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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  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Same reason Vista 64-bit was miles better than Vista 32-bit, beyond the obvious 3+GB addressable, per app RAM usage can exceed 2GB, and that extends into pagefile too (which is much faster on eMMC/SSD compared to HDD).

    Browsers alone take ridiculous amounts of RAM if you allow them to, so yeah I wouldn't want them to be restricted to 2GB per app and 3GB total system.
  • killeak - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    1 - "Surface 3 runs full 64-bit Windows 8.1 and will be available with Windows Pro for business customers. "

    2 - "the pen will be sold separately and it will now be available in colors — silver, blue, red and black."

    3 - 10hs playing video, which should be around the same of the T100

    More info:

    This is Cherry Trail, I need to see benchmarks first but I think that this device will fit my needs better than my T100. Yes, it will be more expensive than the T100 was at launch or the T100 chi now, but, it has better screen (1920x1280 is 3:2), better build quality (magnesium body), better SoC, more memory and and more storage.
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    WiFi from the Atom chip. Thank the lord! Bye bye Avastar buggy WiFi/Bluetooth
  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Branding/iteration as Surface 3 also corroborates rumors Microsoft won't change the # designation of the Pro, will most likely just be UEFI and under the hood changes (updated CPU/platform and maybe a Core M option or two).

    Makes sense as their Surface line has finally hit primetime and critical acclaim with the 3 designation, I think this non-Pro version will also be popular but I think it would've done better if all models fell clearly under the $500 price point ($400 and $500 for the 64/128 respectively).
  • jjj - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    300$ would be ok for anyone that needs a Windows tablet (hard to see a reason though) or a netbook (except the keyboard is absurdly priced).
    But the worst thing is that this product has to reason to exist. Everybody wants to earn billions without working for it at all.They are just releasing random garbage and hope consumers are stupid enough to buy it.
    What have they done to make this product stand out in any way at all? Why make it?Why would anyone buy it?
    Same uninspired kickstand, same photo frame design,same puke inducing UI...
    Last year Microsoft spent 11.4 billions on R&D (Apple spent 6 billions), they could have spend 2 cents on this thing to create something relevant but they can't be bothered , just like pretty much everybody else, to make an effort.
    This sector is supposed to make the impossible possible and that requires work and the will to get there. We are very lucky that chip makers are not behaving like this and they still try.
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    This is great for Enterprise customers. Not every work drone needs the power of a SP3, but they do need full X86 functionality.

    Just because it's not for you does not mean it's not meeting a need.
  • Impulses - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    I've been waiting years for someone to make a higher end or premium Atom hybrid, the whole RT detour delayed this on MS' part but I'm glad they finally got there. I think it's brilliant, maybe step outside your bubble for a bit...
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    I mean, given the profit, at the already premium price, the SP3 is pulling, I assume Microsoft doesn't mind too much...

    I definitely see a reason for the S3 to exist. I have at least five friends who held off on a SP3 that they loved because it was too expensive. While anecdotal evidence goes only so far, I imagine I'm not alone. That, plus it being the only affordable stylus enabled PC - I think it'll do pretty well.
  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Surface is actually a great form factor and solution that addresses the problem the tablet market has been facing for years: functionality beyond simple content consumption.

    The Surface line is important because it does the best job of bridging full Windows x86 (and all legacy programs/apps that entails) with the form factor and portability of a tablet with the best *INPUT* options for a tablet, while also giving the option for a competent laptop experience.

    So while you may not have a use for it, business/enterprise users, students, artists/architects all find it is the best tool for the job and certainly better than any other tablet option on the market.

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