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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  • NewMC - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Just FYI - This is going to sound backwards but you could set them up with a "childs" account and control their installs with MS Family Safety, you can also lock down the store app by changing it to a different account that is password protected and require the password in order to install any apps from the store. I understand what you're saying though, with store apps they really can't get into too much trouble other than filling us their storage space. I have deployed 25 Surface tablets for our field technicians, I lock the store down using a master account so that they must enter that password to purchase any software, other installations and browser activity is limited via Family Safety. I understand your frustrations!
  • NewMC - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    This does not require any kind of email montoring or getting into their personal data. You would just backup their storage, remove their account and add the account back to the tablet as a child's account while you were logged in as the Admin.
  • QuantumPion - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    I'd be interested in trading in my ipad Air for this thing if the CPU has enough power to run older PC games, especially dos classics like MOO, X-COm, etc. It would be really nice having an ipad-sized device which can run firefox with adblock and play real pc games instead of app-store crap.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Baytrail could already easily handle any older games, from your DOS based ones through Starcraft, emulation up to PSone/N64/Dreamcast, and lots of indie titles and older Steam games. Cherry Trail should only do even better. I'm hoping it can manage GameCube emulation. (Metroid Prime on-the-go? Yes please.)
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Keep an eye on our Dolphin Benchmark numbers in Bench. That's usually a good indicator of emulator performance.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Yes but when will Cherry Trail be there? :P

    Heck is Bay Trail even in there?

    It's probable that most of Cherry Trail's improvements will be in the GPU rather than CPU, and Dolphin, like most emulators, needs CPU.
  • metayoshi - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    I don't know if this can run Gamecube emulation smoothly as I had a desktop with a Core i7-860 and an AMD Radeon 7870 that would still significantly stutter playing certain Gamecube games like Metroid Prime or Skies of Arcadia Legends. I don't know how well Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge performed, but it wasn't until I dropped money on my current Core i7-4790K that I could play those two games smoothly. If Cherry Trail isn't up to par with that old Core i7, there's no way this system will be good enough for Metroid Prime on the go. It would be nice though.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Argh, you're crushing my dreams here. :(

    Maybe I should just bite the bullet and get the Pro.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    Oh and Sandy Bridge performs just fine. My i5-2500k can run any GameCube game on Dolphin with all the options turned to max. Unfortunately this still isn't likely to get anywhere near the performance of full wattage Sandy Bridge.
  • vdek - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    The device scores about 3500 points on geekbench for multicore performance. That's about equal to the Core-M5Y10 the latest macbook has. Half the single core performance but with 2x the cores it evens out.

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