Good morning, Reddit! Panos Panay here speaking for my team of Microsoft Surface engineers and designers. We were honored to unveil Surface Pro 3 in New York last week. ICYMI, here’s a three minute highlight reel of the presentation.

And of course, you can always keep up with us via our blog (

For the next two hours we’ve got our sleeves rolled up, ready to answer as many of your questions as we can.

Fire away!

Comments: 1359 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

SailRacerX1827 karma

Can I have one? (Doesn't hurt to ask, right?)

SurfaceTeam531 karma

Get this voted to the top, and you got it.

SurfaceTeam480 karma

To quote one of my favorite movies, Tin Cup: "Winner, winner chicken dinner!" DM your details and I'll send you your Surface Pro 3.

SurfaceTeam116 karma

Rooting for you, just added a vote.

SeiRyuSeijin209 karma

How is it possible to call the Surface Pro 3 a laptop killer when the device does not come with a keyboard? The keyboard is an "optional" accessory that is marketed as vital to the the Surface experience (to which I agree), but it makes no sense to charge so much extra for it.

SurfaceTeam160 karma

When we first launched Surface, we sold it only in a bundle format. the top feedback we got was that people loved the color covers and wanted full choice (but stores wouldn't sell all color bundles) and some people definitely wanted to buy without cover.

1867canada145 karma

My Questions

  1. Why hasn't the MicroSD / High CPU issue existing on the Surface Pro 2 since launch been fixed yet? (specifics of the issue: )

  2. Will there be a trade-in program that gives a more generous value than the existing programs for Surface Pro 2 owners that would like to go up to 3.

SurfaceTeam28 karma

Thanks for the question, /u/1867Canada, and apologies for the delay. We tried to get to as many as we could on Tuesday, but saw that yours went unanswered! 1. That’s a valid question and we’re happy to say that a fix will be distributed through Windows Update on June 10. In the meantime, customers can go download an updated UEFI package now to resolve - 2. Microsoft Stores has a great trade in program where you get a minimum of $200 back if you trade in your iPad or MacBook Air. If you’re looking to trade in your Surface Pro 2, Microsoft Stores offers up to $600 for Surface Pro 2. The trade in value will vary based on the storage configuration and condition of the device. Check here for more information or call your local Microsoft Store for details –

Thanks again!

BluEgo106 karma

I'm a 3D artist and proud owner of the first Surface Pro. I believe that many artists out there have been and will be interested to any new evolution of Surface products. You addressed many problems related to using the tablet from an artistic point of view, but many of them still remain imo.

1) I was surprised that you don't use Wacom Technology anymore. Maybe there was some problem as the Surface could be seen as a direct competitor of the Wacom Companion. But the new pen, while more accurate, lacks of levels of pressure. It is only 256, and while it may be enough for digital painters working on a a small canvas, it may result in less accurate sampling. I'm actually happy that you ditched Wacom technology, as they currently have the monopoly, which usually isn't a good thing... but from a user point of view, it may be a risk to jump on the first iteration with a new technology. Do you think the pen will be updated with more levels of pressure during SP3's lifecycle?

1a) This pen probably will not work with applications that use WinTab drivers only... Will this problem be solved? Currently I can't think how it will be possible for me to use softwares like zbrush or mudbox without pen pressure.

2) One of my bigger concerns with the first Pro was that the screen wasn't that big, and that many applications weren't scaling the text properly when using different DPI settings. Is it possible to solve it in some way? Furthermore, can you add an option in windows 8.1, to setup different DPI settings per application?

3) The bigger resolution will probably impact performances. I don't understand this big run to the "retina" resolution. Is it really that important? I would have preferred the classic HD resolution coming from the previous pro.

4) Is it true that the windows logo, being on the right oprtion of the screen, represents a problem for right-handed artists, as it is often pressed by mistake?

5) I would like to see a customizable on-screen keyboard (like ArtDock), where I can put the keys I use the most in my applications. This would be useful when using Photoshop for example... where I can setup a mini-touch-keyboard with ctrl+alt+shift+space buttons only. The problem I have with existing solutions (artdock again), is that palm rejection disables it, and I am forced to remove the hand holding the pen from the screen, while using this on-screen buttons.

Thank you!

SurfaceTeam292 karma

Hi.. this is StevieB. I anticipated the pen digitizer question.. so I have been thinking about how to talk about it over the weekend. I hope you and other folks find it useful. I will try to answer the rest of your questions preceding. Below is about your Wacom and Pressure question.

There are 3 main types of pen digitizer technologies: Electromagnetic, passive capacitive (those conductive rubber tipped pens that trick the digitizer into looking like a finger), and active capacitive.

