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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  • jjj - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Best input for a tablet is the keyboard in your opinion? That's a laptop.
    And may i remind you 10inch ,slow SoC , no storage is a netbook experience.
    And you fully miss the point, it's not original in any way , just another insipid product.
    Some people are acting like M has invented the convertible today.
    You can easily buy lots of much better Windows convertibles for a lot less.
  • lset - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    And those way better Windows convertibles for this price point are...?

    And they didn't say that a keyboard is the best input for a tablet, they said that the Surface line gives you the best input options, AKA a decent stylus but still having the ability to use it as a laptop if you need to.

    This device is light years away from what we used to experience with Netbooks, Atom isn't such a dirty word anymore. What does screw Atom designs over is when companies pair it with other subpar components (looking at you storage).
  • jjj - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    The Lenovo Miix 2 10 inch is 300$ now on Amazon with the keyboard included.
    Full HD, 2GB RAM, 64GB NAND, Win 8 but not the new Atom, an older Atom so slightly slower.( for anyone reading this, the Miix is just an example not a recommendation, if you are tempted to buy it do your homework and research it).
    This thing is 500$ plus 130$ for the keyboard. And this was just an example,there are lots of other devices out there.
    And BTW the best phone SoCs are faster and current notebooks are using this kind of SoC too so take it easy with the hyperbolic claims.
  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Yeah sounds like the Asus T100, decent device, but not what people are looking for in a device of this type. They want a better tablet experience with a competent laptop experience, if they wanted a laptop they can buy any of a hundred cheap Ultrabooks or a MacBook Air.
  • andrewaggb - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    personally I thought the T100's build quality was terrible.
  • lset - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 10 inch miix doesn't come with a stylus and it's limited to 2GB. Personally I don't care about the keyboard, I would want something that has a decent stylus and at least 4GB so that I could run stuff like Mangastudio.

    The build quality on the SP3 is also awesome, so if this follows suit I would gladly pay the extra for that.

    And BTW it's not a hyperbolic claim, whenever someone mentions netbooks nearly everyone thinks pre-ultrabook atom era. The new atoms do fine against the latest smartphone SoCs and most people are willing to fork out absurd money for those. This device isn't for you, fair enough, but there is clearly a place for it.
  • andrewaggb - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Build quality and the 3:2 ratio are what makes this stand out.
  • chizow - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    No, the best input for a TABLET is a stylus. If you want keyboard/laptop functionality, you can get it too and while its not as good as a full blown keyboard it is close without nearly as much bulk or rigidity as a laptop or even 2-in-1.

    You obviously haven't used even a 1st-gen Bay Trail product because it certainly isn't a netbook experience. 128GB is plenty of storage especially given you can use a microSD for more storage for non-apps, just data type. On top of that you have cloud storage if needed.

    And they did invent the convertible lol. Look at what was available before...Intel was still pushing their Ultrabook, now Ultrabooks are shifting and Intel is pushing their 2-in-1s which are OK products, but not NEARLY as good in tablet mode as the Surface products.

    The point is anyone who wants a convertible can get one, but no one really wants one because that's the insipid product that no one really cares about because its old hat and doesn't allow any additional functionality as previous laptops.
  • royalcrown - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    jjj....not trying to nitpick, but as a second language learner I can appreciate feedback when I make a mistake. Instead of a number followed by billions, it's just billion without the s. Just offering a hand and not intending to be a jerk.
  • bleh0 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Seems like exactly what I need. Would preorder but I do want to wait for reviews and see if there are any hiccups.

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