The new tablet has a larger screen, better processor but is thinner and lighter than a Surface Pro 2
Microsoft has surprised the media by launching a bigger, more powerful version of the Surface Pro tablet, rather than the smaller and more affordable product which has been rumoured for the past 12 months.
The device is just 0.36-inch thick, features a 12-inch screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution, and is powered by a selection of 4th generation Intel Core processors – Microsoft says Surface Pro 3 is the thinnest Intel Core product ever made.
The new tablet was announced by the recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella during a press event in New York.
“Today is a major milestone,” said Nadella. “It starts with dreaming the impossible: can we design and build a device that takes the best of the tablet and the laptop and enables any individual to read and to be able to create and write, allows them to watch a movie and make a movie, enjoy art and create art.”
“That was the motivation for the Surface line, and today, we are taking a big step toward that dream.”
“To get more done”
With Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has managed to shave 1.5 millimetres off the magnesium body of the tablet, while increasing the performance over Surface Pro 2. The device weighs just 800 grams, so it’s also lighter than its predecessor.
The ‘Windows’ button is now placed on the side of the screen, rather than the bottom, and Microsoft engineers have completely redesigned the kickstand to provide support at any angle.
The tablet features two 5MP cameras capable of capturing 1080p HD video, and the new speakers are almost twice as loud.
Despite its laptop-like characteristics, Microsoft promises that the Surface Pro 3 can run for more than nine hours on a single charge, as long as the user sticks to basic tasks like Web browsing. Just like the previous entries in the Surface Pro product line, it ships with a digital pen developed specifically for the device.
The prices will start at $799 (£475), but could be pushed much higher if the customer opts for the most powerful i7 chip along with 8GB of RAM.
According to Panos Panay, VP for Surface Computing at Microsoft, the design process involved contributions from teams across the Microsoft business, including those at Windows, Office and Skype.
He admitted that the original Surface and Surface Pro suffered from plenty of negative feedback, but said the company had learnt from its mistakes, and the developers and engineers were motivated by the more positive response to the second generation hardware.
Panay also took a moment to criticize the competitors, including Apple, for building hardware that was great for browsing the Internet and consuming content, but not that good for creating it. This was confirmed by statistics: according to Panay, 96 percent of people who own an iPad also own a laptop. Meanwhile Surface, he said, was designed as a replacement for a laptop.
“You’ve been told you need a tablet, but you know you need a laptop,” said Panay. Hence, the marketing slogan for Surface Pro 3 – “The tablet that can replace your laptop”.
During the announcement, Nadella reiterated that Microsoft wasn’t interested in competing with its OEMs when it came to hardware, but was instead trying to create new categories of devices and spark new demand for the entire ecosystem.
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