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.