What we thought was an announcement for an 8-inch consumer tablet turned out to be for the bigger Microsoft Surface Pro 3, pegged as the “tablet that can replace your laptop.”
Indeed we expected a Surface Mini reveal that would have competed with the Google Nexus 7 and iPad mini, but we got the 12-inch Surface Pro 3 instead. Despite having a bigger footprint (that led to a larger display with great pixel density, vivid colors, and wide viewing angles), this new tablet manages to be lighter at 800g and thinner at 9.1mm. By comparison, the Surface Pro 2 weighs 907g and is 13.5mm thick.
The Surface Pro 3 is also faster, which it should be if it really aims to replace laptop as a user’s productivity device. As such, the “Haswell” generation of Intel Core processors powers the tablet, along with Intel HD graphics and at least 4GB of RAM. Those innards allow for a smooth performance when running Windows 8.1 Pro, tracking swipes and inputs from the multitouch display and the Surface Pen. And speaking of that new stylus, it has been redesigned so as to make users feel that they’re using an actual pen for writing.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Specs
- Windows 8.1 Pro
- 12-inch ClearType LCD (2160×1440 Full HD), ~216ppi
- 4th generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor
- Intel HD 4400 graphics
- 4GB/8GB RAM
- 64GB/128GB/256GB/512GB internal storage
- microSD support
- 5-megapixel main camera
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Dimensions: 292 x 201.3 x 9.1mm
- Weight: 800g
Other improvements include the upgraded pair of cameras (now both equipped with 5-megapixel sensors), better battery life, redesigned Cover accessories, and a more flexible yet robust kickstand.
Microsoft is now accepting pre-orders in the US for its Surface Pro via its online store, with international release scheduled in late August. Price starts at $799 for the 64GB/Intel i3 model and goes as high as $1,949 for the 512GB/Intel i7 model. Unlike other Windows tablets, the Office suite doesn’t come bundled for free. Many accessories such as the Type Cover and Touch Cover are also sold separately.