Microsoft Surface Pro 3 goes official: Specs, options, pricing and availability

By Alexandra Burlacu | May 21, 2014 08:54 AM EDT

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Microsoft has officially introduced its much-rumored Surface Pro 3, a device that aims to truly serve both as a tablet and a laptop.

With its latest Surface Pro 3, Microsoft wants to replace your laptop - and might just pull it off. During the presentation, Microsoft Surface corporate vice president Panos Panay highlighted several notable improvements over the previous iteration, including a larger 12-inch display, a thinner design, an enhanced stylus experience, and a full-friction kickstand that allows users to adjust viewing angles.

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"So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes," Panay touted in the press release. "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."

The Surface Pro 3 comes with a choice of Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor and is both thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air, measuring 9.1mm in thickness and weighing in at just 800 grams. Panay insisted on highlighting this by placing the Surface Pro 3 and the MacBook Air on a scientific balance scale to show off the difference.

Moreover, the Surface Pro 3 also comes with a new Surface Pen stylus that boasts 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. The tablet's optical stack allows for great precision and makes it seem like ink is flowing from the tip of the pen, offering a great writing experience. OneNote integration, meanwhile, makes it easy for users to jot down notes on the Surface Pro 3 and have them uploaded to other devices. Furthermore, the Surface Pen's button can also wake the tablet to take notes, uploading them to the cloud when completed.

Because it wants the Surface Pro 3 to replace your laptop, Microsoft has also teamed up with Adobe to demonstrate a preview of Photoshop specifically optimized for the tablet, sporting larger icons as well as support for both touch and stylus input.

The entry-level, $799 model comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal storage capacity, while the Core i5 models come at $999 with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage capacity, and $1,299 with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The high-end i7 models, meanwhile, cost $1,549 with 256 GB of storage and $1,949 with 512 GB of storage. According to Microsoft, battery life will last for up to nine hours of web browsing on a single charge.

As expected, Microsoft has also launched a number of new accessories along with its latest Surface Pro 3, including a new Type Cover priced at $130 that offers a larger trackpad compared to its predecessor, while also being thinner. A docking station is also available for $200, ready with Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort, USB, and audio ports to transform the Surface Pro 3 into a fully functional desktop workstation.

The new Surface Pro 3 goes up for pre-order on Wednesday, May 21, with the aforementioned $799 starting price and will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada in select models, with additional models and markets set to follow later on, in August.



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