Lighter than the Air – Microsoft reveals the Surface Pro 3

20 May 2014

Indicating a resolve to build “mobile-first productivity experiences” Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella revealed the new 12-inch Surface Pro3 tablet/laptop computer which at 800 grams weighs less than the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air.

From busy professionals to parents, Nadella said that the plan is to create hardware that allows people to dream but also get stuff done.

Using the logic that the majority of tablet users today still carry a laptop in their bags, the differentiating factor about the Surface Pro 3 is that Microsoft wants people to be able to do the majority of their desktop computing on their new tablet.

“So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface.

“Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop — packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device. You’ll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need.”

Surface Pro 3 specs

surface pro 3

In New York Microsoft today revealed a new Surface device that at 9.1mm thick is also significantly thinner than its Pro 1 and 2 predecessors. Microsoft described it as the “thinnest Intel Core ever.”

The new fourth generation Intel Core device comes with a 12-inch screen that has a kickstand that folds into multiple positions including an even lower-angle “canvas mode” at 150-degrees to ensure better comfort for being productive if the device is sitting on your lap.

The HD screen on the device comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2,160 x 1,440 resolution that Microsoft describes as pretty much “pixel free.”

As well as USB 3.0 connectivity the Pro 3 comes with a new docking station and Ethernet adapter as well as microSD card reader and Mini Display Port..

The machine comes with a new pressure-sensitive pen that allows users to write and scribble on the screen in red ink.

The device still comes with the bevy of click-on keyboards but with one slight but interesting difference – at the top of the new Surface keyboards is a hinge that provides a better angle for people who are trying to type while balancing the device on their knees.

A new TouchPad has been developed that is bigger and more sensitive and which works with two-finger gestures. The trackpad has also been made wider and longer 68pc larger than its predecessors.

The next generation TypeCover also boasts new design improvements insofar as it is thinner than its predecessors.

Surface Pro 3 availability

Microsoft said it will start taking preorders from 12.01am (EDT) on 21 May for the US and Canada. The device will cost around US$799 to buy.

Beginning 20 June in Canada and the United States, the device will be available on, Microsoft retail stores, select third-party retailers and commercial resellers.

By the end of August, Surface Pro 3 will become available for purchase in 26 additional markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years