Microsoft is introducing the Surface 3 to the tablet family and best of all it’s the cheapest Surface you’ll find, price starts at $499. The new Surface 3 is powered by a 64-bit Intel Atom x7 (Cherry Trail) processor and it’s a tablet aimed to non-pro users, such as students, regular users, and all those who find the $799 starting price for a Surface Pro 3 a little in the expensive side.
The Surface 3 isn’t very powerful, but it gets the work done. The new tablet features a system-on-a-chip (SoC), Quad-core Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz), 2GB of RAM (up to 4GB), and 64GB of SSD storage (up to 128GB). The display is a 10.8-inch 1920 x 1280 ClearType HD with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
Surface 3 is thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 3, it only weighs 1.37 pounds and only .34-inch thick. It also features Dolby-Audio-enhanced speakers, an 8-megapixel rear-facing and a 3.5-megapixel front-facing camera. Thanks to the Atom processor, the Surface 3 is fanless and the company claims full-day battery life (up to 10 hours).
The new Surface 3 includes a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD slot, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, and unlike the Surface Pro 3, the new tablet features a Micro USB charging port that works with the Surface charger or any generic USB phone charger.
Microsoft will make available a Wi-Fi only and a 4G LTE version of the tablet, which initially will be available later this year through T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the United State.
Unlike the Surface RT and Surface 2, the Surface 3 runs an x86 processor, and not an ARM-based chip, which means that this tablet ditches Windows RT completely and users will be able to work with Windows apps and Windows Desktop apps. The tablet comes pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 and it will be upgradable free to Windows 10, when it releases later this summer.
Microsoft is also including one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal free, which is valued at $70.
The downside is that Surface 3 introduces a new screen size, which is different to all the previous Surface tablet screen sizes and it means that existing Type and Touch Covers, and docking stations won’t work with Surface 3.
Of course, Surface 3 will has its own Type covers in Bright Blue Cyan, Blue Navy, Purple, Black, Red, and new Bright Red. Each cover will have a price tag of $129.99.
Surface 3 features a three-position kickstand, but it doesn’t feature a full rotation hinge like the one found in Surface Pro 3.
Now the pen from Surface Pro 3 is compatible with the Surface 3, but Microsoft will also be making available four pen colors: silver, blue, black, and red. Each pen will cost $49.99.
You can pre-order the new Surface 3 starting today, March 31, in the Microsoft Store in the following markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Microsoft will begin shipping the tablet on May 5.
Seeing that you’ll have to buy a few accessories to get the full Surface 3 experience, let see how much you’ll be actually spending to run Windows apps and Windows Desktop apps. The starting price is $499, then you need to add $129.99 for the Type Cover, $49.99 for one of the pens, and $199.99 for the Surface 3 Docking Station. So, you’re looking at $879 before taxes and without adding the Microsoft Complete Extended Service Plan for Surface that cost $99 (recommended). If you need the Surface Mini DisplayPort HDMI AV Adapter, it will cost you an extra $39.99 and the 13-watt Power Supply charger designed for Surface 3 costs $39.99.