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Microsoft boosts Surface Pro 3 line-up with cheaper i7 model


Surface Pro 3

This weekend Microsoft quietly released a new version of its Surface Pro 3 range, bringing a cheaper version of the Intel Core i7 model into play.

The latest addition to the line-up knocks a few bucks of the asking price, but drops the built-in storage down from 256GB to 128GB, making it a good option for those who rely more on cloud-based solutions.

Right now it appears the new iteration, which also packs 8GB RAM, is only available in the United States, where it's $1,299 (about £825) compared with $1,549 (about £985) for the 256GB model.

In the UK, the 256GB/Core i7 model is £1,299, so if Microsoft were to roll out this new version in Blighty, that price tag would probably fall somewhere closer to £1,100.

The largely unprompted release (via CNET) comes at a time when speculation suggests Microsoft is dragging its heels on releasing a Surface Pro 4.

Last week Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella warned of 'tough choices' ahead, perhaps hinting the Lumia and Surface divisions could be under threat.

Nadella said: ”We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value.

"I really do believe that we can achieve magical things when we come together as one team and focus."

Read more: Windows 10 vs Windows 8: Should you upgrade?

Of course, Microsoft may just be saving a Surface Pro 4 announcement for the Windows 10 release on July 29, but given that’s only one month away, this mid-cycle refresh casts at least a little doubt.

Alex Walsh

June 30, 2015, 9:24 am

In terms of CPU it's massively outdated- 2 or 3 generations old, suffering from extreme thermal throttling etc. In some benchmark tests the Surface 3 matches/ outperforms the i3 iteration due to the thermal restraints.

Alex Mason

June 30, 2015, 10:29 am

Asbolutely. IMO the SP3 is a nearly device. They got a lot of things right (including, eventually, the WiFi problems) but the older Haswell parts are just not right for the form factor. They've meant middle of the road battery life and issues with performance throttling due to marginal cooling.

However, I am not sure where they go from here. Core M looks like a shoe-in from a TDP perspective, but the performance for something marketed as a "pro" device isn't there. Can only hope that the mobile parts from Bakewell? aren't just more of the same Haswell.

Alex Walsh

June 30, 2015, 10:51 am

Surface Pro looks like a product waiting for Skylake IMHO. Anything else, like Core M, is a waste as it's not enough of a step over the Surface 3

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