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Lenovo X1 Carbon (1st Gen) vs Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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The main tool of a developer is his computer. Some years ago laptops were not powerful enough for most development tasks, but today they have become powerful enough to do most things. Yea, most of us still have a desktop hidden somewhere below our desks, running tens of VMs and stuff like that. But out main partner is our laptop.

I had the luck of getting a brand new Lenovo X1 Carbon when I started working last year. Shiny thing with an Intel Core i7-3667U, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD, touch screen… Ahhh, what a beauty 🙂

Lenovo X1 Carbon

Together we had good and bad times. Like that day the screen broke, just a week before my presentation at TechEd. The screen was fixed by the warranty, but I had to travel with two laptops just in case it broke down again. And the SSD also died on me once, thankfully I have all of my data in my OneDrive so nothing was lost. And like all laptops I’ve had, the battery became worse each day so I had to travel with both the laptop and the charger in my backpack, making things heavier that I would have liked. But overall, I really enjoyed the lightness of it (1.5Kg), and the really large screen.

And last year someone from the office brought a shiny new Surface Pro 3 from overseas and started using it for work. I always liked the surface platform because it is very light (weight for me is one of the most important specs for a laptop). The problem with surfaces was the OS – WindowsRT – which didn’t support many windows applications that I wanted to use… But the Surface Pro 3 changed this. The Surface Pro 3 is no more a tablet like it’s predecessors, but a full-blown laptop that leaves most of the competition way back. I bought one for me a couple of months ago. Although it was fairly expensive, after 3 months of using it every day for work and play, it is one of the best technological purchase I have done in a long time.

Surface Pro 3 with keyboard

So let’s do a comparison of these two specimens:

The Carbo X1 weights almost 1.5Kg standalone, but since the battery life goes down pretty fast, you need to travel with your charger, which makes this 1.85Kg of weight in your back, which starts to feel kind of heavy.

IMG_20150611_192839361

The Surface Pro 3 alone with no keyboard weights 0.82Kg which is kind of heavy for a tablet. With a keyboard (and pen) the weight goes to a whooping 1.1Kg. And while the Surface has shown a very long battery life (maybe because it is relatively new), I like to have the option to charge anywhere. So the whole set, Surface, keyboard, pen and charger weights together 1.33Kg. Still less than the Carbo standalone. And still feels very light.

IMG_20150611_193300303

One thing that I was afraid that would bother me was the lower screen size of the Surface compared to the Carbon. So it was a very happy surprise that even with a smaller screen, the resolution of the Surface (2160×1440) is even higher than the Carbo (1600×900). And not only that – the Surface has an impressively crisp screen, which completely surpasses the Carbo.

I haven’t compared the computing power of these two beasts. Both of them have very strong hardware: my Surface has an Intel i5 processor and the Carbo has an Intel i7 processor, both have SSD and 8GB RAM. Until now I haven’t been able to feel any notable difference in performance.

One thing that does bother me sometimes is the lack of ports, which was bad in the Carbo (2 USB and one display) and this was exacerbated in the Surface (1 USB and one display). Yet there is one thing where the people that designed the Surface came with a brilliant idea: add a USB charger port to the charger:

IMG_20150611_193422579

Let’s face it, most of the time we are using our USB ports to charge our phones/tablets, so this solves 80% of the problems caused by the lack of USB ports. Did I say brilliant?

Something that the Surface has and I love is the Surface Pen. I use it widely when I don’t have a wireless mouse around and I need to interact with the screen (I don’t like mousepads at all). I also create drawings and Powerpoint Mixes using the pen. It has incredible sensitivity and accuracy, making it a lot better than my fat fingers 🙂

In conclusion – I am VERY happy with the Surface Pro 3. It completely replaces all of my other computing needs, and it also serves as a very powerful Pad to watch movies in bed. It is powerful, light and beautiful. If you are looking for a new powerful laptop, this should definitely be your choice.

Did I say I love my Surface?

P.S. I work at MS so you may think that I am biased towards MS products. That’s OK. It’s a free world. Just know that I love the Surface not because it is made by MS, but because it is a great machine. Period.

Written by vainolo

June 17th, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Thoughts

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