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Microsoft shaves $100 off Surface Pro 3

The software giant's latest salvo against the MacBook Air is a short-term discount on its latest Surface Pro tablet. The deal ends Saturday.

The Surface Pro 3 is discounted by $100 this week, courtesy of Microsoft. Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft is temporarily dropping the price on most of its Surface 3 Pro tablets for US customers.

The sale, which ends Saturday, cuts the price of four of the five variants of the Surface Pro 3 by $100 and throws in a free protective sleeve, which holds just the tablet. The sale includes the 128GB and 256GB i5 models and the 256GB and 512GB i7 editions. Only the entry-level 64GB i3 version is stuck as its usual price of $799.

During the sale, the Surface Pro 3 models are priced as follows:

  • Intel Core i5, 128 GB -- $899
  • Intel Core i5, 256 GB -- $1,199
  • Intel Core i7, 256 GB -- $1,449
  • Intel Core i7, 512 GB -- $1,849

Both the $100 discount and the free sleeve promos kicked off Friday. The $100 discount ends February 7, while the free sleeve is up for grabs until April 5, according to a Microsoft sales rep. The offers are accessible both through Microsoft's online store and certain retail outlets in the United States. Customers are limited to three tablets with this offer.

Microsoft has been touting the Surface Pro as a capable alternative to a standard laptop. The Pro 3 , for example, offers a 12-inch screen and is powered by an Intel Core processor. In an attempt to sway prospective Apple MacBook Air buyers, Microsoft has been keen to point out the virtues of the Surface Pro 3 over those of the MacBook Air. The 11-inch Air with 128 GB of storage and an Intel Core i5 starts at $899. Microsoft hopes its $100 discount will sway customers who may be on the fence between the two devices.

Microsoft has been touting the Surface Pro 3 as thinner and lighter than the Air, equipped with a multi-touch display and a detachable keyboard. The company had offered a MacBook Air trade-in deal that gave you $650 toward the purchase of the Surface tablet, but that deal has since ended.

The free sleeve promotion includes 12 styles, each one selling for $40.