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
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 Pro|
Dimensions: 7.93 in x 11.5 in x 0.36 in
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
Screen: 12-inch ClearType Full HD display
Resolution: 2160 x 1440
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Touch: Multitouch input
Pen input and pen (included with purchase)
4th-generation Intel Core i5-4300U (1.6 GHz - 2.90 GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4400
4th-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Processor
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
Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Ambient light sensor
|Power supply||36W power supply (including 5W USB for accessory charging)|
|Warranty||One-year limited hardware warranty|