Using the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover on the Surface Pro 3

Posted on Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015

Last September I made the decision to trade in my Macbook Pro and upgrade to a Surface Pro 3. This decision wasn't an easy one to make but I'm a sucker for portability and loved the hybrid approach of the Surface Pro 3 and its ability to act both as a laptop and a tablet.

After a week of programming on my new Surface Pro 3 I decided to put together a rather lengthy post detailing my thoughts and experiences of using the device as a development machine, and whilst the I was, and still am extremely happy with the Surface Pro 3, one aspect that I felt was really lagging was the keyboard - my main criticism being that the keys were too close together and the trackpad wasn't accurate enough, and slightly on the small side for my liking. It seems that these criticisms weren't just ones shared by me, but by many others - but with the release of the Surface Pro 4 and the backwards compatible Surface Pro 4 Type Cover it's clear that Microsoft have been listening to the feedback as the 4's Type Cover goes a long way in correcting these niggles.

In addition to improvements over the existing Type Cover Microsoft released a version that includes a fingerprint scanner - however it doesn't look like it's going to be released in the UK any time soon so being the impatient person I am, I went ahead and ordered myself a standard Type Cover.

The keyboard

The biggest improvement between the Surface Pro 3 keyboard and the 4 is the keyboard size. The keyboard itself has increased further to the edges of the Type Cover with the additional room allowing for much needed gaps between the keys. As someone with rather fat fingers this gap between the keys has gone a long way to increasing my typing accuracy, and thus speed - something extremely important for someone who does  a lot of programming on the Surface Pro 3.

I addition to the aforementioned key spacing, the keys feel a lot more solid than the previous keyboard - it's minor but it definitely lends to the typing experience on the new keyboard.

Other improvements that have been made to the keyboard are:

  • The FN (function) key now features a small light so you know whether your function keys are active or not.
  • The keyboard now features a dedicated print screen button and insert key.

The Trackpad

The next major improvement the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover has undergone in comparison to predecessor is the track pad. Not only is the track pad larger (Microsoft say 40% larger) but it's also made of glass - resulting in it being far smoother and FAR MORE responsive. Whilst the Surface Pro 3's track pad was enough to get the job done, I would never have said it was pleasurable to use. It always felt like hard work - however these recent changes have resulted in a much better experience.

Overall, if you're an owner of a Surface Pro 3 and you want to give your device a brand new lease of life then I'd highly recommend upgrading to the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover.

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