One of the great things Microsoft has done with Surface Pro 3 this time around, is to have made available the new tablet in various configurations. There are 5 different configurations to choose from, one can choose to buy an entry-level Intel Core i3 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of SSD storage; mid-level featuring a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, or all the way to the premium-level with a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
The tablet is surprisingly amazing pretty much at any configuration and this takes us to the big question, on which tablet you should spend the top dollars? To make the right decision on which Surface Pro 3 model you should buy, you’ll first have to know your needs and what you want to get out it.
Who should buy an entry-level Surface Pro 3
If you’re looking to consume content, meaning reading books, surfing the internet, and playing very lite games such as board games. You should be OK, buying the Core i3 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of SSD storage model. This entry-level model will cost you $799.
Basically this model can be a replacement for the current Surface 2 running Windows 8.1 RT, with the difference that now you can run desktop apps as well, as the device runs the full version of Windows 8.1.
Who should buy a mid-level Surface Pro 3
If you’re looking to do actual work, consume content, watch videos, casual games, and more. In other words, you want to replace your laptop. You’ll probably want the next model — the Intel Core i5 –. The mid-level Surface Pro 3 model comes with two options: 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD. Choosing between these two configurations is typically a personal choice, but in my experience, if I’m about to drop $1,000, I will go for the Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, just because you’ll have more room to install apps and the extra RAM will help apps to run more freely. This configuration will cost you $1,299, but the extra memory will help to run apps smoothly and the storage is enough for regular users.
Who should buy a premium-level Surface Pro 3
If you’re looking to do heavy-duty work, consume content, watch movies, and a lot more. In other words, you want to replace your laptop with a device that can run Photoshop and AutoCAD flawlessly and have the most powerful tablet ever built. Then you’ll want the Surface Pro 3 with Intel Core i7 processor. The Core i7 model comes in two configuration: 8GB of RAM and 256GB of Solid State Drive and 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The first configuration cost $1,549, while the second model will cost $1,949. It’s expensive, but remember you’re getting a tablet that can go against pretty much any Ultrabook in the market today.
Another aspect to consider is graphics, depending on the model you decide to buy, you’ll get a different graphic processor. The cheapest model gets an Intel HD4200 graphics, while the Core i5 model includes an Intel HD4400 graphics processor, and the Core i7 includes a HD5000 graphic chip.
According to Microsoft, on any Surface Pro 3 model you choose, the device will hold the same up to 9 hours of battery life. But of course, everything will depend upon the kind of work you do with it. If you’re playing gaming or editing a movie, the 9 hours battery life won’t hold true.
Also on any configuration, Microsoft will include the new Surface Pen for free, which is a $49.99 value. The new Type Cover with the new magnetic strip that attaches to the bezel to make the device a whole lot steady is a necessary evil, as you won’t be able to do much without it, other than using the device as a tablet, and it will cost you an extra $129.99, because it doesn’t come included when you buy the device. There are other accessories coming out for the tablet as well, check out this previous article for list and pricing.
If you still cannot decide which Surface Pro 3 model to buy, you’ll probably be fine with the Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM. Although, we heard some complaints of mouse lagging using Photoshop, still pretty impressive hardware configuration for the type of device. I’ve been testing this model for a while and I haven’t had much problems.