Surface Pro 3 arrives to lead the Windows tablet tribe, slay the laptop

Another Surface rises

Microsoft's tablet family has a new head of the table as the company announced the Surface Pro 3 during a New York City event.

The device arrives to "take away the conflict" Microsoft says consumers experience when trying to decide between a laptop and a tablet. In fact, the Surface Pro 3 makes the choice easy as it's billed a laptop killer.

Read more: Microsoft Surface Go

"This is the tablet that can replace your laptop," Microsoft's Panos Panay said.

The device is designed around thinness at every corner, measuring 9.1mm thin (0.36 inches) and 800 grams (1.76 pounds) in weight. Despite its slight stature, the Surface Pro 3 manages to run with 10% more performance power than the Surface Pro 2, thanks in no small part to the top-end Intel Core i7 processor.

The whopping screen measures 12 inches (38% bigger than the Pro 2's) with a 2160x 1440 pixel count. The aspect ratio is designed to emulate a pad of paper at 3:2, which Panay says is rare for this screen size. The new Surface display has 50% more pixels than the Pro 2.

More Surface Pro 3 specs

The Surface Pro 3's storage spans between 64 and 512 GB with either 4 or 8GB of RAM.

Its speakers are 45% louder than its predecessor and features a full-friction kickstand, perfect for standing nearly vertical or almost flat in canvas mode. Use it any angle, the Surface Pro 3's "lapability" is bar none.

The Pro 3 also features a USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader for expandable storage.

Panay said the Surface Pro 3's 9 hour battery lasts 20% longer than the last Surface Pro while humming on a fanless chassis.

As for its cameras, a 5MP snapper occupies both the front and back, and both can capture 1080p HD video.

Surface Pro 3 Type Covers and stylus

Microsoft has a few accessories designed for the Surface Pro 3, namely Type Covers, a new Docking Station and a stylus.

Surface Type cover

Covers of many colors

Microsoft has rethought the Type Cover's placement, and now it sits on the Pro 3's bezel at an angle, making for a more comfortable typing. The click-in keyboards come in five colors and feature 63% larger trackpads, but it costs $129 (about £76, AU$139) extra.

The company also talked up a new Surface Docking Station (available for $199.99/ about £118, AU$216) designed for the Pro 3 and due in a few months. The dock's output supports 4K, by the way.

Panay spent plenty of time on the Surface Pro 3's N-trig stylus, which is as much of a pen as you can get on a tablet. In fact, the Redmond firm doesn't even want you to think of the scribbler as a traditional stylus; this is a pen, just one that writes glass screens instead of paper.

The stylus and N-trig's integrated touch technology replace Wacom and Atmel, which provided pen and touch capabilities for the previous Pro generation. One is included with the Surface Pro 3, but extras will cost $49.99 (about £29, AU$54) a pop.

The Surface Pro 3 and pen combo have the lowest latency in the industry, Panay said. Microsoft has also done away with the parallax effect that beleaguers many users.

A cool feature Panay introduced happens when users click the stylus when the Surface Pro 3 is turned off. The click turns on the tablet's note-taking screen, letting users jot down notes which are then be saved to the cloud via OneNote. Panay explained this feature is for those moments when you wake up at 3 a.m. with a brilliant (or bad) idea and want to scribble it down in the dark.

Surface Pro 3 release date and price

Surface Pro 3 pre-orders go live tomorrow at beginning at 12:01 am ET. It will be available at Microsoft retail stores and Best Buys in the US beginning May 21.

Starting June 20, the Surface Pro 3 will be available in stores and other authorized retailers in the US and Canada. By the end of August, 26 additional markets - including Australia and the UK - will have the Pro 3 on sale in retail locations.

The Core i3 variant kicks things off at $799 (about £474, AU$863). The Core i5 model will start at $999 (about £593, AU$1,079) followed by the Core i7 at $1,549 (about £919, AU$1,673). The top of the line Surface Pro 3 with Core i7 processor, 512GB storage and 8GB of RAM runs $1,949 (about £1,156, AU$2,105).