Print 62 comment(s) - last by Vertigo2000.. on May 22 at 9:23 AM

Microsoft continues to refine its Surface concept

Microsoft is giving it another go when it comes to its Surface tablet family. The first generation Surface RT and Surface Pro were introduced in late 2012 and early 2013 respectively. Microsoft followed up with the second generation Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 in September 2013.
The company is now hoping to boost its fortunes in the tablet market with the new Surface Pro 3. One of the big things that Microsoft is trying to stress with the Surface Pro 3 is that it is a device that can can “do it all.” Microsoft’s Panos Panay proclaimed that “96% of people who own an iPad also own a laptop.” With the Surface, all you need is one device.

Surface Pro 3 is a big step forward, as it now features a 12” display (3:2 screen ratio) compared to 10.2” (16:9) for Surface Pro 2. Screen resolution has been bumped from 1920x1080 to 2160x1440.


And it must be stated that amazingly, Microsoft was able to not only make the Surface Pro 3 lighter despite the increase in screen size (1.76 pounds compared to 2 pounds), but also made it thinner than the existing model.

The Surface Pro 3 is now 9.1mm thick instead of 11.7mm thick.

The Surface Pro also expands on what Microsoft calls “lapability.” Microsoft wants to make it easier to use the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop, and to do so the company has seriously upgraded the kickstand thanks to an innovative hinge.

The kickstand can now be used at any angle up to a 150 degree degrees (no more pre-configured indents).

When used in conjunction with the redesigned Type Cover, the Surface Pro 3 should be easier to use in your lap. The redesigned Type Cover magnetically seals itself to the bottom of the screen and can easily adapt to fit your preferred typing position.

Microsoft also has a new trick features with the Surface Pro 3’s stylus. With the device off, you can simply click the button on the top of the stylus to automatically turn the device on with it ready and waiting in the OneNote app. The notes you then take will be synced to the cloud instantaneously.

Microsoft says that the Surface Pro 3 is good for up to 9 hours of battery life, and includes front-facing speakers that are now 45 percent louder. In addition, the Surface Pro 3 now includes two 5MP cameras which are capable of shooting 1080p video.
Microsoft continues to include a full-size USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, and a Mini DisplayPort.

The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station will set you back $199
The Surface Pro 3 will go on sale tomorrow, starting at $799 for the Core i3 version with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. Full pricing is as follows:
  • Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 64GB - $799
  • Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 128GB - $999
  • Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256GB - $1,299
  • Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256GB - $1,549
  • Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 512GB - $1,949

Source: Microsoft

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Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/20/2014 12:48:45 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft’s Panos Panay proclaimed that “96% of people who own an iPad also own a laptop.” With the Surface, all you need is one device.

For the price of an i7 Surface Pro 3, I can buy an $800 Intel laptop, a $500 iPad or Android tablet and still save $200+ while having access to better app stores.
I just don't mind having 2 devices I guess.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By ATrigo on 5/20/2014 1:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, for the price of the i3 one you get an Intel laptop and at the same time a device that most likely leaps around an iPad or an Android tablet... hmmmm

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By stm1185 on 5/20/2014 1:58:21 PM , Rating: 5
Wait whose selling a 12inch > 1080p i7 laptop that weighs under 2lbs and costs $800?

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By artemicion on 5/20/2014 2:23:05 PM , Rating: 3
Well, on the other hand, if you're OK running with two devices, you don't need to pay the premium for a laptop that comes in a tablet-esque form factor.

Surfaces are pretty cool devices, but in my usage scenario I prefer paying the same amount for a cheap tablet for web browsing + i7 laptop that can game. In fact, I'd prefer the Surface 3 to come with 1080p rather than 1440p for gaming purposes, because the Haswell IGP won't be able to game @ 1440p.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
You completely missed the point. What premium? Who else offers that level of hardware for a price that's less for a laptop and a tablet?

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By artemicion on 5/20/2014 6:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
The premium for having a laptop in an ultra portable form factor. The OP made the valid point that if you're usage scenario is covered by a cheap tablet for doing tablet things and a cheap 15.6" laptop for doing laptop things, Surface 3 doesn't present a good value in terms of consolidation.

