Computers, Laptops & Tablets Microsoft The Microsoft Surface 3 vs. Surface Pro 3 Choose between these two Surface tablet PCs By Melanie Pinola Writer Former Lifewire writer Melanie Pinola has 5+ years' experience writing about consumer-oriented technology and is an expert telecommuter. our editorial process Melanie Pinola Updated February 28, 2020 Microsoft Microsoft Apple Google Tablets Accessories & Hardware Tweet Share Email The Microsoft Surface family has many members, and it's not always easy to tell each one apart. For example, the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 look identical at a glance but are different devices on the inside. We tested the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 to help you decide which is a better fit for you. Production of the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 ended in 2016, but these devices can be purchased used or refurbished. Overall Findings Surface 3 2 GB memory with an option to upgrade to 4 GB. 64 GB storage with an option to upgrade to 128 GB. 10.8-inch display (1920 x 1280). Quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor. Full-size USB 3.0. MicroSD card reader. Mini DisplayPort. Weighs 1.5 pounds. Surface 3 Pro Up to 8 GB memory. Up to 512 GB storage. 12-inch display (2160 x 1440). Intel Core processor up to i7, 1.7 GHz. Full-size USB 3.0. MicroSD card reader. Mini DisplayPort. Weighs 1.76 pounds. Both tablets have Windows 8.1 installed. This is unlike the previous Surface RT model, which came with a limited version of Windows. Both tablets can be used with a keyboard cover (with backlit keys), a stylus, and other accessories such as a docking station and wireless display adapter. Aside from different sizes, both devices look the same from the outside. That's where the similarities stop. The Surface 3 Pros and Cons Pros Less expensive than the Surface 3 Pro. Comes with a 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal and 1 TB OneDrive storage. Up to 10 hours of battery life. Cons The Surface Pen is sold separately. The kickstand only has 3 positions. Less storage space and processing power than the Surface 3 Pro. The Surface 3 is the more affordable of the two tablets. It comes with 2 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage, which can be doubled. It has a 10.8-inch display with a 1920 x 1280 resolution. This tablet runs on a Quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor that isn't as powerful as the Intel Core processor on the Surface Pro 3. However, the Surface 3 has a longer battery life (up to 10 hours). While the Surface 3 is a good competitor for the Apple iPad, it's not meant to replace a regular laptop. The Surface 3 runs the full version of Windows just like a regular laptop, and it has a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, and a Mini DisplayPort. This gives it several advantages over the iPad. The Surface Pro 3: Similar to MacBook Pro Pros The kickstand has multiple positions. The Surface Pen is included. Up to 9 hours of battery life. Cons Microsoft Office is sold separately. More expensive than the regular Surface 3. Limited USB ports compared to similar devices. The Surface Pro 3 could be a full laptop and tablet replacement. The 12-inch tablet has a 2160 x 1440 sharp display and comes in many configurations with Intel Core processors. The Surface Pro 3 options include: 64 GB storage, Intel Core i3 (1.5 GHz), 4 GB RAM128 GB storage, Intel Core i5 (1.9 GHz), 4 GB RAM256 GB storage, Intel Core i5 (1.9 GHz), 8 GB RAM256 GB storage, Intel Core i7 (1.7 GHz), 8 GB RAM512 GB storage, Intel Core i7 (1.7 GHz), 8 GB RAM In terms of performance, the Surface Pro 3 is comparable to a MacBook Pro, but it also functions as a tablet. On the downside, the Surface Pro 3 has the same ports as the Surface 3, which is fewer than a regular laptop should have. The multi-position kickstand is a nice addition since many laptops can't be positioned with such precision. Final Verdict: Surface Pro 3 for Laptop Replacement Before choosing any laptop or tablet, consider what you need it to do. The cheaper Surface 3 offers the same Windows 8.1 experience as the Surface Pro, and its small size and less powerful specs make it suitable as a tablet or travel laptop. The Surface Pro 3 makes a better laptop replacement or a desktop PC replacement when docked.