Pick up the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and you’ll find it hard not to think of it first as a laptop. A really cool-looking laptop, in fact, especially when you add one of the brightly colored keyboards Microsoft offers as an option. Prices for the Surface Pro 3 range from $800 for a Core i3-based model with 64GB of storage to $1,950 for a Core i7 version with 512GB of storage.
It is a tablet, of course. You can remove the keyboard and hold it on your lap. You can use the pen that Microsoft is now including, or swipe and tap on it like a tablet.
But in so many ways, it’s more like a laptop. Here’s why.
The 12-inch display is bright, crisp—and big. There’s plenty of display space for working on spreadsheets, presentations, and other jobs. The 3:2, squarish aspect ratio makes it great for looking at photos.
The Surface Pro 3 weighs in at 1.8 pounds without the keyboard (2.4 pounds with keyboard). That’s heavy for a tablet, but very light for a laptop. In fact, it weighs about the same as or less than many smaller 11-inch laptops, including the Surface Pro 2.
The Surface Pro 3 offers lots of options, and they all involve Intel Core processors. You can choose from the Core i3, i5, and i7. Putting that kind of processing power into a tablet usually means portability is sacrificed. But Microsoft did a good job here, fitting the Core processors into a device that’s just 0.3 inches thick. Microsoft says that’s the thinnest Intel Core device yet. By comparison, the Surface Pro 2, which is powered by a Core i5 processor, is 0.53 inches thick.