Today Microsoft finally announced another Tablet which fulfills the Surface row. We have to wait for a successor of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 but instead of that we get the next generation of the Surface 2. Since Microsoft will discontinue Windows 8.1 RT, the Surface 3 comes with the full version of Windows 8.1. This will make the Surface a lot more attractive to people which do not want to invest that much in a new tablet since it is still a tablet which can replace your laptop just with a lower price tag then the Pro version.
The last few weeks, several leaks and rumors suggested what the new generation of the Surface might look like though there are several things which haven’t been revealed. One of these things is the processor which was to supposed to be an Core M processor but instead Microsoft has build in a far more powerful and at the same time more energy-saving processor which also allows a fanless technology. This means you will never hear a fan unlike in the Surface Pro 3. Furthermore a cheaper version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has been expected to be announced during the Build in late April and which would have been released some time later but as you can see Microsoft has surprise us one more time with this release.
At a first glance you might not notice that much differences between the Surface 2 and the next generation. It has even the same grey magnesium color and the design has not changed much. But Microsoft has definitely learned from its failures in the past and from its success with the Surface Pro 3. What you get with the Surface 3 are basically the good things of the Surface Pro 3 paired with the price tag of the Surface 2. So this really is a tablet which can replace a laptop. With this price it is equal with a Laptop for everyday use with the difference that this is not just a Laptop. You get the experience of Windows 8.1, can connect your USB Sticks or external Displays through the Micro HDMI connector and it is possible to expand your build in storage. The best however might be that the processor which comes with the Surface 3 beats the current MacBook in first Benchmark tests and you can get all this for half the price of a MacBook.
The external Specs
As already mentioned the Surface 3 comes with fanless technology, this makes it possible to have a thickness of only 8.7 mm furthermore it is saving some weight. So if you lie down the Surface 3 on a scale you will see that the tablet weights only 622 grams. So these are just numbers but if we compare it to the Surface 2 we can see a difference here. The RT version was 8.89 mm thick and weighed 676 grams. Whereas the current generation of the Surface Pro row weights 800grams and has a thickness of 9.1 mm.
Probably because it worked so well with the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 3 but maybe also because it looks pretty neat, Microsoft decided to bring also the Surface 3 in this grey magnesium finish. As a former user of the Surface Pro 2 and now the Surface Pro 3 I can say that there are not any problems with peeling of the color from time to time though it gets scratched pretty easy.
The Surface Pro 3 ships with a 12″ display whereas the Surface 3 comes with a 10.8″ display, this is indeed a bit small for a Laptop thought as a tablet this size is just fine. However this might be just a personal opinion and you may prefer this size for a laptop. The aspect ratio on the other hand is just the same which we have on the Pro 3 already, 3:2. With a display resolution of 1920 x 1280 and the same color accuracy as the Pro 3 offers, the two displays are almost equally in this segment, though the display of the Surface 3 is brighter which could be a small advantage.
Once you had a look at the back of the Surface 3, you will notice that this tablet is coming with a silver shining polished Microsoft logo instead of the Surface Lettering or the Windows logo which we had on earlier Surface generations or on the current Surface Pro 3.
With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft also introduced the kickstand which can be set to any position in almost 180 degrees. However the kickstand of the Surface 3 can have three positions, which is actually enough, at least for me it would be enough since I am not really using the 180 degrees on my Surface Pro 3.
Talking about the ports the Surface 3 is coming with, you will notice that it is almost equal with the Surface Pro 3, if not even better. A USB and Micro HDMI port are included, you will also get a Micro SD Card Slot, but instead of the magnetic Power Connecter the Surface 3 comes with a Micro USB port to recharge. This is actually pretty nice to hear because almost everyone who is a proud owner of a Smartphone does also have a Micro USB cable except those of the Apple universe. Certainly with the charger of your smartphone the tablet will not charge as fast as it does with the original charger but hey it’s working an that’s great, USB-C can wait.
The internal Specs
If you like to take some quick shots with your tablet, you will be pleased to see that the Surface 3 ships with a 3.5 megapixel 1080p front-facing camera and an 8 megapixel 1080p rear-facing camera with autofocus technology which you might know already from some Lumia devices. If you have a look inside the latest Surface generation you will see a powerful Intel “Cherry Trail” Atom x7 processor which is the next generation of the Core M processor technology. The Surface 3 is indeed the first device which will ship with this processor technology, though according to Intel this brings a lot more performance without the need of a fan. For those of you who are following the development of Intel processors, the Atom x7 generation doesn’t have anything in common with the widely spread Atom row from Intel.
To be a bit more precious, the Surface 3 will have a quad-core 1.6 GHz Atom x7-Z8700 processor with 2 MB of cache which supports Intel Burst to get a power of up to 2.4 GHz. It is also possible to choose between a version with 2GB RAM and 64GB internal storage or a version with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE are build in and the cool thing is an LTE version will be offered too.
Talking about the Type Cover, the Surface 3 is compatible with older generations of the Type Cover also with the one of the Surface Pro 3 but since the Surface 3 has a Screen size of 10.8″ and the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12″ display, you might prefer the specific Type Cover for the Surface 3. The Type Cover for the Surface 3 is almost the same like the one for the Pro 3, it is possible to use it in two positions, it has backlight and it comes in various colors. Thought, according to Microsoft, the precision of the track pad and the feedback of the keys on the keyboard has been improved. Coming to the price, which hasn’t changed compared to the price of the Type Cover for the Pro 3, you will have to pay 129$ for it.
The Surface Pen which will be also sold extra for 49$ is exactly the same which is currently shipped with the Surface Pro 3 so they are also compatible but the pen is now available in three different colors: red, blue and black;
Talked about the Surface Pen, which brings us finally to the last accessory for the Surface 3, the Docking Station. Unfortunately this isn’t compatible with the Surface Pro 3 because of the size and the Micro USB Charger. Apart from that, it is pretty much the same, it has the dark grey titanium color and you will have a few extra ports with it: second Micro HDMI Port Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 48 watt charger. Microsoft didn’t mention the price of the docking station but since it normally costs 199$ for the Pro 3 there might not be that much difference between these two.
Last but not least the pricing, the Surface 3 will be released in two versions:
- Surface 3 with 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB internal storage for $499 (+ Type Cover 129$ + Surface Pen 49$ = $680)
- Surface 3 with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB internal storage for $599 (+ Type Cover 129$ + Surface Pen 49$ = 780$)
The preorder of the Surface 3 starts today.
- Size: 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 in (267 x 187 x 8.7 mm)
- Weight: 1.37 lbs (622 g)
- Display: 10.8” ClearType Full HD Plus Display • Resolution: 1920 x 1280 • Aspect ratio: 3:2 • Touch: 10 point multi-touch
- Surface Pen support
- Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
- Storage/RAM: 64GB storage with 2GB RAM • 128GB storage with 4GB RAM
- Processor: Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz)
- Network (Wireless and Cellular): Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: Full-size USB 3.0 • Mini DisplayPort • microSD card reader • Micro USB charging port • Headset jack • Cover port
- Software: Windows 8.1 • 1-year of Office 365 Personal with OneDrive cloud storage
- Cameras, video and audio: 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera • 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus • Microphone • Stereo speakers with Dolby audio
- Sensors: Ambient light sensor • Proximity sensor • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Magnetometer
- Warranty: 1-year limited hardware warranty