Today Microsoft held an event in New York City where they announced the newest addition to their surface line, the Surface Pro 3. While presenters noted that Microsoft was not competing with OEM partners, it would be hard make that case seeing what Microsoft actually announced. The Surface Pro 3 is radically redesigned and it might be the best Windows 8 device released to date.
Surface Pro 3
The previous generations of the Surface may have been a little half-hearted. Microsoft didn’t quite understand the market or the user base. However, for the third generation of the pro variant, it appears they were taking notes from both their customers and the success Apple’s been having in the tablet market. They marketed the Surface Pro as a replacement for both the iPad and MacBook Air. To do this, gone is the 10.6″ screen with a 16:9 ratio screen that has been a staple of all Surface tablets to date. In its place is a 3:2 ratio screen measuring 12 inches with a 2160 x 1440 resolution. While this form factor might be a little odd for YouTube videos, it’s ideal for productivity. In fact, Microsoft chose this form-factor because it was similar to holding and writing on a paper notebook.
The case is made of precision machined magnesium with a Gorilla Glass screen. It looks to be extremely durable, having been purposely dropped from a standing height. The case is also thin… really thin. In fact, the Surface Pro 3 is just 0.1mm thicker than the iPad 4. At 9.1mm, it’s the thinnest device to have an Intel Core series CPU thanks to low voltage CPUs from Intel. It’s quiet too, with perimeter vents and a quiet fan system with custom designed blades. In its case, it packs a lot of laptop-type features. It includes a USB 3.0 port and Mini Display Port for an external display. For standing it up, there is a new multi-angle stand that gets the Surface in the best viewing angle whether it be up or nearly laying flat. The larger design also allows for new front facing speakers that are 40% larger. The front and rear cameras look to both be 5MP with 1080 video recording.
The add-ons might be what makes the Surface Pro 3. There is a new Surface Pen stylus. Its function is designed around a real pen. Its size and weight are more natural than a thin stylus. On the top of the Surface Pen is a clickable button. Instead of getting the pen ready to write, this button turns the Pro 3 on and has other functions in One Note. The Surface has handwriting-to-digital text support and the stand can make it lay almost flat like a Wacom drawing tablet.
The Type Cover is redesigned for this new Surface. While the typing on the old cover was passable, the trackpad was small, and quite frankly sucked. The new one has a much larger and far more usable one. It has a double hinge to stay in a comfortable position no matter how you have the Surface Pro 3 sitting. For those using your Surface as your desk, there is a new version of the docking station. It gives you 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0, gigabit Ethernet, and a Mini Display Port that can output to up to a 4K display. Rounding out the accessories is a USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter.
Pricing and Availability
The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799 for a 4th generation Core i3 CPU with 4GB of memory and 64GB of SSD storage. At the top of the line, it can have a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD for $1949. You can also have almost any configuration in between. The Surface Pro 3 will ship to customers in June.
For accessory pricing, the new Type Cover comes in at $129.99, $49.99, $199.99 for the dock, and $39.99 with the ethernet adapter.
The Surface Pro 3 is by far the best Surface Microsoft has ever put out. In fact, it might be the best device on Windows 8. While previous Surfaces didn’t know whether they were a PC or a tablet, the Surface Pro 3 is comfortable being both. It features the power of a laptop with the portability and ergonomics of a tablet. At $799, the starting price is also right.
The big question is what you think. Leave us a comment and let us know if you’d consider the Surface Pro 3.