Microsoft?s original Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 devices didn’t let you run a full Windows experience. The Redmond-based tech giant may have noticed that this had not?pleased a lot of consumers so they started to straighten things up with last year’s powerful?Surface Pro 3.
However, the third generation Surface hybrid is clearly not for everyone–you?ll need to shell out a hefty $800 to almost $2,000 to buy one. On Tuesday, Microsoft is back with an interesting new device called Surface 3 that?s still capable of offering full Windows compatibility but with a more attractive price.
Cheaper but has less horsepower than Surface Pro 3
Microsoft announced the new entry-level Surface 3 tablet with a handful of subtle but critical changes from it previous, full-featured model. The company has obviously ditched both the Surface 2?s Windows RT and ARM chip in favor of Intel?s latest ?Cherry Trail? Atom X7 processor.
The tablet?s specs are in line with what you would expect from a budget model. It?s Intel chipset is theoretically capable of running a full 64-bit Windows but its power (and power management) is somewhat closer to what ARM-based mobile devices deliver. Its screen comes at 10.8 inches, down from Pro 3?s 12 inches, and packs a 1,920×1,280 resolution amounting to an acceptable 214ppi pixel density.
What might really set this tablet on top of the competition is its low price: For $499, you?ll get a tablet that basically works like a laptop with 64GB of storage, the same storage found in the $800 version of Surface Pro 3. ?If you want a more robust variant, you?ll have to add another $100 for a model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage.
The Microsoft Surface 3 is being dubbed by the company as the lightest and thinnest Surface device to date and 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.
How it fares against the latest iPad
This new Microsoft gadget presents a really compelling option that may shake up not just the budget laptop market but also Apple?s iPad user base (especially the latest iPad Air 2 model). Here?s why:
Software — This alone is ?probably the biggest reason why anyone would want to have Surface 3 instead of an iPad. Unlike the iPad Air 2?s mobile-focused iOS 8.2, the Microsoft device runs a full Windows 8.1 allowing you to use it for office tasks like creating and editing documents, using desktop applications and more. In spite of all these features the device is still a tablet so its portable and you can use for listening to music or playing games on the go.
Battery life — Microsoft claims that it can deliver ?up to 10 hours? of usage. That?s similar to what the iPad Air 2 can do and is actually an hour longer than the Surface Pro 3?s capacity. Another thing worth mentioning is that you can recharge it using a charger with a ubiquitous microUSB connector.
Other perks — ?The Surface 3 and iPad Air 2 have the same 8-megapixel rear camera but the former has a slightly more sensitive 3MP front snapper that?s capable of shooting 1080p videos. Microsoft?s latest offering is also built with Dolby Audio speakers, 802.11ac WiFi and several connectivity options:, Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0, a microSD slot, and a 3.5mm headset jack.
Photo Credit: ?Microsoft Surface Blog