Microsoft has launched its sexy new Surface 3 tablet, a compact and ultra-powerful desktop replacement that also packs a much more budget-friendly price tag. And we already reckon it’s a strong contender for tablet of the year.
For a start, the Surface 3 – despite rocking a sizeable 10.8-inch screen – is just 8.7mm thick and tips the scales at just 622 grams, making it the thinnest and lightest tablet that Microsoft has so far delivered. The device will also cram in plenty of smarts like previous Surface tabs, including a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, a stylus for easy input and full support for regular Windows apps.
Inside the little beast you’ll find a quad-core Intel Atom x7 chip, the fastest Atom on the market, which can capably handle video editing and other resource-hungry tasks. Microsoft is also pretty confident that the Surface 3 can last for 10 hours per charge and can be briskly powered up using the bundled 13W charger. Best news is that the power connection is micro USB, so you can even use your phone charger to boost the battery – although it’ll probably take a serious chunk of time.
And if you actually care, the Surface 3 packs two cameras capable of shooting Full HD video; an 8-megapixel primary and 3.5-megapixel secondary. Great news for the three or four people who’ll actually bother to take snaps with it. As well as a Wi-Fi model, you’ll also be able to snag a version with 4G/LTE connectivity too, so business users can bag a work contract and stay connected wherever they roam.
Microsoft is also offering up a year’s free subscription to Office 365 Personal with the Surface 3, which will come with full versions of all the Office apps as well 1TB of OneDrive storage. That should nicely complement the tablet’s 64 or 128GB of internal storage. And if you need any more convincing of the Surface 3’s chops, it’ll also come with a free upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10 when the new OS launches this summer.
Those specs mean the Surface 3 is already a seriously promising slab of tech, for business users and anyone seeking an entertainment device that can also double as a productivity hub. We’re massive fans of the Surface Pro 3 and Microsoft has slimmed down the hefty body – one of the Pro 3’s only weaknesses – while keeping the Surface 3 packed with all of the features and performance we’ve come to expect.
However, with a starting price of £420, plus an extra £99 for the keyboard, the Surface 3 may struggle to compete with the raft of sub £400 Core i3-toting laptops hitting the market. It’s more portable and more convenient, while that stylus means you can get creative, but anyone demanding a little more power for their cash will likely opt for a standard, chunky notebook instead.
You can pre-order your Surface 3 now via Microsoft’s site.