Microsoft's Surface 3 Promises Windows 10, Kills Windows RT - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
3/31/2015
12:10 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
100%
0%

Microsoft's Surface 3 Promises Windows 10, Kills Windows RT

Microsoft's newest Surface 3 ditches ARM for Intel. It packs a full version of Windows 8.1 and has an upgrade to Windows 10 coming later. The Surface 3 can be a tablet or a laptop. Prices start at less than $500.

Windows 10 Vs. Windows 8: 10 Differences
Windows 10 Vs. Windows 8: 10 Differences
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft today announced the Surface 3, a tablet that splits the difference between the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 3 in terms of features and price. It also effectively buries Windows RT. By switching from ARM processors to Intel, the Surface 3 is able to run Windows 8.1 with a Windows 10 upgrade on deck for later this year.

At $499, the Surface 3 tablet is a less expensive option for businesses looking to equip mobile professionals with a device that fills several different roles.

The Surface 3 is thinner and lighter than the Pro model, but is compatible with the Pro's pen and detachable keyboard. Microsoft says the device is ideal for those seeking to pair productivity with portability.

The tablet's screen measures 10.8 inches and has full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). The display has a 3:2 aspect ratio -- the same as Surface Pro 3 -- and supports 10-point multi-touch input. Intel's 1.6-GHz quad-core x7-Z87000 processor powers the tablet with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4 GHz. The base configuration includes 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but both can be doubled for $100. It weighs 1.37 pounds. Battery life is rated at 10 hours of video playback.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft gave the Surface 3 a solid set of hardware features. For example, it boasts a three-position kickstand to allow for different usage scenarios. The tablet includes a full-sized USB 3.0 port in addition to a Mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, a micro USB charging port, and a headset jack.

These will allow mobile pros to expand the functionality of the tablet through accessories. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 cover most connection needs, but an LTE version of the tablet will be made available, too. (T-Mobile was quick to say it will support the LTE version.) It also includes an 8-megapixel main camera, a 3.5-megapixel user camera, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, and a microphone.

As far as productivity goes, the Surface 3 kicks RT to the ground and runs a full version of Windows 8.1.

The original Surface RT and follow-up Surface 2 both ran the in-between version of Windows that is, for all intents and purposes, at the end of its road. Adding Windows 8.1 to the Surface 3 -- and promising a free upgrade to Windows 10 -- should go a long way to boost the tablet's appeal. In addition to Windows 8.1, Microsoft is giving buyers a free year subscription to Office 365, complete with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. The device includes some OneDrive cloud storage and 60 Skype world minutes each month for 12 months.

The $499 starting price undercuts the Surface Pro 3 by several hundred dollars, but the Surface 3 isn't nearly as customizable as its more professional older sibling.

[Read Office 2013 shortcuts.]

Based on Microsoft's website, only the storage and RAM can be changed, the processor cannot. Microsoft hasn't released details for the LTE-equipped variant. Expect it to cost about $100 more than the WiFi-only version. Moreover, vital accessories such as the keyboard and pen are not included. The keyboard alone costs another $129.

The Surface 3 is available for pre-order beginning today, March 31, but doesn't ship until May 5. Microsoft said it will be available in 26 countries by May 7.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Kelly22
50%
50%
Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
4/2/2015 | 5:26:24 PM
Re: Looking Fwd to It
I hadn't put much thought into a hybrid device before recently, but now I'm using a Surface Pro 3 and love it. I couldn't use a tablet for productivity - I do way too much typing! But this combines the best of both.
mak63
50%
50%
mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
4/2/2015 | 1:29:47 AM
Re: Looking Fwd to It
Personally, I will never ever buy a tablet for $500. It is way too expensive for me. If I had the money, I would rather have a laptop hybrid.
Nevertheless, for this person that I mentioned, I'm gonna propose an Android tablet. It is certainly less money.
shakeeb
50%
50%
shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 11:42:14 PM
Re: Looking Fwd to It
@mak63 – Do you think its on a reasonable price now? Actually you could buy an android tablet for much lower price. 
shakeeb
50%
50%
shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 11:40:13 PM
Re: Looking Fwd to It
@pcharles – I am still thinking if I should go for a Microsoft surface device or stick with my existing Sony Xperia Z android tablet. The only thing holding me back is the premium pricing. Do you think its worth the upgrade?
shakeeb
50%
50%
shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 11:37:58 PM
Re: Pending Review
I wish they could come up with a reasonable price for most of us to afford. I love the sleek design and window support. Great for both personal and official use. 
mak63
50%
50%
mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 10:54:56 PM
Re: Looking Fwd to It
I am too! Actually, a client told me just yesterday that she wanted a Surface 3 Pro, but she has only a $500 budget. Told her she didn't have enough. I believe she will be very happy with this news.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 9:37:24 PM
Looking Fwd to It
I'm looking forward to it. I've heard a lot of good things about the Surface 3, minus the prices.
stiener36
50%
50%
stiener36,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2015 | 9:24:12 PM
no more RT FTW
I'm so glad windows RT is going to die, just always seemed like an ill-advised attempt at out dating the existing society. The age of compatibility is coming back.
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Commentary
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll