In a press release early this morning, Microsoft announced a brand new full-Windows tablet. The Surface 3 aims to offer a great laptop-replacing experience, at the fraction of the cost of its big brother, the Surface Pro 3. Prices will start from $499 for the base model, and it is the “thinnest and lightest Surface yet.”
Inside this new lightweight tablet is a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor. It’s 8.7mm thick and weighs just 1.37 pounds, making it very portable. It also has an 8MP rear camera, a 3.5MP front facing camera and a battery that should get you through 10 hours of use.
There will be four models of the Surface 3, when it launches in May:
- 2GB RAM and 64GB storage for $499
- 4GB RAM and 128GB storage for $599
- 2GB RAM and 64GB storage plus 4G LTE for $599
- 4GB RAM and 128GB storage plus 4G LTE for $699
T-Mobile announced this morning that it will be stocking the 4G LTE models at some point later this year, but didn’t give any specific release date.
As with the Pro model, these prices are for the tablet only. If you want the keyboard cover to make it the “laptop replacement” Microsoft wants it to be, that will set you back another $129 while the stylus/pen is $49. Both, in my experience using them with the Pro, are fantastic (almost necessary) add-ons if you want the full Surface experience. But it stings a little knowing you have to fork out $630 to get just the base model tablet and keyboard.
Interestingly, the Surface 3 won’t use a proprietary charging system like the Pro 3. Instead, it’ll use Micro USB and a 13W charger. It also includes a full-size USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader and a Mini DisplayPort connector. And each tablet comes with a 12 month subscription to Office 365 Personal.
If you want to check one out before launch, Microsoft stores will have demo models in from tomorrow, April 1st. It ships with full Windows 8.1, and will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as it’s available.