microsoft surface pro 3
May 21, 2014

Microsoft Eyes Surface Pro 3 As Laptop Replacement

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

On Tuesday Microsoft revealed its newest Surface tablet device, which the company claims will eliminate any "conflict" that exists between the tablet and the laptop.

The new Surface Pro 3 features a 12-inch screen along with kickstand and offers support for a stylus. This new portable supports USB 3.0 along with Microsoft's popular Type Covers that are available in multiple colors. The Surface Pro 3 will run on Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors – a notable boost in performance from the original Surface Pro.

The Surface Pro 3 12-inch screen is up in size from the 10.6 screen of the Surface Pro 2, and Microsoft said this was critical in making the device compete with laptops. The display features a 2160 x 1440 resolution that even tops the traditional 1080p Full HD displays of many laptops.

The go-anywhere device can provide up to nine hours of Web-browsing via its rechargeable battery, which Microsoft stated is a 10 percent improvement over the Surface Pro 2. The device, which weighs in at 1.76 pounds, is also just 0.36 inches thin, and Microsoft noted "it is just half the thickness of a MacBook Pro, and 30% thinner than an 11-inch MacBook Air."

Microsoft is marketing the Surface Pro 3 not so much as a laptop killer – which has been the common approach taken by tablet makers – but more as a laptop replacement.

"So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface, in a statement. "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."

Microsoft also hyped the cool factor of the Surface Pro 3, noting that it had developed new cooling technology to keep the device running at full capacity. The device utilizes a new fan technology that Microsoft claims is 30% more efficient than previous solutions which allows the Surface Pro 3 to be thinner without sacrificing performance.

Whether the device will actually be seen as a laptop replacement is now the big question. Going bigger could certainly work in Microsoft's favor this time around – as perhaps the original device was too small for actual work.

"You could make the comment that when Surface Pro and Surface RT launched was exactly when the market had shifted toward smaller sizes," Tom Mainelli, an analyst with research firm IDC, said of Microsoft’s first branded tablets, which debuted in late 2012, in an interview with the Seattle Times. "If Microsoft came out with an 8-inch tablet today, I'd make the argument that they came out with a smaller tablet just as the market is shifting toward larger sizes."

The Surface Pro 3 is now available for pre-order via the company's online store as well its retail outlets and certain third-party shops. The 12-inch slate device will retail for $799 for the Intel i3 64GB model, $999 for the i5/128GB version, $1,299 for the i5/256GB, $1,549 for the i7/256GB and up to $1,949 for the i7/512GB model.

The device will begin to roll out next month, with the Core i5 models scheduled to arrive in the United States and Canada on June 20, along with the Pro Type Cover, Pen Loop and Surface Pen. The Core i3 and Core i7 models are scheduled to ship to the United States and Canada by the end of August.