"Oh thank you, Panos" were the words muttered from my mouth when a new power connector was shown off with the Surface Pro 3. If you have used any of the previous generation Surfaces, you will know that the power connector is not great. Sure, some may say it worked just fine but trying to plug it in, in the middle of the night with no lights on, is equivalent to solving a Rubik's Cube on NASA's vomit comet. Someone is likely saying that this is a bit dramatic but after you use the 'new' power adapter, going back to the old way feels archaic.
The new power connector uses a blade-style setup that slots into the side of the Pro 3. It is reversible but do note that this power connector is not compatible with the previous generation Surface devices. There is also a small indicator light near the tip of the charger that helps you identify if your Pro 3 is getting the juice to fill the battery. On that note, the charger is a 36-watt power supply that can fully charge the device in four hours, or get it to 80% in two hours time.
As with the previous chargers, Microsoft has included a USB port on the power brick. Additionally, like everything else about the Pro 3, the power brick is smaller and lighter than the previous charger.
Attaching the connector to the Pro 3 is quite simple thanks to the strong magnets in the charger. The charger will detach with a modest amount of pressure on the cord which should reduce the likelihood of someone tripping over our cord and sending your Pro 3 flying across the room. One issue we do have, though, is if you pull straight down on the cord, the blade design does not slide out of the unit which means that you can pull the device off of a table in this scenario.
The most interesting thing about the power connector is what Microsoft hinted at during its recent AMA: It's actually a thunderbolt port. Why would Microsoft do this? Well, if it truly is a Thunderbolt port, then it can pass a lot of data through the connection (such as video out and/or power USB hubs, ect) which would be quite handy with a dock or other peripherals.
Finally, the charger is a two-piece setup, which makes it easier for travel. By unplugging the cord that attaches to the socket, you can wrap it around the brick without fear of breaking the casing around the pivot point near the brick.