Riding on the heels of its success with the Surface Pro 3, today Microsoft launched a version of its popular tablet geared toward the mass market. The Surface 3, like the Pro version, will be able to function as a laptop replacement, capable of running all Windows apps including the full Office suite, and come with the same stylus functionality.
This version, however, is considerably cheaper, starting at $499 in contrast to the Surface Pro 3’s $799 price tag. It is also thinner, at 8.7 millimeters (0.34 inch), and lighter, weighing in at just 1.37 pounds. Its 10.8-inch screen is also slightly smaller than the Pro’s 12-inch screen.
Micro USB Charger
The new model also has a front-facing 3.5-megapixel and an 8-megapixel rear camera that both capture 1080p video. The rear-facing camera now features auto-focus to take better photos but can also be used to scan documents, barcodes and other images.
Microsoft is claiming up to 10 hours of battery life, based on tests of video playback, which should be enough to get through a work or school day. One new feature for the Surface 3 is a Micro USB charger, which means customers will be able to use the same charger they use for the mobile phone.
Like other Surface models, Surface 3 comes with a kickstand that has three preset positions: a narrow angle designed for working at a traditional desk, an intermediate angle is designed for sitting on the couch or using the device on your lap, and a wide angle for using the device as a writing pad.
Still Targeting Business Clients
The device will come with the full 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 installed, with Windows Pro available for business customers. The OS will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out later this year. It will also come with a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, along with full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote as well as a subscription for 1 TB of storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service.
The Surface 3 will run on Intel’s quad-core Atom x7 processor, which is designed to run without needing a fan to cool it down and allows the tablet to be smaller and quieter than other chips. Nevertheless, the processor should be sufficient for handling heavy workloads like editing and video rendering, in addition to casual gaming, music and video.
Despite the lower price tag and broader appeal, Microsoft is hoping that business customers will still be interested in the Surface 3.
“Not every business needs the power of Surface Pro 3, or it’s not needed in every part of the business, and for those organizations Surface 3 will be a strong choice,” said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for the Surface, writing in a blog post. “We made sure that in addition to being portable and productive, Surface 3 also offers the security and manageability features our commercial customers depend on.”