So Microsoft revealed the third generation Surface Pro 3 yesterday. Many sites have already live blogged about it or at least published hands-on reviews about it, which is why I do not want to rehash all of those information.
But, to make a point, it is important to know more about it, so, here is a short paragraph or two about what it has to offer.
The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch high-def multi-touch screen with a resolution of 2160x1440. It is powered by a 4th generation Intel Core i3 or higher processor, at least 64 Gigabyte of storage and 4 Gigabyte of Ram. The device weights 800 grams and ships with Windows 8.1 Pro.
You can check out the full specs of the device on Microsoft's website. The price starts at $799 for an Intel i3 device with 64 Gigabyte of storage. That's not a lot, especially when it comes to storage. The 128 GB device with an Intel i5 is available for $999, the 256 GB model with Intel i5 for $1299 and the top of the line 512 GB storage model with Intel i7 for $1949.
Unlike the Surface (without Pro), it is running a full Windows operating system which means that you can run desktop applications on the device.
It seems fairly common that the Surface Pro 3 is compared to Apple's iPad. While that may make sense on first glance, it does not when you start to think about it.
The iPad, regardless which model you are using for the comparison, is a multi-touch device designed primarily for consumption. Sure, you can write texts on the device, connect a keyboard to it to improve that experience, but for the most part, it is used to consumption rather than creation.
The Surface Pro 3 offers that as well, don't get me wrong. Since it runs Windows 8.1 Pro, you can install Windows Store apps on the device to do the very same thing. But it is also much more than that.
Since you can run all legacy Windows programs on it, it is also a laptop, and that is where the similarities to Apple's iPad end.
I can run Firefox, Sandboxie, WinSCP or Thunderbird on the Surface Pro, while I cannot run Mac apps on the iPad.
If you want to compare Surface to iPad, you need to compare the devices running Windows RT. The Surface Pro has more to offer and there is currently no Apple product available that you can compare it with.
While the Macbook Air (or Pro) compares fine to the "laptop-part" of the Surface, it falls short when it comes to touch-screen support among other things.
The Surface Pro 3 may be the ideal device if you want or require laptop and tablet functionality, and either want to upgrade your existing devices or buy a new device for that purpose.
There are uncertainties though. Microsoft does not list the graphics card -- onboard I assume -- of the Surface 3 Pro on the specs page linked above. Another area that requires benchmarking is the device's battery life. Microsoft states that it is good for up to 9 hours of web browsing.
And it is without doubt that Windows Store is not as attractive as the iOS or Android store when it comes to tablet use. While you will find many popular apps here, the quality and quantity is not there yet. But since you can run desktop apps, it is mitigated somewhat in my opinion.
If you ask me, I think that the price is a bit on the high side, especially when it comes to storage capabilities. A Core i3 with 64 Gigabyte of storage of which 36 Gigabyte are available for the user -- actually less as filling the hard drive to the brim may deteriorate performance -- is not enough for most use cases. It may work if you use the device lightly and don't install large store apps or programs on it, and make sure you clean the hard drive regularly to free space on it, but it won't be enough for most users.
Still, I'm pretty sure that the Surface Pro 3 will do better sales-wise than its predecessors. What's your take on the device? Top or flop?