Hands On: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft showed off its Surface Pro 3 earlier today and we have gotten our hands all over the new 12-inch device. With a large new display and improved Type Covers, Microsoft has put in quite a few small little features that builds up to a much improved Surface package.

The new hinge has a good deal more flexibility and is considerably more adjustable than previous versions to achieve the best viewing angle possible.

The display is gorgeous and there is no doubt that the new size makes it a bit easier to use on your lap. The additional fold in the Type Cover to help stabilize the device while using it on your legs does seem to help but we will need more extensive use before we can draw a conclusion either way.

The pen tucks into a small loop on the side of the Type Cover to make it easier to transport and hopefully reduce the chances that you will lose it. The pen launches OneNote exceptionally quick when you engage the button on its base, and there are two additional buttons near the tip of the pen as well.

For the most part, the exterior of the device still feels like a classic Surface tablet, but for the fact that it is really light and quite thin.

With an Intel Core i7 under the hood, the tablet flies through the apps and any quick test we were able to put the device through. We also couldn't feel any air being pushed out through the vents, nor could we hear the fan. However, it is quite loud at the event so if we could have heard the fan to any degree, we would be quite alarmed.

More to come as we play around with the device.

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So... I just checked some prices over here, now that the Pro3 has it's official press release.

As everybody is comparing this pricewise to a iPad, I looked at the latest iPad Air with 64Gb.
It will cost me 659 euro.
The Pro3 gives me an additional 2+" more screenspace, a true digitizer/pen solution and a FULL OS. The price for the 64Gb Pro3 is 819 euro. A difference of 160 euro.

Will that be worth the difference in price? For me, a true Yes and Absolutely!

Too expensive.
And why no hdmi port?
Why not using ssd for bigger storage?

I hope the hinge strong enough/ last long time

utomo said,
Too expensive.

Show me a product that has the same specs/hardware as the Pro3.
For less money.
Can you? No... you can't.

Its really a big yawn. I don't see 'normal' people going out and getting a Surface when they think they want a tablet. The Surface is just another laptop device think and fits somewhere in the mess that is Windows 8 laptops today. They twist and bend and do yoga, this is just another one. It won't stand out from the crowd and I think that sales number support this so far.

it is not broadwell. just a newer hasswell. however that shouldn't matter as they could swap it once broadwell is available or maybe that is what we'll see spring of 2014 when surface pro 4 ships.

do you want to wait? if it matters that much to you, sure. otherwise, surely broadwell will be better but unlikely to be a game changer unless it brings a fanless i7 version (maybe the successor to broadwell)

I don't particularly - I guess I was wondering in the i7 would have more cores, but if it's ULV Haswell that's a certain no as I understand things. Makes you wonder what they'll have to come up with in twelve months to keep pushing things forwards (other than iterative chipset updates).

Even 1+ gen behind this will be a desirable device (IMO).

Pretty good but I guess, they will shaft that bezel on Surface Pro 4. Could have made it even better.

airedwin said,
So the core i7 version has a fan? Or is the author mistaken?

It has a fan but you could consider it "virtually" fanless as MS has said you wont feel the air flow or hear the fan, they invested heavily working with intel to create a very optimised fan to achieve this.

Osiris said,

It has a fan but you could consider it "virtually" fanless as MS has said you wont feel the air flow or hear the fan, they invested heavily working with intel to create a very optimised fan to achieve this.

I'm not sure if I believe them that it's "virtually" fanless. Lots of reviews always say the fan is inaudible but I can always hear the fan. And it's probably just "virtually" fanless at low load. I want a device that makes zero noise even at full load.

mrp04 said,

I'm not sure if I believe them that it's "virtually" fanless. Lots of reviews always say the fan is inaudible but I can always hear the fan. And it's probably just "virtually" fanless at low load. I want a device that makes zero noise even at full load.

Then you don't want an i7

siah1214 said,
Then you don't want an i7

Either an i7 or an i5, there really isn't much difference between them. Maybe broadwell will get power usage low enough to be fanless.

mrp04 said,

I'm not sure if I believe them that it's "virtually" fanless. Lots of reviews always say the fan is inaudible but I can always hear the fan. And it's probably just "virtually" fanless at low load. I want a device that makes zero noise even at full load.

if you're going to obsess over this, then wait for something with the power of an i5/7 that is fanless....it will be at least 18 months before any such thing exists so....meanwhile why not take advantage of the next best thing?

neonspark said,

if you're going to obsess over this, then wait for something with the power of an i5/7 that is fanless....it will be at least 18 months before any such thing exists so....meanwhile why not take advantage of the next best thing?

I can wait. I have a convertible tablet already, I'll just continue using it. It's a Lenovo X230 tablet and while it has a fan I use TPFanControl to make the fan stay off until the CPU is SERIOUSLY hot which doesn't happen during normal usage. It is the old style convertible tablet so it has a pretty big heatsink.

I understand the request for fanless but I have rarely ever noticed the fan on the SP2 so if MS now considers this an important design point and has put work into it as they claimed, I would be surprised if its still an issue.

dbam987 said,
Does the original dock fit the new surface 3?

Don't think so, they said they have a new dock just for it, I think it's too big to fit in the Surface 2 dock.

Dutchie64 said,
up to 9 hours web based work, whatever that may be.

But from i3 to i7, expect huge differences while working.

