If there was any doubt that Microsoft is giving up on the idea of Windows RT, the new Surface 3 should take care of that. This $500 tablet runs full-blown Window 8.1 and will be eligible for the upgrade to Windows 10 later this year.
Microsoft calls it the thinnest, lightest Surface ever. As a bonus, it comes with a full year of Office 365.
This tablet is slightly smaller than than the Surface Pro 3. It weights just over a pound and has a 10.8 inch screen.
The kickstand is adjustable to 3 positions for multiple viewing angles.
One big difference is that it uses a micro USB charger instead of the proprietary charger that’s needed for other surface models.Microsoft promises a battery life of up to 10 hours.
You’ll still need to purchase the keyboard cover separately ($129) and it won’t be interchangeable with keyboards for current Surface models. You’ll also have to purchase the Surface Pen, which adds writing and drawing functions to the tablet, separately.
An optional docking station will let you connect to an additional monitor, printer and external mouse and keyboard.
The devices have a 64 GB hard drive and come with 1-year free of OneDrive cloud storage as part of the Office 365 subscription. You can also pay more for 128 GB hard drive. Each surface has a USB Port and a micro SD slot.
The new tablets run on the quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor and don’t use a fan for cooling, so they are very quiet.
Microsoft does say that if you need a PC to handle complex tasks like rendering video or 3D modeling, you’ll probably want to stick with the more powerful Surface Pro 3 model. But for everyday web surfing, office work and games playing, this tablet should do nicely.
This model is tempting me. I’ve been saving up for a Surface Pro 3, which would cost me around $500 more. But I do occasionally do some video editing that requires rendering and it might be worth waiting and saving some more to make sure that I have enough power tor the task.