microsoft-surface-pro-3__01The third time’s the charm they say, and it is well known that if Microsoft works long enough on a product, they’ll get it right. When the Surface Pro 3 launched, that’s exactly what I thought: finally, there’s a Windows tablet that is barely heavier than the iPad 3 (I assume that most people have seen one), but is much more powerful and large enough to run real Windows apps when I need them, with a real keyboard which is connected by wire for low-latency and no charging worries.

Also, the keyboard cover doesn’t double the thickness of the tablet, which is quite common for most tablet add-on keyboards. When in tablet mode, and provided that you have the right app, it feels like an ultra-powerful tablet that’s extremely fluid and responsive. When in laptop mode, it will give you true computer productivity. Is this sound too good to be true, or is it the next Mobile PC evolution? Let’s take a closer look to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and see how it feels to use it in the real world.

Technical Specifications

Configuration as tested: Intel Core i5 (4300U at 2.50GHz, dual-core), Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD ($1299). In terms of performance, the 128GB ($999) model should be the same.

Surface 3 ProSurface 2 ProSurface Pro
Display Size1210.610.6
Display Resolution2160×14401920×10801920×1080
ProcessorCore i3/i5/i7 (gen4)Core i5 (gen4)Core i5 (gen3)
RAM4,84,84
Storage GB64,128,256,512256,51264, 128
Battery Capacity42Wh
Main Camera Megapixel511
Front Camera Megapixel511
Weight (lbs)1.7622
Dimensions (inches)11.5×7.93×0.3610.81×6.81×0.5310.81×6.81×0.53

There are not a lot of 2lbs conventional laptops, but if you want an ultralight that could compete with the Surface Pro 3, I would recommend looking at the ACER Aspire S7, the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, the ASUS Taichi or a Vaio Duo 11 (if you manage to get one before they are completely discontinued). For a similar feature list, many of those are quite a lot more expensive, or still using Intel’s 3rd-gen processors that aren’t as power-efficient… But that’s what you essentially have to choose from.

What’s new?

"MICROSOFT HAS GREATLY EXTENDED THE POTENTIAL REACH OF THE SURFACE PRO 3"From a usability standpoint, a few critical elements have been introduced in this version, including a 12” high DPI display with a new pen-sensitive ultra-thin surface, Intel Core i3 and i7 (Haswell/gen4) processor options and a wider range of storage options (64GB up to 512GB) to serve multiple price points. While some of the specification evolution is normal for a computer platform, the overall changes make the Surface 3 Pro very different to use than its predecessors.

Storage

The storage options for the Surface Pro 3 have been extended from its predecessors. With a single model, Microsoft can now target the mid-range to the high-end. People who use the

Computer casually can get by with 64GB of SSD storage, a Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. Microsoft has greatly extended the potential reach of the Surface Pro 3.

This is great for productivity apps and regular computing. At the other extreme, a power-user can opt for 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This opens the Surface Pro line of products to a much larger market – even if it is still not for absolutely everyone (the bulk of PCs sold are in the sub-$600 range).

I should point out that it is possible to opt for a Core i3 + 64GB and add another 64GB of storage via the MicroSD slot for less than $40 (street price), or 128GB for $70+. This would let you store movies, music and photos on the MicroSD and keep your apps on the 64GB of internal storage. Before you do that, please take a close look at what your needs are. 64GB is not a lot of storage, even for the OS + apps, so it’s better to take a good look before plunging.

Filed in Computers >Featured >Reviews >Tablets. Read more about Microsoft, Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro 3.

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