Affinity Consulting Blog

Despite rumors of a smaller Microsoft Surface tablet to compete with the iPad Mini, Microsoft instead went upscale and decided that the Surface Pro is less like an iPad and more like the ultrabook class of laptops. The new Surface Pro 3 has a larger 12 inch screen and powerful Core i series processors from Intel. With the Surface Pro 3's optional detachable keyboard, the device competes not with Apple's iPad tablets, but with its MacBook Air laptops. This is probably a good thing.

I won't go into a detailed description of the new Surface Pro 3. That is best left to those who have lived with each successive Surface model, such as noted Microsoft expert Paul Thurott. Read his complete guide to the Surface Pro 3 here. The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, but most lawyers will want a more robust configuration that includes at least the $130 type cover that features both a keyboard and a touch pad. If the Pro 3 is going to be your primary mobile device that replaces a laptop or ultrabook, upgrading from the base Core i3 processor to an i5 or i7 and boosting SSD storage from 64 GB on the base model to at least 128 GB might be wise. A Core i5 with 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD costs $999 plus $130 for the type cover.

For $1,129 total, the Surface Pro 3 offers a very well constructed premium device running the full Windows 8.1 operating system. It provides a solid alternative to the entry level 11 inch or 13 inch MacBook Air models. Unlike the MacBook Air, the Surface Pro 3 has a digital electronic stylus for taking notes on the touch screen (also missing from Apple's offering) and the detachable keyboard allows it to be used as a tablet when that form factor is desired.

When the Surface line was launched to a resounding thud a year and a half ago, it seemed that Microsoft was targeting the iPad and related tablet market. That was a mistake. The MacBook Air and other ultrabooks are a more logical target, at least for business users like lawyers and law firm staff.

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