Hands On With Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3

Microsoft’s newest Surface, the Surface Pro 3, is an interesting gadget. Akin to its predecessors, it sits somewhere between a tablet and a laptop. In Microsoft’s estimation, the Pro 3 can replace your laptop while providing the utility of a tablet. It’s a big claim. TechCrunch got its hands on a Pro 3 here in San Francisco, and sat it next to its predecessors and competitors.

The Pro 3 something like a Surface Pro 2’s guts shoved into an outstretched Surface 2. It’s certainly more compelling than the Microsoft devices that came before it. But the chief question is simple: Can it stack up next to and best the Macbook Air in terms of price, and utility? The answer, it turns out, isn’t binary. The Surface Pro 3 offers different use cases. I think that the Macbook Air still offers a better pure-laptop experience, but the Pro 3 allows for other input options that might, in your use, more than compensate for that deficit.

The Surface Pro 3 is the first Surface device that meets Microsoft’s initial vision for the line. Will consumers react well to it? We’ll know soon enough when Microsoft reports new revenue numbers for its nascent OEM business.