Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 is a bigger, faster, thinner Surface tablet, and Microsoft thinks its the first model that might have a real shot at replacing your notebook.

The company introduced the tablet at an event in New York this morning, and it goes up for pre-order May 21st, 2014 for $799 and up.

Want to know what’s under the hood of the latest Surface tablet? Read on for all the details.

pro 3 front

The Surface Pro 3 measures 11.5″ x 7.9″ x 0.36″ and weighs 1.76 pounds. It has a 3:2 aspect ratio display, making it a bit easier to hold in one hand than earlier Surface tablets, even though it has a bigger screen. The tablet has a magnesium case and a new type of fan that Microsoft says is 30 percent more efficient than earlier models, which is why the Surface Pro 3 is actually thinner than its predecessor.

The company will offer models with up to a Core i7 processor and up to 512GB of storage, although clearly the cheapest models will pack a lot less power and storage.

  • Display: 12 inch, 2160 x 1440 pixel 3:2 display
  • Touchscreen: Multitouch input
  • Pen input: 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, pen comes with the tablet
  • CPU: Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 CPU
  • Memory: 4GB or 8GB of RAM
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of solid state storage
  • Wireless: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours of run time while web browsing
  • Cameras: 5MP rear camera and 1080p front camera
  • Speakers/mics: Stereo speakers with Dolby audio, microphones on the fornt and back
  • I/O: 1 USB 3.0 port, microSD card slot, mini DisplayPort, headset jack

The $799 model will feature a Core i3 Haswell CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Other models include:

  • $999: Core i5, 4GB, 128GB
  • $1299: Core i5, 8GB, 256GB
  • $1549: Core i7, 8GB, 256GB
  • $1949: Core i7, 8GB, 512GB

Accessories include a Type Cover which protects the screen and functions as a keyboard, a Docking Station which adds support for 4K video output, among other things, and an Ethernet adapter. Here are the estimated prices:

  • Type Cover: $130
  • Docking Station: $200
  • Ethernet Adapter: $40
  • Additional Surface Pen: $50
  • Additional 36W power supply: $80
  • Additional Pen Loop: $5

The Type Cover includes backlit keys and comes in black, blue, cyan, red, or purple. It weighs 0.65 pounds and measures 0.19 inches thick.

pro 3 dock

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 docking station has 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a mini DisplayPort.

The tablet also has a new multi-position kickstand which can be used to prop up the Surface Pro 3 for laptop-style use, for watching videos, or for lying at a slight angle on a table for writing or drawing in “canvas” mode.



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22 replies on “Meet the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (spec sheet)”

  1. If I wanted a ultra book I would buy one. At 12 inches its not of use in bed.
    Its not really like a small book so you can use it to read with.
    And the price is insane. Rather buy an ASUS laptop or a much cheaper tablet.

    1. Pro tablets tend to be for Pro usages… Mind, for digital artists getting a SP3 is actually cheaper and probably more practical than getting a even more expensive WACOM Cintiq Companion or still expensive Cintiq monitor that still requires you to have a PC to run it…

      Just a 13.3″ WACOM Cintiq monitor starts at about $999 and goes up to $2999 for the larger 24″ HD screen size with touch…

      Though, this SP3 does do away with a WACOM digitizer in favor of a N-Trig, they supposedly optimized the drivers, etc. to ensure it operates well and Adobe has added support to Photoshop for it…

      You can get the occasional sale on the Cintiq’s, though, the Companion with 256GB drive is presently on sale for $200 off the normal $1999 price… but the 512GB model will of course go even higher and the Cintiq Companion isn’t as portable as the MS SP3… So that should put it in better perspective compared to the other premium options out there…

      While, of course we’ll likely see cheaper alternatives from other system makers but for the target consumers this is meant for it’s actually a pretty good compromise between price, features, and capabilities…

      Mind, larger screens are more useful for things like viewing PDFs, reviewing CAD files, etc… and the kickstand now goes far enough to prop up the tablet on either your lap or table for a canvas mode for easier use without needing to hold it all the time… So a lot depends on how you want to use it but even tablets around 10″ in size are still a bit large to tote around easily and hold with just one hand…

      Meaning, we’ll likely have to wait till the 7-8″ tablets become more popular before we see more options that are more ideal for portable usage… fortunately, we should see up to a doubling of performance in those smaller devices by the end of next year to reduce the amount of compromises we normally have to accept going smaller…