Electromagnetic works by putting a printed circuit board across the entire device, typically situated underneath the display and its backlight. This is a completely separate system from the touch digitizer that typically goes in front of the display. The circuit board has a bunch of planar coils that emit an electromagnetic field (like one side of a transformer). The Other side of the transformer is located in the pen itself. As the pen approaches these fields and coils it couples the EM signal and adds a load. This load is picked up across multiple coils and the position of the stylus is then interpolated. These field lines can emit 15mm or so above the display, and thus the mechanism for hover. Data is transmitted from the pen to the device (pressure and button data), by modifying the frequency content of the load. To get orientation there is typically a secondary coil/circuit.. and simple trig can extrapolate the orientation of the pen.. this is important for later to remove mechanical parallax. Among the three this technique has been around the longest.

Passive stylus, works by simply acting as an extension of your finger, by being a conductor to passively couple with the electrostatic signal from the transmit and receive rows and columns of the digitizer. This technique uses the same transparent conductive lines in front of the display to do both the finger and “fake” finger/stylus.

Finally, active capacitive solutions started coming into fruition in the early 2000s. Their mode of operation is to use the same transparent conductive lines as passive stylus does above, but rather the pen tip injects an electrostatic signal which is picked up by these touch capacitive lines. Think of the pen is a mini radio and the sensing lines in front of the display the device are little antennas. The junction(s) (where the rows and columns of the transparent conducting lines cross) which receives the strongest signal is correlated to the position of the pen. To do this, the pen typically needs a battery, but the pen can emit all kinds of signals from buttons, pressure, and other. We purchased a really fantastic active capacitive pen and touch technology a couple years ago: you may remember the company that did the CNN election boards.. Perceptive Pixel. This is no doubt the most fantastic pen technology around for large non-mobile screens. Active capacitive field is defiantly showing a lot of activity by a number of different touch makers.. cause it is a natural extension of touch technology and its integration with the touch solution.

Now let’s go into what makes a great stylus from a hardware perceptive : 1) Precision is king. The more accurate and consistent the pen tip is to the actual ink of the display the more natural and more accurate you as an artist and user are able to execute. a. The Precision problem is broken down into 3 categories: i. Visual Parallax: from pen tip to ink on screen. This is where you think the pen tip is. ii. Electronic parallax: from pen tip to digitizer and where the digester thinks the pen tip actually is.
iii. Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen. 2) Feel and sound: should sound and feel like writing on paper. 3) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. 4) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity 5) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands) 6) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 7) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches. 8) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements.

Now that we have a bit of a background of the different popular pen digitizer options and the hardware characteristics of what makes a good pen. Let’s go into a brief pros and cons of each of these (I am gonna skip passive stylus as it is still offers an obvious compromise in experience for our current applications [for now]). But before we begin, please let me say first none of these 3 options are generally more superior than one another. It all depends on the application and even more importantly the implementation/execution of technology. The performance of any one of these technologies is highly dependent on how thoughtful, careful, the engineering put into by the device makers to integrate the digitizer system. I have seen some really poor implementations of all 3 of these solutions above by various device makers. Using the brand of technology does not guarantee performance in the least bit.

continued below

SurfaceTeam239 karma

Electromagnetic Stylus: 1) Precision: This can be very good for electromagnetics but it is highly dependent on implementation. To get the corners working well, and avoid non-linearity, the digitizer sitting behind the display must extend slightly beyond the display. Also metal objects or magnetics objects near the digitizer or in front of even in the device greatly effect noise and performance. This highly constraints the device maker from having a certain boarder size, and also the types of materials they use on the device and in the pen. Because magnetic fields shift with the environment, you will see drift and offsets… The device maker must do a really good job of calibrating the device.. and if the user puts something infront of the device (say a case that has metal in it), then they must be able to do the same level of calibration. Outside of these constraints, EM pen can give very good results. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. 3) Electronic parallax: because the EM digitizer is buried behind the display and the coils are not located the tip of the pen, the digitizer must calculate the orientation of the pen and translate position from that… this is really never perfect and will often be dependent on where you are on the display.. so it is not a single mathematical transform for all points on the display.. it can be highly complex.. most of the time, the simple route is what is taken. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: best way to test this.. is take ruler and draw straight diagonal lines across the display. Note how the lines are never really straight… this is very hard to do. 5) Feel and sound: Typically today we work with various materials to change the coefficient of static and dynamic friction of the tip on glass.. but there are other techniques we are working on to make this even better no matter what pen technology is used. 6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because it is magnetic based the pen cannot be made out of metal. EM stylus has all kinds of shapes and sizes… from really thin and uncomfortable (but can be docked) to ones that feel like a pen. The pro here is that the pen does not need batteries. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: generally known to do a great job. This is much more about how the pressure curve looks like than the number of bits… I will explain below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen and modify the signals actively (powered by the coils).. it can communicate buttons and pressure information. 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: does not really have advantage of active capacitive.. but over passive stylus it does. 11) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements: because the pen digitizer is a separate digitizer from the touch, this solution will add anywhere between 0.4-1mm in thickness, a few mm around the bezel of the device, and a few 10’s of grams of weight. It is a bit harder ti integrate into the device cause of the constraints around materials and mechanics.

