Microsoft held a press event in New York today and while all the buzz was around the possibility of a smaller Surface tablet, Microsoft went the opposite direction. The Surface Pro 3 was unveiled and instead of shrinking, Microsoft’s latest professional tablet got bigger. At 12-inches, it rivals the Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, but uses a fourth generation Intel Haswell processor to run Windows 8.1 Pro. Despite the massive display, it’s thin, lightweight and Microsoft is positioning it as not just a tablet, but a full-fledged laptop replacement.

Anything But “Mini”

With the popularity of 7-inch tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and the wording of the event invitation —a “small” Surface gathering— it seemed like a no-brainer that Microsoft was going to tackle the market dominated by smaller, cheaper Android tablets and Apple’s iPad Mini.

Instead, the company immediately pointed out the growing trend toward buying and carrying around two devices: a tablet for casual use and a laptop for actually getting work done. Then it announced it was releasing a single tablet that would cover both needs, without compromise. 

The Surface Pro 3 is the thinnest and lightest device to pack a full Intel Core CPU. It has a power edge over the current Surface Pro 2, runs Windows 8.1 Pro and offers an improved 9-hour battery life. The kickstand is also updated, moving to a friction-based design that offers a huge range of settings and the innovative Touch Type cover has been improved as well, with a larger and more responsive trackpad. For students, note-takers and creative users, a new premium stylus is the ideal size for gripping and offers pressure sensitivity. Even the docking capabilities are upgraded, with the Surface Pro 3 dock offering support for 4K monitors.

But it’s the display that makes Microsoft confident the Surface Pro 3 has what it takes to replace your laptop. The ultra high resolution, multi-touch display is a 12-inch model. This makes the available screen real estate closer to that of a 13-inch laptop than a typical full-sized tablet. Combined with the improved kickstand and Touch Type cover, Microsoft says this is the thinnest, lightest “laptop” out there, nearly a third thinner than the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air. 

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Specs

  • 12-inch ClearType, high contrast, Full HD display (2160 x 1440 pixels) at 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Multitouch input
  • 4th generation (Haswell) Intel Core CPU (Core i3, i5 and i7 available)
  • 4GB or 8GB RAM
  • 64 to 512 GB SSD storage
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroSD card slot
  • USB 3.0 port, DisplayPort
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • 5MP 1080P HD cameras front and back
  • Full friction kickstand offers 150-degree adjustability
  • Battery rated at 9 hours
  • Runs Windows 8.1 Pro
  • 9.1mm thick, weighs 800g

Aimed at Those Who Need to be Productive and Mobile

 


 

The Surface Pro 3 takes the whole laptop replacement thing very seriously. Microsoft brought out an Adobe representative at the event, showing off Adobe Photoshop on the new tablet —clearly it has the power and form factor needed to run serious software without compromise.

The Surface Pro 3 is should hit Canada sometime around June 20 and you can bet it will be joining the Best Buy lineup (stay tuned for ordering information). While you’re waiting for the latest and greatest, don’t forget to check out all the current Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro models and accessories at Best Buy. 

You can pre-order the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 right now at Best Buy.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. After 13 years as a product manager with a leading Canadian tech company, I transitioned into a full-time career of writing about technology. I’ve contributed to a range of publications and websites including Forbes, Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, About.com, MSN Money, the Winnipeg Free Press, InvestorPlace Media, Shaw Media and—combining technology and my three kids—I’ve been a Core Contributor to the award winning GeekDad blog since its launch in 2007.