      1. I think a very high percentage of people who don’t use digitizers for art or design miss the importance of the inclusion of one in the Surface Pro tablets, and because of this, draw inaccurate comparisons between Surface Pros and other tablets. There are very, very few tablets out there with Core CPUs and Wacom digitizers, and (as far as I know) none that approach the Surface Pro line in terms of total price, performance, and convenience. People comparing Surface Pros to iPads, Android tabs, pen-less tablets, or touch-screen laptops just aren’t getting it. Case in point: Rob’s arguments above.

        Edit: The SP3 is N-Trig, not Wacom, but my point still stands.

  2. How does this “replace” a notebook. It has a power supply and a fan. Sounds like a notebook with a detached keyboard to me.

    1. Because it’s not a notebook but it can still do everything you would expect from a notebook…

  3. $1949: Core i7, 8GB, 512GB for the high end version… this is a nutty high price.

    1. Why? There are still laptops that are priced over $2000 and they don’t have the built quality, touch screen, etc that this offers…

      Tablets naturally tend to cost more because they have to be thinner and lighter, build quality generally has to be better, screen resolution generally has to be higher, etc. It all adds up!

      Besides, the starting price is pretty good considering Windows tablets used to start at around $1300 but this starts at $799…

  4. So if I want the i3, my only hard drive choice is 64GB? I’m disappointed I can’t get the base processor and RAM while upgrading only the hard drive capacity. An i3 processor and 4GB of RAM would provide good enough performance for me and the longest battery life, but 64GB just doesn’t seem enough for a Windows 8 tablet. I really want a Surface Pro, but $1000 dollars to get one with a decent size (not huge) hard drive just seems a little too high, especially considering some of the other options available.

    1. I suspect the lack of local storage capacity will prove the Achille’s Heel of these products. Without a breakthrough SSD just isn’t practical for these purposes so maybe the necessary innovation will come from some other quarter.

      1. Very doubtful, you don’t see many laptops with TB drives… So it’s usually not a concern… especially when you can just attach an external drive just like you would any other PC…

        While SSDs provide a big performance perk and the capacities are still enough for most people that don’t need to carry around something like an entire media collection, which most people put on much larger NAS or similar storage systems…

  5. Sounds like some nice hardware but the pricing is still a bit too high. Asus will eat their lunch with similar hardware but cheaper prices. Not that Microsoft will really care. They want the profit from the software.

    1. Microsoft is taking the Apple approach. The Surface hardware is known for feeling very solid and nice. Asus will make a tablet cheaper, but it’s going to feel cheap as well. It will probably have a lot of plastic and will probably creak and flex a bit. I’m not saying one is better than the other but the price definitely reflects how they are mimicking Apple’s strategy.

      1. I wouldn’t make the comparison to Apple because Apple charges a high premium, which if MS was mimicking they would be charging quite a bit more than they are…

        The Apple iPad Air with 64GB cost $699 for example… That may be lower than the $799 starting price of this MS Surface Pro 3 but you’re getting a lot less for nearly the same price… as the A7 barely exceeds even a Bay Trail ATOM, versus the Core i3 in the MS base model, only has 1GB of RAM compared to 4GB in the MS base model, has no standard ports or memory card expansion built in like the MS models, is only running a mobile OS versus the full desktop OS in the MS models, has no built in pen options like the MS models, etc.

        Rather, the Surface series is more a business class tablet much like the HP Elitepads, Lenovo Thinkpad Tablets, etc.

        Mind, MS isn’t really competing with their partners any more than Google was with the Nexus series… They’re just mainly promoting the platform with the Surface series and that’s different from what Apple does… and is why we aren’t seeing a much wider range of models being offered by MS…

        1. I wouldn’t make the comparison to Apple because Apple charges a high premium, which if MS was mimicking they would be charging quite a bit more than they are…

          This crap again. Show me a Windows PC that matches the build quality and materials of my 13″ MacBook Pro w/ Retina, gets over 10 hours of battery life, comes with support comparable to Apple’s (walk into any Apple store in the world and get help at any time, I live 1km from the Brisbane flagship store), and matches the Mac spec-for-spec at a substantially lower price.

