Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Announced

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#1 Edited by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

Microsoft has announced their Surface Pro 3 tablet. This version uses a 12 inch display (3:2 ratio) and offers a number of updated parts from the Surface Pro 2.

Specifications:

  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • 12 inch 2160 x 1440 display (3:2) with N-TRIG active digitizer and stylus
  • i3 / i5 / i7 Haswell U series
  • 4 GB / 8 GB LPDDR3
  • 64GB / 128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB SSD
  • front and rear 5MP camera and microphone
  • stereo speakers
  • WiFi 802.11ac/a/b/g/n | Bluetooth 4.0 LE | TPM Chip
  • 1x USB 3.0 | 1x microSD | 1x headphone/microphone | 1x mini DisplayPort
  • Ambient light sensor | accelerometer | gyroscope | magnetometer
  • 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inch | 1.76 lbs
  • Up to 9 hours of battery life

Pricing:

  • $799 - i3 / 4 GB / 64 GB
  • $999 - i5 / 4 GB / 128 GB
  • $1299 - i5 / 8 GB / 256 GB
  • $1549 - i7 / 8 GB / 256 GB
  • $1949 - i7 / 8 GB / 512 GB
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#2 Edited by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

Here's a small comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2:

Microsoft Surface Pro 3Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Price (in USD)$799$749
Display12 inch 2160 x 1440 (4:3)12.2 inch 2560 x 1600 (16:10)
Operating SystemWindows 8.1 ProAndroid 4.4.2 with Magazine UX
SoCIntel Core i3 (Haswell U)Exynos 5 Octa
RAM4 GB LPDDR33 GB LPDDR3
Memory64 GB SSD64 GB eMMC
Active Digitizer / StylusN-TRIGWacom
Expandable MemorymicroSDmicroSD
USB TypeUSB 3.0microUSB 3.0
Video OutMini DisplayPortmicroHDMI
GPSNoYes
Claimed Battery Life (Web Browsing)up to 9 hoursup to 13 hours
Camera5MP front / 5MP rear2 MP front / 8 MP rear
Dimensions (inches)11.5 x 7.93 x 0.3611.6 x 8.03 x 0.31
Weight1.76 lbs1.65 lbs

It's not hard to see that the Surface Pro 3 has a lot more to offer for only $50 more and a slight increase in size.

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#3 Edited by musicalmac (24897 posts) -

I watched that entire event, and it was difficult, to say the least. It's the best Surface tablet MS has release to date. As a tablet, though, it's awfully heavy. That's still a significant compromise, regardless of how many times I was told by the presenter that there were no compromises.

I'll also be curious to see how the legitimately powerful i5/i7 do in terms of battery life. A streaming movie on Netfilx kills the Surface 2 battery with reckless abandon.

EDIT: No GPS in the new Surface... Isn't that an awfully weird omission?...

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#4 Edited by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

@musicalmac said:

I watched that entire event, and it was difficult, to say the least. It's the best Surface tablet MS has release to date. As a tablet, though, it's awfully heavy. That's still a significant compromise, regardless of how many times I was told by the presenter that there were no compromises.

I'll also be curious to see how the legitimately powerful i5/i7 do in terms of battery life. A streaming movie on Netfilx kills the Surface 2 battery with reckless abandon.

It's not exactly made to compete with the Bay Trail Windows or iPad tablet segment, so I could accept the weight difference, especially when you consider the performance.

However, if someone doesn't need all of that performance and wants something lighter/smaller, the ThinkPad 10 is an option in the same price bracket.

  • 10.1 inch 1920x1200 display (16:10)
  • Wacom active digitizer / stylus
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Intel Z3795 + 4GB LPDDR3
  • full sized USB 2.0
  • ~10 hour battery life
  • 1.3 lbs

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#5 Posted by musicalmac (24897 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: Significantly less powerful, though. I can see why you'd want to lump these together, but Atom vs i7..... I also don't know how the stylus tech on each compare toe to toe.

I really wonder how much battery life you can expect with the Surface 3 wielding Photoshop filter crunching and an i5/7.

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#6 Posted by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

@musicalmac said:

@NVIDIATI: Significantly less powerful, though. I can see why you'd want to lump these together, but Atom vs i7..... I also don't know how the stylus tech on each compare toe to toe.

I really wonder how much battery life you can expect with the Surface 3 wielding Photoshop filter crunching and an i5/7.

