Microsoft Surface Pro 3 unveiled with 12″ screen, Intel processors
Today Microsoft held an event during which it unveiled the Surface Pro 3 tablet. This isn’t surprising given that yesterday we heard that this exact thing would happen. But there was no Surface Mini outed, and that goes against a myriad of rumors and purported leaks we’ve seen over the past few months. So what gives?
Well, it turns out there was a Surface Mini in development, but Microsoft decided not to launch it after all. This was apparently done because the company’s execs didn’t think it was different enough from the competition, and “probably wouldn’t be a hit”. This is according to a person with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans, quoted by Bloomberg.
So the Surface Mini is a no go, at least for now. But that may change in the future, obviously. Microsoft decided not to compete with the iPad Mini and Nexus 7, and instead it went with something a lot bigger. The Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12-inch touchscreen, just like it was rumored to. And its main competitor seems to be the MacBook Air.
Will Microsoft succeed though? Past Surface tablets have been pitted against the full size iPad with no good results, their sales having been lackluster at best. So now Microsoft is putting out a bigger tablet that will probably only be used in the enterprise (which is where Microsoft still sees a lot of orders), or as a small laptop replacement (and this is how the company hopes to bring the Surface Pro 3 into the hands of consumers).
The Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12-inch 2,160×1,440 touchscreen with 3:2 aspect ratio (as opposed to 16:9 for the other Surface models and 4:3 for Apple’s iPads), Intel processors (see below for full breakdown), a 5 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front camera, stereo speakers, a microSD card slot, a full size USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a stylus called Surface Pen, and quoted nine-hour battery life (while Web browsing). It runs Windows 8.1 Pro, the ‘full’ version, not the RT one.
As leaked yesterday, there will be quite a few hardware versions of the Surface Pro 3. The cheapest option will cost $799 and will come with an Intel Core i3 processor, 64 GB of built-in storage, and 4 GB of RAM. For $200 extra you can double the amount of storage and get a Core i5 CPU. $1,299 will buy you an i5 with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of built-in space, while for $1,549 you can make that processor be a Core i7. Finally, the most expensive SKU will come with a Core i7, 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage for $1,949.
The Type cover will cost $129.99, and a docking station will be offered as an accessory too, for $199.99. Additional Surface Pens will cost $49.99.
Pre-orders will start tomorrow at Microsoft’s online store. The Surface Pro 3 will be released in the US and Canada on June 20. By the end of August, it will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom as well.
The Surface Pro 3 will be sold alongside the 10-inch Surface Pro 2 which was announced last year, and won’t replace it in Microsoft’s portfolio. This makes sense given the size difference between the two.