Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 3

Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 3

Summary: Microsoft's message is the Intel Core-based Surface Pro 3 will be 'the tablet that can replace your laptop.'


Microsoft took the wraps off its third-generation Surface device on May 20 in New York City. 


The device, dubbed the Surface Pro 3, is a 12-inch Intel Core i7-based device with a 2160 X 1440 resolution.  It has a 3X2 aspect ratio, is .36 inches thick and weighs 800 grams (without the keyboard).

Microsoft Surface: What you need to know

Microsoft is marketing the Pro 3 as "the tablet that can replace your laptop."

Microsoft has played up its first two generations of Surface as devices that bridge consumption and creation, and can work as both tablets and laptops. At today's announcement, Surface chief Panos Panay made sure to drive home that message. 

A pen also is a key element of Microsoft's pitch for these next-generation devices. A button on the end of the pen allows users to open OneNote automatically with a press. The new kickstand on the device has a new "canvas mode" angle (of 150 degrees) that is meant to improve "lapability." Microsoft is quoting battery life of "up to nine hours."

There will be a docking station and new type covers in a variety of colors for the Surface 3. The track pads on the new keyboards are larger and better for scrolling, Panay said.

The Surface Pro 3 will come in three versions: Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. They will be available for preorder starting on May 21 and will start at $799. Shipments commence on June 20.

Update: Here's the full price list for the different Surface Pro 3 devices and associated peripherals. (Thanks @hoyty) The Core i3 version is the one that starts at $799 with 4 GB of RAM. The highest end Core i7 model with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage is $1,949. The keyboards are still $129.99. 


The Surface Pro 3 includes the new pen in the base pricing.  

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Laptops, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Looks good

    I'd take this over one of the new Samsung 12" tablets or a hypothetical iPad Pro. Interesting how they got this out before Broadwell. If Apple has a 12" MacBook in the works, the Surface Pro 3 also seems competitive with it.
    • Good Size

      12" is a good size for a hybrid/convertible. I used a 10" Surface Pro for 6 months. It was OK but was just a little to small for a lot of things. The digital ink (pen/stylus) was great for taking notes but the area was to small. In reaction I next went for a 15" Sony Flip. It basically gave me a an 8.5X11 paper to take notes on. It is great but often it is a little bit to big to carry around when not being used. I have been wondering if maybe a 12 to 13" size would be a better compromise. No mater the size I would not give up digital ink.
    • Pricing

      I agree with you, BUT: have you seen the pricing on these models? I think MS is shooting themselves in the foot by pricing these up to $2K. Business people will opt for the Lenovo X1 Carbon at a significant savings. The need for a touchscreen for the extra money just isn't there.
      Ira Seigel
      • For people that want a tablet

        that can also create content while keeping the overall weight and size small, it is worth the price.
        • and who ARE those people?

          Again, as the MS shills like to point out when diss'ing the iPad - if you want to do real content creation, chose a desktop with dual monitors, or a laptop with a proper keyboard and mouse/touchpad. Who is really going to do content creation on a 800gm tablet without a keyboard? At the minimum you are going to have to use the typecover, a comparatively poor keyboard, and accept an overall weight the same as a ultrabook??

          These are over-spec'ed and over-priced. To get volume, MS needs a "price" or "spec" (read weight, batter life) winner. To my eye it hasn't got either here. Maybe there is hope for an ARM update???
          • MS is not doing the Surface line to get hardware profit

            It is doing it to pressure the windows hardware vendors to aim higher.
            Ultimately, to further the windows platform with innovative hardware options.
          • Comparing an iPad to an Surface is apples to oranges

            There is no other machine on the market like a Windows 8 tablet. It effectively does both computer and tablet functions. When your iPad can do that, then come back and flap your jaws.
          • im one of them

            I've got a Surface Pro 2 with an original Touch Cover and have to say it's the best device I've ever bought.

            The thing I like most is that you can just have 1 device. Want to sit on a sofa use it in tablet mode, need to take it to a meeting then it fits in a small bag, want to use it at work then dock it and have a massive monitor. It's just a nice concept that whatever you want to do you can use the same device to do it.
      • The problem is

        that they can't sell their hardware too cheap. If they do they'll be competing with other OEMs.
        • Good point

          It might anti trust if they do. At least that's what I read into your statement.
      • Surface Pro 3 vs Lenovo X1

        The Surface Pro 3 is actually cheaper than 5 of the Top 8 Ultrabooks if you choose comparable specs. Pricing for 8GB 256GB devices:
        1. HP Spectre 13t-3000 (i5) $1350 2.Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 (i5) $1400 3. Surface Pro 3 (i5) $1430 4. Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch (i5), ASUS Zenbook UX301 (i5), Acer S7-392 $1600 7. Dell XPS 13 (i7) $1650) 8. Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus (i7) $1800
        • You forgot the typecover

        • Hairobi,

          what a POS are you talking about? Why compare to ultrabooks? Why not to tablets with similar techspecs? All of a sudden you get for Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 $779. How's that?
          • @moodjbow

            "Why not to tablets with similar techspecs? All of a sudden you get for Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 $779. How's that?"

            The specs aren't even in the same ballpark. Are you really suggesting that the Note pro can come close to the surface 3?
      • Lenovo is good stuff

        I want a ms pro, but the price keeps me away. So many enterprise grade options with better specs and lower prices. MS should really be less greedy.
        • I don't think you can find the same specs for the price - anywhere

          Try to find an equivalent ultrabook that has the same weight and battery life with an 512Gb SSD i7, 8g of ram.

          It is quite comparable
      • I agree

        Pricing looks to be trouble if nobody really considers the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacement. If people still want a laptop or find the SP3 not as good. They will balk at $800 for a core i3 64 GB tablet. Yes, it is better specs then anything Microsoft has done with Surface. But I think they may have entered in above the price point again.
      • Different products

        This is a large, thin, tablet with a wacom digitizer. Just not comparable. Still might be overpriced but your comparison does not make sense.
        Rann Xeroxx
      • Photoshop performance and SSD storage capacity - in a tablet

        Yes those prices are up there but how many ultra ultra portable laptops with 512 GB SSD 8G of RAM and and an i7 plus touch, will you find that are whole lot cheaper?

        This is lighter than the lightest laptop, can be used as a tablet and yet has the performance to do photoshop, 3DMax, SolidWorks and heavy Excel calculations.
      • But it is using SSD! That's $450 at least for 512GB

        Having an i7, 8G ram, an SSD, touch, lighter than Mac Air, 9 hr battery, Display port, USB 3.0, pen interface in a tablet! Try to find a laptop with these specs.

        This thing could run photoshop, solidworks, 3dmax - on a tablet. This is an ultra-premium and MS knows it.