Now that Microsoft has let the Surface Pro 3 cat out of the bag, we can stack it up against existing alternatives to see how it measures up with the rest of the market.
The Surface Pro 3 pricing and spec rumors that were whispered prior to Microsoft’s event turned out to be true. Five configurations are offered, with the base model Surface Pro 3 starting at $799, and the high-end maxing out at an eye-popping $1,949. Sure, there are other laptops that are priced much higher than that, but they’re outside of the Surface Pro 3’s weight and spec class, which makes those comparisons unfair.
However, Lenovo’s Yoga 2 Pro, which we reviewed back in November, is more than a fair match-up for Microsoft’s newest laptop/tablet hybrid. So how do the two measure up against one another?
We’ll take you through the two devices step by step, starting with specs, and including design, as well as price. We’ve already matched up the Surface Pro 3 with the 11-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Air, and the Yoga 2 13. Now it’s the Yoga 2 Pro’s turn.
Surface Pro 3
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
|Size||11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 (in)||12.99 x 8.66 x .61 (in)|
|Weight||1.76 lbs||3.06 lbs|
|Screen||12-inch ClearType Full HD display||13.3-inch QHD LED Multi-touch|
|Keyboard||Type Cover (optional – $129.99)||QWERTY keyboard|
|Resolution||2160×1440 pixels||3200×1800 pixels|
|OS||Windows 8.1 Pro||Windows 8.1|
|Storage||256GB SSD||256GB SSD|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||Yes|
|Other Ports||USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort||USB 2.0, USB 3.0, micro HDMI-out|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-4300U 1.6 GHz||Intel Core i7-4500U 1.8 GHz|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 4400||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|RAM||8GB DDR3||8GB DDR3|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)||Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)|
|Camera||Front 5MP and 1080p HD, Rear 5MP and 1080p HD||Front 720p HD|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 4.0|
|Battery||Up to 9 hours of use||Up to 9 hours of use|
|Multi-function Modes||Tablet, Laptop, Stand||Tablet, Laptop, Tent, Stand|
|Warranty||One year||One year|
|Availability||Available now||Available now|
As you can see in the chart above, the Surface Pro 3, and the $1,299 version of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (there’s also an $1,199 model) match up pretty evenly. That’s until you look at the CPU found in each device.
The $1,299 version of the Surface Pro 3 is powered by an Intel Core i5-4300U processor clocked at 1.6 GHz. Meanwhile, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro packs an Intel Core i7-4500U running at 1.8 GHz. Considering that the two carry the same amount of storage (256GB SSDs) and RAM (8GB for each), the Lenovo has a clear advantage here on the strength of the better processor that it wields. On the graphics front, both the Surface Pro 3 and Yoga 2 Pro have Intel HD Graphics 4400 GPUs, so they’re even in that respect.
Design and input
Measuring 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches and weighing 1.76 pounds, the Surface Pro 3 is clearly thinner and lighter than the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (12.99 x 8.66 x .61 inches, 3.06 pounds). However, as a convertible, the Yoga 2 Pro is much more of an acrobat than the Surface Pro 3, allowing the user to put it in one of four modes: laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. Nevertheless, the Surface Pro 3 wins on portability here.
But what about usability? As we mentioned before, we reviewed the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro in the fall, and found that it has a superb keyboard. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro 3 doesn’t even include one to begin with. You’ll have to shell out an additional $129.99 for Microsoft’s Surface Pro Type Cover accessory in order to add a physical keyboard to Redmond’s newest device, and its inferior to the Yoga 2 Pro’s to boot. Unfortunately, doing so brings also its total price to $1,428.99.
Microsoft upped the Surface Pro 3’s display resolution to an impressive 2160×1440, which is plastered onto a 12-inch screen. However, that’s no match for the Yoga 2 Pro, which boasts both a larger 13.3-inch display, and most notably, a significantly higher resolution: 3200×1800 to be exact. That’s even higher than the resolution on Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina, which is 2560×1600.
However, as we noted in our Yoga 2 Pro review, its extremely high resolution contributed to a weak battery life score. In fact, according to our test results, the Yoga 2 Pro has shorter battery life than its predecessor, the Yoga 13 (3 hours, 14 minutes for the Yoga 2 Pro in Peacekeeper versus 4 hours and 6 minutes for the Yoga 13). Considering that the Surface Pro 3 also boasts a high-res screen, we can’t help but conclude that it will significantly impact its battery life as well.
The version of the Surface Pro 3 that we’re using in this comparison here costs $1,299, as does the configuration of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro that we’ve pitted it against. Considering that, for the same price, the Yoga 2 Pro offers a stronger CPU, a significantly higher-res display (battery life concerns aside), and the same amount of RAM and storage space, the Yoga 2 Pro offers a significantly better value. The case for the Yoga 2 Pro gets even stronger when you factor in the excellent keyboard that’s built into it. Remember, the Surface Pro 3 doesn’t include one. You’ll have to spend an extra $130 to get one, and even then, it won’t match up to the one offered up by the Yoga 2 Pro.
In short, the $1,299 Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro either matches or bests the S1,299 is nearly every category, making it the clear winner in this bout.
Based on this comparison, which of these devices would you buy, and why? Sound off in the comments below.