Active Capacitive Stylus: 1) Precision: in the past I have seen some not so good implementations here, but I am so pumped to see our current results in Pro3. We really did move the mark here. The Pen is really much more precise, linear, and linear across the entire device. The first comment I hear from artists when they use the device, is how precise the pen is. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. In Pro 3 we have dropped the optical parallax to .75mm.. this one of the lowest parallax I have seen anywhere for inking tablets. This means as you move your head around your pen tip, the pen tip stays closer to the ink. 3) Electronic parallax: because the antenna lines are just behind the cover glass (for us that is .55mm thick!) the electronic parallax is further reduced.. and this is one of the reasons our pen feels more accurate. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: do the ruler test! 5) Feel and sound: We are using new materials to change the dynamic and static friction of the pen tip. The result is a more paper like feel. As an industry we can do better.. but it is going to have to go to a different mechanism.. more on that later  6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because the signal emits from the tip of the pen, metal objects in the body do not effect performance.. this is why we were able to do a beautiful anodized aluminum pen, that feels like a high quality pen in hand. Now we do need a battery, but the advantage of a battery is that one can emit a more powerful signal for other functions.. like click note: click the top of the pen once and OneNote automatically gets pulled open (even over the lock screen [secured]).. and double click and you get the acetate layer for clipping out portions of the screen into OneNote… pretty neat!.. and you can hold the pen about 3-5 feet away to do that… and you cannot do such an experience if you did not have a battery. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: just as good as our previous implementations.. as good as they come in my opinion. More on that below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen is powered it can emit all kinds of commands via its emitted signals (buttons, pressure information, click note). 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. We have one caveat during hover.. while our latency is still best in class when you are inking, you may notice a bit of a lag during hover.. but only during hover mode.. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: about the same as EM. 11) Device Integration: Active capacitive digitizer are integrated into the touch controller, and use the same touch sensing lines. This is a fantastic form of integration, which makes for a thinner and lighter device. Also there are less restriction on materials.. for example our Type Keyboard clicks into the bottom portion of the device bezels via magnetics.. this would really be a bad thing for an EM digitizer.

SurfaceTeam261 karma

Pressure I have heard a few folks worry about the 256 pressure levels vs. 1024... One can claim absurd amounts of resolution 10,12,14,16 bits.. whatever.. but in the end eventhough system is spitting out a 10 or 16 bit number does not mean there is a 10 or 16 bits worth of useful information there.. just like an overspeced digital camera.. the sensor is 20 megapixels.. does not mean the resultant image is 20 megapixels worth of information. You can do this experiment yourself.. I did it over the weekend to try to prove a point to my friends: I took the best known a EM based device I know of and compared it to Pro 3. I started by first downloading and installing a Microsoft PowerTool software called “digiInfo”.. this allows you to record and see Windows messages… I set the software to record pressure on both device. And then a built a small rig to hold the stylus above the digitizer with a about 50 grams downward pressure. Recorded the data of the static pressure.. imported to excel and did some statistics.. here is what I saw: the 1024 pressure tip static-pressure-number had a standard deviation 3 times greater than that of the 256 pressure tip. In end, the performance was the same.. eventhough one had 2 bits less reported info. This makes a lot of sense.. let me put it another way. The Pro 3 pen measures from 10grams-400 grams of pressure and maps 256 levels to that… the mapping is nonlinear.. cause the human hand force activation is non-linear… but one can approximate about 1-1.8 grams per level. The 10 bit pen.. goes from 10-500 grams.. and supposedly does about ~0.4 grams. Think about both those numbers and that is both super super sensitive.. the best weight scale I have can do .1 gram increments…. The only reason it works is cause it averages the heck out of the numbers which adds a considerable amount of lag.. this lag one cannot do on a stylus.. so you are stuck with a nosier signal comparatively in a stylus. With any new stylus there is a difference in the force curve that you have to get used to… and that is likely what people will notice.. not the difference in bit resolution. We are going to make that easier for you by later giving you a piece of software that allows you to map your own force curve! I encourage you to get one of those scales and try to control it to the .1 grams.. will shed some light on the topic. The feedback from artists I have heard.. is that they do not see a difference.. and that is cause really the resultant info is not different.

