Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet Launches in New York

by Dale Wright

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet Launches in New York

Microsoft launched its new high-end slate, the Surface Pro 3, yesterday at a press event in New York, and made the bold claim that it would be the tablet to replace the laptop.

The company’s CEO Satya Nadella kicked off proceedings with grand statements about how Microsoft makes products to change lives, before passing over to Surface chief Panos Panay to make the grand announcement.  Panay noted that amongst the crowd of journalists assembled, just a handful were working on a Surface or iPad, and most were on a MacBook Air.  He claimed that the new Surface Pro 3 would mean that people no longer needed a laptop as well as a tablet; it was good enough to do the job of both devices.

The Surface Pro 3 has a display at 12 inches, up from 10.4 inches on previous models.  It has a new aspect ratio of 3 x 2, giving the tablet a widescreen feel when you’re using it as a laptop with the type cover.  Speaking of the keyboard case, that still doesn’t come with the Surface Pro 3; you have to buy it separately.  That doesn’t make much sense, as you can’t really imagine using a Surface without one.

Spec-wise, the Surface Pro 3 has a display resolution at 2160 x 1440, with a battery life of up to nine hours browsing.  There are three Intel processor options: i3, i5, and i7.  Storage starts at 64 GB and runs all the way up to 512 GB, with RAM at 4 GB or 8 GB.  It’s also much thinner than the Surface Pro 2: just 9.1mm without the keyboard case and weighing just 1.76 pounds.  That makes it a heck of a lot heavier than the iPad Air, but a lot lighter than the MacBook Air.

Microsoft Logo Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet Launches in New York

One of the biggest changes on the Surface Pro is the revamped kickstand.  It no longer clicks out and stays in one position awkwardly – the kickstand has been given a fluid continuous hinge so that you can easily slide it to any angle that you need.  The type keyboard has been given a small but important change – it now has an extra ‘click-in’ setting that magnetically holds it to your tablet, so it’s more secure when you’re using it on your knee.

The Surface Pen is another big addition, a fancy stylus that works with the tablet in a similar way to the Galaxy Note.  Users can click the top of their Surface Pen and the Surface Pro 3 will turn on straight to Notes.  It’s a pretty cool feature, and the Surface Pen looks intuitive to write with.

Prices for the Surface Pro 3 start at $799 for the i3 model, all the way up to a staggering $1,949 for the i7 with 512 GB storage version.  That’s not including the extra $130 you’ll have to pay for the keyboard type cover.  The Surface Pro 3 is available for pre-order from today in the US and Canada, and will be on sale in 26 additional markets including the UK and Australia by the end of August.

Panay’s comments – that the Surface Pro 3 would render laptops unnecessary – are nothing we haven’t heard before.  Indeed, it was the claim made of the Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2.  The majority of users might not be willing to give up their laptops just yet, but Nadella’s claim that Microsoft’s goal is ‘to create new categories’ certainly feels true.  The Surface Pro 3 really is in a class of its own, and it’s the closest anyone has come to doing the job of a laptop in tablet form.