Microsoft's entry into the hardware market was a slightly bumpy one. While taken as a game changer, Microsoft's first ever own-brand Surface Pro featured a number of niggling flaws that hampered its overall appeal, chief of which was its poor battery life.
Luckily, one year on Microsoft learned from its mistakes and released what in many people's eyes, including us here at V3, was one of the finest tablet-laptop hybrids, the Surface Pro 2. As a result, with Microsoft having once again chosen to radically rework the design of its latest Surface Pro 3, many have justifiably wondered how the new hybrid compares with its predecessor.
Surface Pro 3: 292x201x9.1mm, 800g
Surface Pro 2: 274x173x13.5mm, 907g
Despite featuring a similar magnesium chassis and set of port options, the Surface Pro 3 is significantly bigger than its predecessor. Making up for this, though, unlike the Surface Pro 2, the Surface Pro 3's Kickstand isn't limited to two standing options and can be set to a variety of angles, meaning it should be more pleasant to use as a laptop.
Surface Pro 3: 12in ClearType Full HD screen with 2160x1440 resolution
Surface Pro 2: 10.6in ClearType Full HD screen with 1920x1080 resolution
Microsoft claims that, as well as being 38 per cent bigger than the Surface Pro 2's, the Surface Pro 3's 12in display is able to display twice as many pixels. If true the display will be one of the best seen on any Windows 8.1 tablet.
Surface Pro 3: Windows 8.1
Surface Pro 2: Windows 8.1
Both of Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets run the latest Windows 8.1 software version. However, the Surface Pro 3's larger display is likely to make using Windows 8.1 in the desktop mode more pleasant than it is on the Surface Pro 2.
Surface Pro 3: Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 options
Surface Pro 2: Intel Haswell 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U
The Surface Pro 3 is available with a variety of chip models. Microsoft claims that the top Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 3 option will offer 10 percent better performance than the Surface Pro 2.
Surface Pro 3: 5MP and 1080p HD front- and rear-facing
Surface Pro 2: 3.5MP 1080p rear-facing and 720p front-facing
Taking photos on tablets is never a pleasant experience but, as we noted in our review, the Surface Pro 2 was particularly bad at it. Coming with a higher megapixel rear camera, the Surface Pro 3 will hopefully offer better imaging performance.
Surface Pro 3: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB internal storage options
Surface Pro 2: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB internal storage options
Despite offering the same set of storage options, the Surface Pro 3 is the more affordable option thanks to its more varied chip offering, with prices starting at for £639 for the 64GB Intel Core i3 model. By comparison the 64GB Surface Pro 2 costs £720.
Surface Pro 3: Up to nine hours' web browsing
Surface Pro 2: Up to eight hours in our tests
Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 3 will offer superior battery life to its predecessor and will last up to nine hours from one charge. During our tests, the Surface Pro 2 generally lasted around seven to eight hours.
On paper the Surface Pro 3 is a significant step-up from the Surface Pro 2, offering a more diverse range of chip options, larger and crisper display, and significantly lower starting price.
Hopefully, the Surface Pro 3 will make good on its on-paper promise when it arrives in the UK this August. Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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