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Jeff Ketter at Icono Blast took my Surface Pro lapboard design and made his own (beautiful) version. Microsoft made light of this foible at the Surface Pro 3 announcement today, taking care to highlight how many of the assembled press and analysts were using MacBook Airs to do their liveblogs and take their notes.
The Type Cover now has a magnetic strip running across the top that you fold flat to the front of the tablet.
The worst part, at least relative to the MacBook Air and the best Ultrabooks, is the Type Cover itself. We'll be able to go a little more in-depth with the system (including the pen input) when we publish our full review, but for now we'll run through some of the important specs so you know more about what you're getting if you preorder one of these today.
The body of the tablet is lighter than the Surface Pro 2 (800g versus 903g), though it remains considerably heavier than something like Apple's iPad Air (469g) or even the older fourth-generation Retina iPads (652g).
We've seen in other high-PPI Windows laptop reviews that this relatively high pixel density can cause problems with applications on the Windows desktop, though the Surface 3 Pro seems to strike a decent balance. We'll be giving the pen, the battery life, and the performance a more thorough look in our full review. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Conde Nast.
Will try and upload some pics in mo, Its all a bit Heath Robinson so dont say you havent been warned!
Reading up on the subject i came across a couple of posts by Richard King, not really to do with lapping as such but how you can check a plate for flatness using just a level. A quick trip to my local paint factor sorted the 120 and 320 grit 3M wet and dry that I hoped would work.
I wasnt too bothered about numbers as such but more about concerned with being able to measure and sand the edges of the plate parallel. Most of the sanding took place along the long edges of the plate as youd expect, constantly checking the plane of the worked area and the level of the plate.
The first step is to calibrate the levels together in the same spot on the surface plate so they both agree.
Having verified both levels are in agreement and the surface plate is laid out in a grid with diagonals, you are ready to start. If the plate is truely flat the differential readings will all be zero within your ability to interpolate between vial graduations.
This is a very tedious and time consuming process but unless you gain access to a Federal electronic differential level system, an optical collumator and right angle mirror, a laser interferometry alignment system, your home shop lapping job is doomed to be of uncertain quality without some means of verification. I did try to lash up a repeat O meter style contraption, but i dont have dti sensitive enough atm. Microsoft is talking up the new friction hinge of its Surface Pro 3 tablet, and how it works with the new Type Cover that has been redesigned for better lap use and more.
However, there's also the ability to click the keyboard up, slightly, overlapping with the bottom edge of the Surface Pro 3.
As for the tablet's docking station, that follows on in the footsteps of the previous dock for easier desktop use. Remember, this is an $899-$999 tablet (though I prefer to describe it as a full-blown Windows PC compacted and stuffed into a tablet’s chassis), not a $199 Nexus 7 or $329 iPad Mini. I’ve said this before, but relocating the electronics behind the screen changes everything. The Surface Pro 3 is the latest piece of first-party Windows hardware to come out of Microsoft’s sleek Studio B. Under the hood is a choice of Intel Fourth Generation Core processor, between the Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 chipsets.
You’re able to pick the Surface Pro 3 up from the Microsoft Online store, as well as at Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi from August 28. First of all, the Surface Pro 3 is finally a device that looks a million bucks right out of the box.
Last year, we thought this sort of thing unfathomable: the idea that you could have the processing power of a Surface Pro inside the body of a Surface RT tablet.
The Surface Pro 3 has been so deliberately designed by the boffins in Redmond that it’s gorgeous from just about any angle. Much like the Surface and Surface 2 family, the Surface Pro 3 is meant to be two devices in one: an excellent tablet for all your consumption needs, and a practical workstation for all your productivity needs, all tied together by a funky kickstand on the back that could suit both functions. It’s thinner and more portable than ever, which makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold as a tablet despite its larger screen size, and makes it incredibly practical to slip into a satchel or backpack to take with you all day.
It has one fixed angle of kick, much like the original Surface, but a little pressure pushes it beyond the catch point and sees the Pro 3 recline luxuriously downwards. The infinite kickstand makes the new Surface infinitely more practical than its predecessors, and in this reviewer’s opinion, also more practical than any other convertible on the market right now. We’ve tried to fault the new kickstand on every possible front, but you can use it perfectly on your lap, lying down, on a desk, standing up, etc.
Pair that with the new, wider Type Cover (thanks to the wider screen) and you have a keyboard with better travel and a sturdier feel than ever.
The good news there for older Surface users is that the connector appears to be backwards-compatible with Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 models, so you can get great new accessories for your older device.
