Unlike the previous lines of Infiltrator created by Skynet, units of the T-3000 had once been humans, but were transformed through infectious exposure to a type of machine-phase matter. The phase matter would completely rewrite the victim's genetic coding, forcing their body mass to be transformed on a cellular level into billions of nanomachines. All of the humans exposed to the phase matter were driven insane during the experimental stage and died, which makes John Connor the only known successful example. It was stated that the procedure is irreversible, and that a human transformed into a T-3000 cannot be "cured" or "saved".
"At the end of the war, Skynet was trying to develop a new type of infiltration unit by infecting human subjects with machine-phase matter. It restructures and rebuilds human tissue on a cellular level for maximum combat utility."
-"Pops", regarding the T-3000
The machine-phase matter that forms the T-3000's chassis is held together by a magnetic field that could be further manipulated into developing stabbing weapons and granting the individual regenerative and impersonation abilities equivalent to those Series with Mimetic polyalloy. It can absorb incoming fire and explosive damage better than previous series and reconstitutes quicker than even a T-1000 could; however, it lacks the ability to split a part of itself to serve in role as tracking device nor independent sub unit.
The unit could nearly dispel into mist by weakening its magnetic connections momentarily, and then reassemble itself elsewhere at frightening speeds, even to the point of appearing to phase through solid objects. This gives the T-3000 enhanced hand-to-hand combat and infiltration abilities compared to other models. The T-3000 can also use its magnetic field to maneuvre along metal surfaces, such as walking up a vertical surface. It is also capable of learning via touch, such as determining security codes while impaling the user of those codes, much like a T-1000.
In addition, much like a T-1000, a T-3000 is immune to electrocution, as it is entirely formed by the nanites of its phase matter.
A T-3000 displays superior physical strength to a T-800, being strong enough to gradually overpower an attempted front choke hold from a T-800, as well as lift a T-800 one-handed and throw it a significant distance with minimal momentum or leverage. The T-3000 also possesses extreme speed and reflexes, capable of phasing through attacks from the T-800 and retaliating with numerous blows in under a second. It furthermore demonstrates high-invulnerability to physical attacks, including rifle bullets and explosions. It can be stunned and penetrated by sustained trauma — particularly high-caliber weaponry - but its cells immediately reassemble afterwards and it regains its mobility in half the time, regardless of the injury. Similar to a mimetic polyalloy Terminator, the T-3000 can reassemble its nanites to form bladed weapons and additionally can transform its arm into a swarm of small fast-moving blades capable of shearing off the organic sheath of a T-800.
Given the T-3000 is built by roboticisation of a human, it retains a human base form. It can temporarily break out into a more amorphous state, but given a strong magnetic bond ensures the robotic cells retain together, they always return to the shape of a human body. Underneath the skin, the cells remain in an accurate replication of human tendons and musculature, albeit in a silvery color. The T-3000 has the ability to significantly enlarge its muscle mass when engaged in combat.
The natural abilities of the host were enhanced by the exposure to the nano matter. Due to its origins as a human, the T-3000 possesses a full grasp of human emotions and is able to show convincingly emotional responses. Whether or not the unit can still actually feel them as though it were a human has not been revealed unambiguously. In addition, a T-3000 retains all his/her human memories prior to its transformation. The T-3000 created from John Connor demonstrated an advanced knowledge of martial arts and a more fluid, human-like fighting style compared to most Terminator units.
Because it relies on a magnetic field to hold itself together, the T-3000 can be disrupted by strong magnetism. Special magnetic projectiles can stagger it, and ultra high-yield external magnetic sources, such as an MRI machine or electromagnet, are able to disrupt a T-3000's own magnetic field that hold itself together, dispelling the machine phase matter in sporadic and unpredictable ways. However, even such measures merely disable it temporarily. The magnetic field from the Time Displacement Equipment was capable of completely and irreversibly destroying a T-3000, as it is stated that the following explosion scattered a T-3000's phase matter beyond reconstitution.
In addition, during the final battle, the Guardian was able to damage the T-3000 with repeated strikes with magnetic gauntlets and even damaged it from a laser post that destroys machine phase matter. As a result, the T-3000 could not resume the human outer sheath as there was not sufficient machine phase matter to be used as the outer sheath.
- The T-3000 was initially struck by a few shotgun blasts from Pops. However, the T-3000 was likely acting as a regular human would have under the circumstances.
- The T-3000 was affected by an MRI machine, which rendered it immobile for a short amount of time, but then it eventually caught up to the protagonists.
- The T-3000 was struck several times by the Guardian, who wore an improvised magnetic coil on its fist. It had the effect of damaging a small area of the T-3000 and disrupting its forward motion, however it recovered quickly.
- The T-3000 then absorbed a magnetic projectile fired by the Guardian at its helicopter. It is unknown how much damage it sustained.
- The Guardian dive-bombed the T-3000's copter, crashing into its rotors and sending the aircraft down. The T-3000 later emerged almost completely unscathed.
- The T-3000 unit was impaled by a piece of helicopter equipment thrown by the T-800 and it crashed into the TV wall, getting an electric shock. It was slowed down by this, but not entirely stopped.
- The Guardian used his magnetic gloves to crash the T-3000 through several walls and a glass window. The T-3000 was undamaged.
- Laser beams can destroy Machine-phase matter, causing actual damaged to the T-3000 as the Guardian slashed the T-3000 three times with a large laser projector, destroying enough machine-phase matter to prevent the T-3000 from forming a human outer sheath, but it didn't hinder it at all.
- The magnetic field of the Time Displacement Equipment can rip the Machine-phase matter apart, destroying the T-3000 unit.
Behind the scenes
- The name T-3000 may be derived from Terminator 3000, which was a planned 3D animated reboot of the Terminator series before its cancellation and replacement with Terminator Genisys.