Microsoft is launching the new Surface Pro 3 tomorrow, 5/21/14. At the press conference today, we learned a great deal about this incredible new device. It is faster, lighter and bigger than the Surface Pro 2. Let that sink in. Faster and lighter is pretty common to hear these days when new versions of devices come out. But in addition, this one goes from a 10.6’ screen to a 12” screen. Incredible.
One of the things they focused on heavily was improving the experience on the lap and while in “laptop mode”. There are 2 specific updates that make it close to, if not on par with a current laptop. First up is the hinge. The original Surface Pro had a single hinge stop at 22 degrees. The Surface Pro 2 added a second hinge stop and supported both 22 and 40 degrees. The Surface Pro 3 changes the dynamic entirely. The first stop is at the same 22 degrees. The last stop is now at 150 degrees. And this is the big change, it stops anywhere in between 22 and 150 degrees with a full friction hinge. This truly makes it feel like a traditional laptop screen and gives the user the flexibility to decide on the viewing angle for the need or task at hand.
The other update to the “laptop” experience is the keyboard. The type keyboard still connects as a blade as in the past. But anyone who used the old versions still felt like it was not as stable as it could be. There was also this floppiness to the connection between the connection point and the actual keys. Microsoft has taken advantage of this space and it will collapse up to the device now and connect through magnets to strengthen stabilize the keyboard. It is hard to explain without seeing it, but the keyboard is now connected to the Surface Pro 3 in two places. At the spine through the connector and closer to the keys to the front of the Surface Pro 3 through an additional magnet. These updates looked fantastic and will be one of the first things I try when I get my Surface Pro 3.
Another great update is the pen. The pen is now more like a real pen. It is thicker and heavier and should feel like a traditional pen. In addition, the top of the pen is leveraged in some very creative ways now. The best example that was shown was trying to simulate the traditional use of a yellow pad of paper and a pen. In that analog example, you just pick them up and start writing. With the Surface Pro 3, you can pick it up (while the screen is black but the laptop is on) and click the eraser end of the pen. This will wake up the Surface Pro 3 and go straight into a blank OneNote page for you to immediately take notes. Clicking the pen again saves the OneNote page to your connected OneDrive account. This sounds incredible and I can’t wait to try it.
I will write more when I can get my hands on one, but for now the fantastic demo done by Panos Panay today will have to tide me (and you) over. Below are the specs as I documented from the event.
Surface Pro 3 specifications (comparisons are against the Surface Pro 2)
- 10% more performance
- Thickness drops from 10.6mm to 9.1mm
- Screen size goes up from 10.6” to 12” diagonal
- Weight drops from 2lbs (907g) to 1.76lbs (800g)
- It is available in 3 models with Intel Core i3, i5 and i7. The starting price will be $799, which is $100 less than the Surface Pro 2 models.