Microsoft has reinvented its stylus for the Surface Pro 3, creating something specifically designed for OneNote users. The Surface Pro 3 has ditched the Wacom digitiser, meaning there are fewer points of touch on the Surface Pro 3 compared to the Surface Pro 2. Just on the software front, the Surface Pro 3 ships with Windows 8.1 Professional, which has come a long way since the initial Surface Pro.
Ultimately, Microsoft wants this thing to kill the MacBook Air, wedging it squarely in-between the 11-inch and 13-inch options, both in screen size and cost.
To play games like Tomb Raider, Day Z and even Counter Strike Source we had to turn everything down to Low settings before it would run without lag. The battery on the Surface Pro 3 is better than before, but still leaves a bit to be desired.
We highly recommend the Surface Pro 3, provided you’re going to be using it as an everyday Ultrabook-replacement meant for work and a bit of play. Before i bin my desktop I will wait for Surface 4 or 5 that can at least handle cs:go with full settings. For it to be practical you'd need a Thunderbolt connection - and even then it's vastly inferior to having a proper GPU on the motherboard. Thunderbolt is dead, over priced and under specd USB is far better with the new spec coming out now.
The beauty of thunderbolt is its ability to daisy chain with little overhead and performance costs. The mistake Apple has made was bringing out Thunderbolt and not officially coming out and saying Firewire is obsolete. What is happening is manufacturers are most likely waiting for Apple to make up its freaking mind because the situation now is no different to consumer confidence in the BluRay vs HD-DVD format war. Funny, maybe I should send back my thunderbolt external graphics cage (with 3 x 780s in it), thunderbolt monitor and thunderbolt RAID box, as obviously there are no peripherals, so I mustn't be using these right now.

But one thing is clear: The tablet market isn't seeing the through-the-roof growth rates of the past.
It's not because they're bad machines or because of some specific distaste for Windows or something—it's just that I spend most of my time on my computers writing, and when I'm writing on a laptop, I'm almost always using the device on my lap. I was one of those people, so a substantial portion of the announcement was aimed specifically at me (and my kind).
When Panos Panay and the other Microsoft execs left the stage, I stowed my MacBook Air in my bag, grabbed my Surface review unit from the cart, and found a couch. The original Surface Pro supported one kickstand angle (22 degrees) while the Surface Pro 2 supported two (24 and 40 degrees). For one thing, the unfolded kickstand and the keyboard cover combined expand to take up a wide swath of one's lap—the whole apparatus extends nearly to my knees, and I'm not a short person. It's a relatively shallow chiclet keyboard with mostly full-size keys, though the up and down arrow keys and some on the left and right of the keyboard are a little squeezed to conserve space. Usually when I review a Windows laptop, the first thing I do is update the trackpad driver and tweak the sensitivity settings until they feel reasonable, but I didn't have any problems with palm rejection or accuracy while I was typing this article. Though we speculated that Microsoft would have to use one of the ultra-low-voltage Y-series Haswell CPUs to make the system thin and light enough, our review loaner has the same Core i5-4300U used in the revised last-generation Surface Pro (Core i3 and Core i7 options will also be available). Our review loaner includes 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive from Samsung on a SATA III interface. It's not going to break your arms, but it's definitely more similar to a laptop in its weight than most other tablets. It's a reasonably bright, sharp 216 PPI display, which puts it within striking distance of the 15- and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros (220 and 227 PPI, respectively). By default, it's set to display onscreen elements at 150 percent their normal size, which shouldn't cause quite as many obvious UI problems as higher scaling settings.
The magnesium chassis is nice-looking and solid-feeling, and the hinge was perfectly stable as long as I kept my lap level. Based on our hour of usage, though, we're comfortable saying that the Surface Pro 3 is at least a little bit closer to being a suitable laptop replacement than the older versions. The 2' camel back (which it has to be said was being scraped from this plate) prints along its length when blued against the plates long side, but only prints edges taken across the short side. When i checked the short span of the plate, it printed better (showed trace in the middle this time) but still very heavy on the ends. I think (hope like hell) that heat from handling has distorted the SE to print concave, cant be sure till I get out there tmrw and have a look.
One level will be the reference which stays in one place on the surface plate and the other will be the working level.
The next step is to lay out a British flag on the plate surface, that is lines parallel to the edges but 2" in, crossed center lines, and diagonals connecting opposite corners. You don't really care about actual level readings so long as the bubbles are on range of the levels' graduation. Zero the dial at some arbitrary point on the surface plate and while minimixing heat input to the apparatus and returning frequently to the 'zeroing site" scan the whole surface and note localized departures from zero reading, focusing especially on the plate margins. Two short cheap import 10 arc second levels used with a comparative technique is the best expedient I can work out to support home lapping of your granite surface plate. Points noted, especially re the length of the level and and union jack style map technique. I think the one I have is 10 arc seconds (sorry, im not up to speed on the angle stuff yet). I mean if you start in one place and measure the rise and fall from point to point, you could in theory at least, map the whole plate. Im thinking it will be a kings ransom around these parts, but i might get a quote, just to see.
