The Surface Pro 3 has been a product I fell in love with. Being able to have a powerful computer that’s light enough to travel with and be a tablet is the perfect solution for my needs. The ability to dock at home to dual monitors and dock at work to a different set of dual monitors is a fantastic place to live. The big problem with recommending it is the price. While you can get into the Surface Pro 3 for under $1,000, you’ll really want the Core i5, 256GB version and with a cover, you’re looking at a price tag closer to $1,500.
Thankfully now Microsoft has a solution, introducing the Surface 3. The third edition of the non-pro version of the Surface is now all grown up. Gone is the confusion of a modern-only app ecosystem (with the desktop restricted to Office apps), now replaced with a full blown Windows 8.1.
The Surface 3 is no longer powered by an ARM chip, instead you’ll find a Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz) chip. While the Surface Pro 3 is a 12” display, the Surface 3 features a 10.8” (1920×1080) screen in a 3:2 aspect ratio. One of the Surface’s best features is the fully adjustable kickstand and while the ultimate stand doesn’t make it, a tri-position stand does. The Surface 3 will be available in both 64 and 128GB options. Weighing in at just 622g compared to 790g for the pro version. Microsoft haven’t scrimped on the battery, with a 10 hour battery life (claimed).
There’s also a Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, a 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera for Skype calls, a 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, Microphone, Stereo speakers with Dolby audio.
There has been some external chances as well, the back ditches the Surface branding and instead shows the Microsoft logo. There’s also a change to the power adapter, gone is that previous disaster that was the Surface RT charger, now replaced by a micro-USB power adapter.
Price and Availability
The Surface 3 will start at just US$499. Pre-order goes live today with devices shipping on May 5th to our friends in the US and Canada, and only a couple days later, May 7th internationally.
Pre-orders are now available on Microsoft’s Australia’s Store and lists the price at A$699.00 inc GST, a full $200 more than the US price, that’s some nice Australia tax. The price of Surface 3 is up from the Surface 2 which cost A$639.00. While it does support a pen, it’s not included.
The Surface 3 128GB model will set you back A$839.00 inc GST. This price doesn’t include the type cover or pen, also the size difference means you will need the Surface 3 dock. If you were planning on sharing the dock for the Surface Pro 3, think again.
Overall it’s great to see a cheaper Surface that makes the device more powerful, more capable, but most importantly, more affordable. We’re yet to see the education pricing for the Surface 3, with the discounted student version of the Pro 3 sitting at $881.10, the Surface 3 should land in the A$600-700 range.
The Verge has a full write-up already thanks to some early access, if the Surface 3 interests you, it’s definitely worth a read.