Working Man Creative | Our first month with the Surface 3
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Our first month with the Surface 3


Our first month with the Surface 3

92 West is an Omaha Web Design Agency

You may have noticed we’ve been running a series of posts on the Surface 3 tablet, from photo editing tricks to how to create presentations.

But beyond the walkthroughs, the tutorials and the tips and tricks, there’s one thing you probably still want to know – what’s it actually like to use in practice?

So for the last post in this series, we’ll give you a general overview of our first month with the Surface 3: our impressions, our likes and dislikes, and most importantly, what it’s really good at…

What’s different

As you probably already know, what’s different about the Surface 3 is the combination of high-end tablet, pro-level keyboard and pressure-sensitive pen. (Yes, we know the pen’s optional, but let’s face it, you’re going to want one, for these reasons.)

The hybrid nature of the Surface 3 may sound like a gimmick, but in our experience it’s much more than that. It means you can do things that you just can’t do with either a normal tablet or laptop – in other words, it’s more than just the sum of its parts.

The optional pressure-sensitive pen integrates deeply into the Surface 3

Everyone uses devices differently of course, and this next bit may prove controversial. But for our money, it’s the integration with OneNote, Microsoft’s bundled note-taking application, that’s really the killer app here.

Being able to bring up OneNote at the click of your Pen button means you can seamlessly switch between different creative tasks  – and once you get used to that kind of joined-up workflow, you’ll never want to look back.

Seamless workflow

The smooth workflow that comes from integrated apps and hardware is not to be sneezed at

Here’s just one example. Imagine you see something that’s the perfect visual reference for what you’re sketching on the Surface 3.

Your workflow couldn’t be simpler: just take the photo, double click the pen’s top button, take a screen-capture and paste the image directly next to your sketch.

Creative smarts

Of course, that in itself wouldn’t be any use if the creative elements of the Surface 3 were lacking.

But the device is fundamentally suited to illustration and design tasks, whether we’re talking about the deep integration with a specially optimised version of Illustrator CC, how handy it is for creating UI and UX elements, the simplicity of snipping and screengrabbing, again made easy using the pen…

In short, there’s plenty for creatives to like here.

Pros and cons

Like any mobile device, it’s not without its faults of course.

Battery life is reasonable, but could be better. And while there are plenty of decent tablet apps, there aren’t as many as on other platforms (although bear in mind, you have the option of using BOTH tablet and desktop apps on this flexible hybrid).

Illustrator CC’s interface has been completely rethought for tablets like the Surface 3

Our biggest reservation was, and is, the various issues surrounding Windows 8.1 and the somewhat clunky transition between desktop and tablet modes.

But the automatic upgrade to Windows 10 – which looks much more promising than the present Windows system – should go a long way to addressing that. And the free 12-month subscription to Office 365 Personal – worth £59.99 – also helps to sweeten the deal.


To summarise, this is a high-end, hybrid laptop/tablet that’s light, powerful and, we think, definitely worth considering for your creative and design work.

Our first month with the Surface 3 surprised us in many ways. Tech specs don’t always tell the whole story, and frankly we weren’t expecting this to be such a thoughtfully designed, creative-friendly device.

In short, we enjoyed our first month with the Surface 3 and are very much looking forward to our second…

Created in partnership with Microsoft Surface 3.

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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