07 Oct 2014

What to look forward to with Surface 3

The Surface Pro 3 is being touted as “the tablet that can replace your laptop.” It’s a lofty claim from Microsoft, given previous iterations of the Surface, while undeniably more powerful than other tablets, lacked the last 10 per cent of functionality which would mean we could finally retire the laptop. So what new features can we expect from the Surface Pro 3 that would turn it into the “laptop killer” when it launches in late August?

The Specs

This is going to be the most powerful “tablet” by some margin. It’s a large 12-inch device, which allows for plenty of screen real estate for working, as opposed to the cramped spaces of other tablets. It has a pixel resolution of 2160 x 1440, which is greater than the 1080p resolutions of previous Surface tablets. Critically, this is also a device that has been designed for use outdoors. Microsoft have implemented what it claims are the highest contrast ratios in the industry, meaning that you’ll still be able to see what you’re doing in an outdoor setting. The weight of the device is more comparable with laptops than tablets, as befits its size. The spec sheet claims a weight of 800 grams, which is still lighter than most laptops and comparable to the Apple MacBook Airs, and it’s lighter than the previous Surface 2 models. It is heavier than the iPad and other tablets, of course.

The Speed

The Surface Pro 3 is 10 per cent faster than the Surface Pro 2, and is being powered by an Intel i3, i5 or i7 Haswell processor. Consumers will be able to pick from each model, with the faster processors that will naturally cost more. The device features a standby mode that will allow it to be woken up and interacted with instantly when left unattended for a short period of time. After four hours in standby, the device will move into a battery-saving hibernation mode that will take longer to wake from compared to other tablets. Battery life is being marked at around nine hours, to allow all-day computing.

The Functionality

As with previous models, the Surface Pro 3 aims to be everything to everybody. Microsoft has extended the functionality of the “kickstand” to allow for any position right up to 150 degrees, that will be a benefit to anyone using their device for drawing, as it is now possible to position the tablet at the same angle you would be using for an art desk. The pen, meanwhile, features OneNote integration, allowing you to save your drawings to the Cloud with a single click. A camera is also built into the pen that will allow you to take a photo and then instantly draw on it within the app. This level of efficiency will prove to be a great convenience for students or professionals taking notes at a meeting. The Surface Pro 3 naturally features the kind of multitasking capabilities that you would expect for a desktop replacement, and for people working at a desk it can also drive a 4K monitor through Mini DisplayPort. For people who need dual displays for Photoshop or Illustrator, for instance, this will prove to be a major selling point.

The Low Down

The Surface Pro 3 will not be cheap, as tablets go; it will start at $979 for the base model, but then it should not be seen as “just another tablet” – this device has been designed to compete more clearly with the Apple MacBook Air, and thanks to its Windows environment and full functionality, it’s arguably the ultimate example of a replacement device for that bulky, heavy “proper” laptop replacement that we’ve seen so far.

To see specifications or to pre-order, visit our Online Tech Store.