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Surface Pro 3 'notebook' reaches retail in the U.S. last Friday

Gregg Keizer | June 23, 2014
More models of Microsoft's tablet-slash-laptop go on sale Aug. 1

surface pro 3

Microsoft kicked off sales of the Surface Pro 3, the 2-in-1 touted by the company as a notebook replacement last Friday (20 June 2014)

The it's-a-table-it's-a-notebook, which was unveiled one month ago, is currently available in two models, both powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, the same used in 2013's Surface Pro 2.

For $999, customers get a Surface Pro 3 equipped with 128GB of storage space; the 256GB configuration costs $1,299. Those models are now available in Microsoft's own retail stores and its online e-market for American and Canadian customers, as well as at partner retailers. Best Buy, for example, started selling the Surface Pro 3 in its U.S. brick-and-mortar and online stores on Friday, as did Tiger Direct, an online-only retailer.

Microsoft has pledged to start selling the Surface Pro 3 in 26 additional markets -- including Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain and the U.K. -- by the end of August.

Best Buy also launched a nine-day trade-in deal that hands customers a gift card -- minimum value of $50 -- in exchange for a working tablet. The card can be applied toward the purchase of Surface Pro 3. According to Best Buy's exchange calculator, the retailer will give $387 for a 128GB Surface Pro 2 and $217 for a working Surface 2, the tablet powered by the beleaguered Windows RT operating system.

Other Surface Pro 3 configurations will be available for sale on Aug. 1, Microsoft said Friday. Previously, the Redmond, Wash. firm had set the launch of those models as simply sometime that month.

Slated to reach retail in six weeks are the $799 Surface Pro 3 with 64GB of storage, powered by a dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU, and two running a dual-core i7 processor, one with 256GB of storage priced at $1,599 and the top-of-the-line tablet with 512GB for $1,949.

New orders for the two now-available models will be shipped June 30, according to the Microsoft online store. The $199.99 docking station, which Microsoft also trumpeted last month, will be available Aug. 15 in the U.S. and Canada.

None of the Surface Pro 3 prices include a cover keyboard, which Microsoft mandates to make good on its claim that the device can replace a laptop. The Surface Pro Type Cover costs $129.99, pushing the out-of-pocket price of the 128GB configuration to $1,129.

That price is 13% to 26% higher than a corresponding MacBook Air, the notebook that Microsoft has incessantly used in its comparisons: A 13.3-in. MacBook Air with 128GB of flash storage lists for $999, while the 11.6-in. MacBook Air -- closer in screen size to the 12-in. Surface Pro 3 -- with the same amount of storage space runs $899.


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