It seems odd for Microsoft to add a new SKU for its Surface Pro 3 so late after its initial release (the Surface Pro 3 was originally announced on May 20, 2014 and went on sale one month later). Yet here we are, one year later, and we’re seeing the introduction of a new $1299 SKU that bring the price of entry for Intel Core i7 power a bit lower.
The new SKU will get you a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The same $1299 price will also buys you a Surface Pro 3 with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB. So customers looking at Surface Pro 3s at this price point will have to choose between processing power or storage capacity — choose wisely.
With the addition of this new SKU, this is how the full Surface Pro 3 lineup stacks up:
- Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD — $799
- Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD — $999
- Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD — $1299
- Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD — $1299
- Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD — $1549
- Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD — $1949
Although Microsoft is unlikely to ever give us the true reason for why it is expanding its Surface Pro 3 lineup to encompass six SKUs, there are at least two possibilities. The first is that Microsoft hopes that this move will give the tablet some longer legs in the face of a Surface Pro 4 that is seemingly running a bit behind schedule (if it it even arrives at all given Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s wishes to focus on core competencies).
A second possible explanation is that sales of the rather expensive Core i7 models haven’t been quite up to par with their cheaper Core i3 and Core i5 siblings, so Microsoft is looking for a way to offload its chip inventory quickly and cheaply. Whatever the case, we’re not gonna complain about having more choice when it comes to the Surface Pro 3 (you can read the HotHardware review of the tablet here).