It’s here — the latest version of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft is very proud of the Surface in all its incarnations up to this point, as well they should be. Microsoft however still maintains that the Surface is less of a product and more of a reference design for their many hardware partners. And in looking at the latest Surface Pro, it is one heck of a reference. Microsoft is looking to replace the traditional laptop with a touch device, and with this device they may have done it. The processor, storage, and memory options are just about the same as what I will get when I configure a laptop from Dell or HP. Starting with the processor, you get to choose between Intel Haswell i3, i5, or i7 processors. You can choose either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and storage choices range between 64GB SSD and 512GB SSD.
A major difference between the latest Surface Pro and its predecessors is size. The new Surface Pro has a 12in. display, which is larger than the 10 in. Surface Pro2. The Surface Pro 3 is also thinner by almost half and is lighter by nearly ¼ of a pound. According to Panos Panay the decision to change the size of the tablet is an effort to make it more familiar, like a pad of paper which is incidentally nearly the same size.
The cameras got an upgrade to 5MP with 1080P resolution. The screen also got an upgrade in resolution which is now 2160 X 1440. The battery can run the device for up to 9 hours of continuous web browsing. The new pen — don’t call it a stylus — can turn on the tablet and open OneNote with a single click of the “eraser”. Surface Pro 3 is really a nice laptop without a keyboard.
Do you need a keyboard and a mouse? The old Surface Type Covers will snap right in and work; however, they are not quite large enough to protect the screen when closed. A new Surface Pro 3 Type Cover is available for $129.99. If you got the Docking station for the Surface Pro 2, don’t expect it to work with the Surface Pro 3. A new Docking Station is available for the new larger Surface Pro 3 for $199.99.
With all the great new upgrades and features for the Surface Pro 3 there is still one major disappointment for me when it comes to this tablet. It still lacks 4G wireless. Don’t get me wrong, the Surface Pro 3 certainly has its wireless bases covered with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi technologies. I still sometimes need to connect to the internet where there is no Wi-Fi available.
Priced between $799 and $1,949 there seems to be a configuration to meet everyone’s needs and budgets. The Surface Pro 3 comes with Windows 8.1 installed but unlike the Surface RT does not have a free year of Office 365 included. To find out even more about the new Surface Pro 3 head over to www.microsoft.com/surface or Facebook/Surface for tons of pictures and videos.