Microsoft announces the 12-inch Surface Pro 3 productivity tablet

by Patrick Pierra

May 20 2014

The new device was introduced today at a news event in New York as a full laptop replacement.

The tablet has a 1.5 screen ratio, instead of the 1.77 ratio usually found in Windows tablets. It's then much closer to the 1.33 iPad ratio. It also lends itself better to split-screen multitasking -a feature rumored to be introduced in upcoming iOS 8.

The HD screen resolution is 2160x1440.

The device runs on Intel's Core i3, i5 and  i7 processors.

The tablet is 9.1mm (0.36 inch) thick, which makes it the thinnest computing device with a Core i7 chip.

The Surface Pro 3 weighs 800g (1.76 lbs), which is less than previous, smaller models. Weight was often mentioned as a weakness in the previous Surface tablets.

Panos Panay, corporate vice president for Surface Computing, positioned it as an alternative to the MacBook Air. He said the Surface Pro 3 screen is actually larger than the 13-inch screen of the MacBook.

Other highlights include:

  • a new multi-position kickstand, which is supposed to make it easier to use on someone's lap
  • a larger trackpad on a new Type cover
  • a new clickable pen, which opens One Note
  • a new, large desktop dock

The emphasis is clearly on productivity. Adobe demonstrated on stage a touch-optimized version of Photoshop for Windows.

A note-taking app, called Final Draft, has been designed specifically for the Surface Pro 3, to take advantage of the parallax-free screen.

"Microsoft can now point to a device with which it can win in commercial accounts against the iPad,", says analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates, "although it will still require a battle against the ingrained bias of many users towards Apple’s ubiquitous device."

The Surface Pro 3  will be available for pre-order tomorrow, Wednesday May 21. Starting prices will be:

  • $799 with a Core i3 processor
  • $999 with a Core i5
  • $1,949 with a Core i7

"I expect the 'sweet spot' for enterprises to be the $1,299 i5 powered unit with 256GB", says Jack Gold.

Storage options will range from 64GB to 512 GB. 

See TabTimes' early reviews roundup of the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface 2 will still be sold alongside the Surface Pro 3.

(For more tablet business news, trends and insights, sign up for the free TabTimes for Windows newsletter or for the more frequent Tablet Business/Productivity newsletter)

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