Real world example:
I have a $200 Nexus 7 to couch web browse with and a $550 Haswell i7 Inspiron 15 that I game on. Cheaper than the Surface 3 and arguably superior to the Surface 3 in some respects (my laptop would be superior for gaming since it's only pushing 1080p and has a GeForce 750m). Yeah, the laptop isn't as portable but it doesn't have to be--not like I play Diablo 3 lying down on my couch.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By retrospooty on 5/20/2014 6:48:49 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, but its not really made for a person that has a NExus 7 and does gaming on the laptop. It's made for someone that wants an all in one device they can travel with, but also use as a tablet when it suits them. It's good for what it is. It's just not for everyone.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/20/2014 7:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
I want to play around with one a bit more to see if the nTrig digitizer is good. In my very brief hands-on, it seemed way better than any nTrig digitizer I've used before, but I didn't get a chance to try it with Photoshop or Manga Studio. The Wacom in the Pro 2 works well with those programs, and previously Photoshop had driver issues with nTrig. I hope MS and Adobe worked with nTrig to iron that out. That said, the switch allowed MS to make the device thinner, and got rid of the slight gap between the nib and where the ink appeared on screen that the Wacom equipped Surfaces had.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By coburn_c on 5/21/2014 2:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
I've had an n-trig 1.0 and 2.5 revision hardware. The improvement was dramatic, the 1.0 had HORRIBLE support and was pretty clunky, the 2.5 was almost up to Wacom levels. I think they are on 4.0 now so I would be surprised if it wasn't honestly competitive with Wacom.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
That is what I have been hearing from people who have used it more extensively. A couple of my old MS contacts told me the decision to switch was pretty easy, as the nTrig was actually more precise. The biggest downside is the pen is active and needs batteries.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/21/2014 11:38:06 AM , Rating: 1
I, like most people, already own 2 devices, so which one is this supposed to replace? If my laptop craps out, why would I buy one of these? The screen is too small to work on and it costs 2x as much as the laptop I own. If my tablet craps out, why would I buy one of these? It's 4x as much as my current tablet costs and the Windows 8 app store isn't as good. I guess if they both crap out then I'd look at one, but what are the odds of that happening? And I would assume the majority of people are in a similar situation, so who is this being marketed to?

Is it cool? Sure, but that's a bad reason to buy one. Would I turn one down if it was given to me as a gift? Hell no. But I certainly wouldn't buy one as a replacement for one of my other 2 devices... but that's just me.

I don't like the screen size for doing "real work". I don't like the aspect ratio. And I certainly don't like the price.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By retrospooty on 5/21/2014 2:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
"I, like most people, already own 2 devices, so which one is this supposed to replace?"

It's really not made for you (or me either). It's made for someone that probably travels alot and/or for whatever reason they deem suitable, want one single device that serves both needs. A large tablet and a small laptop.

Filling a different need than you or I personally have doesn't make it a bad product. I know alot of execs that travel that would want this.

It's like auto purchases... If you drive far every day and want a compact car with good mileage, that doesn't mean an SUV is a bad product. It's just not one that suits your personal needs.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/22/2014 9:23:00 AM , Rating: 1
I understand what you're saying, "different strokes for different folks".

It just seems MS's demographic to purchase this thing is quite limited. It almost feels like it's doomed to fail... again.

I applaud their attempt though, it's a cool product... it just has limited sales potential.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By AmbroseAthan on 5/20/2014 2:04:18 PM , Rating: 5
How is having access to the Android or Apple App stores better than being able to install something from the Windows PC universe? This is the Pro line so any Windows full application can be installed.

Personally, I could see this making large inroads on the enterprise market replacing laptops for people, especially with the dock. I would gladly take this over the Lenovo laptop I have for the flexibility and weight lost yet still be able to run the full versions of most of the programs I use day to day (Office Suite and some custom applications for my job).

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By corduroygt on 5/20/2014 3:04:05 PM , Rating: 1
Windows PC software isn't optimized for touch, Apple/Android software is.
It's not fun trying to click on the tiny X on a touchscreen to close your app.
Not to mention, for the price, you can get a decent Windows laptop + an iPad/Android tablet, so you get BOTH.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By ritualm on 5/20/2014 6:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
No, the experience will be worse with what you're suggesting.

The Surface Pro line is not comparable to the ARM tablets you keep referring to, and is simply not in the same league altogether. Best way to describe it is "unconventional ultrabook" - which it is.

I have shunned all ARM tablets and am not considering buying them at all. They are all too underpowered and weak by the time I need to do serious work with them.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By StevoLincolnite on 5/20/2014 7:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
Windows PC software isn't optimized for touch

Well. Yes and no.

It depends on the application, for instance on my convertible netbook/tablet with an Atom processor I can fire up a 20 year old game and it works with touch fantastically, to put that in perspective (I'm talking about Master of Orion here) it pre-dates most touch technologies well in excess of over a decade.