Which is why I said "in the same price bracket", the top of the line Z3795 compared to the U series Core i3. Obviously there is still a reasonable performance jump, but there are compromises in order to attain such power. Atom has also made a small jump from what you're familiar with in late 2013. The newer Z3795 offers higher clock speed (GPU included), 4 GB LPDDR3 (instead of the 2 GB seen last year), and 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro.

I won't comment on usage as there hasn't been a proper review for either device, but Wacom is generally more preferable to N-TRIG due to software compatibility.

Anandtech has promised a battery test soon.

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#7 Posted by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

@musicalmac said:

EDIT: No GPS in the new Surface... Isn't that an awfully weird omission?...

Not really, I can't imagine that many uses for a GPS in a 12 inch tablet.

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#8 Edited by musicalmac (24897 posts) -

@NVIDIATI said:

@musicalmac said:

@NVIDIATI: Significantly less powerful, though. I can see why you'd want to lump these together, but Atom vs i7..... I also don't know how the stylus tech on each compare toe to toe.

I really wonder how much battery life you can expect with the Surface 3 wielding Photoshop filter crunching and an i5/7.

Which is why I said "in the same price bracket", the top of the line Z3795 compared to the U series Core i3. Obviously there is still a reasonable performance jump, but there are compromises in order to attain such power. Atom has also made a small jump from what you're familiar with in late 2013. The newer Z3795 offers higher clock speed (GPU included), 4 GB LPDDR3 (instead of the 2 GB seen last year), and 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro.

I won't comment on usage as there hasn't been a proper review for either device, but Wacom is generally more preferable to N-TRIG due to software compatibility.

Anandtech has promised a battery test soon.

This was my understanding, as well. And I am very curious to see what Anand has to say about the battery life.

@NVIDIATI said:

@musicalmac said:

EDIT: No GPS in the new Surface... Isn't that an awfully weird omission?...

Not really, I can't imagine that many uses for a GPS in a 12 inch tablet.

It's weird for two reasons -- 1. Is this version of Surface not going to be available with LTE connectivity (??), and 2. With the geotagging that goes into more and more facets of our life today, it seems obvious to include GPS in a device that is supposed to be a usable tablet.

Additional Thought (EDIT): What kind of responsiveness would you reasonably expect from the non-Surface tablet in regards to the stylus? I ask because MS was particular in calling their tablet the lowest latency tablet ever. Whether that really means overall or specifically in regards to using a stylus, I don't know.

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#9 Edited by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

@musicalmac said:

It's weird for two reasons -- 1. Is this version of Surface not going to be available with LTE connectivity (??), and 2. With the geotagging that goes into more and more facets of our life today, it seems obvious to include GPS in a device that is supposed to be a usable tablet.

Additional Thought (EDIT): What kind of responsiveness would you reasonably expect from the non-Surface tablet in regards to the stylus? I ask because MS was particular in calling their tablet the lowest latency tablet ever. Whether that really means overall or specifically in regards to using a stylus, I don't know.

I just don't see those as that important for the type of device the Surface Pro 3 is. However, I doubt it would have cost them much to implement a GPS for those that might want it.

Hard to say, one of the key reasons companies have been switching to N-TRIG is due to responsiveness. Apparently, N-TRIG is excellent for tasks that involve speed (such as note taking), while Wacom is said to be better suited for tasks that require higher levels of accuracy, but with a slightly lower response. The ThinkPad 10 should be able to offer a similar experience to the ThinkPad Yoga, although it will likely offer lower performance in more demanding applications. One thing I have been hearing about the Surface Pro 3 is that writing feels quite natural, there is even some friction between the pen and the screen to reduce the feeling of writing on glass and come closer to writing on paper. I've also heard N-TRIG has been expanding their software support, so Wacom might not have that big of an advantage in that department.

When we have a more thorough review, or I get a chance to try out the SP3, I'll update this thread.

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#10 Edited by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

UPDATE

Here are the specifications of the different processors:

It would appear that there is a reasonable performance gap between each processor. I would also be curious what the battery life on the i3 model would be due to the lower max TDP.

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#11 Posted by musicalmac (24897 posts) -

HD 5000 on the i7 vs HD 4400 on the i5. Is that also weird or is that specific to these particular CPUs?

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#12 Posted by NVIDIATI (8452 posts) -

@musicalmac said:

HD 5000 on the i7 vs HD 4400 on the i5. Is that also weird or is that specific to these particular CPUs?

That's specific to these CPUs.

I think the selection of a Haswell Y-series Core i3 on the entry level model is a little weird.