Microsoft announced the Surface 3 today, a new edition to its Surface lineup of tablet-hybrids. The Surface 3 is best described as a thinner, smaller, lighter, and less-powerful Surface Pro 3.
The Surface 3 also costs less, starting at $499, sports a smaller, 10.8 inch screen, a claimed 10 hours of video playback on a single charge, and runs a full build of Windows that comes with a year’s subscription to Office 365.
The $499 price point will get you a Surface 3 with 64GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM, but not accessories. According to Microsoft, you can double the storage and RAM for $100. The Surface 3-designed Type Cover will still cost you $129, as with the Pro 3.
The Surface 3 goes on pre-sale today, and it will be widely available for sale on May 5. That puts the device’s first financial impacts in Microsoft’s fiscal fourth quarter, or the second calendar quarter of 2015.
Materially, the devices are quite similar in look and feel. They share a shape, a form factor, nearly identical attachable keyboards, and pens. There are some differences, naturally, but the devices are clearly kin.
The new Surface 3 Screen Size
While the Surface 2 and Surface RT before it used a 10.6-inch display with an awkward 16:9 aspect ratio, Microsoft is improving this for the Surface 3. The new tablet uses a 10.8-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. That might sound like a small difference, but it actually makes it a lot more usable in portrait orientation, and it brings it closer to the tablet experience you expect from an iPad competitor. It doesn’t really sacrifice the way you use the Surface as a laptop either, so it’s a good move all round.