Web browsers on the PC side have been getting more touch friendly, Windows 8 was pretty much designed around that concept and so was it's built in applications, Office is also heading down that path.

The web in general is getting larger bolder buttons... Again for touch.

Thus "Optimized for touch" isn't really much of an issue, we are heading down that path regardless if we like it or not.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
All strategy games (turn based, that is, not RTS) are very touch friendly. Civilation 5 has been my go-to game on my Surface. I'll have to dig out Master of Orion and Master of Magic. Loved those games.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By w8gaming on 5/20/2014 11:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually if you have problem clicking the tiny X, you are not doing it right.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
I use the stylus when using non-touch based programs. Works much better than trying to get my fat fingers to work with them.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:06:52 PM , Rating: 3
I've been happy with my original Surface Pro for over a year now. The Pro 2 was nice but didn't seem to be worth upgrading to. This one on the other hand... Wow.

No idea how I'll convince my wife that I need it though.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By kleinma on 5/20/2014 2:09:36 PM , Rating: 5
Please give me a link to a 10" 1080p laptop with an i7 and Samsung SSD and touchscreen that supports a digitizer pen for 800 bucks. Hell, find me one for 1500 bucks...

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By tamalero on 5/21/2014 5:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
If the Surface 3 as the same wacom like quality digitalizer.. Id say 999 or 1200 USD is more worth than buying a wacom cintiq alone.

Not bad, though $300 off plz
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 5/20/2014 5:37:19 PM , Rating: 1
I'm actually rather fond of my Surface Pro, but that's likely an effect of its value proposition ($500 for 128GB model). These should start at $500.

RE: Not bad, though $300 off plz
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 5:50:02 AM , Rating: 3
They have these people, lets call them "shareholders", who expect companies to make something, called "profits".

By flyingpants1 on 5/21/2014 2:42:47 PM , Rating: 1
That's great. These should start at $500.

RE: Not bad, though $300 off plz
By FITCamaro on 5/21/2014 9:20:41 AM , Rating: 4
That's likely because you bought it on sale after the Pro 2 came out. No one could build that device and make money on it at $500.

By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 5/21/2014 10:52:14 AM , Rating: 2
Possibly, though I'll wait for iFixit or some other group to break it down for BoM to see.

Here's hoping its reception is poor enough for another discount opportunity!

Now you know why I was so excited about this event
By atechfan on 5/20/2014 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 1
I saw the Surface Pro 3 a couple weeks ago, and was so tempted to talk about it, but knew I couldn't. I just wish I got to keep the one I saw.

By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
The Surface Pro is designed to be a premium device. There are a ton of OEMs out there making Windows tablets that could probably fit what you're looking for. But this one, this one is really exceptional.

By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and while you can upgrade memory you'll need a soldering gun and all kinds of other unpleasantness and you're likely to break the touch screen. At least on the SP 1&2 it was like that.

RE: Now you know why I was so excited about this event
By Mint on 5/20/2014 3:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
It's a 3:2 ratio screen. 1080p would have to completely revamp the device, and most people wouldn't like it as much in portrait mode.

At this price, how can you complain about more resolution?

By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 3:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
I also think the higher resolution is useful here since they made it clear that one of their target use cases for the device is a replacement for a notepad/paper. You would want a high density DPI for sharp font. I'm sure 1080p (or 3:2 equivalent) would be fine for those who do not use it for writing.

By atechfan on 5/20/2014 6:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
With that aspect ratio, 1080p would give 1620 on the other axis, not enough to play 1080p content.

I really like this
By MZperX on 5/20/2014 4:33:50 PM , Rating: 3
This may be the first time I take the plunge to buy a tablet. Not to knock all the others but they seemed mostly as overpriced toys (I know broad generalization). In my opinion anyway it was difficult the justify the $$$ spent. This one finally is a true computer in every sense of the word. With a dock at home connected to the 24" Ultrasharp and the keyboard cover while on the go I can really see myself using this thing all the time. Very impressive and the price while not cheap is reasonable for what this device offers. It only took what 5-6 years? Hehe...

RE: I really like this
By gixser on 5/20/2014 6:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. This looks great. Just got word that my boss has agreed to buy one for me. Looking forward to setting this up with a docking station to work from home.

By GTVic on 5/20/2014 7:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
Last model is 512GB, not 256

RE: Typo
By Brandon Hill on 5/20/2014 8:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
Fixed. Thanks!

