Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12″ Tablet (Configurable)

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Meet the latest generation of Microsoft’s Surface tablet family, the Surface Pro 3. The new model brings significant improvements over the previous Pro 2. The most notable is a larger and higher-resolution screen, as well as a different aspect ratio of it. The Pro 3 has a 12″ 2160-by-1440, well above the 10.6″ 1920×1080 display on the precursor. The movie-optimized and common 16:9 aspect ratio got replaced with 3:2. This is less suited for movies because of the larger black bars while watching the usual 16:9 TV shows and videos, but it’s better for productivity since it resembles the shape of one of the common paper aspect ratios. This is convenient for tasks like word processing.

While we are at the screen, lets mention the tablet supports digital pen input and it comes with one included in the package, so you can start drawing and taking notes right out of the box.

Another big update is a new kickstand. It allows the display to be tilted more than on the Pro 2, so it’s more comfortable for use when you attach a separately sold keyboard accessory to it and use it on your lap for instance.

Regarding internals Microsoft has added an lower-end Intel Core i3 processor option, alongside the mid-range Core i5 and higher-end i7. This allows lower starting price of the device. A comparison of the processors used in Surface Pro 3 can be found here. You have multiple choices to choose from when purchasing the Surface Pro 3 in terms of the CPU and storage. Choices are 64GB / Intel 3, 128GB / Intel i5, 256GB Intel i5, 256GB / Intel i7, and 512GB / Intel i7. Offered RAM size is either 4GB or 8GB, depending on the CPU / storage configuration.

The previous series had an mediocre frontal camera, but the new one has a well specced 5-megapixel cam, so video chats will be noticeably clearer. Besides that, there’s another 5MP shooter on the back. For sound, there are stereo speakers. Networking is supported only via Wi-Fi wireless, while 4G LTE won’t be available, at least initially. Other important bits are a full-size USB 3.0 port, micro SD card reader, and a mini DisplayPort video output.

The device weighs in at 1.8 pounds which is quite light for a 12″ tablet having a kickstand additionally. It’s also very thin, measuring 0.36″. The tablet ships in silver color and with Windows 8.1 preinstalled.

Specifications

Here are the specs of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with descriptions of its features. For comparison against other laptops, you can use the "Compare Specs" button.

Brand

Screen Size

This is a very small display size, given the most frequently used laptop screen size is 15.6".
Screen Resolution

This screen resolution provides a decent image sharpness and a lot of space on the display for the user interface and programs. It's slightly better than the popular Full HD. However, it isn't as good as the premium-class 4K Ultra HD and similar resolutions.
Touchscreen

The screen supports finger touch input, including multi-touch gestures.



The screen supports active digitizer pen input, besides the common finger multi-touch input. In comparison to simple capacitive pens you can use on any touchscreen, active digitizer pen input provides advanced features like pressure sensitivity. Check with the laptop seller whether the active pen is included in the package.
Other Display Specs

Displays based on IPS technology provide much wider viewing angles than the budget-class TN screens.
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i3-4020Y 4th Gen dual-core 1.5GHz 3MB cache (User Benchmark CPU score: 22)

Intel Core i5-4300U 4th Gen dual-core 1.9-2.9GHz 3MB cache (User Benchmark CPU score: 38)

Intel Core i7-4650U 4th Gen dual-core 1.7-3.3GHz 4MB cache (User Benchmark CPU score: 40)
Graphics (GPU) Intel HD 4200 integrated graphics

Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics

Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics (usable only for the lightest gaming)
System Memory (RAM) Size

4GB is a small RAM size for computing in 2023. For smooth operation of a laptop during everyday tasks, at least 8GB is recommended.



The 8GB RAM size is the standard one in 2023. It provides comfortable multi-tasking for the most home and office users.
Data Storage

A very small but usable capacity.



128GB is a relatively small storage space. However, it is usable if you don't store a lot of large files like movies and don't install a lot of programs.



256GB is a decent capacity. If you tend to download and store a lot of large files like movies and install many programs, 512GB or more is a better choice.



512GB storage capacity is recommended if you store a lot of large files and install many programs.
DVD Optical Drive

Keyboard & Input





Speakers & Audio Stereo speakers

As usual, the device features a pair of built-in stereo speakers.
Camera Front + rear

Laptops usually feature a frontal webcam located on the display bezel. This device additionally has a rear camera.
Wi-Fi Wireless 802.11AC

The 802.11AC is the previous-generation wireless networking standard. It's also known as Wi-Fi 5. 802.11AC is succeeded by 802.11AX Wi-Fi 6 with data transfer speed and multi-device connectivity improvements.

802.11N

802.11N is an old Wi-Fi standard, precursor of the 802.11AC and the latest 802.11AX with improved data transfer speeds and connectivity. 802.11N is rarely used in modern laptops.
Ethernet Network Port No

This laptop has no Ethernet LAN port for wired internet and networking connectivity.
Mobile broadband (4G LTE)

Bluetooth Yes

This laptop has a built-in Bluetooth module. It enables you to connect the computer to Bluetooth mice and other Bluetooth peripherals, smartphones, and other Bluetooth-equipped devices.
USB Ports 1 x USB 3.0

A standard full-size USB port.
Video Output Ports 1 x mini DisplayPort

DisplayPort is a digital video output port. It is not as widely used as HDMI. The laptop has a compact "mini" version of DisplayPort on its side.
Media Card Reader MicroSD card reader

The laptop has a slot for MicroSD memory cards. These are small SD cards commonly used in smartphones.
Other Features Stylus pen
Battery "Up to 9 hours of web browsing"
Weight 1.8 pounds
Height 0.4"
Width 11.5"
Depth 8"
Windows Version

Windows 10 Home is aimed at the regular home and office computer users. Only select business users need the Professional edition. Windows 10 Home users are eligible for a free upgrade to the latest Windows 11 Home.



Windows 8.1 is eligible for free upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Check Windows.com for more info.
Warranty 1-year

A typical laptop warranty.

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User Reviews and Q&A

Below you can read and submit user reviews, questions, and answers about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Thank you for your contribution.

  1. danny

    No it doesn’t. Why don’t you just get a mobile router from your carrier, I use that.

  2. John Cassese

    Does the Pro 3 have mobile connectivity?

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