Microsoft Surface 3 vs. Surface Pro 3: Scratching Beneath The Surface


Can’t decide whether to get the Microsoft Surface 3 or the Surface Pro 3? Choosing a tablet goes beyond the form factor so, here we try to compare Microsoft’s tablet offerings, specs sheet vs. specs sheet.

The first generation of Microsoft tablets were announced in June 2012 and the tablets attracted many customers but the company failed to achieve expected sales. The latest generation of the Microsoft tablets are the Surface 3 (released in May this year) and Surface Pro 3 (released in June 2014).

Both the Microsoft tablets are packed with features that attract many tablet enthusiasts. We take a look at some of the features and how the two tablets compare against each other.


Microsoft markets the Surface Pro 3 as a “tablet that can replace your laptop.” The tablet is powered by the fourth-generation Intel Core family of processors i3, i5, i7 with clock speed of 1.5GHz/1.9GHz/1.7GHz upto 2.9GHz/3.3GHz. The tablet also has 4GB/8GB RAM.

The Surface 3 tablets are powered by an Intel Atom x7-Z8700, quad-core 1.6 GHz processor. The tablet is comparatively slow in comparison to the Surface Pro 3. Experts suggest that users should opt for the 4GB RAM version of the Surface 3 rather than the 2GB version as the latter does not have enough memory for running Windows 8.1.


The Surface 3 has a 10.8-inch multi-touch display with 1920 by 1280 pixels resolution and 213 ppi, which offers accurate color representation making it an elegant experience for users.

The Surface Pro 3 has a slightly bigger screen of 12-inch and supports higher resolution of 2160 by 1440. The pixel density of the tablet is 216 ppi, which is slightly higher than the Surface 3 and due to the bigger screen size.

Both the Microsoft devices have an aspect ratio of 3:2.


The Surface Pro 3 is available in 64/128/256/512GB options while the Surface 3 is available in 64/128GB versions. The storage for both the tablets can be extended using a microSD card.


Both the Microsoft tablets are equipped with a front and rear camera. The Surface Pro 3 has a 5MP front-facing camera compared to the 3.5MP front-facing camera of the Surface 3. However, Surface 3 has a better 8MP main camera when compared to the 5MP rear-facing camera of the Surface Pro 3.


Users of both the Microsoft Surface 3 as well as Surface Pro 3 can use the stylus with their tablets. However, the stylus comes as part of the bundle in Surface Pro 3, while Surface 3 customers have to splash an additional $50 to buy the stylus.

Form factor

The Surface Pro 3 measures 11.5 by 7.93 by 0.36 inch. The Surface 3 measures 0.52 by 7.36 by 0.34 inch, which is smaller and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. At 1.37 pounds the Surface 3 is also lighter than the Surface Pro 3 that weighs 1.76 pounds.

Both the tablets are relatively heavy in comparison to other tablets available in the market.


Microsoft claims that once fully charged the Surface 3 can run for up to 10 hours. The Surface Pro 3 can run for about 9 hours, which is slightly less than the Surface 3 but better when compared to some other laptops.

Price and Operating system

The Surface 3 has a starting price tag of $499 while the Surface 3 Pro starts at $799. Both the tablets run on Windows 8.1.

Many customers believe that the price of Surface Pro 3 is quite high as at the same price point a customer can also buy a decent laptop.

Price-conscious customers who are looking to purchase a tablet may prefer the Surface 3. However, customers looking to replace their laptop and eyeing a bigger display may opt for the Surface Pro 3.


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