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Newest Microsoft Surface device built as both a tablet and an enterprise desktop replacement
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has introduced Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch tablet with the full functionality of a laptop that seems designed just for enterprises. It can run legacy Windows applications as well as modern Windows Store touch-friendly apps. It also is fully manageable as a corporate laptop or desktop, and is thinner, lighter and has a longer battery life than its smaller predecessor, Surface Pro 2.
Surface Pro 3 comes in five models ranging in price from $799 to $1,949, powered by an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor with between 4GB and 512GB of RAM. It weighs 1.76 pounds (Surface Pro 2 weighs 2 pounds and the battery life is 809 hours (Surface Pro 2’s is 4-6 hours). The aspect ratio is 3:2 rather than the conventional 16:9 in order to simulate the dimensions of a sheet of paper for pen work. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but lacks cellular connectivity. It has dual 5M pixel cameras and Dolby-enhanced stereo sound.
Surface Pro 3 is considerably thinner than the previous model at .36 inches vs .53 inches for Surface Pro 2.
Microsoft has redesigned the kickstand in Surface Pro 3 so it can prop up the device at any angle between 22 and 150 degrees, making it as adjustable as a traditional laptop screen. The original Surface Pro had just one position, and Surface Pro 2 had two.
A docking station is available for Surface Pro 3 that can turn the unit into a corporate desktop. It supports 4K external monitors for applications that require larger, high-resolution screens. It also supports USB ports and an Ethernet connection.
The Surface Pen for the Surface Pro 3 responds to 256 levels of pressure sensitivity giving it a broad range of heaviness of line that it can draw. Pressing on the pen top (that would click the cartridge into place on a conventional pen) switches on a nearby Surface Pro 3, opening it to a page in the OneNote application, making the device ready for immediate note taking. Because the outermost layer of the display screen is ultra thin, ink appears to flow directly from the pen, as opposed to the visible gap between pen point and image that can be seen on machines with thicker outer layers.
This is a side view of the Type Cover made for the device. Note to the extreme right is a node with a short prong. This snaps into the bottom edge of the tablet magnetically. The second node to the left of the first is a stiff strip that can fold up to connect magnetically to the face of the device. When deployed this way, Surface Pro 3 can be used on a lap without the keyboard flexing, giving the configuration the feel and stability of a traditional laptop.
Here’s the keyboard actually attached to a Surface Pro 3 tablet with the magnetic strip folded up so it is attached magnetically to the face of the device. The kickstand is also deployed.
The Surface Pro 3 keyboard/covers come in five colors. Note the touchpad, which is better defined and larger than the touchpad on keyboard/covers for Surface Pro 2. Microsoft says it is also more touch sensitive.
Surface Pro 3 is definitely not an iPad competitor. In fact, Microsoft at the launch compared it to the MacBook Air. Unlike an iPad it’s a full Windows laptop, manageable, and designed to be fully functional with a keyboard as well as with touchscreen and pen. The docking station makes it a candidate for a corporate desktop. Microsoft claims that 96% of iPad users also have a laptop and that Surface Pro 3 will make it unnecessary to own two devices in order to get the functionality of both a laptop and a tablet.