WinTab: yes we have wintab driver support. See the link below to download and install it for pro3. In the future I hope apps start using the more modern APIs.. Wintab is old and outdated.. adds latency, and inserts itself in the pen path.. select the windows 8.1 option.

DPI You are right for higher DPI screens a number of the older desktop applications are not DPI aware. Things are getting better though. Windows 8.1 supports different scalars nor for different simultaneous monitors.

Retina: Anywhere between 190-300 dpi is a good place to be for tablets.. people hold them closer and you really want to avoid seeing jaggy lines.. but over specing the screen here can be dangerous and we are already seeing people going beyond 300 DPI.. there is not much benefit at all.. and in the end if not done right can cause more harm….I love our screen 100% SRGB and high contrast.. combined with great DPI. Balanced approach.

Home Button Heard some feedback on people pressing by mistake.. we are definitely looking into it.

Custom Keyboard.. Good feedback.. I agree.

Hope you find this helpful.. sorry it was a bit long :) StevieB

parlor_tricks39 karma

Superb replies, and you are in luck! I have a space bar to sell :D.

The copy paste missed the change in formatting from word to reddit, but the preparation was impressive!!

SurfaceTeam39 karma

LOL.. ok. thank you. sorry about that. Yeah it is hard to type a long reply in such a small edit box.. :)

NotCassim97 karma

What would make the surface pro 3 perfect for every utilisations would be an external GPU to put on the desktop. With that i could replace my laptop, my tablet and my desktop by a single device, the surface pro 3. Have you ever considered it ?

SurfaceTeam65 karma

Hey NotCassim, love the suggestion! Keep them coming please. :)

caliber76 karma

I'm a Windows user, and the first time I used one of Apple's glass touchpads, I couldn't believe how accurate and responsive it was.

Last year, some folks from Microsoft came on and did an AMA on precision touchpads, promising that the days of horrible touchpads on Windows would finally be behind us. Then you released the Surface Pro 2 which used precision touchpads on its covers, and they were lambasted in reviews as some of the worst touchpads ever created, a fact alluded to in your recent presentation launching the Surface Pro 3.

The reviews for the Surface Pro 3 are out, and the touchpad has been described variously as somewhere around decent to at-least-better-than-the-old-ones.

Why is it so difficult in the Windows ecosystem to create a touchpad experience as good as the one found in Apple MacBooks?

SurfaceTeam33 karma

A couple of things that we have done with the new TypeCover. 60%+ larger trackpad area, embedded glass beads for smoother feel, and a mechanical button...provides greatly improved feel.

Trackpad also support Precision Track Pad features with Windows to support gestures including; Edgy, Pan, & Pinch/Zoom.

SurfaceTeam60 karma

Hi All. This is Panos. I am super pumped to be here in AMA again. Looking forward to answering as much as we can as quick as we can. So you know we have Ralf, Pete, Brett, Stevie, Brian all here with me. It has been fun to see the reception on Surface Pro 3 to date... lets get started

frostickle21 karma

There are also a bunch of questions that people have prepared over at /r/surface yesterday, I'm sure they'll repost them over in this thread too, but just in case you guys miss it, here is a link to the other thread:

SurfaceTeam20 karma

Got it. Thanks. We will weave in answers from this as well. Thanks for pointing it out.

vehcilet15 karma

You guys aren't really answering any questions, just promoting your products.

SurfaceTeam16 karma

Hey, what's your question?

FonzWorthIV21 karma

Home Button Issue-While drawing in Landscape, home button gets pressed if you are right handed. Can be disabled but haptic feed back still on, Will there be a fix for this on release or is it being looked at? Is there a fix that also disabled haptic feedback and home button, while still allowing the other physical buttons to work?

Power Setting-Can we control power setting? What happened to High Performance Mode on Surface Pro 3 it appears we cannot change it. Is this a Thermal issue?

SurfaceTeam5 karma

Home Button -

Power Setting - Not a thermal decision, related to connected standby. We are continuing to review options.

ka-splam59 karma

What considerations have stopped mobile SIM card/3G/LTE support being directly included in any of the Surface Pro series?

SurfaceTeam53 karma

it's not in the roadmap right now, but we hear the ask. we have USB so lots of people are using those and "mifi" tethering solutions. Battery certainly has been a consideration to date...

SurfaceTeam58 karma

All, Thanks for joining us today and taking the time with us. We always have a ton of fun doing AMA, wish we had more time to tackle more. I always walk away pumped from these. Congrats to /u/SailRacerX on making it to the top and getting a free Surface Pro 3. I hope you love it. And congrats to Stevie for posting another unbelievably long post....Panos

sherryoak43 karma


SurfaceTeam122 karma

When you buy your Surface Pro3, do me a favor, and take a close look at the "power connector"

jigarshah8439 karma

What happened to the Blades concept? Will we see any unique covers or 3rd parties making covers?

