Microsoft Surface 3 tablet is … disappointingly good

27 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Best Hybrid Laptops: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro vs. Dell Latitude 13 7000.

7 Days is a weekly round-up of the Editors’ picks of what’s been happening in the world of technology – written with a dash of humor, a hint of exasperation, and an endless supply of (Irish) coffee.The official release of the Microsoft combo laptop/tablet Surface Pro 4 appears to be drawing near as big discounts have been offered on its predecessor, the Surface Pro 3, by a giant retail store in the US.

As far as the tech world goes, it’s been a pretty exciting one, filled with its regular mix of juicy rumors, intriguing revelations and some rather nice new products (and thankfully, Microsoft didn’t unveil yet another cheap Lumia phone). Microsoft, Lenovo and Dell are just some of the companies continuing to innovate their products in order to keep their loyal fans and to stay ahead of the competition. While the latest version has internal specs and a performance similar to its direct predecessor, it delivers just as fast as any of the modern premium laptops.

The company has previously opened ‘store-in-store’ concessions in China, but its new retail location in Sydney will be the first dedicated Microsoft Store to launch internationally. As Microsoft continues to tweak the design of its Surface tablet with every generation – particularly the hinge and the keyboard – the latest model is proof of the company’s dedication to produce the best device. The Surface 3 sports a 10.8-inch display, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel camera, a 3 position kickstand and an Intel Atom processor. On Wednesday, the company delivered a bunch of updates to its Health app, as well as the Band companion app, introducing a range of new features and improvements. You can configure it with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, and it includes a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, a microSD card slot and weighs just 1.37 pounds.

However, the positive uptake on the Broadwell processor is that it is more energy efficient than the i5 or i7 chips and is quantified to have a 30% energy efficiency. But back to Microsoft’s Surface range, as the company announced that it will offer a ‘unique’ edition of its new, more affordable Surface 3 tablet to the education sector. This version will have 32GB of storage (compared with the 64GB and 128GB options on the ‘regular’ models), but Microsoft did not reveal how much it will cost. If you’re thinking of buying a Surface 3, make sure you read our review of the device (specifically, the model with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM).

PiPO isn’t exactly a household name around the world, but it’s managed to grab our attention in recent months – not just with the X7, but with other devices too, including one of the lowest-priced Windows tablets ever. It looks like Nokia may be preparing to make a return to the smartphone market, after selling its devices and services business to Microsoft last year. The Finnish company has already rolled out an Android tablet – the N1, built by Chinese manufacturer Foxconn – and it is reportedly also considering an entry into new product segments, perhaps including virtual reality devices and the Internet of Things. Details emerged this week of a new flagship-class handset on the way from Chinese manufacturer Elephone, with two versions on offer: one running Android, and the other running Windows 10.

However, Update 2 is destined to roll out to only a handful of devices – but for those that don’t get it, the free Windows 10 upgrade will still include MKV playback support later this year. These include desktop docks, the new USB dongle and the Dell Portable Power Companion, which allows the user to charge the tablet through a captive cable. That said, we had a chance to briefly try out the emphatically low-end Acer Liquid M220 at Mobile World Congress 2015 last month, and while the device certainly has some attractive features, its display is pretty poor. The Lumia 640 includes a 5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 4G LTE support, NFC and a whole lot more, and it will only cost a few bucks more than the much less impressive Acer. Earlier this week, a designer and Microsoft enthusiast, Martin Anderson (you may also know him as Neowin member mdtaUK), created a graphic showing many of the visual changes from ‘Metro’ to the new ‘Microsoft Design Language 2’.

But that’s not all we found out about Windows 10 this week: As we reported on Thursday, Microsoft’s new Project Spartan web browser – which made its debut in Windows 10 – offers blazing performance, even in its pre-release state. The company also launched a new Avatars app for Windows 10, which lets users design and edit digital representations of themselves and save them to their Xbox gamer profile. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said this week that Microsoft’s presence at the E3 gaming conference this year will focus heavily on new first-party titles, including some very appealing “new exclusive” games. Sales of the Xbox One continue to lag behind those of Sony’s PlayStation 4, and revenues across the Xbox division were down 24% year-on-year last quarter. It sold 8.6 million Lumias, helping the Device and Consumer business unit grow by 8% to $9bn of revenue, and Office 365 Consumer subscriptions increased to 12.4 million users.

Right there, for all the world to see on Google Maps – both online and in the apps – was an image of the company’s Android mascot emptying its bladder onto the Apple logo. Google later apologized for the image, explaining that it had been added by an individual using the Map Maker tool, but as Owen Williams (our esteemed former Neowin colleague, now with TNW) pointed out, Google’s approval process for additions to its Maps platform isn’t exactly rigorous. In fact, there’s one guy who really agrees – so much so that he got into an intense debate with his roommate in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over whether or not it’s a better device than the latest iPhone. Unable to come to an agreement, the alcohol-fuelled debate eventually turned nasty, and the men smashed beer bottles and stabbed each other with them. Incidentally, coverage of that story from Tulsa’s Channel 8 News included this great line: “Police did not respond when our photographer asked which phone is better.” We end this week’s summary on a similarly violent note, with the brutal death of a Dell XPS 410.

Lucas Hinch of Colorado Springs got so frustrated with the endlessly uncooperative PC that he eventually took it out into the back alley, and fired eight rounds from his 9mm pistol into it. Despite this, Hinch said he had no regrets, adding that it felt “glorious” and that “angels sang on high”, as he ended months of misery by firing his gun into the Dell PC.

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