We don't know which version they used as the battery test, what if they used the i7 and got 9hrs? Wouldn't the i3 then give you around 11hrs?

Since they publicly released the hours number, we can posit that it was based on the best possible configuration for battery life. Must be based on i3.

Hambone72 said,
Since they publicly released the hours number, we can posit that it was based on the best possible configuration for battery life. Must be based on i3.

If it is the i3, then the i5 will come in the 7hr range, where the Surface Pro 2 is at from what I remember. The i7 at 5-6hrs would be fine, all things considered but we'll have to wait and see.

For those wondering why the Windows button is on the side: Folding up the type cover the way they did would cover the button as well. The keyboard meets the screen.

Roberticus said,
For those wondering why the Windows button is on the side: Folding up the type cover the way they did would cover the button as well. The keyboard meets the screen.

We also have to keep in mind that they're pushing this as a note taking device first, or heavily. So in that sense you're going to hold it in portrait and then the button will be at the "bottom" again and not on one of the sides where you might grip it to write.

The button on the side also does match up with where it would be when you bring up the charms bar in landscape mode.

I tend to hold my Surface at the sides in landscape when carrying it around, so having the button at the side kind of makes it easier. Otherwise I have to let go of one hand to press it. Now the button is right underneath one of my thumbs.

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Battery life?

9hrs they say, but that could be with the i3 or i5, unless it's with the i7 then the other two should get longer.

Form what I've seen on the video, yes. It would be silly if not, as it would be a step back.
Especially for note taking...

Yes, he made a point of saying the palm rejection is good. With a digitizer, palm rejection is pretty trivial because you just turn off the touch screen when the pen is near.

Dot Matrix said,
How is writing? Does it have palm rejection?

Wouldn't be a good inking experience without palm rejection.

Can't speak to the writing but all the Surface pro devices have palm rejection in them, this is no different and was mentioned at the launch stream.

Yes it does; Panos showed that on stage. They moved on from Wacom too to push the writing / inking to the next level.

More importantly, they paid attention to pen-weight. (Have you paid attention to the weight of higher-end pens, such as CROSS? Specifically, the type of pens that are included with desk sets, like those you would give to a high-school or college graduate - which is why I mentioned Cross.) A CROSS pen does NOT feel like a Paper-Mate or Bic. Nothing against Bic, or even Paper-Mate - however, compare either to Cross, and merely in terms of balance, BOTH come up wanting. Cross pens are like Wacom digitizers, or most Apple notebooks - THE standard in their category. That is why the pen makes a monstrous difference.

Sometimes nice things cost more. Acer made lots of laptops, high volume, lots of plastic crap. This is high quality, good feeling, but more expensive. Can't have it all.

ians18 said,
Need more side shots. What are the ports?

Spec sheet

Ports Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cover port
Charging port

bdsams said,
Will add some here in a sec.

Brad, could you please take a quick glance at system properties. Interested to know the exact CPU model.

bithush said,
So it no longer has a magnet grip for the pen? :(

tbh, it never really worked for travel, just for the occasional clipping it to the side of the screen.

Indeed. The magnetic connection was never really designed for travel as it wasn't strong enough to withstand anything but the most minor of knocks before it would fall off and you'd lose the thing. Also you couldn't have the device on mains if you had the pen attached.

bdsams said,
Correct, it attaches to the type cover via a loop.

Thanks for confirming Brad, would have liked both options myself.

This adds ammo to people suggesting that the covers should be bundled as they are increasing integral to the actual experience, starting to agree with them especially for this size device.

Osiris said,

Thanks for confirming Brad, would have liked both options myself.

This adds ammo to people suggesting that the covers should be bundled as they are increasing integral to the actual experience, starting to agree with them especially for this size device.

As I understand the pen is a separate purchase as well though. All of them are accessories. $$$

bdsams said,
Correct, it attaches to the type cover via a loop.

Well that's pretty lame, given that the pen comes with the tablet, but the cover is an accessory that's sold separately...

As an original Pro owner: I really wish the pen could be inserted in a hole running down the side of tablet's body. It wouldn't make it any thicker. Wider, maybe, but I could live with that.

knighthawk said,
Pretty shocking that even the pen is not included, particularly given the current pricing.

Pretty shocking it comes with a Pen....*facepalm*

They do have an exchange program. Ask the store reps for more details. I'm not sure if it's for small businesses only though.

The Surface Pro is finally the "no compromise" device Microsoft envisioned a few years ago. It's thin. It's light. It's powerful. And it's truly mobile (with 4G connectivity).

cybersaurusrex said,
The Surface Pro is finally the "no compromise" device Microsoft envisioned a few years ago. It's thin. It's light. It's powerful. And it's truly mobile (with 4G connectivity).

Did they say it has 4G?

Crimson Rain said,

Did they say it has 4G?

Well he read that bit of the article from that female journalist. He didn't say it DIDN'T have 4G when he read that bit of the article? So who knows. Just waiting for the surface.com website to be updated so I can have a proper look at the specs.

cybersaurusrex said,
It does not have 4G... which is a bit disappointing.

I don't think it matters much. You can easily use a small usb dongle or wifi hotspot device or your phone...

coresx said,

An accurately priced Ultrabook.

But.. but.. I thought PCs were supposed to be cheaper than MACs (Macbook Air was first of the ultrabooks).