Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 aims to replace your laptop. Phil Hall finds out if the hybrid tablet lives up to expectations

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-3-frontMicrosoft Surface Pro 3 at a glance:

  • 12in touchscreen display (2160×1440)
  • Intel Core processor family (i3, i5, i7)
  • Runs Windows 10
  • Surface Pen included
  • Up to 9 hours battery life
  • Price: From £639
  • Website: www.microsoft.co.uk

While Apple’s range of desirable laptops and iPads seem to be the favourite image-editing platform for many photographers, there’s a growing number of sleek-looking and high-performance Ultrabook and tablet PCs that are looking to change that. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is a prime example.

The third generation of Microsoft’s hybrid tablet, the Surface Pro 3 is a fully fledged Windows 8 (and now Windows 10) PC that’s been designed to work just as well in tablet mode. This means you can run the likes of Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC on a Surface Pro 3. Combined with a large 12.1in display (the iPad Air 2’s display is only 9.7in) this means it has the potential to do away with the need for a separate laptop altogether, should you opt for the optional keyboard cover (£109).

It’s a little bit tubbier than a lot of tablets, but the Surface Pro 3 packs quite a bit more of a processing punch – our test sample featured an Intel Core i5-4300U processor and 4GB of RAM. The built-in kickstand is a nice touch, allowing you to pull out and angle the tablet just how you want.

Processing large files in Lightroom saw the Surface Pro 3 perform well, especially as they were 36-million-pixel images from a Nikon D810. Sharp and bright, the screen was also just large enough to provide a decent amount of real estate when editing, while the stylus Surface Pen allows plenty of quick control over sliders and selective adjustments.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 offers something a bit different to the likes of an Apple MacBook Air. Whether you want to edit in the field or browse the internet on your sofa, the refined Surface Pro 3 is a versatile and powerful proposition.

Microsoft Surface Pro – Key features

Optional click-in keyboard

Snap-locking to your Surface Pro 3, this transforms the tablet into a laptop.

Surface Pro3 kickstand

Multi-position kickstand

This allows you to place the Surface Pro 3 at an angle to suit you.

Great connectivity

A MicroSD card reader and full-sized USB 3.0 port bring added connectivity to the Surface Pro 3

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-3-backSCORE: 5 out of 5

You may also consider:

Apple-Macbook-Air13in Apple MacBook Air

Price: From £849

Website: www.apple.com/uk

Apple’s popular Ultrabook is starting to show its age a little, but is still a strong performer with a top-quality finish.

Lenovo-Yoga-2Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Price: From £599

Website: www.lenovo.com

The Yoga 2 Pro is what’s known as a convertible laptop, with the 13.3in screen able to switch into four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand and tent.

Surface Pro 3Microsoft Surface 3

Price: From £419

Website: www.microsoft.co.uk

If you like the idea of the Pro 3 but the investment is too heavy, then this scaled-down  option offers a similar design, but isn’t quite as powerful.