          I can name several such machines, like the beautiful but crazily expensive Lenovo X1 Carbon (starts @ $1799 w/ a low voltage i5, 4Gb RAM, 128GB SSD) but they are all about as expensive as my MBP, or even more so. I suppose Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Razer (the new Razer Blade makes my MacBook look CHEAP), etc. also all charge a “high premium” when you aren’t buying creaky, plasticky crap with horrid screens, crap battery life, garbage keyboards, etc. They ALL charge “high premiums” for their premium offerings. Apple could make a crappy $399 notebook any time they wanted, but there’s no money in it. Ask Acer, they’ll tell you.

          Apple doesn’t cost more than any of the others when you compare like for like. The Surface line IS like Apple’s offerings: high quality. The Surface Pro 2 is a joy just to hold in your hands in the same way that a MacBook is, or a high-end Thinkpad is, or a high-end Asus ultrabook, or an iPad …

          I don’t understand why people think Apple “charges a high premium” when in fact they simply sell high quality goods. The only difference between Apple and Microsoft and all the other OEMs is that Apple and Microsoft ONLY make high quality machines. There’s no such thing as a cheap (as in cheaply made) Surface or MacBook, that’s not the market segment Apple and Microsoft have chosen to target.

          I’d happily pay for a Surface Pro that’s “more expensive” than a “comparable” ultrabook just as I’d happily pay more for a MacBook Pro or iPad that’s “more expensive” than “comparable” offerings such as the GalaxyTab/Note/Whatever with their craptastic app offerings (blown-up phone apps) and creaky plastics. But then look at the Sony Xperia line (phones and tablets) or the HTC One M8: Android can attract beautiful hardware, also. The HTC One and the Xperia Z both make my iPhone 5 look a little sad, but then so do some of the Nokia phones, in their own way.

          But, I digress. Since you wanted to play the spec game, lets look at a Surface Pro 3 vs. a 13″ MacBook Pro w/ Retina vs. an X1 Carbon, shall we:

          MacBook Pro Specs:
          2.6Ghz i5 w/ TurboBoost to 3.1Ghz
          8GB RAM
          512GB PCI-Express SSD
          13″ Retina Display powered by Iris Pro 5100 GPU
          Keyboard and Trackpad built in
          Battery good for 9-10 hours of web surfing / writing easy (I’ve done it on mine)
          Price: $1799.00

          Thinkpad X1 Carbon specs:
          i7 4600u low voltage CPU (Turbo up to 3Ghz)
          8Gb RAM
          512GB SSD
          14″ Retina-quality IPS display powered by 4400 HD GPU
          9 hour battery
          Price: $2399.99

          Surface Pro 3:
          Low Voltage Core i7
          8GB RAM
          512GB SSD
          12″ Retina-quality display powered by 4400 HD GPU
          Keyboard/trackpad must be purchased separately
          Battery good for ?? (Not enough data yet, but say 9 hours)
          Price: $1949 + $130 for keyboard = $2079

          Now, the MacBook is going to wipe the floor with the Surface when it comes to pure compute and graphics horsepower, even pitting the i5 against the i7. The MacBook SSD is going to be faster, according the Anandtech the Mac’s screen is of objectively higher quality, and the MacBook’s keyboard and trackpad are industry-leading and the Type Cover, while great for what it is, can scarcely even begin to compare.

          I submit, however, as an owner of that exact MacBook Pro that I think the SP3 is fairly priced even though it’s “less capable” and “more expensive” than my Mac. I might even buy one, despite the “high premium” Microsoft is charging, because the Surface, just like my Mac, is an astonishing and beautiful piece of engineering.

          I’d make all the same arguments in favor of the Thinkpad, although I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d scream and cry about how “expensive” it is and whine that you’re “just paying for the Thinkpad name” or whatever.

          What a bunch of crap. Also, the 13″ MacBook Pro w/ Retina is, by far, the cheapest of the three options even though it has by far the better GPU, a faster SSD, and equals the others in every other way. As a matter of fact, I could get the MacBook Pro instead of the X1 Carbon and have exactly enough left over to buy an iPad Air. How’s THAT for charging a premium?

        2. Sorry, but the only misplaced reply is yours…

          1) We’re talking about tablets and not laptops, which is your first mistake!

