U.S. shoppers can now grab a Surface Pro 3, but only the Intel Core i5 version. That's set to change in August.
"Those who are interested in the Core i3 and Core i7 versions will remember that when we first announced the product we said these would be shipping 'in August,'" Panos Panay, head of Microsoft Surface, said in a statement. Commending his team's "great work" on the device, he revealed that "in August" actually "means Aug. 1, which is when these versions will arrive in stores and at commercial resellers in Canada and the U.S."
Currently, the Surface Pro 3 is available with Intel's mid-range Core i5 processor (code-named Haswell). Prices start at $999 for a 128GB i5 model with 4GB of RAM. The 256GB version with 8GB—as reviewed here—starts at $1,299. The tablet runs the full version of Windows 8.1 Pro.
Panos explained that all versions of the Surface Pro 3 (Intel Core i3 i5 and i7) will ship to 26 other markets by the end of August. Those regions include Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom, according to the company.
August will also mark the release of a major peripheral. "The docking station will be available beginning Friday, Aug. 15 in Canada and the United States, and you can preorder it starting today in these markets through Microsoft Stores and other select retailers," stated Panos.
The Surface Pro 3 was officially announced a month ago during a press event in New York City. Microsoft surprised attendees by unveiling a larger successor to the Pro 2 instead of the widely rumored Surface Mini.
The business-friendly tablet sports a 12-inch touch-screen with a resolution of 2,160 by 1,440 pixels and a 3:2 aspect ratio. By comparison, the Surface Pro 2 has a 10.6-inch screen with a traditional 1,080P display (1,920 by 1,080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio).
Instead of pitting the tablet against the iPad or Android-powered slates like Amazon's Kindle Fire range, Microsoft is billing the device as a laptop replacement. In particular, the company set its sights on the MacBook Air. Until July 31, the company is offering up to $650 off the price of a Surface Pro 3 if buyers trade in select MacBook Air models at physical Microsoft retail stores.
Further setting the Pro 3 apart is deep OneNote integration. With a click of the included Surface Pen stylus, the OneNote app is instantly launched—even if the tablet is on standby—ready for digital note-taking duty.
Also new is an improved Type Cover, the innovative keyboard that doubles as a cover that protects the touch-screen. In addition to backlit keys and a larger, more responsive touch-pad, the Type Cover now (optionally) clips to the tablet's lower bezel for a more ergonomic, wrist-friendly typing angle.