SurfaceTeam28 karma

Hey jigarshah84, thx for the question. The ability to click in is something that was part of Surface from the very beginning. With the new Type Cover for Surface Pro 3, we take productivity to the next level with the double fold hinge adding magnetic stability and a much larger track pad for even more accurate 'mousing'. As for any additional covers, you'll just have to wait and see. :)

digitalsciguy18 karma

As a corollary, will you be updating the Music Cover for the larger Surface Pro 3 format or is the spine still compatible with the existing line of Touch and TypeCovers (and PowerCover)?

SurfaceTeam29 karma

All Type and Touch Covers are compatible with Surface Pro 3, including the Power Cover. :)

usctrojan9830 karma

Have you done anything to improve the keyboard plastic so that it does not tear off? I had to return two of my touch keyboards :-(

SurfaceTeam45 karma

We have done a ton of research and design work in the new Type Covers. All materials have improved. We have a team that focusses on materials design exclusively. The whole construction of the Type Cover is redesigned to be more robust and more productive

Gingaskunk26 karma

I am really curious to hear what your high level intentions towards marketing the Surface pro 3 are. I am writing this question on my Surface 2 and I love this machine. What’s more, EVERY person I have shown it to has been amazed at how versatile it is (wait, it has HD video out, I can plug almost anything in to the USB slot like a real computer, it comes with real office and that is a real keyboard that does what when you fold it back!!!??). I know that giving others the chance to play with my Surface 2 has sold at least four of them to friends and family members, but none of these people would even thought of Microsoft for their tablet needs before that. In general the Surface is seen as Microsoft’s desperate attempt to make an iPad, and almost no one realizes that what you’ve actually done is made a whole new class of tablet which is MUCH closer to the laptop experience with tablet dimensions. How do you plan to get that information across this time when you have (in most people’s mind I think) failed so far?

SurfaceTeam13 karma

we are starting by making the bold statement "the tablet that can replace your laptop". we've heard from a lot of folks like you who that's what they love about it.

second, we will be kicking off a whole new marketing campaign here.

lastly, I do think it's important that we are meeting more people like yourself who are telling their surface stories. we are focusing a lot on helping people like you tell your story. it's far more interesting and impactful than just the product. this is a new category that we're creating.

tocdco25 karma

I would really like to see some improvements in the graphics. Since the SP1, I don't believe the graphics have changed any. If I want to really replace a laptop, I'd like to be able to replace it for work and play. Are there future plans on changing the graphics controller, giving that you have more space in the new larger layout?

SurfaceTeam50 karma

Hi, the i7 has Intel HD graphics 5000, the i5 has Intel HD Graphics 4400, and the i3 has Intel HD Graphics 4200

serializer22 karma

What about the output resolution? I keep hearing that the dock can produce 4K output resolution. But what about without the dock, just using the displayminiport - can I get 4K output resolution then? I am thinking about the SP3 i7 edition?

I would love to replace my desktop machine and connect to a new 4K monitor without purchasing the dock.

SurfaceTeam33 karma

Hi, this is Pete from the Surface Team. The mDP port on the device can drive a 4K display - this is true for the i7, i5, and i3 - while still running the Surface Pro 3 display.

-Cache2215 karma

Are there limitations to the resolution or performance if daisy chaining multiple displays?

SurfaceTeam37 karma

i7 and i5 will drive 1x4K, or 2x2K (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

i3 will drive 1x4K, or 2xHD (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

frostickle6 karma

Can it drive two 2560x1440 screens?

SurfaceTeam3 karma

Yes - the i5 and i7 will drive two 2560 x 1440 screens. The i3 can drive one of those or two HD screens.

AnimeMD22 karma

Hello Panos and the Surface Team,

I was recently accepted to medical school in the U.S. and I am currently looking at devices to use in my preclinical and clinical years. The Surface Pro 3 appears to be the perfect preclinical device for note-taking and organizing information, but I'm likely to also purchase an iPad Mini or a large Android phone (Sony Xperia Z Ultra comes to mind) to supplement the tablet on the clinical side.

  • The Toshiba Encore 8 was recently announced, but like many 8” Windows tablets, it uses an Intel Atom processor (which I've always associated with underpowered netbooks). Are we still a few years from seeing full-fledged ultrabook components in an 8" form factor?

  • In your presentation, you addressed "lappability" with the magnetized Type Cover. However, there are some who would still prefer a full laptop experience with a detachable tablet when necessary. Is there a possibility of seeing a keyboard/battery dock in the future?

