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When it comes to electronic devices, one would usually assume that the latest version is better than its predecessor. But for the more knowledgeable tech junkie, a closer look at the overall improvements and a comparison between two versions of a gadget is needed before making any conclusion. Particularly if the latest model doesn’t seem to look that much different from the previous one, just like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4.


Both look almost identical at first glance, with the same silver magnesium alloy bodies and 12-inch displays. But the Surface Pro 4 is actually thinner and lighter at 8.44mm and 766grams—the Surface Pro 3 is 9.1mm thick and weighs 798 grams. They have the same width so most accessories with the Surface Pro 3 are compatible with the newer version. The Type Cover of the Surface Pro 4 keyboard provides a much more comfortable typing experience, with a larger 19mm pitch and 1.3mm travel. The trackpad has been improved as it is 40 percent bigger and is made from glass. And the beautiful thing is the new keyboard is compatible with the Surface Pro 3. The newer pen has 4 times better pressure sensitivity and can also be used with the older 2-in-1 model.


Even if both have similar looking 12-inch displays, the Surface Pro 4 actually has a 12.3 inch screen giving you less bezel. It also has a higher resolution at 2736 x 1834 pixels compared to its predecessor’s 2160 x 1440 pixels. This means you get a much better visual experience when holding it closer to your eye when using it in tablet mode.


The Surface Pro 3 comes with either Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, which are all 4th generation chipsets. The latest version comes with 6th generation Skylake processors in Intel Core m3,i5, and i7 configurations. The Surface Pro 4 can also be fitted with up to 16GB RAM as compared to the 8GB of the Surface Pro 3. The rear camera has been upgraded to 8MP in the newer model, but the other specs remain mostly the same with both devices supporting a front-facing 5MP camera, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD slot, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.


Both 2-in-1 models boast of 9 hours of battery life. The Surface Pro 3 is more or less able to live up to this claim, with around 7 hours of usage for web browsing, video playback, and productivity. On the other hand, the Surface Pro 4 seems to be able to give just around 5 hours of battery life for the same usage. But this could just be a case-to-case basis as battery life is largely dependent on how the machine is used.


The Surface Pro 4 does come with quite a lot of improvements, but these upgrades also come at a high price, at least $300 more. If you need to do intensive tasks like photo and video editing, the improved processor, graphics, RAM, and display resolution are things you will want to invest in. But if the Surface Pro 3 is already suitable for your needs, then why spend an extra hundred dollars for upgrades you don’t really need at the moment? Maybe you should save that cash so you can spend it on the highly anticipated Surface Pro 5 instead?