The Surface Pro 3 can now be adjusted to lie nearly flat, at up to 150-degrees back, which Microsoft's Panos Panay describes as a very "intentful" angle for art and such. The new Type Cover's trackpad is now 78-percent down in terms of friction, too, which Microsoft is counting on to improve feedback of the little-loved Surface Pro 2 add-on, as well as it being 68-percent larger.
That, Microsoft argues, makes it as stable as any laptop when actually used on the lap, rather than the somewhat wobbly hinge of before.
The new version for the third-gen version gets 4K output, too, if you have an Ultra HD display to hand. Everything pops and there’s almost none of the lag you invariably run into with other tablets. After the Pro, it’s hard to go back to the old clamshell paradigm (which, in my case, is a Dell Adamo). I’m guessing that traditional consumers of PCs who are trying to make the leap from laptop to tablet will want more keyboard options directly from Microsoft.
But, again, Microsoft should come up with another keyboard option (as a Surface-specific accessory) that makes the transition less painful for consumers who still demand a killer keyboard-touch pad. Some parents believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a Facebook post for a Facebook post. Has it created a convertible that’s not only brilliant, but can dethrone the MacBook Air as the king of portable productivity? We also ran our Surface Pro 3 with 64GB of expandable storage courtesy of a microSD card that slides in neatly underneath the fancy new kickstand.
It takes design cues from the original Windows RT-powered Surface 2 with its slim figure and silver VaporMG design, but packs a surprising punch thanks to Intel Fourth-Generation Core processors, massive SSDs and more RAM than you can poke a bundled stylus at. I’m writing this review on a plane right now surrounded by businessmen with their MacBook Airs. The kickstand originally evolved out of the Surface as a way to make the Surface stand up straight when put down on a table. Another nifty thing about the new Type Cover is a magnetic strip at the top of the keyboard that allows you to snap it onto the Surface, meaning it sits at a slight angle for those who don’t want to type on a flat surface all their lives. Rather than just a flat surface that responds to tap, Microsoft has integrated a clickable surface much like the trackpad on the MacBook family. The only thing that isn’t backwards-compatible with the older Surface models is the charger. Simply click the button at the top of the pen (which connects to your Surface via Bluetooth), and it opens a lockscreen, Metro-version of OneNote. It doesn’t seem to be an issue, however, from our drawing and writing tests, and the positive upside is that Microsoft has refined its palm rejection algorithms to make taking notes on the screen while resting your hand on it is much more practical.
The white balance is just about spot on, but if we had to nitpick we’d say there were shades of blue in there that might get annoying for pixel peepers. Back then, it was riddled with little UI problems and bugs that made using any device running the OS frustrating. For those out of the loop, the Australia Tax is when companies charge inexplicably more for a device, service, content or piece of software just because it’s distributing it in Australia and not in the US. Seeing the $979 sticker price in Australia might immediately lead you to think that the Australia Tax is alive and well, but look harder. Add 10 per cent tax to compensate for the GST ($US79), shipping ($US85) and convert that all to Australian dollars, and you find that you’re actually getting cheaper in Australia, as the final price comes out at $1040* for an imported Surface Pro 3.

Honestly, having a tablet that you can throw open and play a bit of Day Z is awesome from my point of view, but the Surface Pro 3 is far from a gaming machine. It’s just the right size and weight to be a tablet, yet sturdy enough to replace your Ultrabook.
Perhaps they can provide an addon for gaming, an external gfx card that does the grunt when yer at the desk gaming?
Unless they came up with some custom external PCIe 16x solution, don't know if that's actually practical or not?
You have to live in the real world and Intel screwed the pooch by giving Apple an exclusive head-start on it.
He took the time to really polish it up and make refinements to my original design, and I dig his additions (camera hole, mouse-pad grip, jet black finish, etc…). So, just as tablet makers went small a couple of years ago to sustain market momentum, now they're going big. The Surface Touch and Type covers have their virtues, but they absolutely need a stable desk or table to be used. This entire hands-on post was written with the Surface Pro 3 in my lap, and I kind of liked it. After folding it, it's still not as rock-solid as a non-removable aluminum base, but it's a much more laptop-like typing experience. The Surface Pro 3 is more like a laptop in that its kickstand is pretty stable at any angle, so when you have the thing on your lap, you can point the screen at your face basically however you want.
The backlight is nice, and I was quickly typing at my usual speeds, but the key travel is too shallow to be as satisfying or responsive as a normal keyboard.
