Microsoft has managed to draw widespread opinions and attention to their Surface ever since it debuted in 2012, but much was left to be desired in the area of sales. In the past, the Surface Pro was praised for build quality and overall performance, but battery life and pricing were noted as major drawbacks. Add the costs of a keyboard and docking station, and you have a trio of fairly serious issues that need to be address for the generation of Surfaces.
Enter the Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch tablet/laptop hybrid with a slimmer body than its predecessor, a multi-angle kickstand and an improved Type Cover keyboard. The kickstand can open from 22 degrees to a whopping 150 degrees. Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 3 is “the tablet than can replace your laptop.” Likewise, on Microsoft’s website as well as commercials, Pro3 issues a full frontal attack against the formidable Apple (13-inch) Macbook Air.
On the surface, it seems like Microsoft makes a compelling argument that the Pro 3 is better is a slew of areas. Pro 3 comes with a high-quality pen for writing and drawing while Macbook Air doesn’t. Pro 3 feature two five megapixel front-and-rear-facing cameras that can run 1080 HD; you’re stuck with front-facing 720 HD camera with the Macbook Air. The former weighs in at 2.4 lbs and measures .55 inches in thickness, and the latter weighs 2.96 lbs and .68 inches thick.
Surface Pro’s screen size has stepped up from 10.6 inches to 12 inches. Resolution has increased from 1,920 x 1,080 to 2,160 x 1,440. Vibrant colors are rendered beautifully and the screen enables tons of excellent viewing angles. Outdoor viewing could be troublesome due to a glossy finish. The new Pro 3 is actually lighter and thinner than the Pro 2, despite the increase in screen size.
Some consumers may grit their teeth when soaking in the reality that the keyboard is still sold separately. Another accessory that may feel like a necessary once you buy it is the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station; there isn’t anything besides a kitchen sink that you can’t attach to it. It comes with three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, a Mini-DisplayPort, a headset jack, a security lock slot and a power input.
The Surface Pen is yet another move in the right direction. Click the top of the pen, and the Pro 3 wakes up, and OneNote opens up for note-taking. While on the Web, you can double-click the pen button to take a snapshot and loads it to OneNote.
The Surface Pro runs on fourth-generation i3, i5 or i7 processors. Pro 3’s are available with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. For more room, a MicroSD slot is situated under the kick stand. Under heavy workloads, the Pro 3 battery charge can be expected to last close to seven hours. The Pro 3 starts at $799 with 64GB storage. The 128GB i5 version comes in at $999, and the 256GB i5 version jumps to $1,299. The 256GB i7 is $1,549, and the 512 i7 is $1,949. The keyboard, which is a necessary accessory, can be had for $119, $129 or $199.