  • In my experience shadowing and scribing for physicians using an Android tablet, iPad and Windows laptop, there are very few chances to actually sit down or set my device on a table to input information with two hands. Is there anything in development for Surface – such as Word Flow/Swiftkey Flow, or even a hardware solution - that would make it easier for one-handed input while standing?

  • There is no replaceable battery (which is expected), so I'm somewhat worried about how the Surface Pro 3 will hold up with heavy use. Heavy use, in my case, means hours off the charger and even more hours on the charger while connected to an external monitor. What kind of battery degradation should we expect over 1-2 years of using it?

Thank you for your time! I look forward to picking up the Surface Pro 3 at a Microsoft store next month (the education discount will save me quite a bit of money).

SurfaceTeam24 karma

First off, congratulations. My brother in law just graduated from med school as well. We've had great interaction with doctors and the feedback has helped us to make Surface Pro 3 better in a clinic or hospital setting:

Surface Pro 3 is powerful - it's a full PC so you can run the software you need, including full EMR applications for electronic medical records. It runs Windows 8.1, so working with 2 apps side-by-side is really easy, yet with all this its still incredibly thin and light. We know a lot of people still carry multiple devices (tablet + laptop) and we worked hard to make a device that would make carrying multiple things unnecessary.

As far as using the device on your lap - the new Type Cover adds a lot of stability and the experience of using it on your lab is pretty great. I've had this question a few times, and I hope you'll get the chance as devices arrive in stores to try this out in a store and see how it actually feels on your lap. Surface is designed to be super portable.

On one-handed input - the onscreen keyboard is a very good option, as is the Pen. The pen makes it easy to use Surface when standing, on the move, or when you’re consulting with a patient.

Finally, to your question on battery life, I’ll take some language from another question above - “The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.” So you should be good to go for a very long time.

Best of luck as you start your career.

vehcilet21 karma


SurfaceTeam23 karma

Windows on ARM continues to be an important part of the Windows strategy. The Surface 2 (which runs Windows RT) is a great choice for both play and getting work done. Windows on ARM got even better with recent additions including third-party MDM, workplace join and Outlook, which is preinstalled along with the other Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), with the Windows RT 8.1 update.

sd17314 karma

Will there be any way to quickly enable/disable the functionality of the Windows button on the Surface Pro 3 so it does not get accidentally pressed while using the stylus?

templarian9 karma

Just for reference, Gabe mentions this in his review:

As I use the Surface for landscape currently while drawing, I was surprised to read the button is not disabled the same way touch is when the pen is above the screen.

SurfaceTeam21 karma

Hey guys. When we made Surface Pro 3, we wanted a device that worked not only in landscape mode, but worked beautifully in portrait mode. This is super important for things like reading, annotating docs, etc. Putting the home button where it is in SP3 makes working in portrait natural. Now that said, we also invested a ton of effort into ensuring that when working in landscape mode, you don't trigger the button by accident. This includes things like palm rejection, guard sensors that prevent inadvertent hits, etc. Mike (Gabe) is one of our favorite Surface fans, so we're working closely with him to understand and address the issues he is specifically having.

DenizYakamoz13 karma

When are you going to sell Surface in my country, Turkey? With the same price ofcourse. (Some products get too expensive when they sold in my country). We are eagerly waiting to get our hands on it.

SurfaceTeam25 karma

Selam DenizYakamoz -- Henuz planlarimiz kesinlesmedigi icin bunun cevabini kesin veremeyecegim, ama emin ol benim listemin en ustunde :-).

Rashkh12 karma

I love a lot of what the new pen does, but I never use Onenote in metro mode.

Would I be able to reprogram the top pen button to:

  • Do something that doesn't require waking the tablet ex. save a file in office or advance a slide in PowerPoint
  • Wake up the tablet into a different application
  • Use the top button as an eraser


SurfaceTeam19 karma

Glad to hear you love the new pen! With regards to OneNote metro -- we are making it configurable to launch the classic desktop for users who want that experience. With regards to general configurability of the top buton -- at this point, we are not planning to make it generally configurable. Eraser on the top button -- great feedback.

SMFX12 karma

In Surface Pro (2), a big complaint of the platform was how few accessories were available for it (especially compared to other ecosystems). Now that the form factor, connectors, screen, and almost everything else has changed, what is Microsoft doing to encourage partners to make everything from cases to chargers to nifty gadgets for the Surface Pro 3?

SurfaceTeam11 karma

We're working with a bunch of partners to get great accessories out there. you'll see cases more quickly than other things, but you'll see mounts, protective cases, etc.

