Microsoft has clearly not stopped with their aspirations with the new Surface Pro 3 that they launched today. This is a follow up to their Surface Pro 2, which also featured an Intel ultra low voltage Core family CPU, except now you have a choice of a Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPU as opposed to only being able to choose an i5. The CPU in the Surface Pro 3 is actually the same as it was in the 2, which is a little disappointing but Intel’s Broadwell won’t hit until much later this year. Once that new Intel chip starts to pick up steam, we’ll probably see a Surface Pro 4 (or whatever they decide to name it) that even further improves upon the Surface Pro 3.
Getting back to the Surface Pro 3, it is actually a larger tablet than the Surface Pro 2 as it features a 12” ClearType Full HD Plus 2160 x 1440 resolution multi-touch display. This is in contrast to the Surface 2 Pro’s 10″ ClearType Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution multi-touch display. This changes the aspect ratio of the display on the Surface Pro 3 to 3:2 as opposed to the standard 16:9 that most displays today currently have. This is a clear indication of Microsoft’s laser focus on this being a professional device. Storage capacity and RAM still have not changed, where the 64 and 128 GB models will come with 4GB of RAM and the 256GB and 512 GB versions will come with 8GB of RAM. It still has a full-size USB 3.0 port, miniDisplayPort connector and MicroSD card slot but does add new 802.11ac wireless connectivity. Microsoft also supposedly upgraded the cameras from being dual 720P on the Surface Pro 2 to being dual 1080P on the Surface Pro 3.
One of the best things about this upgrade is that the Surface Pro 3 is going to benefit from overall better hardware while simultaneously getting lighter. The previous Surface Pro 2 weighed in at 2 lbs while this new, larger Surface Pro 3 actually comes in at 1.76 lbs all while still maintaining a magnesium body. Microsoft also made a few minute changes to the overall usability of the tablet by changing the pen technology that they were using (Wacom) in favor of (N-Trig) in order to get a more accurate and pressure sensitive pen functionality. They also added palm rejection (which should be a nobrainer) to the tablet so that you can write on the tablet without moving things around with the side of your hand or arm. They also added the ability to adjust the angle of the kickstand to virtually any angle that you want, as opposed to all of the previous Surface tablets which effectively had one angle or closed as options. This will make the Surface Pro 3 a lot more comfortable for users in general since people’s preferences for tablet angles vary greatly and so do their use case scenarios.
Last but not least, they’ve vastly improved the type cover (I haven’t tried it yet) and supposedly make it much more user friendly. I personally haven’t been sold on the Surface tablets primarily because of the keyboard, so if the new typecover is really a major improvement, there’s a good chance that a lot of people will go out and buy one after using it. Even so, Microsoft needs to ram the professional message home and make sure that people know that this tablet, which starts at $799, is going to be the tablet they want to get things done. We’ve also included a pricing table for all of the different models and accessories for the Surface Pro 3.
You can pre-order a Surface Pro 3 tonight at midnight EDT (9pm PDT) on Microsoft’s website (site isn’t live yet) and other select etailers. Starting June 20th, US and Canada customers can visit Microsoftstore.com, Microsoft retails stores and select third-party retailers (like Best Buy) to purchase Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 3 ($999 and up) and select accessories. Additional configurations will be made available during August and more accessories will come over the course of the following months.
By the end of August, Surface Pro 3 and select new accessories will become available for purchase in 26 additional markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.