By AstroCreep on 5/20/2014 12:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
My work just bought me and a few others on my team a few Surface Pro 2s. Guess I need to see what CDW's return policy is... :p

By kedesh on 5/20/2014 2:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Damn I just purchased an Asus T300LA 2 days ago.. Hopefully I won't be dissapointed

Great device
By danbob999 on 5/20/2014 2:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
However 4GB RAM and 64GB flash is not enough for a laptop.
I would only consider the $1300 surface and then I find it too expensive.

windows is better
By onerec111 on 5/21/2014 7:30:04 AM , Rating: 2
Very good job for microsoft!!!
Design, innovations and user-friendly technology keeps getting better!
I think most people try different gadgets out of curiousity and advertising but at the end they will realize that the pioneer and original is better.

By zephyrprime on 5/21/2014 11:03:33 AM , Rating: 2
I think this is the first Surface tablet that is actually compelling. It's powerful and large making it suitable for serious usage. Not very good for casual usage but that power comes at a price. I'm glad to see that it has ditched the 16:9 format screen. Tablets with that size screen were never any good in portrait mode and tablets spent most of their time in portrait mode. I still think that 4:3 is the best aspect ratio for a tablet.

Right direction
By Roy2001 on 5/21/2014 12:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
Higher resolution, 3:2 LCD, thinner, 9 hours battery life, with powerful Intel CPU. The direction is definitely right. This is the 1st time I praise a laptop/PC for many years. X86 should push ARM based tablet down.

Two Thoughts
By GlobleWarmingisbunk on 5/21/2014 7:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
First: I like this new surface pro. It works for some like me who has a 17" laptop for multimedia and gaming, but wants something smaller for in class note taking and other tasks that require Windows; like working with Java and C++.

Second: < rant> I wish the people who don't like it would just shut up. Your option of what makes sense and what doesn't no one cares about. Especially when your stupid. All the iPad and Android tablets are are over-sized smartphones. I have a Galaxy Note II I have no need for another android based device, That does noting that my Note II cannot. So just because you have no problem with carrying around three- to four different devices does not mean that other people do. < rant/>.

By synapse46 on 5/20/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wut?
By jnemesh on 5/20/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wut?
By Reflex on 5/20/2014 12:15:58 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed, once you put Boot Camp on it of course. Have to get rid of the crapware OS that comes with it.


RE: Wut?
By xti on 5/20/2014 12:17:05 PM , Rating: 3
they still make you?!

RE: Wut?
By michael2k on 5/20/2014 11:44:30 AM , Rating: 5
The MacBook Air is 1.7cm (17mm) thick.

You can see it here:

RE: Wut?
By BennyTroves on 5/20/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wut?
By michael2k on 5/20/2014 12:19:24 PM , Rating: 3
What? The Surface Pro 3 is still thinner than a MBA no matter how you define product.

RE: Wut?
By atechfan on 5/20/2014 12:24:53 PM , Rating: 3
It is about as heavy to hold and write on as a clipboard. MS really nailed it with this device. When I was playing with one, not only the weight, but the dimensions, seemed pretty much perfect. One thing I wish it had was a capacitive start button the moved depending on orientation since I am used to having it on the bottom in landscape mode. But other than that, can't really find a complaint.

RE: Wut?
By retrospooty on 5/20/2014 2:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
This does look good. Some nive improvements and not a huge rice increase. Well done.

RE: Wut?
By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 3:37:37 PM , Rating: 3
The rice is a nice added benefit to the families who buy expensive devices they can't afford instead of food for their children.

RE: Wut?
By retrospooty on 5/20/2014 3:49:35 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Wut?
By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 3:56:08 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Wut?
By synapse46 on 5/20/2014 1:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
I see it has a range to its thickness...

RE: Wut?
By FITCamaro on 5/20/2014 2:20:55 PM , Rating: 3
Average thickness on the Macbook Air is 10mm vs consistent thickness of the Surface 3 of 9.1mm.

Moral of the story? Both are thin and why the heck are people getting worked up over which is thinner. They're both thin, they're both light, and in the end, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

RE: Wut?
By Solandri on 5/20/2014 2:53:30 PM , Rating: 5
Because too many people base their self-worth on the products they use being better than the products someone else uses. They don't think of it in terms of how well the product gets the job done.

RE: Wut?
By NellyFromMA on 5/21/2014 7:33:53 AM , Rating: 2
AKA 1st world problems.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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