Microsoft squares up to MacBook with latest Surface Pro
The 12-inch Surface Pro 3 is a tablet and a laptop said to 'serve all purposes'
Microsoft has introduced the Surface Pro 3, which it claims can "replace your laptop".
The latest Surface model, which is described as a tablet and a laptop, comes in three models starting from $799, and features a 12-inch screen, larger than Apple iPad's 9.7-inches and at 7.62mm is 56% thinner than the 17.3mm MacBook Air and 1.6% thicker than the 7.5mm iPad air.
Weighing 800g, the Surface Pro is 26% lighter than the MacBook Air but at 71% heavier than the iPad Air, the Pro is not the most portable option on the market.
According to Reuters, at a presentation in New York, Microsoft executives made frequent comparisons with the MacBook Air, making it clear that Apple's lightest laptop, which starts at $899, was the device to beat.
"So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. "Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop - packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device. You'll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need."
Surface Pro 3 features a ClearType Full HD display, runs Windows 8.1 Pro, comes with Microsoft Office suite and includes the new Surface pen for writing and drawing.
It also has a full-size USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader and Mini DisplayPort as well as speakers with Dolby Audio enhanced sound.
Boasting up to nine hours of battery life, the Surface Pro has a click-in keyboard, and a multi-position kickstand that goes from movie mode to working mode and then to writing mode. New Surface accessories like the Surface Pro Type Cover take Surface Pro 3 from a tablet to laptop instantly.
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Microsoft bragged that without an optional clip-on keyboard, the Surface Pro 3 becomes the "thinnest PC" to be powered by one of Intel's higher-end Core processors. Other optional accessories, including a new docking station and a Surface Ethernet adapter, mean that Surface Pro 3 has all the features and capabilities of a complete laptop.
Powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core processor and featuring up to 8 GB of RAM, the Pro 3 is a faster Windows 8 tablet than its predecessor, which has about 2% of the tablet market, having failed to make a dent on Apple's iPads.
Microsoft's chief executive Satya Nadella said at the New York event: "To talk about it having a small percentage of the tablet market partly misses the point, because it's designed to appeal to PC buyers".
"I think there's pent-up demand for something that does the job of a PC, that's light and thin, and that's cheaper than something like the MacBook Air. If the Surface Pro 3 also delivers good battery life, then that's a package that could resonate with a lot of buyers.
"We're also seeing enterprises looking to replace at least some of their PCs with a portable touchscreen product that's compatible with their existing Microsoft applications and infrastructure software. That's another market to which the Surface Pro 3 could appeal."
The Surface Pro 3 will be offered in multiple configurations featuring fourth-generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors.
A date has not yet been confirmed for the Surface Pro 3's availability in the UAE.