Microsoft's new Surface Pro 3 may do the impossible: Save the struggling Surface line from adding on to its more than $1 billion in losses to date. Here are three reasons it looks like a winner and could save the line.
It really can be a laptop
Previous Surface Pros promised to do double-duty as a laptop and a tablet, but they never quite managed to be up to snuff as laptops. The biggest problem was their 10.6-inch screens. That's usable, but not quite large enough to get real work done. The Surface Pro 3's 12-inch screen is nearly 40% larger than the Surface Pro 2's, and its 2160 by 1440 pixel resolution is a big improvement as well. With that size and that resolution, it's a true productivity machine.
You can position the kickstand to any angle between zero and 150 degrees, so that you should be able to get the screen angle just right for work, in the same way you can on a traditional laptop. The new magnetic Surface Cover looks as if it will help when you're typing with it on your lap. And there's also a slew of accessories as there would be for full-blown laptops, including a docking station for plugging in keyboards, monitors, and more.
It really is a tablet
At 1.76 pounds, and .36 inches thick it really is a tablet, not a luggable slab. It's also got the usual sensors you'd expect, in addition to a touch screen, including accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. And the included pen makes it ideal for writing, drawing, and jotting down notes.
It's priced to sell
The Surface Pro 3 is a more powerful machine with a larger screen and more capabilities than the Surface Pro 2, but its starting prices is $100 less -- $799. No, that's not cheap, particuarly when you add in the $130 for the Surface Pro's type cover. Still, $930 is not an outrageous amount to pay for a well-made ultrabook that does double-duty as a tablet. At that price, at least it has a fighting chance.
Note that I'll be writing a more comprehensive review of the Surface Pro 3 for Computerworld, and when I do, I'll post a link here.