Your older Surface covers will work on the Pro 3, but it's not pretty

Microsoft has made the wise decision to make all of the previous generation Surface keyboard covers backwards and forwards compatible. Surely, this was the right move as those who have already invested in the platform will be able to bring their existing add-ons with them - but we must admit, it's not a pretty look.

Here's the basics of it: the new Pro 3 is much larger than existing devices and when you put an older cover on the new screen, it doesn't protect the entire surface. That's not a big surprise and as you can see in the images of this post, it leaves a wide area exposed when folded up.

On the other side of the equation, the Type Cover 3 does work on older Surface models, and gives you more space to type - but when folded up, there is quite a bit of overhang that expands the total footprint of the device.

Type Cover 3 on a Surface Pro 2

None of this information is ground-breaking but after our Q&A on Twitter last night, we got a couple requests to see what the old Type Covers look like on the new device, so here you go.

We will say though that if you do get a Pro 3, getting the updated Type Cover is worth the expense for the trackpad alone which has been overhauled significantly. Sure, it may only be a little bit wider but the clicking mechanism has been improved as well which allows you to make mouse-clicks with considerably more confidence that they'll work as intended.

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I've read that although it's bigger, the real estate of the actual keyboard area is the same... just with extra spare space around it... is this the case? If so, terrible idea! :(

I guess if you have the Surface sitting on a desk all of the time, any old keyboard would work. But obviously this is not how people will be using it ;)

How about that magnet locking? Does the SP3 type cover, if that's good on SP3, lock on to 10.6" SP?
I'd much rather like that they made the new dock compatible with old SP and hook through cover ports, as that could give just enough space for VGA adapter to connect to a display port whilst having a 4k monitor hooked up the dock simultaneously, but that's too much wishful thinking (i saw the new dock uses the new charger port):
Oh well, we can at least hope there will at least be a new power cover for SP3 soon that will at least be backlit this time, compatible with everyone...
I'm hoping the power cover not being recognized as a battery by SP3 is going to be fixed via firmware update somehow.
I'd really hate having the i7 model not have 9 hour battery life, or are they using or thinking about using 5th gen CPUs there, but I think those are due in Q4 (hopefully with LTE&GPS preety please)?

Edited by dada81, May 22 2014, 10:12pm :

Clicking confidence? lol They don't separate the mouse clicks from the rest of the touchpad area in the new covers which is a major usability disaster.

UXGaurav said,
Clicking confidence? lol They don't separate the mouse clicks from the rest of the touchpad area in the new covers which is a major usability disaster.

No offense, but everything is a "usability disaster" in your book. Is there anything that isn't? Anyone who has used a trackpad in the last several years knows they can be used to click. It's no secret. Even my second gen type cover clicks with the trackpad.

Sure it is :) Have you been living under a rock to not realize that Windows Vista and Windows 8/8.1 have bombed commercially bcoz they are disasters? :p

UXGaurav said,
Sure it is :) Have you been living under a rock to not realize that Windows Vista and Windows 8/8.1 have bombed commercially bcoz they are disasters? :p

What does Vista and 8.1 have to do with laptop touchpads?

The Surface 3 is not a full fledged tablet. It is sort of like the Incredible Hulk. It can do many things. I really hope people aren't spreading this kind of info around. For a consumer that wants just a tablet, there are better options out there like the regular Surface, iPad, or an Android device.

JHBrown said,
The Surface 3 is not a full fledged tablet.

Of course it's a full fledged tablet... It's thinner than the original Surface RT and just a bit heavier.

Is your definition of a "full fledged tablet" based on CPU architecture?

rfirth said,

Of course it's a full fledged tablet... It's thinner than the original Surface RT and just a bit heavier.

Is your definition of a "full fledged tablet" based on CPU architecture?

He keeps confusing useful computing device with toy; he's got many toys.

Ideas Man said,

He keeps confusing useful computing device with toy; he's got many toys.

Right Idea boy! The Surface 3 is an Ultrabook/Tablet. Yes, I am looking forward to testing it in stores and if it's good, it will be added to my collection.