Renigami10 karma

Will the Surface Pro 4 have Wacom's implementations return for a batteryless pen implementation?

Have you considered extending the EMR layer beyond the visible screen bezel to minimize edge screen drift?

Also, have you considered to have the pen be recognized in tilting and barrel rotating to also help in cursor orientation, calibration, and precision?

Are those things not currently possible sourcing the digitizer with Wacom?

Does Wacom's solution not work in reducing glass thickness needed for your parallax design requirement?

Also, there are pros and cons for the now, side Windows bezel icon. I liked it in the bottom and adjusted to such, but given Penny Arcade's Gabe on that aspect, I am going to definitely have my hands interfere more there than where it is on my Surface Pro 2.

Either way, would there be a Charms option to turn the haptic Windows bezel icon off?

Also, even if the new Surface Pro 3 settles on the 3:2 ratio, would there still be the same Surface Pro 2 and Pro 1 aspect and footprint or will Microsoft leave that area up to other OEMs? If such a decision is done, would you guys open up the Magnetic cover system to be in use with such compatible chassis and design (as I don't expect Microsoft to fully cater in features and design for everyone).

I speak of these things, because I am a VERY VERY satisfied user of the Pro 1 and Pro 2, and made the early adopter jump (and preordered the Pro 2 - due to the more roomier RAM and SSD storage). Not much in computing hardware has changed and in lieu of a batteryless (and less capable pen - I use a Fujitsu Lifebook pen with custom assignable menus and buttons on the Wacom driver - has two side buttons and a writing pressure end and eraser pressure end). The BIGGEST reason and draw to the device that surfaced was the pen in such a form factor (I researched and looked at Samsung's ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T before the Surface Pro 1 came out if any indication why I haven't picked it - due to the keyboard system).

A very wishful thinking, is future Surface Pros having user access swappable batteries. But given the compact consolidated nature, it possible isn't feasible while maintaining strength and the hinge system.

SurfaceTeam9 karma

Thank you!! On the Pen stuff.. please see :

good feedback on the Charms idea. So Happy you love your pros!!!you will love pro3 too.. I am sure.

silvertriple10 karma

hi. Have been using a Surface RT and switched to Surface Pro 2 at some point. I really like my Surface Pro 2, but found a bit disapointed by the lack of connected standby while Haswell processor should support it (and indeed, Surface Pro 3 is supporting it). Is there any possibility a firmware update bringing Connected Standby on Surface Pro 2 in a near future?

jhoff806 karma

I'd love for a definitive answer on this as well, but I suspect the hardware just doesn't support it - the Pro 1 & 2 have a TPM 1.2, and the Pro 3 has a TPM 2.0.

SurfaceTeam15 karma

jhoff80 is right -- the Pro2 was not designed for Connected Standby. Pro3 is :-).

LissaBT8 karma

Good morning! I'm curious about the compatibility of the Surface Pro 3 with a 21" Cintiq.

I'm an artist, and the idea of a mobile digital work station is amazing. However, i still need the option of the larger workspace that a full-size Cintiq provides. I'd love to be able to just hook the SP3 up to my Cintiq and easily transition from a mobile workspace to a larger workspace when i need to, but i've had issues with this on similar devices in the past; i suspect conflicting tablet drivers were causing stylus recognition issues, but i never quite got to the bottom of it.

Have any of your team tried this with the SP3? It sounds like a great replacement for my current laptop, but this could be a big dealbreaker for me. Thanks! :)

SurfaceTeam7 karma

Hello Lissa,

We have a couple of Cintiq Pads in our studio and they all work with Pro. Surface Pro3 is a full PC and supports up to 4k resolution out, the Cintiq drivers should all work. The Surface pen will not work on the Cintiq, since the technology is different. Great idea to use Pro for mobile sketching. I use Sketch Book Pro and it is a sweet experience.

skisagooner8 karma

Hello Panos Panay. First of all I'd like to congratulate you for that fantastic presentation for the SP3. I don't think I've seen a better presentation from Microsoft (Belfiore's come close!).

I'm big on aspect ratios, and am a big believer of the golden ratio, and waging a war on 16:9. The 3:2 aspect ratio really got me excited, so I'll like to ask some questions on the new aspect ratio that the Surface Pro 3 advocates.

  • 1) Why was it 16:9 in the first place? What changed?

  • 2) What are the reasons behind 3:2? Was it merely because of the similarity to that notepad? Or is it a Fibonacci thing? Why not a more familiar 5:3 or 16:10 then?

  • 3) Will you be encouraging other Windows laptop/tablet OEMs to follow suit with the 3:2 aspect ratio?

