Rumors abound over an upcoming release of a Surface Pro 4. Some believe Microsoft is secretly preparing to deliver a next version around the time Windows 10 officially becomes publicly available for upgrades on July 29. Others believe the delivery of a new model won't come until the second major Windows 10 update sometime this fall – probably in September.
But that's not stopping Microsoft's hardware division from beefing up its popular 2-in-1 line.
On March 31 of this year the company outed the Surface 3, a pared down version of the Pro series. The Surface 3 was in full bloom at Microsoft Ignite this year. I watched as many attendees snatched-up the small screen devices from the onsite store in the Expo hall. Intended as a replacement for the Surface 2 (non-Pro) and for consumers, the Surface 3 is making inroads into business anyway. It's lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3 and fanless, making it a great second device even for business users.
The past few weeks have seen Microsoft lobbing customer discounts for the Surface Pro 3 series, stimulating more debate over a pending Surface Pro 4 release. But, recently Microsoft silently unveiled an Intel Core i7 model that comes in at the same price as the most expensive Core i5. This gives business customers better processing power for the same price as the high end i5 model. The trade-off is that the new Core i7 model skimps a bit on on-board storage. Prior to this new model, the Core i7 came in only 256GB and 512GB models. The new model sits at 128GB of storage.
Here's a look at the current full range of models available:
I've been an avid Surface Pro 3 user for a couple years and can honestly say that I don't consider local storage as a selling point any longer. I use OneDrive for the majority of my file storage and have yet to run out of Surface storage space. The new i7 model makes it a no-brainer which model to choose if you're looking for enough RAM to host VMs. And, of course, all Surface Pro 3 models support microSD cards, so you can expand local storage cheaply.