Microsoft: Surface Pro 3 will replace your laptop

The device is the next step in the Surface line, and attempts to merge features commonly found in both tablets and laptops.

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Introducing the Surface Pro 3. Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft has officially unveiled the Surface Pro 3, a device aimed at eliminating the "conflict" Microsoft sees between the tablet and laptop.

The device features a 12-inch screen and kickstand, and supports a stylus. In addition, the tablet comes with support for USB 3.0 and Microsoft's popular Type Covers in multiple colors. The Surface Pro 3 features an Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processor to boost its performance compared to the previous Microsoft slate.

Microsoft has high hopes for the Surface Pro 3, saying that it's the first tablet that can replace a user's laptop. The company argues that tablets and laptops have heretofore been mutually exclusive, but its new tablet can bridge that gap.

In order to achieve that goal, Microsoft says that the tablet is 9.1mm thick, compared to 10.6mm on the Surface Pro 2. The device's 12-inch screen, up from the 10.6-inch Surface Pro 2, was "critical", Microsoft says, as it tries to make it compete with laptops. The display also comes with a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution, topping traditional 1080p HD displays on the market.

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The Surface Pro 3 vs. Apple's MacBook Air Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft was quick to point out that the Surface Pro 3 comes in at 800g in weight. The company has taken aim at Apple during its presentation, showing its new tablet on a scale against the MacBook Air to prove it's lighter than the Apple laptop.

Power was a major concern for Microsoft to make its point that the Surface Pro 3 can double as a laptop. The device was placed inside a docking station to show the tablet can technically look like a laptop, and some higher-end apps were shown off, including a 3D-rendering app and Adobe's Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop, the creative photo-editing app has been optimized for the Surface Pro 3, and works with both fingers and the stylus. The app's icons have been increased in size by 200 percent to make it easier to access them. The feature set, Adobe says, is possible because of the power built into the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface Pro 3's kickstand also received some attention during the event on Tuesday. The device still comes with the standard, 22-degree angle, but can go all the way out to 150 degrees, making it practically flat. The kickstand can, however, be placed at any angle between those two ends.

The Surface Pro 3 goes on sale on Wednesday, starting at $799 (Microsoft has not announced prices outside the US yet -- this converts to about £480 and AU$860). There are three versions -- an Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5, and Intel Core i7. The starting price is for the Intel Core i3. Customers who want an Intel Core i5 will need to dish out $999 (£590, AU$1,080) to $1,299 (£770, AU$1,400), depending on storage and RAM. The Intel Core i7 goes up to $1,949 (£1160, AU$2,100) for 512GB of storage and 8GB of onboard RAM.

This story has been updated throughout the day.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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