Comparison of Surface Pro 3 to Surface Pro 2

 Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

Today I used my new Surface Pro 3 for the entire workday and thought I'd share the differences I've noticed as compared to the Surface Pro 2.

I purchased the first model that offered 8GB of RAM. The Microsoft website is a bit confusing on this point - it makes it look like 4GB or 8GB of RAM is a choice. Well, it is, but what I learned is the first two models (64GB and 128GB of storage) both come with 4GB of RAM. The first model to offer 8GB is the 256GB of storage. So, I have 256GB of storage, 8GB RAM, and the i5 processor.

What is Different about the Surface Pro 3?

Size.  The biggest difference is, of course, screen size. The bigger 12" screen size really makes a big, big difference in usability. The design is more thin and sleek with a bit less weight.

 Left:  Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Surface Pro 3

Left:  Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Surface Pro 3

 Angled keyboard on the Surface Pro 3

Angled keyboard on the Surface Pro 3

Keyboard.  The pad on the Type Keyboard is smooth now - I like the feel of it much better than the old keyboard.  The keyboard also has a magnetic strip across the top so you have the choice of angling it up a bit (as shown in the picture on the left) or leaving the keyboard flat on the desk. The choice there is a nice touch.It's a bit harder to touch the taskbar icons on the screen if it's angled up, but that's just a bit of an adjustment.

Pen.  The pen is very different. It has 3 buttons on it to launch OneNote, perform right-click operations, and erase.  I haven't used the pen much yet, but I'm really looking forward to breaking it in.

 Left: Power supply on Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Power supply on Surface Pro 3

Left: Power supply on Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Power supply on Surface Pro 3

Power Supply.  The power supply got a little smaller which is always great. Its connector is still magnetic, but shaped a bit differently. The new shape makes it just a bit easier to insert into the charging port on the right hand side.

Kickstand.  The kickstand in the back also is now adjustable to nearly any angle you want which should help with using it on a lap or lying on the couch. The kickstand is firmer to adjust but it's not difficult once you get the feel for it.

What Things Got Relocated on the Surface Pro 3?

Start Button.  The Start button moved from the bottom middle to the right middle (if it's sitting landscape like the picture shown at the top).

Power Button.  The power button moved from the top right to the top left.

USB Port.  The USB port moved from the left to the right.

MicroSD Card Reader.  The MicroSD card reader is now tucked away behind the kickstand. At first I had a bit of trouble locating it, but it being out of the way is probably a good thing.

What Stayed the Same in the Surface Pro 3?

Mini Display Port.  The Mini Display Port stayed the same, which is great because I have video adapters for both VGA and HDMI that I can continue using.

USB.  There's still one USB port available on the side (two would have been great, but I have a small hub so that's ok). The power supply still has a USB charger which is handy to charge my cell phone.

Summary

In summary, I like the Surface Pro 3 a lot - although I knew I would considering how much I liked the Surface Pro 2. The bigger size is really great. I've gotten to where I really value the portability of a device like this - and I used to be someone who most valued a large monitor (although I do have a second monitor in my home office).

I've been going back and forth between laptop and tablet up until now. Horsepower for running demos (like a full SharePoint BI environment) is the only concern that I need to test out more fully at this point. I'll be firing up my local VMs soon, and I suspect I'll be taking advantage of Azure a bit more going forward for demo purposes. I'm planning to use the Surface Pro 3 as my primary machine most of the time, so we'll see how that goes. 

 Excerpt from Surface Pro 3 User Guide

Excerpt from Surface Pro 3 User Guide

Update 7/10:  After installing Hyper-V, the Sleep setting is no longer available. Paul Thurrott discusses the issue here:  Hyper-V and Connected Standby.