The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is an excellent tablet. It’s also a genuine laptop replacement option.  But it has two problems working against it in a mass-market and mass-retail environment.  Size, and Price.  Microsoft today announced a new product which takes the fight directly to the market leaders – the Microsoft Surface 3.

Surface 3 - back view with Type Cover

No, this is not an April fools joke, I’ve seen it, I’ve held it, I’ve used it.  The Surface 3 is a real product coming to Australia on May 5 at a price of just $699.

With a 10.8 inch screen it’s the Surface Pro 3’s baby brother, running 1920×1280 resolution in a 3:2 aspect ratio.

Under the hood is Intel’s Atom x7 processor, a quad-core mini beast that brings something important to the device – no vents.  Being a fanless processor the vents which run around the edge of the Surface Pro 3 can be avoided in the design for Surface 3, meaning you end up with a total thickness of 8.7mm – the thinnest tablet Microsoft have made.

Surface 3

It weighs in at just 622 grams, and while the difference is just a couple of hundred grams, holding both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 in your hands the difference is clear.

Because of the processor mainly, the battery life jumps to 10 hours,and that’s 10 hours of video playback which will chew your battery in most cases.

The list goes on.  A full-size USB 3 port, Mini DisplayPort, MicroSD card reader, and – wait for it.  A Micro USB charging port.  Yep, the same charger that’s on almost every Smartphone and Tablet on the market (Except Apple).

Surface 3 (4G LTE)

Around the back, the kick-stand is as solid as ever, but has just three positions, unlike the unlimited options on the Surface Pro 3.

Surface 3 - kickstand positions

This device is aimed fairly and squarely at the dominance of Apple, and also Samsung in the premium tablet space.  Sure you can buy tablets for $200 or $300, but you get what you pay for.

At $699 you’re going to get a solid tablet from Microsoft.  All the same types of accessories are coming on day one.  Type Covers, Pens, Docks you name it.  This is the whole package.

Surface 3 Type Cover

And it’s running Windows.  Now, say what you like about Windows 8.1, but when Windows 10 arrives, this device is ready to shine.

Later in 2015 a 4G capable version will also hit our shores, starting at $839 putting a total of four models into the Surface 3 range.

Surface 3 Estimated retail price:

  • 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage AUD $699
  • 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage AUD $839

Surface 3 (4G LTE) Estimated retail price:

  • 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage AUD $839
  • 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage AUD $979

Where the Surface Pro 3 has a solid market with professionals and corporate clients for Microsoft, the Surface 3 is aimed at the everyday people, and I think they’ll do well once people are sitting in front of the Surface 3 in retail stores.