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Microsoft's new Surface 3 is the baby brother to its older Surface Pro 3

By Salehuddin Bin Husin - on 31 Mar 2015, 9:00pm

Microsoft's new Surface 3 is the baby brother to its older Surface Pro 3

Microsoft's new Surface 3 doesn't come with any accessories. The Surface Type Cover and the Surface Pen are all optional purchases, unless you're able to get the education SKU.

Microsoft's just unveiled their latest product in their lineup, though it's not the Surface Pro 4 as everybody suspected or expected. Instead, Microsoft has retooled the Surface Pro 3 and made it smaller, and is calling the new tablet Surface 3. Here's our review of the Surface Pro 3 in case you need a refresher on what the Suface 3's larger sibling can do.

The Surface 3 is pretty much the same thing as the Surface Pro 3, not counting the different hardware and smaller 10.8-inch display size, of course. It still functions as a full-fledged compact notebook designed in a tablet form factor, and is able to run any program that's compatible with Windows 8.1, including desktop apps. In fact, when Windows 10 drops, the machine's fully upgradable and ready to make the leap.

If you've a Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Pen, you'll be glad to know that you can use that same pen on the Surface 3 if you decide you want the smaller tablet companion. All functionality will remain the same; clicking the top button opens OneNote, double-clicking it lets you take and save a screenshot, and so on.

Surface 3 Specs
Processor Intel Atom x7-Z8700 (1.6GHz, 2MB cache)
Display 10.8-inch ClearType Full HD Plus (1,920 x 1,280 pixels)
Storage 64GB / 128GB

3.5MP 1080p front-facing camera
8.0MP 1080p rear-facing camera with auto-focus


Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 4.0


1 x full-size USB 3.0 port
1 x mini-DisplayPort
1 x microSD card reader
1 x micro-USB 2.0 port
1 x audio jack 

Battery Life Up to 10 hours of video playback
Dimensions 267 x 187 x 8.7mm
Weight 622 grams
Pre-Loaded Software Windows 8.1, 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal


Intel Atom x7, 10.8-inch display, upgraded cameras

First, the most noteworthy thing about the specs is the processor. The Surface 3 will be using the Intel Atom x7-Z8700, the latest in Intel's Atom line of processors. The Z8700 is only launched recently, and the Surface 3 will be the first device that makes use of it. While technically the Intel Atom processor in the Surface 3 will be slower than the one in the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft feels it's fast enough for the tablet's target audience, mainly students and mobile professionals. At just 8.7mm thick and weighing 622g, the Surface 3 is also the thinnest and lightest Surface Microsoft has ever built.

The new Surface 3 takes a small downgrade on the display front as it boasts a smaller screen size. While the 10.8-inch screen is still a "ClearType" display, the resolution has dropped to Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,280 pixels), compared to the 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440-pixel screen resolution of the Surface Pro 3.

On the camera front, things are a mixed bag. While the rear camera's resolution has been bumped up to 8MP (from 5MP in the Surface Pro 3) and is now capable of autofocus, the front-facing camera has received a downgrade to a 3.5MP camera, when it was originally a 5MP camera on the Surface Pro 3.


Availability & pricing

Microsoft's planning on releasing two different SKUs to the general public. One, with 2GB RAM and 64GB storage will retail for S$748. Another, with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage will go for S$898. Both will come with a one-year limited hardware warranty and comes pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 and Office 365 Personal (1-year subscription).

Pre-order starts as early as tomorrow (April 1) for countries with an online Microsoft Store; and yes, Singapore is one of the countries that will be getting it. Further to that, select retailers including Challenger, Harvey Norman and Newstead will also begin pre-orders for the Surface 3 in April. Official ready retail availability through these same outlets (both online and in-stores) will commence on 5th of May.

There's also a third SKU geared towards students, and this variant will come with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, and possibly bundled with the Surface Pen and Surface 3 Type Cover. Details about this bundle will be revealed later. Meanwhile in Singapore, eligible students, faculty and staff from certified MOE institutions will receive a 10% discount on Surface devices and accessories through the Microsoft Online Store.

Lastly, there will be an LTE version of the Surface 3. More details about this model would only be shared in the "coming months".

Update:- This is the pre-order link in Singapore's Microsoft Store.


Optional accessories

There will be a new Type Cover, called the Surface 3 Type Cover, created specifically for the machine. It's a tad bigger than the Surface 3 at 271 x 202 x 5.1mm, with a weight of 265 grams. It'll come in a variety of colors: black, blue, and red.

The Surface Pen is a legacy piece of equipment, which is the same as that on the Surface Pro 3 and will be compatible with the Surface 3. Like the Surface 3 Type Cover, the Surface Pen will come in a variety of colors (silver, blue, red, and black).

The Surface 3 Docking Station is another new custom piece of equipment for the new tablet. It'll come with two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as an Ethernet port for wired connections, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a mini-DisplayPort for video output. There's even a place to slot the Surface Pen into. The Surface 3 Docking Station measures 307 x 147 x 116mm and weighs 990 grams.

Pricing of all accessories are as follows:-

  • Surface Pen - S$73.00
  • Surface 3 Type Cover - S$199.00
  • Surface 3 Screen Protector - S$73.00
  • Surface 3 Docking Station - S$288.00
  • Surface 3 Power Supply - S$59

Intrigued by the new thin and light Surface 3? For more details and our first impressions, check out our detailed hands-on article!

Source: Surface Blog.

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