Oddly enough, you can add Microsoft to the list of manufacturers looking to kill the laptop. At its press conference in New York, the Redmond giant unveiled the Surface Pro 3, a tablet designed to replace your portable PC. There's only one problem: the Surface Pro 3 doesn't include a keyboard.
We typically wouldn't fault a tablet for not including a keyboard with the base model, but in Microsoft's case, it's hard not to, due to the cost. This $799 tablet is a premium device with a premium price tag, and because of that, it's probably not going to appeal to just the casual tablet user who wants to play Angry Birds or browse the Internet while watching TV; Microsoft is setting its sights on power users, and the company's own Surface godfather, Panos Panay, described the Pro 3 as a tablet that lives up to the promise of featuring genuine laptop functionality.
So naturally, it should include everything you need in order to use it in this way, right?
Except that it doesn't. Instead, the Surface Pro 3 requires consumers to pay an additional $130 for the Surface Pro Type Cover, raising the total price of the tablet to $929. This was also required for previous generations, but the Pro 3 has been released in a computing climate in which you can find many capable laptops and ultrabooks at prices significantly lower than $929.
Even Microsoft's arch rival, Apple, is winning in this arena. The Surface Pro 3 may beat the 2014 MacBook Air on specs and dimensions, but it fails on price point. Just a few weeks ago, Apple slashed the price of its 11.3" MacBook Air to $899. That means with the keyboard, the Surface Pro 3 is $30 over the price of the entry-level MacBook Air, not to mention the fact that previous generations are now falling to record-low deal prices. (Check out our price trend to see how low the MacBook Air can go.)
The Surface Pro 3 is bound to get rave reviews. At 1.8 lbs., it packs a 12" touchscreen 2160x1440 display, full-size USB port, a nifty new kickstand, and a 9-hour battery life. And while we can forgive some omissions (like the $200 Docking Station), the $130 keyboard is one we can't let slide — especially not for a laptop replacement whose shelf life is apparently already counting down.
What do you think, reader? Is the Surface Pro 3 worth the price? Let us know in the comments.