SurfaceTeam10 karma

Hey.. this is StevieB. we chose 3:2 cause it works great both in landscape and portrait. it is a 1.5 aspect ratio.. vs. 16:9 which 1.77 is really geared more towards landscape. 3:2 is also more a kin to paper… something natural and familiar for people. Given we wanted to build a device that worked well in all 4 modes of input: it had to be wide enough to house a full keyboard, tall enough in landscape so you can see all your emails lists.. facebooks posts, etc… and it had to be balanced in your hand to hold it in portrait so you could write like you would on a notepad and touch the screen. With Surface we really try to build a new class of device that adapts to the tasks you want to do… that is why the keyboard works the way it does.. the screen is the aspect ratio it is, and function of the pen and touch. It is a perfect balance between productivity and entertainment. We mapped a lot of the available digital content… took their aspect ratios.. and the aspect ratio that was a balanced fit for all.. was 3:2. I really like 3:2.. cause when you divide 3:2 in half in landscape.. you get two 4:3 screens in portrait. So Pro3 in split screen mode is like running to 8” 4:3 screen side by side (1080x1440 times 2).. pretty cool! The other reason why we like 3:2.. is cause of its kinship with paper. 8.5x11 piece of paper is 1.33 ratio.. but once you take into account the margins.. about 1.25” on both sides.. and 1” top and bottom (various standards).. means an “Active area” of 9”x6”.. that is where 9x6 comes from.. now take 9/6 and reduce the fraction.. (divide by 3).. and your 3:2  . For the flexibility in experience we have designed pro 3 for.. typing, mousing, touch, and pen: 3:2 is a great choice.. hits a sweet spot in productivity, is compact and easy to carry, and adapts to both landscape and portrait well.

One more comment.. about the pro 3 screen.. it is a mighty screen.. Productivity and available content on screen are strongly correlated. Gary Starkweather, retired from MSR, did a great study that showed this. The pro 3 screen is 2160x1440.. the OS scaled the High DPI pixels by 1.5x.. which means the effective resolution is 1440x960.. I would compare this effective resolution (OS resolution) to other 13”-14” laptops on market.. it shows just as much if not more!!  so a mighty screen.

SeiRyuSeijin7 karma

Will there be much of a battery trade off for performance in the i7 SP3? Also, what is the overall performance gain for the i7 version over the i5?

SurfaceTeam18 karma

The battery performance is the same across the i3, i5, and i7. The i7 will see benchmark scores appx. 15-20% better than the SP3 i5.

mirwell7 karma

How long does it take to fully charge the SP3?

SurfaceTeam18 karma

SP3 will charge from 0% to 80% in 2 hours and to 100% in 4 hours.

Tourniquet887 karma

Hi, I was going to buy a Surface Pro 3, but when I heard about N-Trig I wasn’t so sure anymore. One of the biggest differences between Wacom and N-Trig is the Initial Activation Force. For N-Trig devices it seems to be much larger. Is there / will be there a way to adjust the IAF for the Surface 3 pen?

Also does the Surface Pro 3 pen make those N-Trig typical clicking noise?

coreyroth5 karma

How long does it take for the Surface Pro 3 to come out of Standby when pressing the button? Is it several seconds like previous Surface Pros?

SurfaceTeam8 karma

Pro3 is a Connected Standby system, it will wake up in half a second. If you do not touch the system for more than 4 hours, it will go to hibernate, and then deep sleep to go to single digit miliwatts. At that point it will take longer, like a pro2 coming out of hibernate.

tm_pg4 karma

How can I be apart of the Surface Team :D

SurfaceTeam6 karma

Hi tm_pg. Send us your resume! We're always looking for great people. :)

orangeh4 karma

Does the Surface 3 dock have multiple video out connections? I have a surface pro 2 (I love it) but it REALLY sucks to have no option for dual external monitors without daisy chaining displayport (honestly cant find a reasonably priced monitor that does this)

SurfaceTeam6 karma

It has a miniDisplayPort and supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) so you can drive multiple monitors.

X360freak3 karma

Hello Panos!Gongratulations for the excellent product you have presented to us called Surface Pro 3!One question.Why won't you release a white cover?I have the original white touch cover that came with surface rt but with surface pro 2 & 3 you guys did not unveil any touch or type covers in white?Why is that?Is there a proble with the colour?Thank you and greetings from Cyprus Panos!!We are very proud of you!

SurfaceTeam4 karma

Not many people were buying white, so we did not launch it this time around. Thanks for the nice words...

globex_co2 karma

Panos, I love your presentation style. Are there any books you'd recommend or general advice you have to share when communicating to a larger audience?

SurfaceTeam3 karma

Thanks for the comment. My best advise.

Be genuine, have fun, and have products you believe in.