Surface Pro 3: Meet Microsoft’s New Tablet Hybrid

At Microsoft, the PC never really dies. Like a hydra, it just grows more heads.

Microsoft unveiled a new line of Surface Pro tablets on Tuesday designed to catch the eye of business users everywhere. Microsoft wants to push the message that Surface Pro 3 is both a tablet and a laptop, designed for the needs of both consumption and productivity.

“This is the tablet that can replace your laptop,” said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Surface, at a launch event in New York City.

The Surface Pro 3, which goes on sale today, features a 12-inch touchscreen tablet/computer and is relatively thin and light at 9.1 millimeters and a weight of 800 grams. The Surface Pro 3 comes with a stylus pen and the kickstand from previous versions of the Surface; the kickstand features a new “friction” hinge to accommodate angles between 22 and 150 degrees, while the stylus is designed to look and feel like a real pen and translates handwritten content into digital font script.

The low range of the Intel-based Surface 3 tablets starts with a Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for $799 and increases from there. The most expensive Surface 3 will release with a Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. See the full specs and prices below.

  • Core i3 – 4 GB RAM – 64 GB Storage – $799
  • Core i5 – 4 GB RAM – 128 GB Storage – $999
  • Core i5 – 8 GB RAM – 256 GB Storage – $1,299
  • Core i7 – 8 GB RAM – 256 GB Storage – $1,549
  • Core i7 – 8 GB RAM – 512 GB Storage – $1,949

It’s clear from the specs and price points that Microsoft is not looking to directly compete with Apple’s iPad or various Android tablets. At 12-inches, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is more the size of a laptop than a tablet. For decades, Microsoft’s bread and butter has been building the Windows operating system for PCs, and the Surface Pro family is essentially how Microsoft (re)imagines the evolution of PC; at first blush, Surface 3 doesn’t look to compete in the more mobile-centric world of tablets. 

The Windows Pro 3 series ships with Windows 8.1, the company’s latest operating system for PCs and Microsoft Surface devices. Earlier this year, Microsoft released an update to Windows 8.1 that allowed it to run on a variety of hardware, from low-end chips and small amounts of RAM all the way up to the top of consumer grade hardware specifications.

The Surface 3 comes with a thinner TypeCover with an improved trackpad which is 68% larger than in the previous version of Surface keyboards.

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