Microsoft adds cheaper variant of Core i7 model to Surface Pro 3 lineup

The $1,299 tablet comes with less onboard storage than other models with Intel's Core i7 processor.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Now you can buy a Surface Pro 3 with an i7 chip and 128GB of storage. Sarah Tew/CNET

Consumers eyeing one of Microsoft's Surface 3 Pro tablets have a new option.

Over the weekend, Microsoft added a sixth variant to its Surface Pro 3 lineup. The new one features a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of memory and offers 128GB of onboard storage. The change comes in the storage. Previously, the i7 model came with either 256GB or 512GB of storage. The new model carries the same $1,299 price tag as the Core i5 edition with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage.

Which tablet buyers might be drawn to the new model? Those who pick performance over storage. The Surface Pro 3 lineup offers three processor choices -- an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7. The i7 is the beefiest of the three, packing the most power. Specifically, the chip in the Surface Pro 3 tablets is Intel's fourth-generation Core processor. The i7 edition comes with Turbo Boost Technology, which can increase the speed of the processor to up to 3.3GHz. It also includes Intel's HD Graphics 5000 chipset for snappier video performance.

Microsoft has been touting the Surface Pro 3 as a suitable alternative to a traditional laptop. Teamed with the Touch Cover or Type Cover, the tablet can function as a notebook. The Type Cover in particular offers a typing experience equivalent to what's found in traditional laptops.

Outfitted with a 12-inch screen with a 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution, the Surface Pro 3 comes with Windows 8.1 Pro ( freely upgradable to Windows 10 Pro starting July 29). It also offers Bluetooth 4.0 and the latest version of Wi-Fi, namely Wi-Fi 802.11ac. Other items include a full-size USB 3.0 por, a microSD card reader, a headphone jack, a Mini DisplayPort, a kickstand, a stylus and the full Microsoft Office Suite.

With the new i7 variant, the Surface Pro 3 is now available in the following six versions and prices:

  • Intel Core i3 -- 64GB, 4GB RAM - $799
  • Intel Core i5 -- 128GB, 4GB RAM - $999
  • Intel Core i5 -- 256GB, 8GB RAM - $1,299
  • Intel Core i7 -- 128GB, 8GB RAM - $1,299
  • Intel Core i7 -- 256GB, 8GB RAM - $1,549
  • Intel Core i7 -- 512GB, 8GB RAM - $1,999

(Via WinBeta)