Now that the question of keyboard compatibility is settled... can the SP3 fit in some way to an existing generation 1 Surface Dock?

they already stated it will not due to much larger size. I suppose it may fit surface 3 or a future surface pro 3 model that is not 12 inches. as a dock owner, I'm not too upset but I'm really hoping this won't become a trend.

dbam987 said,
Now that the question of keyboard compatibility is settled... can the SP3 fit in some way to an existing generation 1 Surface Dock?

For starters, the power port has changed. And of course the size of the entire device has changed... so probably not.

Wont take much for some company to create some kind of larger backing that can attach to the old covers to 'pad them out' to size so it looks less bad when closed.

Snowballs chance in hell for directly coming from Microsoft. But interesting to think someone might do it. I'm still trying to decide if I want to upgrade from my Surface Pro 1st Generation Lol.

Let's make an accessory where you can staple on some more material to your Surface 2 keyboard cover so it fits the Surface Pro 3 perfectly.

Enron said,
Let's make an accessory where you can staple on some more material to your Surface 2 keyboard cover so it fits the Surface Pro 3 perfectly.

SEGA probably hold a patent or two on plastic extension spacers in this scenario.

What about the Power Cover? I understand the fit will be off, but will it serving as an external battery work properly/be compatible on the Surface Pro 3?

I just dropped $200 to get one maybe 6 weeks ago and would love to keep using it on SP3 if possible.

Darth Squishy said,
What about the Power Cover? I understand the fit will be off, but will it serving as an external battery work properly/be compatible on the Surface Pro 3?

I just dropped $200 to get one maybe 6 weeks ago and would love to keep using it on SP3 if possible.

The power cover works as a keyboard but is not recognized as a battery by surface 3. Sorry, I'm going to have the same problem.

Damn.... Thank you very much for the response, I have been looking all over to see if anyone had tried. It's a shame they took so long to release it to begin with.

Wow. I was REALLY close to buying the Power Cover for my Pro 1. Now I may hold off as I don't know IF I will get a Pro 3 just yet. Decisions, decisions...

j2006 said,
Is this really even newsworthy? lol.... like duh... obviously it's a bigger screen, why would it fit?

The fact that they made the connectors/interface compatible.

TsarNikky said,
Indicative of MS's rush to "get something out the door," thinking through potential and actual problems gets short shrift.

Huh? How did you get from the mathematical facts that 10 < 12 and 12 > 10, to a negative commentary on Microsoft?

Reminds me of the PS1's Dual Shock controller's working with the PS2 when it came out. Of course you didn't have pressure sensitivity but it worked for 2 player when you invested in another game instead of a second DS2.
Props to Microsoft for the compatibility.

TsarNikky said,
Indicative of MS's rush to "get something out the door," thinking through potential and actual problems gets short shrift.

Oh wow, I can't wait to hear how you would've solved this problem, with benefit of foresight knowing that you'd need to have one cover cater to two different physical screen sizes.

Please let us know.

While it may not look nice, it's very good of Microsoft to at least still allow the option. Can see it being favourable for at least a few people, without taking away anything from anyone else. (Y)

drazgoosh said,
While it may not look nice, it's very good of Microsoft to at least still allow the option. Can see it being favourable for at least a few people, without taking away anything from anyone else. (Y)

It's a good move against the "upgrade and throw away" trends of late that too many OEM's practice.

Aergan said,

It's a good move against the "upgrade and throw away" trends of late that too many OEM's practice.

What throw away trends? Apple used the same connector for years, and will use the current for years, and most wireless devices use Bluetooth connections which is backward compatible too.

Nashy said,

What throw away trends? Apple used the same connector for years, and will use the current for years, and most wireless devices use Bluetooth connections which is backward compatible too.

I didn't mention Apple, but now that you mention it - yes, they did change the connector, then offered an adaptor that cost more than most peripherals for it.

Aergan said,

I didn't mention Apple, but now that you mention it - yes, they did change the connector, then offered an adaptor that cost more than most peripherals for it.

Correct. You didn't mention Apple. I did.

My question remains.