Microsoft Surface Pro 2 vs Surface Pro 3 spec comparison: What's new?

In the last decade, we've moved past viewing tablets as things you swallowed with a glass of water for headaches to high-tech pieces of kit that help run our lives. Now Microsoft has launched the next stage in this evolution: the Surface Pro 3.

Billed as a tablet, it packs the same processing power as a PC. Indeed, Microsoft are calling on customers to ditch their laptops and replace it altogether with the Surface Pro 3. But how does it stack up against its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2? Let's break down the specs and see.

Size and dimensions

The Surface Pro 3 may be the newest addition to the Microsoft tablet family, but it's definitely the biggest brother. It has a 12.in screen compared to the Surface Pro 2's 10.in offering. Surprisingly though it's also a lot lighter, weighing just 798g compared to the 2's 900g.

Not only that, the Surface Pro 3 seems to have been on a diet - it's just 9.1mm thick compared to the pudgy 13.5mm Surface Pro 2. It all round out to a lighter Surface Pro that yet manages to pack in more tech per square inch.

Processor and Storage

Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 3 is the "thinnest Intel Core product ever made," thus sending Weight Watchers subscriptions among the rest of Intel's line-up spiralling. Indeed, Microsoft has found a way to cram a powerful Intel Core i7 processor into the slim Surface Pro 3 frame, which stands head and shoulders above the Pro 2's Intel Core i5 processor.

Still, it's worth mentioning that the Surface Pro 3 will come in many flavours to suit a bevy of budgets, and the cheapest iteration is a 64GB model with an i5 processor for £639.

Finally the new tablet / laptop hybrid will feature a "fanless" design with what Microsoft is claiming is a 30 per cent more efficient cooling system than any other on the market.

Camera

On the photography front, the two tablets are pretty similar. They both have 5 megapixel rear cameras that shoot 1080p video, but the Surface Pro 3 edges ahead with another 5 megapixel front-facing snapper compared to the Pro 2's 3.5 megapixel offering.

Audio is an interesting area to focus on, however. The Surface Pro 3 now boasts front-facing speakers with Dolby sound that Microsoft claims are up to 48 per cent louder than the Surface Pro 2.

Accessories

Microsoft isn't one to scrimp on the accessories, and both the Surface Pro 2 and the Pro 3 come with a range of extras. These include a Surface Pro docking station, a keyboard cover for the Pro 3 replete with trackpad and a Surface Stylus.

Verdict

The expected size and tech improvements aside, many of the core ideas behind the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 are taken from the Pro 2. Both devices offer storage options ranging between 64GB to 512GB, for example, and both target the enterprise rather than the consumer market.

Still, the Surface Pro 3 walks a fine line between being a tablet and a laptop. The pros and cons of this are that you get a lot of power, but it is a lot heavier and bulkier than a traditional tablet. If you prefer to be more nimble when you work, perhaps the Pro 2 is for you. If you're not that fussed, however, and have £1,649 to hand for the priciest model, the Pro 3 might be right up your street.

Which would you buy? Let us know in our poll or the comment section below the spec comparison table. Meanwhile, check out our hands on with the Surface Pro 3 and our other spec comparisons, including the Surface Pro 3 vs. the Apple iPad Air.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Display

Screen size

10.6in

12in

Resolution

1,920 x 1080 pixels

2,160 x 1,440 pixels

Pixel density

208 PPI

216 PPI

Type

IPS LCD

LCD

Processor and battery

Family

Intel Core i5 (4th-gen)

Intel i5

Cores

Dual-core

Dual-core

Clock speed

1.6GHz

TBC

Battery

Claimed 10 hrs life

Claimed 9 hrs life

Storage and memory

Internal memory

64 / 128 / 256 / 512GB

64 / 128 / 256 / 512GB

Card slot

Yes

Yes

RAM

4 / 8GB

4GB

Camera

Megapixels

Front: 3.5MP

Rear: 5MP

Front: 5MP

Rear: 5MP

Video

1080p

1080p

Dimensions

Size

275 x 173 x 8.9mm

292mm x 201.3mm x 9.1mm

Weight

900g

798g

Operating System

Windows 8.1 Pro

Windows 8.1 Pro

Price

£719 (64GB, 4GB RAM)

£799 (128GB, 4GB RAM)

£1,039 (256GB, 8GB RAM)

£1,439 (512GB, 8GB RAM)

£639 (64GB / intel i3)

£849 (128GB / intel i5)

£1,109 (256GB /intel i5)

£1,339 (256 GB/intel i5)

£1,649 (512GB /intel i7)

UK Availability

Available now

Available for pre-order