A lot of people have been asking about some of the best Surface 3 case options to protect their new tablet.
It’s been a while since we did an accessory roundup, so I thought it might help folks if I went over some good options for Surface 3 cases.
Below you’ll find several choices ranging from a Mil-Spec (military specifications) armored case, all the way down to a simple clear skin case.
We tested most of these personally, and I marked them with (Tested) next to the name of the case. The remainder of cases are on our list because they are getting good ratings on Amazon and they have one or more features we found interesting.
Click the picture or the link for each protective case to see details…
What Types of Cases Are Available for the Surface Pro 3
Later on, we cover the best of the best, the top rated cases for a Surface Pro 3. But let’s first do a brief overview of all the cases available to you for your Surface.
- Portfolio (or Padfolio) type covers. These come in all types of material and are available with various brands. These are complete work cases. If you take your work with you on the go and want a simple way to store your Surface, pens, a notebook, your phone, business cards, and other work-related things, then this is the perfect case for you. The level of protection with the Microsoft Surface portfolio case is not the highest quality, and neither is it a thin, sleek option. But it serves its purpose in keeping your work things front and center and making your life simpler and more organized.
- Safety focused cases. These include Under Armour, Otterbox, and others of this nature. Cases like these are known for their protection. They function as an armour for your Surface. If your main concern is safety, this is the way to go. These devices are not cheap, and keeping them safe is essential. To some people, this is more important to find in a case than any other feature.
- Messenger case. This type is the perfect way to carry a Surface, just as you would a laptop. The primary goal of this tote bag is to bring it along with you, so this is not a case that can be used as a skin. But if you are looking for portability, this is your case. It comes with pockets and handles, just like a traditional laptop case. Other options like this allow for tons of storage for your everyday things such as cards, bills, etc. Some even have openings that allow you to plug in your charger or have ports for speakers. There are safer and more protective case options like this, depending on the brand.
- Cases with a kickstand. If you want to use your Surface like you would a laptop, purchasing a case with a kickstand is a good place to start. It allows your tablet to stand upright as you use it. There are cases such as the Dux who not only keep your Surface standing upright, but they also give a nice thin skin. This skin will protect your Surface, but since it is mostly clear, it also gives it a natural look. Kickstand cases with skins are some of the best if you need an upright surface, with the ability to touch all buttons and protect your case.
- Cases that withstand nature. There are certain cases out there that are what is considered “military grade protection.” These are created to keep your case safe, regardless of the effects of nature. You could go hiking with a case like this! They are water resistant, shatter and pressure resistant, as well as shockproof. Though this is a bulkier case, you do have the plus of having a kickstand available.
- Sleeve cases with zippers. These cases are amazing for portability, similar to the messenger case. Great for cross-country road trips, and even down to going to the coffee shop to get some work done. They keep the Surface neat and protected. Sleeves are the less bulky alternative to the messenger case. This sleeve is not a skin, but it does good for what it is meant to do. You can even put your charger in the zipper! These come in materials such as leather, which claim to be waterproof as well as anti-scratch. Some come with straps, and there are a variety of colors and patterns to choose from among the various brands.
- Slim shell holder cases. Some cases are meant for nothing more than outside beauty. There are so many designs, patterns, fabrics, and colors to choose from. The options and brands that hold these varieties are endless. Many pretty cases can be purchased that have protection as well, but most are less durable. If your Surface doesn’t really leave your home or office, then aesthetics can be the most important thing to you. These options are typically cheaper than the high protection cases and there are options for them with other surface products, such as the Surface Microsoft Book.
What to Consider When Buying Cases for Surface Pro 3
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a case for your Surface Pro 3. None of these are required, but they are some of the best features available in case technology. Go through the list and find which ones are most important to you, then research your right fit based on that knowledge!
- Shock protection.
- Storage heavy.
- Pockets and zippers
- Military grade protection.
- Tin & sleek body.
OK, now let’s get started on the best Surface 3 case options in the industry.
Best Surface 3 Case Options: Armored Case
You’ll want to go for an armored case if: you’re clumsy, you are using the Surface in a construction zone/shop, your kids use it a lot, or if you’re just really protective of your Surface 3. If this sounds like you, there’s really only one option you should consider – Urban Armor Gear.
The Urban Armor Gear case for the Surface 3 offers the best protection from drops of any case I’ve seen. It holds the Surface firmly in place and it just “feels” like you could run over it with a tank without hurting it.
Considering it was built to Mil-Spec, that’s not really a surprise. It also offers a pen holder (nice touch), and it doesn’t block the ports on the Surface too much.
Of course, there are some downsides. First, it adds a lot of bulk, and it pretty much doubles the weight of the Surface 3. In addition, like most of the bulkier cases, it blocks the use of the Surface 3 kickstand.
