Beginning in May there will be a new Surface 3 tablet in town, and this time it’s a more affordable version of Microsoft’s flagship Surface Pro 3. While the Surface Pro 3 floated on the high-end of tablet pricing starting at $799 USD, the new Surface 3 begins at a much lower $499 USD.
Aimed at students and families, this new Surface 3 doesn’t appear to sacrifice features and function to lower the price-tag; powered by a 64-bit Intel Atom x7 processor, displaying HD graphics on a 10.8-inch 1920×1280 screen, taking photos with a front-facing 3.5MP camera or 8MP rear-facing camera, and outfitted with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. You may not get the keyboard thrown in at that entry-level cost, but it does ship with Window 8.1 (with the promise of a free upgrade to Windows 10 once it hits general availability).
My favourite feature is the built-in kickstand… it’s so simple and elegant, I can’t believe Apple hasn’t stolen the idea yet.
Generally speaking, Microsoft has taken the closest aim at business customers (who are usually willing to pay a higher price as compared to the average mobile consumer), but having a less expensive model makes it tremendously more appealing for those wanting to outfit their families with the same device they use at the office. It also helps when the Surface is being marketed as having the full capabilities of a laptop (including a full USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, and a MicroSD card reader) –making it a very attractive option for those of us with children who need these kinds of devices for school work while doing double duty as a much-sought-after tablet as well.
Add in the Surface Pen (for an additional cost of course), and you’ve got a powerful note-taking machine for those who may not type during a meeting or class as fast as they can write (not forgetting you can also use it to sketch a quick diagram, add notes to the margins of your PDF files, and paint with it on-screen as if were a brush on canvas… heck, you can even handwrite musical scores or do your crossword puzzles easily using the pen as long as you are willing to pay for the requisite titles like the New York Times Crossword app in the Windows store).
Bottom line? It’s a contender (particularly if the Surface 3 can truly get 10 hours of moderate-use battery life from a single charge).
Release video is linked below for those of you who would like to see a little more of this new tablet before it begins shipping in May (with pre-orders available starting today).