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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  • Impulses - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Kind of disappointing we aren't seeing USB Type C yet on mobile Windows devices... Outside of that this looks great, it's what the Surface line should've embodied all along, die RT die! With education discounts these will be hot sellers IMO.
  • Flunk - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    This thing looks like it could easily replace both my laptop and tablet. Hmm, something to think about when I drop my current tablet down the stairs. Are they still charging $100 for the keyboard? Microsoft needs to come down on those, it pushes their total cost way over ASUS's convertables. Sure you get better build quality, but you also lose out on lap usability. If Microsoft really wanted to slaughter the competition they'd include a type cover. Even if they just offer it as an incentive in their own stores "free type cover with Surface" is a great promotion idea. Let the user pick the color and they'd have another "$50 off Xbox One" type success and right now Microsoft needs to move more units to gain mindshare more than they need to make a big profit on each unit.
  • kron123456789 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    It took 3 years for Microsoft to understand that nobody want a crippled Windows RT.
  • bkydcmpr - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    no. steven sinofsky still doesn't understand.
  • jhoff80 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    To be honest, I still would love the option to 'cripple' Windows 10 the same way Windows RT was supposedly crippled. Not for myself, but for people like my parents. Every time I visit them, there's like 20 different browser toolbars installed, a bunch of spyware, etc. I would love to be able to flip a switch in Windows 10 to prevent them from installing anything (other than desktop Office) that doesn't come from the Windows Store (akin to OS X's 'Gatekeeper' setting, or an 'RT mode' if you will).
  • cwolf78 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    That's what limited user accounts are for.
  • jhoff80 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Limited user accounts are not nearly as locked down as RT was. You can still run many .exe files and even some installers as a limited user (Chrome's installer is specifically designed around this).

    In contrast, Windows RT (yes, partly because it is ARM only of course) only let you run signed code directly from the Windows Store.
  • CSMR - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Parentally control the limited account from an admin account to prevent running of exe files.

    In principle RT should be easier to lock down but its a new system and parental controls are not as well developed yet on it. Certainly easier to manage though as the system controls updates automatically.
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Yeah, I would much prefer restriction-by-default, with per-app escalation requiring a password as needed.
  • domboy - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    You can enable the same executable signing restriction Windows RT had on Windows 8. Problem with RT was you couldn't turn it off...

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