Microsoft just introduced the Surface Pro 3, a new laptop-replacement tablet with a 12" Full HD screen.
Today we announced Surface Pro 3. It’s the tablet that can replace your laptop. It is the most powerful, thinnest, and lightest Surface Pro yet. It is a full PC and a brilliant tablet.
Our customers know that every Surface we’ve shipped was built to do more than other tablets, and how they use Surface validates that a tablet can be a great tool for productivity. Yet many people aren’t ready to give up their laptops for tablets, and most people still carry both. When walking into a store, they feel they have to decide between a tablet for portability and entertainment or a laptop to really get things done. For the most part, tablets have been designed to be great for watching movies, reading books, playing games, browsing the web, and amazing for digital “snacking” with apps. Most laptops are designed to help you type term papers, write letters, work on big applications, work on spreadsheets, browse the web, create content, make movies… you name it. In designing Surface, we wanted to design a device that can marry the power of the full PC without compromising the sleek finish, elegant look and feel, light weight, thinness, and great battery life that we expect from a tablet.
As we worked on Surface Pro 3, we took what we learned from our previous products and from customers and drove some key technologies forward to really get PC scenarios right alongside the critical features of a tablet. There are a lot of factors that contribute to make a product great, it’s never simply the sum of the parts. I want to share some highlights of what makes Surface Pro 3 the tablet that can replace your laptop.
It is powered by a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor (there will be Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 options), and storage capacity ranging from 64 to 512 GB with 4 or 8 GB of RAM. It still features a full-size USB 3.0 port for peripherals, a Mini DisplayPort for projecting to an external display, and a microSD card reader for expandable storage.
We’ve increased the size of the screen – Surface Pro 3 has a 12” ClearType Full HD screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution. The new screen is 38% bigger than Surface Pro 2, with 50% more pixels. In addition, every screen is color calibrated at the factory, so you’ll see accurate, brilliant colors, great white points, and great contrast on every device. The combo of the big, beautiful screen and SD card means Surface Pro 3 gives big-screen entertainment anywhere.
Surface Pro 3 couples all that power with a new multi-position kickstand that features a friction-hinge that lets you pick whatever angle you want from zero to 150 degrees. We have new click-in keyboards that come in five colors with 63% bigger track-pads and even more stability. We are announcing a new Surface Docking Station too for Surface Pro 3 that will be available in the next few months.
Surface Pro 3 is a full-powered PC, so of course it can run all Windows apps including Office and desktop apps. And of course it has great multi-tasking and can be shared with multiple user accounts.
All of this comes in a package that is very thin and light. It weighs just 1.76 pounds and is 0.36 inches thin. In fact, it is just half the thickness of a MacBook Pro, and 30% thinner than an 11-inch MacBook Air. Oh, and the battery life is up to 9 hours – 10% better than Surface Pro 2!
The product we’re announcing today has been three years in the making. To get this thin, light, and powerful was a huge challenge – partly because the powerful processors that power Surface Pro 3 need to be cooled (you can avoid active cooling by slowing down the processor, an option we never considered). This cooling traditionally required channels for the air to escape, and these channels add thickness. To get around this, we invented a new fan technology that is 30% more efficient than previous solutions. The new, thinner fan cools a series of fins placed around it instead of forcing the exhaust air out through a channel. Not having to create space for this channel allows Surface Pro 3 to be thinner without sacrificing performance. We also use solid state drives which eliminate the moving parts of traditional hard drives, save space, reduce weight, and boost performance. Finally, the precision of our manufacturing and machining ensure that no space is wasted and that every component fits perfectly. Every 100 microns of space is accounted for.
When designing a product, so often we find ourselves thinking about specs, schedules, costs. But what really drives our design is what our customers will need. We find powerful metaphors to describe what we want to build, and these metaphors ground our design thinking. They ensure that the resulting product will be familiar even while it allows you to do things in new and innovative ways. With Surface Pro 3, we used the metaphor of a notebook, a magazine, a piece of paper. If you were going to be writing on the device, wouldn’t you want it to feel as familiar as writing on a piece of paper? With this in mind, it seemed natural to go to a 3:2 aspect ratio on Surface Pro 3. That is a long way to tell you we have designed a great product for both portrait and landscape mode, but the clarity that comes from marrying our design to something that has been familiar to all of us since we were children is important.
The best example of this how we married the hardware and software to provide a break-through note-taking experience with OneNote, the Surface Pen, and Surface Pro 3.
Using pen and paper is a simple and personal way to write, to draw, or to markup documents, yet physical paper is harder to share and far more cumbersome to index and search than digital files. There is a huge productivity gain to be realized by making the pen experience great on a tablet. As we worked on the pen experience on Surface, we wanted to make the transition to the digital writing seamless, elegant, and simple. We brought together the relevant teams at Microsoft – Windows, OneDrive, OneNote, Office, and of course Surface in this effort. We had the goal of being able to start writing with just the click of a pen, the way it works in real life – you click the top of the pen, and then you pull out a piece of paper, a notebook, a moleskin, and then you just start writing. The beauty of moving from paper to digital when writing is that all your ink goes with you anywhere you go, and the OneNote integration allows this to include other digital platforms like iOS or Android. Just open OneNote, and right there, your personal writing, lists, papers… just show up. This was super inspiring for us, and it is only the beginning of the great experiences Microsoft will bring you from across the company.
The pen does a lot more than take notes, and we’ve worked with some pretty amazing partners to bring this to life in a variety of apps. Artists will love the upcoming release of Photoshop CC, optimized for Surface Pro 3. The update to Photoshop will include powerful touch and gesture controls, amazing pen accuracy and line precision and larger touch targets. The update is part of a broader partnership between Adobe and Microsoft to bring the full power of Adobe’s Creative Cloud to a powerful mobile experience optimized for touch and pen. The New York Times is bringing a new crossword puzzle app to Surface with an exclusive pen experience. You can write, make notes, and cross out clues with the Surface pen making this feel as natural as pen and paper. These and other apps designed for Surface and exclusively on Windows, including Final Draft, Sudoku and Drawboard, will be available later this year.
What ultimately matters is whether we’ve built a Surface that realizes our ambition to let our customers do more yet still love the device they are using. While we’ve kept Surface Pro 3 largely under wraps ahead of this announcement, we did show it to a few companies who wanted a tablet that could take the place of laptops. We were blown away by the interest, and are excited to have BMW Group, The Coca-Cola Company and LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton seeing it as a core device for them. They’ll all be deploying Surface Pro 3 devices in the future – in some cases planning to use it as a laptop replacement and in others looking at innovative ways to leverage its unique capabilities as a powerful tablet too.
You can pre-order the device starting tonight at 12:01 am Eastern Time at Microsoftstore.com in most launch markets, and at Microsoft retail stores and Best Buy in the United States on 21 May. It will be available for purchase in stores and through authorized resellers beginning on June 20th in the US and Canada and, by the end of August, in 26 additional markets including Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
We’ll tell you more about this product in the coming weeks, and as Surface Pro 3 and the new accessories arrive in stores, I invite you to check them out. I want you to think about the things you do with your current laptop and tablet, and how a single device that is this thin and light and this powerful can help you do more.
Corporate Vice President – Microsoft Surface