Comparing Surface 3 vs Surface Pro 3: A Microsoft Tablet Battle

Comparing Surface 3 vs Surface Pro 3:

How does the latest Surface 3 from Microsoft compare to the Surface Pro 3 from the previous year?

Surface 3
With the introduction of the new Microsoft Surface three ($688.00 at Amazon), the company is continuing its campaign to establish the Surface series of tablet PCs as the industry standard for Windows tablets. You may wonder, though, whether that isn’t the same tablet that was introduced the previous year. Although they may sound identical, the Surface three is the more compact and reasonably priced version of the Microsoft Surface Pro three from the previous year (available for $887.00 at Amazon). To determine what has changed in the new Surface 3, let’s compare the two.
Pricing and Performance
The pricing is the primary distinction between the two models—rather than a feature or part number. The Surface Pro 3 base model, which comes with 64GB of local storage and an Intel Core i3 processor, costs $799. Starting at $1,299, our evaluation edition of the machine had a 256GB solid-state drive and an Intel Core i5. With an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD starting at $499 and $599, respectively, for the same processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, the Surface 3 is much more affordable. This places the Surface 3 in a far more reasonable pricing bracket, but it comes with some notable performance and capabilities compromises.The tablet performed noticeably differently when we tested it on processor-intensive apps like Photoshop and Handbrake. The difference was quite noticeable: the Surface Pro 3 is unquestionably superior for tasks requiring processing power, such as working with large spreadsheets and datasets, editing photos and videos, and taking notes. The smaller Surface 3 is excellent for writing papers and browsing the Web. While the Surface 3 is still better suited as a supplementary device or for less demanding users, the Surface Pro 3 is almost powerful enough to replace a laptop.Size and Portability
Compared to the Surface Pro 3, which measured 11.5 by 8 by 0.36 inches (HWD), the new Surface 3 is smaller, measuring 10.52 by 7.36 by 0.34 inches (HWD). The smaller Surface 3 is more akin to a steno pad if the Surface Pro 3 were made to fit the proportions of a letter-sized piece of paper. Additionally, it weighs less—just 1.4 pounds as opposed to the Surface Pro 3’s 1.75 pounds. Even though it’s not a significant change, the larger tablet nonetheless feels weighty and unwieldy.

It is also more portable due to its smaller size and less weight, which makes it easier to use when traveling and toss into a bag. The Surface 3’s extended battery life of 9 hours 52 minutes—nearly an hour longer than the Surface Pro 3 (8:55)—may be the biggest benefit to portability.

The kickstand that’s embedded into the chassis of both Surface tablets allows you to prop the tablet up on a desk or table without needing to hold it at the correct angle. When combined with the Surface Type Cover keyboard, which gives the slate tablet laptop-like functionality, this is quite helpful. Even while the kickstands on both devices are movable, the Surface Pro 3’s allows for greater customization, ranging from 22 to 150 degrees. Instead, the less costly Surface 3 makes use of a simpler-to-manufacture 3-position kickstand.

Variations in dimensions also translate into variations in display size. The 10.8-inch display on the Surface 3 boasts a resolution of 1,920 by 1,280 pixels. The Surface Pro 3 includes the same 10-point touch screen and digitizer pen capability as the original model, but it is larger (12 inches) and has a better resolution (2,160 by 1,440).

The integrated cameras on the Surface 3 make it a better alternative than its bigger Pro sister in one particular area. The Surface 3 has a 3.5-megapixel front-facing webcam and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. In contrast, the 5-megapixel rear camera and 1080p webcam on the Surface Pro 3 have lesser resolutions and have experienced issues with capturing images in low light.


Microsoft has carefully marketed the different Surface models without the keyboard coverings that are required for laptop-like operation because it has long understood that accessory sales can increase the profit margins for its Surface products. Although the Surface Pro 3 often retails for over $1,000, it comes with the Surface Pen but not the Surface Pro Type Cover keyboard.

Just as the Surface 3 is missing the keyboard cover, it is also missing the pen. This means that in order to fully utilize your tablet, you will need to purchase either or both of these items. The Surface Pen costs $49.99 and is available in bare metal, red, blue, and black. The Surface Type Cover costs $129.99 and is available in red, bright red, blue, brilliant blue, and black. Including the keyboard cover and pen, the total cost of our $599 evaluation device would have been $789.98, almost matching the price of the Surface Pro 3 basic model.

Given that the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 are intended for somewhat diverse user bases, there isn’t a clear winner between the two. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is an excellent solution for office workers who wish to use one device at their desk and then take it with them to meetings or while they are on the go. However, the Microsoft Surface 3 is more cost-effective and better suited for a mobile lifestyle for those looking for something less expensive for usage at home or school, albeit it will slow you down for more complex activities. In the end, both are excellent products, and Microsoft has done a great job of demonstrating Windows’ mobility and establishing the standard.for the numerous Windows tablets and hybrid gadgets that we have witnessed over the past few years.

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