Every since the Surface 2 faded into the digital sunset there has been a clamoring for a low cost Surface option. Many thought that this would be a Surface Mini which by all indications was pulled at the last minute. Today however the waiting seems to be over. Microsoft has just announced the all new Surface 3, a low cost option in the Surface family starting at only $499, a full $300 less than the entry level Surface Pro 3. The new Surface 3 is available for pre-order now and will ship on May 5th. The key difference between the Surface 3 and the older Surface 2 is that the former runs Windows 8.1, full version. This is not an RT build. Further, you will get upgraded to Windows 10 for free when it is released later this summer.
Spec wise, the Surface 3 sports a 10.8″ Clear Type HD display running at 1920 x 1280 resolution. It is powered by the Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz) and will come with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM depending on which unit you purchase. The Surface 3 has a 3.5MP front facing camera and a 8MP rear facing camera while it also has a full sized USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort and MicroSD card reader.
Physically the Suface 3 is the thinnest Surface to date. It is only 8.7mm (.34″) thick and it weighs just 1.37lbs (622g). This should make it an easy choice if you need to carry something small and lightweight with you as you travel or just your day-to-day. While this unit are powered by the Atom processor, there is no reason that the Surface 3 couldn’t be a laptop replacement for many who do not need the horsepower of the Surface Pro 3.
Configuration wise, there will be four Surface 3 varieties that you can get ranging from $499 to $699 in price.
- $499 for 2GB of RAM, 64GB Storage Wi-Fi only
- $599 for 4GB of RAM, 128GB Storage Wi-Fi only
- $599 for 2GB of RAM, 64GB Storage with WiFi and LTE
- $699 for 4GB of RAM, 128GB of Storage with Wi-Fi and LTE
Keep in mind that these are for the Surface 3 only. The Type cover keyboard is separate just like it is on the Surface Pro 3. That will cost $129 additional and if you want the Surface Pen, that is another $49. To get the most out of the Surface 3, you really need both of these but the Type cover is an absolute must-have. So if you get the base Surface 3 and the Type cover, you are looking at $628 entry price. Add the Surface Pen and you are up to $677.
Also keep in mind that no matte which Surface 3 variant you buy, you get one year of Office 365 Personal with it. That is a $69 value and has become the default giveaway with just about anything Windows these days.
For those of you who will be keeping your Surface 3 on your desk most of the time, there is also a Dock available for $199 which will provide you additional USB ports as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port.
The Surface 3 will come with four different Surface Pen and Type Cover color options: Silver, Red, Blue and Grey.
Pre-Orders are being taken now at the Microsoft Store online and you can expect your Surface 3 to ship around May 5th of this year.