The next element of Microsoft’s Surface line is here, and the anticipated Surface 3 throws up a couple of (nice) surprises. Starting at $499, the Surface 3 will complement the Surface Pro 3 by offering a 10.8-inch device in a 1920x1280 resolution. That sounds a little odd being a bit more than full-HD, but offers a 3:2 resolution like the larger Surface Pro 3. Under the hood is Intel’s new Atom x7 which we discussed briefly during the Atom re-naming launch earlier this year, which means a 14nm class device featuring Airmont cores and the direct upgrade from Silvermont and Bay Trail. The release states that this is the high end model, which would suggest a quad-core Atom design running above 2 GHz. Microsoft/Intel are not directly calling this Cherry Trail, and our discussions with Intel seem to avoid the Cherry Trail nomenclature, but the SoC will be partnered with 64GB or 128GB of storage, plus a 4G ‘LTE Ready’ version will be coming later.

The Surface 3 is being billed by Microsoft as the thinnest and lightest Surface device, and will run the full Windows 8.1 inside which can be upgraded to Windows 10 later this year for free. The price will include a 1-year subscription to Office 365, as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage. On the device will be a full-size USB 3.0 port, a mini-DisplayPort and a microSD card reader to supplement storage. Charging comes via a bundled fast-charging micro-USB, although it can also be charged with a standard smartphone micro-USB as well. Battery life is listed as 10 hours for video playback, with the screen being described as having ‘incredibly accurate colors’ – here’s hoping for a calibrated display out of the box. Front and rear cameras (3.5MP / 8MP) are designed to both capture 1080p, with an auto-focus feature on the rear camera.

The device on its own will be 8.7mm thin, weighing in at 622 grams (1.37 pounds), and seems to not feature the kickstand that Anand liked in his Surface Pro 3 review. Instead we get a standard 3-position stand. Accessories start with the standard Type Cover but also include a Docking Station with more USB ports as well as ‘The Surface Pen’. The new digital pen will be available in red, blue, black and silver with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity - we presume this is an N-Trig design although we’re waiting for official confirmation.

The Surface 3 and accessories are now available for pre-order in the US, shipping on May 5th. Resellers and partners should have availability on May 7th, although from 1st April users should be able to head into a Microsoft Store in Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States for some hands on time before full launch.

We’ve already put in our request for a review unit.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface 3
Size 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34-inch
267 x 187 x 8.7-mm
Weight 1.37 lbs - 622 g
Display 10.8-inch ClearType Full HD Plus
1920x1280 resolution, 3:2 ratio
10-point multi-touch
Surface Pen Support
Battery Life Up to 10 hours (video playback)
Storage/DRAM 64GB / 2GB 128GB / 4GB
CPU Atom x7-Z8700
Quad Core 14nm
1.6 GHz Base Frequency
2.4 GHz Burst Frequency
WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.0
LTE Models at a later date
Ports USB 3.0, Mini-DisplayPort, microSD,
Micro USB charging, 3.5mm Headset Jack
Software Windows 8.1
Office 365 Personal with 1TB OneDrive (1-year)
Front Camera 3.5 MP
Rear Camera 8.0 MP with Autofocus
Operating System Windows 8.1 64-bit
Warranty 1-year limited
Price $499  $599

Edit: This news post originally stated that the kickstand was the same as the Surface Pro 3. This error has been adjusted due to new information.

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  • Alexvrb - Saturday, April 11, 2015 - link

    No, you point DOESN'T stand because they're NOT charging $100 for 64GB of storage. They're charging $100 for 64GB of storage and double the RAM which is NOT as trivial as you make it sound. You just refuse to be wrong, that's all.
  • visio_del_amor - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Even at $599 is a bargain, I've read the specs of the Atom x7 Z8700 in notebookcheck and they say it's comparable to Snapdragon 810, which the HTC One M9 has, so expect this tablet to get a similar performance than an Apple A8X CPU, the one on the iPad Air 2 (2014 model).
  • retroneo - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    A8X is way faster. Not even close in Geekbench:
    A8X: 1808/4529 (single/multi)
    Z8700: 990/3451
  • zeo - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Likely, Cherry Trail does mainly focus on improving the graphical performance and not so much the CPU performance over Bay Trail, but hard to be sure yet because they haven't optimized Geekbench for Cherry Trail yet, the Cherry Trail drivers may not even be finalized yet, and the test was done with the 32bit test instead of the 64bit...

    But it's not like you'd ever run anything but iOS on a A8X... While you have the choice of Windows, Android or pretty much any flavor GNU/Linux on the Cherry Trail... So other factors besides just raw numbers to consider...
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, April 11, 2015 - link

    Geekbench is horrible when comparing cross-platform. :(
  • philliphs - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Anandtech, please do a benchmark for the eMMC on the review. If this bottlenecks the systems, I would rather get cheap Cherry Trail laptop and fit an SSD on it. I know they are not the same, but I don't see why I would get them in premium price if they perform worst because of the eMMC bottleneck than $200-$300 plastic atom laptop
  • zeo - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    For laptops it'll be Braswell, Cherry Trail is strictly for the mobile range... But Braswell will replace the Bay Trail Celeron/Pentium models...

    The eMMC performance has improved, they're not as slow as they used to be, and they can offer more RAM to further help compensate as even the tablet models can now support up to 8GB of RAM, though, we're still likely only to see 2 and 4GB offered for now until more models come out later... Like the Surface 3 MS just announced offers a base model with 64GB eMMC and 2GB of RAM or a model with 128GB eMMC and 4GB of RAM... both also will offer a LTE option later...
  • stetrain - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Other sites are reporting that the kickstand has 3 positions, it isn't continuously adjustable like the Surface Pro 3.
  • uditrana - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Yeah I think so too. The press image they generally use for the friction hinge shows a lot more levels than the one shown above. Really disappointing...I will have to try it out before buying one now otherwise it was an instant buy for my brother.

    Can someone confirm and update the article?
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    You're right, it does seem to be a fixed three-position kickstand - I misread the announcement. I've updated the article.

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