The general consensus in the industry, however, is that the Surface Pro 3 is the most popular tablet that can truly lay claim to this title. But while the Pro 3 might be popular, it has suffered from inaccessibility thanks to its $1,1049.99 price tag and $129.99 keyboard.
And what is the point of a laptop replacement when it costs the same as a laptop?
Perhaps with this in mind, Microsoft is looking to stretch the popularity of the Surface Pro 3 into a lower price bracket with the release of the Surface 3, which is now available for pre-order (non 4G LTE).
The Surface 3, which will sell for $639, can still run full Windows and Office along side its tablet optimized app interface. It will also still boast an ergonomic and, quite frankly, brilliant keyboard (optional), pen (now optional) and stand design that has made the product famous.
However, the Surface 3 will be different different in some important ways.
For starters, the Pro 3 has a 12” screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution, weighs 800g and has between 64GB of storage and 4GB RAM and 512GB of storage and 8Gb of RAM. It can also come with either an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor.
The Surface 3, on the other hand, will have a 10.8” screen with 1920 x 1280 resolution, weighs 622g and has between 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM or 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.
The weaker processor makes the Surface 3 decidedly less powerful than its big brother, but its still a bargain relative to other tablets at its new price range.
For photos, the Surface will have front-facing 3.5MP camera and an 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera.
In comparison, the Pro 3 has 5.0MP front and rear cameras with no auto focus.
Where the Surface 3 really makes its mark, however, is with its optional (and not yet available for pre-order) built in 4G LTE model. Unfortunately Microsoft has been quite light on the details surrounding this particular model.
Where the Surface 3 will make less of a mark, however, is in the smart pen department – which will now have to be bought separately. The Surface Pen was a popular accessory to the Pro 3 for its pressure sensitive writing, simple design, hand rejection technology when writing and One Note button.
Also in the negative column for the Surface 3 is that it will have a maximum of one external display connectors, which is a shame.
That said, the Surface 3 will come with a one-year subscription to Office 365, which is something the Pro 3 doesn’t offer.
“Surface 3 brings what customers love about Surface Pro 3 to more people, delivering the premium design and productivity of Surface in a more affordable device,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Surface in a press release.
“We’ve taken everything we learned making Surface Pro 3 and poured that innovation into this newest Surface. It’s beautiful, versatile, powerful and productive, and our customers are going to love what it lets them do.”
The Surface 3 is available for pre-order now. Starting May 5, it will be available at retailers and resellers of Microsoft tablets. Microsoft says it will have more to share on the Surface 3 (4G LTE) availability in the coming months.
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