It does offer its own 3-position kickstand that works well, but I felt like it was more difficult than necessary to get the kickstand into the 3rd position.
Best Surface 3 Case Options: Portfolio Cases
In this section, I will be covering Surface 3 case options that look like business folios. As we have seen above, these offer good protection for your Surface in case it’s dropped and some add additional storage space for things like pens and paper, but they also tend to add a lot of bulk that you have to carry around.
Still, if you’re looking for a Surface 3 case to use in a business environment, you’ll want to consider one of these cases.
I picked up my Maroo case when I got our Surface 3 from the Microsoft Store, and I have to say, I’m pretty happy with it.
It looks good (I have the black one) and offers a couple of different places to store the Surface Pen.
It also does an outstanding job of keeping the ports free because it uses rubber corner holders to keep the Surface in place, as opposed to a “pocket with cutouts” like some other cases.
Of course, it blocks the kickstand, but it offers a passable (if not great) kickstand of its own. It also adds a lot of weight and bulk. However, if you’re going into a business meeting, it will help you make a good impression.
We’ve tested cases from ProCase for the Surface Pro 3 in the past and have found them to be well constructed and attractive.
This one is made just for the Surface Pro 3. It offers a nice built-in pen holder and quality Velcro and an elastic strap which are there to keep your Surface firmly in place.
We added this one in because of its 4.5 rating on Amazon and it’s more than a thousand (mostly positive) reviews.
Best Surface 3 Case Options: Light
This category covers cases that are lightweight and/or very slim fitting. A lot of people have asked us about Surface 3 case options that don’t add extra weight or bulk, so we included some options for your consideration below.
This case almost went into the armored section with the Urban Armor Gear options. It is constructed of polycarbonate and thermo-plastic which gives it a “tacticool” feel.
However, it doesn’t add a lot of bulk or weight to the Surface 3, and it allows you to use the built-in kickstand which is pretty handy.
However, it is expensive, and it can be a huge pain getting the Surface 3 into it properly. This is because, unlike most cases which just kind of slip on, this comes in 3 pieces that have to be assembled around the Surface. Also, with the case in place, you’ll find that it prevents a keyboard cover from closing all the way. As a result, it won’t let you put your Surface to sleep by closing the cover; so, you’ll have to use the on-screen controls or top button to sleep your Surface.
All in all, though, once you get past the sticker shock and get the Surface into it, it works well and is probably worth the money for the balance of protection and low added weight/bulk. Oh, and it looks cool.
The Moko Folio made it to our list because of its 4-star rating on Amazon (with 275+ reviews) and the hand strap feature, which lets you easily comfortably hold your Surface with one hand while using the on-screen keyboard with the other.
It also offers a pen loop and a 3-angle stand to compensate for the fact that it covers up the Surface’s built-in kickstand.
When closed, it holds the Surface firmly on all four sides but, when folded back or propped up, it only holds the Surface on three sides. So, I wouldn’t just fling the case open as the Surface could slide out but, as long as you’re just a bit cautious, it should work fine.
This is another offering from Moko, and it also made this list, in part, because of the 4-star rating it earned with 320+ reviews.
The other reason it made this list is because of its light weight and the fact that it doesn’t add a lot of bulk.
It has a rigid tray that the Surface sits in and a PU leather outer cover that’s available in multiple colors.
Best Surface 3 Case Options: Skins
If you’re more concerned with keeping your Surface 3 looking new than protecting it from falls, you may want to consider getting a skin. Skin is just a sticker you place on the case to protect it from scratches and abrasions.
Skinomi TechSkin – Carbon Fiber (Tested)
The Skinomi carbon fiber skin offers a textured design that looks and feels like carbon fiber (though I don’t think it’s actually made from carbon fiber).
It’s extremely thin and virtually weightless, so it doesn’t add any mass to your Surface 3.
It is relatively easy to install as you simply stick it on the back and sides of your Surface.
The adhesive is laid out in a grid pattern which makes it easier to avoid air bubbles during application and install correctly. That said, you should exercise caution and patience during the application. Otherwise, it won’t look as good.
As a bonus, it includes a screen protector as part of the package.
This skin and screen protector combo is designed to be practically invisible when applied.
It has the advantage of letting your Surface look “stock” while still helping to protect the case and screen from scratches and abrasions.
Since it’s clear, you don’t have to be quite as precise during application of the film, but you will need to keep fingerprints and debris out from under the film during installation.
As a bonus, they include an installation squeegee to help you avoid air bubbles during application.
So, there you have it! That’s my list of Surface 3 cases. Now you have a slew of case options for your Surface 3 to consider. Do you have an option you like that I didn’t cover? If so, feel free to share in the comments.
Also, be on the lookout for some more hands-on reviews of the best Surface 3 cases because we have some manufacturers sending us new models to test soon.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.