Dual SIM.

Lumia 630 is the first Lumia smartphone with Dual SIM capacity. The display is 4.5-inch ClearBlack screen (854 x 480), and it is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It is also the first phone comes with latest Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 features

Windows Phone 8.1 includes a bunch of new features, such as:

  • Cortana, the virtual assistant like Google Now and Siri
  • Internet Explorer 11 as default web browser. Support WebGL, InPrivate mode, Reading more, gestures.
  • Automatic apps updates.
  • Redesigned Windows Phone Store
  • New apps; Battery Saver, Storage Sense, WiFi Sense
  • Phone call can automatically switch to Skype video call from within the phone call interface.
  • Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view.
  • Live tiles with background image
  • New notification center — “Action Center”
  • “Word Flow” keyboard allows you to swipe through letters to type.
Nokia Lumia 630 front back
Nokia Lumia 630 (front & back)

Lumia 630 has 512MB RAM and 8GB phone storage, expandable to 128GB using a MicroSD card. You will also receive 7GB free OneDrive cloud storage. It has a 5MP auto focus primary camera without flash, no front camera (read: no selfie).

Overall, Lumia 630 specs is better than previous Lumia 525. But Lumia 630 has only half the RAM (512MB vs. 1GB) and missing two-stage capture key (camera key).

Lumia 630 Dual SIM is available in Malaysia in bright yellow, white, and black. The recommended retail price is RM549. The changeable shells available in bright orange, bright green, bright yellow, matte black, and matte white.

➤ Microsoft Malaysia