Microsoft Announces The Surface Pro 3 Tablet

Microsoft has started taking orders for its new Windows tablet the Surface 3 Pro. It's being billed as the tablet that can replace your laptop by the software giant which recently moved into computer hardware as well.

The Surface Pro 3 is not out in New Zealand for a couple of months, but we at Need A Nerd think it will be worth waiting for. It's a personal computer with all the power of a full sized desktop computer, yet all the portability of a tablet computer.

Because it's running Windows 8.1 Pro it comes with the latest version of Microsoft Office, but can also run Microsoft Office 2010. It can also run many legacy versions of software specific for your home or business needs including resource hungry software like Photoshop.

There's a choice of fourth generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 central processing units. So the Surface Pro 3 can duke it out with the best of the competition in any form factor regardless whether it is a full blown desktop computer, a lap top, a hybrid device or a slate computer.

Want it to be a desktop? Connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you're away in Windows traditional Desktop mode. Prefer it in laptop configuration? Buy a Surface Pro 3 screen cover and connect it magnetically to the computer. That can lie flat or at an angle. Don't want a keyboard at all? Leave the peripherals behind in the office and use the Surface Pro 3's touch-screen to navigate your way around the colourful new Start screen and delve into Windows 8.1 many touch specific applications. Type a document or do whatever else you want to do just with your fingers.

The Surface Pro 3 even comes with a Surface Pen for those moments when you want to go all old school for either writing or drawing.

The Surface Pro 3 has nine hours of uninterrupted web browsing ability, which was unheard of from any battery in portable computing devices even a few years ago. You'll be lucky to get more than a couple of hours out of any laptop that's older than about two years.

With a 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution touch screen measuring 12 inches diagonally the Surface Pro 3 is 1.6 inches bigger than its predecessor which was only launched last year. Thinner and lighter are the buzz words of modern computing. At 9.1 mm thick and 800 grams heavy it's 32 per cent thinner and 12 per cent lighter than it's the Surface Pro 2. Its full dimensions are 292.1 x 201.4 x 9.1 mm.

Another major difference it the moving of the on screen Windows button from the middle of the screen in landscape mode to the middle of the screen in portrait mode. The idea is that it is more useful as an e-reader this way.

If you want to connect an external hard disk drive the Surface Pro 3 includes a USB 3.0 port, which has the fastest USB data transfer rates yet. Apple's iPad, for example, has no USB connectivity.

Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 3 speakers are 45 per cent louder than its predecessor, which means it should perform well when using it to listen to music or watch movies and television shows via the traditional Windows Media Player application or Windows 8.1's built in Xbox Music or Xbox Video applications.

Microsoft might have arrived later at the tablet party, but its offering is pretty tempting.