Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 3, its 12-inch laptop-slayer

Surface Pro 3

I was gearing up to buy myself a Surface Pro 2, and I didn’t think anything would change that. Not even whatever Microsoft was planning to announce at their Surface event. A Surface Mini seemed to be on the cards, but no, said Microsoft. Instead of going smaller, they’re going bigger with the Surface Pro 3. 

Once again, Microsoft are calling it the tablet to replace all laptops, a powerful hybrid with a big screen and a handy kickstand. It’s hardly a revolution, building on the Surface Pro 2 rather than redesigning it entirely. But that excellent foundation makes it a tempting device. 

The Surface Pro 3 offers a 12 inch, 2160 x 1440 screen, over an inch more than its predecessor. But it’s a skinny tablet, comparatively, at only 9.1mm. That’s about the same as more traditional tablets, like the ipad, when the Pro 3 has as much, if not more, in common with a laptop. It’s the thinnest product with an i7 core, boasts Microsoft. And it’s significantly lighter than a laptop, at 800g.

Both the kickstand and the pen have been redesigned. The new kickstand is more flexible, offering multiple positions. And the Surface Pen has some neat functionality, allowing users to click the pen to turn the Pro 3 on, where it will bring up Microsoft’s OneNote app so users can start jotting down notes immediately.

Microsoft has improved the trackpad on the new, larger Type Cover, which was lackluster on the Pro 2, increasing the size while reducing the friction. Microsoft says it’s a 68 percent increase in size, while friction has been reduced by 78 percent. Additionally, the improved Type Cover has a magnetic hinge that attaches to the lower bezel for more convenient lap typing.

The base version, with an i3 core and 64GB storage will set you back $799 (no word on European prices), but the big daddy Surface Pro 3 with the i7 core and 512GB storage is $1,949.

The Surface Pro 3 isn’t meant to kill off its predecessor. In fact, predecessor is probably the wrong word. They are both meant to fulfill different roles. But I’m now finding it very hard to think about buying a Pro 2 when it’s 12 inch younger brother now exists. The older version might, of course, come down a bit in price now. So why don’t you take a gander at what Tim had to say about it?