          Apple does charge a high premium for their i-Products, which is why the 64 to 128GB Capacities start crossing over to the MS Surface Pro starting prices!

          Really, try to justify an otherwise low end mobile tablet costing about as much as a Pro PC tablet but offering far less?

          Like it or not these are facts! The iPad Air’s BOM is only about $279, which is cheaper than the previous 3rd Gen iPad and yet they still sell it for the same pricing ranges…

          Never mind, if you read the user forums you’d note many have complained about out of memory errors because they didn’t increase the RAM when they switched over to 64bit and 64bit tends to use up more resources than 32bit…

          2) To emphasize it again, Apple only makes iOS based tablets running on their ARM based custom SoCs! So those are the only ones being compared here! Tablets to Tablets!

          3) Even entertaining your misplaced comparisons, you misunderstand how the pricing works for the MBPs…

          For one thing, you don’t get the range of configurations that you can with a PC laptop… this means Apple doesn’t have to deal with supporting so many configurations and in turn that means less cost for them… while more costs for the PC laptop makers.

          Apple also invests heavily in acquiring parts and things like aluminum machining equipment, which results in very low unit costs…

          All of this means, it should actually be cheaper for Apple to make MBPs than the typical Ultrabook maker… but that doesn’t pan out in actual pricing…

          4) The Lenovo X1 Carbon is a mil spec qualified laptop, which means it’s even higher build quality than the MBP! And you can’t take advantage of the Intel® vPro™ on the MBP, along with over a hour longer run time, 3G, and On Site Service option… Just to name a few things why you’re getting more with products like that than a MBP…

          Apple also doesn’t offer things like Gaming Laptops, so it’s pretty much one size fits all for most of their models…

          So, you may be able to get a MBP and still have enough over for a iPad Air versus a Lenovo X1 Carbon but let’s not pretend they’re of exact equivalent value!

        3. Let’s take a look at some ordinary, everyday ultrabooks compared to the MBP:

          Acer S7 — despite its poor battery life and a fan that sounds like a hair dryer at times, when specced about like the MBP line it’s actually more expensive ($1699 w/ 256Gb SSD)

          The VAIO Duo 13? More expensive, despite its widely panned input devices and wireless issues. It’s a niche product, though, with a wonky form factor, so let’s skip it.

          The VAIO Pro 13, a more direct competitor to the MacBook Pro, has half the storage (256GB), a weaker GPU (4400 HD), a VERY creaky/flexible keyboard and chassis overall (seriously, pick one up, it’s shocking), and a plain Jane 1080P screen, pretty though it may be — and it costs $1799, just like the more highly specced MacBook Pro (which doesn’t literally droop and creak in your hand if you pick it up by one of its corners — the VAIO is truly that bad, shocking for a device so expensive)

          An XPS 13 w/ half the storage of the MBP and a plain old 1080P screen? $1649.

          A Zenbook X301 w/ less battery life, the same GPU, and half the SSD of the MBP? $200 more expensive @ $1999.

          Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus? Ditto on half the SSD size of the MBP (seems to be a theme), way less battery life (ditto on the theme), weaker GPU (4400 HD again). Spec for spec, it’s substantially weaker than the MBP but Samsung prices it at parity: $1799. A high premium indeed!

          Toshiba’s Kirabook? MUCH more reasonably priced than any of the rest and, spec for spec, probably the best value at $1349 w/ a low voltage i5 and 256Gb SSD for under $1400. Still, there’s no Iris GPU option, and if you bumped up the storage it’d be right there in MBP territory, price wise.

          So you say that Apple should be able to be cheaper, and they ARE cheaper or at parity with offerings from Acer, Sony, Asus, Samsung, etc. Then you also say that Apple charges a “high premium” — compared to WHO? I’m still waiting, so why don’t you show us these magical and mysterious ultrabooks that match the MacBook Pro for quality AND specs and cost less. Name 3, I dare you.

          Moving on to your next specious line of reasoning, did you miss the part of the SP3 announcement where Microsoft spent all their time pointing out that the Surface Pro 3 is meant to directly compete with the MacBook line? They even had a MacBook Air on stage to compare it to … there were no iPads to be seen anywhere … so you might be “talking about tablets” but Microsoft was definitely not. Microsoft clearly meant to position the SP3, because of its screen size, against Ultrabooks, not against iPads and Android tablets. MS said over and over again that the SP3 can do anything a laptop can do — a claim Apple, Asus, Samsung, et al, have never made about their own non-Windows tablets.

