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Looking Below the Surface

Microsoft has produced something very nice. It’s the Surface series of tablet, laptop, and desk computers.

They are not the lowest cost computers. To be good, low price cannot be the most important feature. Quality is all about getting return for what is paid. I didn’t pay for my Surface. <G> It is on permanent loan to me. Subject to recall but not likely. If I had paid for it, I think it is worth the original cost. That’s good because the cost and features of the Surface series have increased since this machine was built.

The Surface brand represents the machines for which Windows 10 is designed. Could they be anything less? Of course not. They look, feel and operate like a high-quality computer. A good match and competition against the Apple series of personal computers.

I have used my Surface 3 for several months. As a tablet style computer, it has done everything I expected. Notice, I put a limitation on that statement. I don’t believe there is one computer style that suits every need. Many computers, because of their overall size and form are designed for specific application and personal needs.

I haven’t (so far) found much need to use my Surface as a true tablet computer. That is, without the keyboard. I think I would be just as pleased with the standard laptop and keyboard configuration with the touch screen.

For graphic arts work, the Surface series is available as a large touch pen drawing platform with separate keyboard. The price is in the $3000 – $4500 range, depending on memory and processor. I would like to see how that would perform with ZBrush or other high-end 3D graphic application. The cost will keep me away from that test.

One annoying issue is not a part of the hardware. It’s the Windows 10 constant interruption with messages. Most of that can probably be shut off somewhere. The fact that the default is “on” is what is annoying. I don’t want my computer operating system to be my social secretary. Make it “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”. I suppose the social function is more important to the “consumer” than pure computer operation

I am imagining a space shuttle computer adjusting for a critical re-entry and suddenly the computer stops and begins doing an operating system update. There is a new “Twitter” app that needs installed. Whatever… Don’t take a Surface 3 to space. Ha!

I like the Surface 3 for what it is and how it works. The hardware is fine. The WIN10 OS will always be a pain, but at age 71, I learn to live with a little pain. Just the way things are. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Even with the OS faults, we certainly depend a lot on what the computer does for us.

All major “consumer market” computer operating systems long ago became more than a common, almost invisible, input/output interface between software applications and computer hardware. They have become a dominate application program, in their own right.

What we sense as the computer, is its operating system, as well as the hardware. So, a review of the Surface 3 is as much about the OS, as it is the design of the hardware.

Microsoft has put together a good combination. As a hardware and software package, it is not a combination you would want to dump Windows 10 and install Linux Ubuntu.

The Surface 3 is excellent hardware matched well with the functions of the Windows 10 operating system. Love the OS and you will love the hardware running it.


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