Microsoft announces thinner, faster 12-inch Surface Pro 3 (Update: full specs and pricing)

By on May 20, 2014, 11:30 AM
microsoft, tablet, microsoft surface, surface pro 3

Well what do you know? Despite shooting down rumors last week Microsoft has taken the wraps off the new Surface Pro 3 at a press event in New York City today. The new device is faster and thinner than its predecessors, and despite packing a larger 12-inch screen, it’s lighter than the Pro 2 at 800 grams.

Microsoft went with a 2160 x 1440 resolution display and 3:2 aspect ratio, which is rare for this screen size. Surface chief Panos Panay says Windows has been optimized for the form factor and it actually allows the new Surface Pro 3 to show more on its 12-inch screen than a MacBook Air can in 13-inches.

Although technical specifications were a bit scarce during the presentation, Panay did say the new Surface includes a Core i7 that’s 10% faster than the one on its predecessor. Microsoft worked closely with Intel to get this chip into a 9.1mm form factor, and though it still requires a fan, it’s 30% more efficient than anything else on the market. You won’t hear it or feel it, he claims.

Another big area of focus was the redesigned kickstand. While the Surface Pro 2 took the original 22-degree angle and added a more sloped 55 degree position, the new kickstand just smoothly slides into any position you like within a 150-degree angle. You can tell Microsoft has put a lot of work into this and Panay admitted that this is essential to their laptop-replacement promise.

Also improving the device’s “lapability” is a new Type Cover that seals itself to the screen at an angle to provide more sturdiness and easier typing. It’s a subtle tweak that might go a long way in improving the experience along with a 68% larger trackpad -- addressing another pain point of its predecessor.

Lastly Panay talked up the new stylus, which can launch OneNote even when the Surface Pro 3 is powered off. When writing notes you can then click the top of the stylus again to save the content directly to OneDrive, and double-clicking it with the camera open will snap a photo and let you write on it.

Other features include front-facing speakers, an USB 3 port, and the ability to push out video to a 4K monitor via an optional docking station.

Pre-orders open tomorrow starting at $799 for the base Core i3 model.

Surface Pro 3 Pricing

  • Intel Core i3, 64 GB  and 4 GB of RAM - $799
  • Intel Core i5, 128 GB and 4 GB of RAM - $999
  • Intel Core i5, 256 GB and 8 GB of RAM - $1,299
  • Intel Core i7, 256 GB and 8 GB of RAM - $1,549
  • Intel Core i7, 512 GB and 8 GB of RAM - $1,949

Technical specifications

Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro
Exterior

Dimensions: 7.93 in x 11.5 in x 0.36 in
Weight: 1.76 lbs
Casing: Magnesium
Color: Silver
Physical buttons: Volume, Power, Home

Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Display Screen: 12-inch ClearType Full HD display
Resolution: 2160 x 1440
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Touch: Multitouch input
Pen input

Pen input and pen (included with purchase)
Pen features 256 levels of pressure sensitivity

CPU

4th-generation Intel Core i5-4300U (1.6 GHz - 2.90 GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB or 8 GB of RAM — dual-channel LPDDR3
TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module — for BitLocker encryption)

4th-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Processor
4GB or 8GB memory options
TPM 2.0 chip for enterprise security

Wireless Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 low energy technology
Battery Up to nine hours of Web-browsing battery life
Cameras and A/V 5MP and 1080p HD front- and rear-facing cameras
Built-in front- and rear-facing microphones
Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound
Ports Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cover port
Charging port
Sensors Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Power supply 36W power supply (including 5W USB for accessory charging)
Warranty One-year limited hardware warranty

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