In case you missed it, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3 yesterday. I have to admit, I was taken a little by surprise. I had been among the people who thought Microsoft would announce a Surface Mini tablet.
However, it was a pleasant surprise.
The Surface Pro 3 looks like it is the first device to successfully offer the features of both tablets and laptops; so, I thought I’d outline 4 of the more interesting new features the Surface Pro 3 offers.
I’m not talking about mysterious things under the hood like processor speeds or types of RAM, if you want those, you can read the spec sheet here. I mean the things that you will actually see and use when you pick up the tablet.
Let’s get started…
Surface Pro 3 Features: Bigger screen
One of the most notable features that you’ll immediately notice is the larger screen. The Surface Pro 3 features a 12″ diagonal screen as opposed to the 10.6″ diagonal screen offered by the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.
The larger screen offers 2160 by 1440 pixels in a 3×2 aspect ratio screen.
Funny enough, that’s almost the same aspect ratio as a 8.5″ x 11″ (or A4 in Europe) piece of paper. Coincidence? I think not!!
Microsoft freely admits that the intention is to mimic the feeling of using a pad of paper when taking notes with the pen. More on that in a bit.
Surface Pro 3 Features: Friction Kickstand
This feature is pretty cool. Microsoft spent a lot of time developing an almost completely adjustable kickstand for the Surface Pro 3.
The Surface Pro offered one setting at 22′ and the Surface Pro 2 offered two settings at 22′ and 40′.
The Surface Pro 3, on the other hand, offers a 22′ setting but the second setting is COMPLETELY ADJUSTABLE from 22′ to 150′ and anything in between. They’re calling this “Canvas Mode” since it let’s you lay the SP3 almost all the way down while still offering you enough tilt to work comfortably on it. Kinda like an artist’s table.
Pretty cool, huh? I really like the idea of being able to adjust the tilt to whatever I need or feel like.
Surface Pro 3 Features: New Type Keyboard
Along with the new Surface, Microsoft is releasing a new Type keyboard cover for $129.99 USD. This keyboard cover offers a 68% larger track pad and greater sensitivity than the previous models. Apparently, Microsoft got a lot of complaints about the previous track pads?
Believe it or not, that’s not really the cool part. The cool part is the new double magnet attachment mechanism that offers a lot of stability between the keyboard and tablet.
That’s something Microsoft has been trying to do with the Surface Pro line all along. Unfortunately, their efforts until now have fallen a little short since the attachment point between the keyboard and screen has always been a little “wobbily”. To make the attachment point work, they moved the Windows button from the long edge of the tablet
I think this is an awesome feature and, assuming it works as advertised, functionally bridges the gap between tablet and laptop. I’m glad they may have finally pulled it off.
Surface Pro 3 Features: Pen, not stylus
The last new feature that I’ll cover in this post is the new Surface Pen. In the presentation Panos Panay (Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing and the person doing the presentation) was very specific that this was a Pen and not a Stylus.
The difference is mostly marketing in my opinion but, he did make a point in his presentation that the pen is intended to feel just like an ink pen on paper when you’re using it on your Surface Pro 3.
If you look at the picture above closely, you can see that the new version has 2 buttons instead of just 1 like the previous versions of the stylus….. err… pen.
Something else that’s pretty cool is that the eraser end of the pen is a clickable button that can do a few cool things.
For example, if your Surface Pro 3 is off, you can click the pen eraser button (like you would a clickable ink pen) and it will turn on in a special mode with a minimal version of OneNote running which you can use exactly like a pad of paper to take a note.
When you click the pen eraser button again, the note you just took will be saved to your OneDrive and the Surface powered off.
I know I’d find that handy in meetings where I’m always scribbling down quick notes.
So, all in all, the Surface Pro 3 looks quite promising with lots of improvements and useful new features. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and really give it a good look.
If you have any thoughts about these features, please leave a comment and share them with your fellow readers.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.