My only complaint is that it's a little small—on older laptops with smaller trackpads, I've seen some users have trouble because it's too easy to accidentally invoke the Windows 8 trackpad gestures, but that's not an issue I ran into. If one of your key complaints about previous Surfaces was that they were insufficient laptop replacements, the Surface Pro 3 hits much nearer the mark.
Its 3:2 aspect ratio will please those who prefer taller monitors to wider ones, though using the tablet in portrait mode isn't really any more comfortable than with any other large widescreen tablet—it's just a little too large to be as comfortable as the paper notepad that Panay compared it to.
While using Chrome, an app that doesn't support Windows' high-PPI scaling modes properly, text and images was noticeably blurrier compared to Internet Explorer, but not so blurry that it was unusable or even immediately noticeable if you didn't know what you were looking for. The system gets a little warm to the touch, and Microsoft's demo booth was too loud for me to put Microsoft's ultra-quiet fan assembly to the test, but the fan vent along the edges of the tablet is unobtrusive, and you can't feel any hot air coming out of it.
It might not be exactly what you're looking for in a tablet, but if you were on the fence about the Surface Pro 2, this is probably the device you needed to knock you over.
I used a wet and dry covered stone (the one I use to debur) as a block, mainly to take down the highest high points, and the camel back wrapped in the same to smooth things up and go over the whole plate with. It did come as a bit of a surprise though as in general i was very happy with how the level worked out.
Also you need a better straightness reference than even the best scraped 2 ft straight edge. Set the working level right in front of it and note the difference in vial readings between reference and working levels. The heat of incandescent lamps, nearby warm masses like water heaters, sunshine from a window, a warm wall, furnaces, and your own warm body will have an effect on your readings.
For the i7 versions, you’re looking at $1829 for the 256GB model and an wallet-thinning $2279 for the 512GB model. The last two devices let themselves down, either due to size, impractical kickstands or derpy Windows RT. It then became a major selling point when Microsoft realised it could become a great productivity tablet, with Redmond adding a second kick angle to the stand on the second model.
Two-finger scrolling needs work on the trackpad but it’s way more usable as an everyday pointer device than any Type Cover before it.
Admittedly, Microsoft has made the charging port much smarter on the Pro 3, opting for an Apple-like Magsafe-style connection that snaps pleasantly into the device.
Thankfully, having garden-variety Windows and not some RT wannabe means you can download any number of programs to help you tweak it to your heart’s content.
The Surface Pro 3 weighs an insane 800 grams compared to the smallest MacBook Air which weighs 1.3kg.
Adobe, Apple and Microsoft were hauled in front of the Parliament last year for their antics. As you can see by the graphics benchmarks above, the Pro 3 can only produce 11 frames per second on Tomb Raider on the default Low setting.
Even if it were bundled for just the first year, Microsoft would nab just about every customer that bought a Surface Pro 3 into its ecosystem. The Surface Pro 2 shipped with an overzealous Wi-Fi module that sucked power so severely that we got four hours worth of life in our tests. And with accessories like the Surface Dock and OneNote pen, it’s fit for so many different things. The top-end Core i7 Surface Pro 3 can get jolly expensive, and that cash may be better invested elsewhere. If you’re looking to build a lap board, you should definitely check out his detailed post. First signs (dare i say) seem pretty good but im gona have to wait until tomorrow to check it further, was certainly a workout. Adding this to previous problems i had trying to scrape a 5' se across its diagonal and the belly seemingly being confirmed with a level, i started to look up threads re lapping etc. From that i worked out (hopefully correctly) over 230mm (the centers of level feet) 1 Div = around 11microns. I men you can calibrate a 2ft x 3 ft granite straight edge using only a 2ft straight edge but the probability for error is high and the process even if perfectly executed would take a month of evenngs. Naturally then, you’d think that the boffins would just install a third angle to the kickstand for the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft also knows that you lost your stylus within days on the last Surface, so it’s including Pen Loops with every Type Cover and built a groove into the top just so you can attach the pen via its built-in clip with a simple slide.
If one of your legs is raised higher than the other, the kickstand and keyboard become more wobbly again.
The 256GB Core i5 Surface Pro 3 we tested sits at $1549, but you can certainly get it cheaper than that if you scale down the SSD size and supplement it with a larger MicroSD card for yourself.
Procede down the length holding the working level in line with the reference level in 4" increments. What i did try to do was place the levels feet in the same place, ie place the following foot where the leading foot had been, just so i could concentrate on the overall plane rather than the local undulations.
Rotate the reference level along the short side, the center lines the other margin and diagonals etc ensuring both reference and working level are eighter in line or parallel.

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