          Viewed in light of all this, then compared to high-end Ultrabooks the high-end SP3 pricing is just about right. So is the MacBook line, compared to its direct competitors, which is why Apple dominates the market for notebooks costing $1000 and up, the primary market in which it chooses to compete.

        4. Acer is also a bad example as a company that never really excelled at high quality and often cut corners… While Sony is a company that tended to over charge, which is one of the reasons why they’re finally leaving the PC market and selling off their Vaio department!

          So you basically chose two of the worst possible examples, congratulations on not succeeding in making a point!

          Even Apple has made flops, like the very first MBA… before they redesigned it and finally got the spec balance just right…

          Again, you don’t seem to understand the differences… Apple doesn’t
          have to support a wide range of hardware and so their overall costs are
          lower and while Apple’s build quality is generally good it never goes into mil spec range…

          Basically custom designs will always cost a bit more than mass produced standard designs but custom means more flexibility and range of features which means additional value!

          So, yeah, you can try to spin it your way but the reality is more complicated than you seem to want it to be!

        5. So you just skip over the Dell, Asus, Samsung, and Toshiba systems I mentioned that are lower spec or poorer quality than the MBP and yet are more expensive … How come?

        6. No, I just point out you were trying to use them to make the wrong point!

          Look, much of the reasons why many companies had trouble getting Ultrabooks to the price range Intel wanted was because of Apple… They had pretty much already cornered the market on things like Aluminum milling machines, which meant these other companies had to buy/build their own and/or use more expensive building materials that weren’t necessarily as good to use as aluminum…

          Which is part of the point of me pointing out Apple has to deal with lower unit costs and such issues only made the difference larger… Yet you can still get a Asus Zenbook for close to the same price with mostly similar…

          And you do have to look at 3rd gen Ultrabooks because these companies took that long to fully establish their own manufacturing systems to lower their own costs like Apple did… But they still have to support more custom designs than Apple!

          But that means all of those other companies also give a far greater range of products with some offering a greater range of features and capabilities than Apple offers and for many that gives them a greater value.

          So let’s not pretend these are exactly equivalent… Besides, MBPs aren’t in the Ultrabook classification… the only one that could be classified as a Ultrabook is the MBA…

          Tablet’s especially adhere to being even thinner and lighter than Ultrabooks… So general costs for them tend to be higher, which is one of the reasons why I pointed out your original reply was misplaced as you are comparing different categories of devices…

        7. But Microsoft spent the entire SP3 announcement calling the device a “tablet that can replace your notebook” … I’m not sure why you then felt it appropriate to compare it to an iPad, which has no such aspirations. Apple has NEVER marketed the iPad as anything more than a companion to a notebook. You were doing the exact same thing you say I was doing, in other words, “comparing different categories of devices”. The iPad is quite fairly priced for its stated goal (as is the Sony Tablet Z, the Galaxy line, etc.).

          But, seriously, I want to buy a Windows machine that is cheaper than my 13″ MacBook Pro w/ Retina (512Gb SSD / 8GB RAM / Iris Pro GPU / etc). I need this Windows machine to match the Mac’s build quality, thinness/weight, battery life, and specs, and I need this Windows device to be cheaper than US$1799, the cost of my MacBook (I actually got it on sale for 10% off, but we won’t quibble about that).

          Which Windows laptop would you suggest I buy that meets these requirements? Because Apple charged me such a “high premium” for my Mac, there should be a wide variety of competing machines you can offer me that provide equal quality and better value …

        8. Sorry but something that replaces something else does not need to be considered in every way the same as what it is replacing…

          Besides, unless you’re being very obtuse then it’s pretty much obvious they only meant that you can use their device for many of the same things but not that they are exactly equivalent because this is still a tablet!

          While like it or not Apple’s tablets both charge a higher premium for what they offer and offer less range of performance… And the people interested in the SP3 are looking specifically for a tablet!

          If you’re not interested in a tablet then of course there’s plenty other products to choose from and if a MBP fits your needs then so be it… everyone has different needs and desires, so it’s a good thing we usually have a choice in products to choose from…

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