Microsoft debuts lighter, more affordable Surface 3 tablet

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Microsoft Corp. released its new Surface 3 tablet on Tuesday as a follow-up to the Surface Pro 3 that it released last year. While the Pro was aimed at the business market, the Surface 3 is designed as a thinner, lighter and more affordable option for students, schools and consumer users. It runs the full Windows OS and Office suite and can also run Windows apps. A 4G LTE version is also available.

Premium design and productivity

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“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 for Microsoft Surface, in a statement. “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.”

Quick and responsive

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The Surface 3 is powered by the new quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor and Microsoft promises up to 10 hours of video-playback on one battery charge. A number of storage and memory options are available. The 10.8″ ClearType HD multi-touch display features a 3:2 aspect ratio and the Surface 3 also boasts stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound. (Pictured above with optional docking station)

Integrated three-position kickstand

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In addition to a durable magnesium design, the Surface 3 features an integrated three-position kickstand. It’s helpful for using the tablet in different use cases, such as while working at a desk, sitting on a couch or holding in the palm of a hand. The Surface 3 comes with full Windows 8.1 and can be upgraded to Windows 10 for free when the new OS launches. It also comes with a one-year Microsoft Office 365 Personal subscription.

Colourful choices

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The Surface 3 and Surface 3 (4G LTE) can be paired with a number of new accessories. The Surface 3 Type Cover is offered in a variety of colours and has been improved over the previous model with a new trackpad and a more responsive keyset for fast, accurate typing. The Surface experience can also be enhanced with the new Surface Pen that, like the Type Cover, is available in four colours: silver, black, blue and red.

Preparing to dock

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Another available accessory is the Surface 3 Docking Station to serve as a home base for Surface users. It allows them to easily connect to an external monitor and their desktop devices. The tablet itself also features a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader and Micro USB charging port, and it’s compatible with the Surface Pro line of adapters and accessories.

Pre-ordering is now open

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Canadians can now pre-order the Surface 3 and new accessories either online, through select partner retailers or at their local Microsoft store. The Surface 3, Surface 3 Type Cover, Surface Pen, Surface 3 Docking Station and Surface 3 Screen Protector will be available May 5, and Surface 3 (4G LTE) availability will be announced soon. The Surface 3 is priced starting at $639. The base model features 64GB storage and 2GM RAM, and the pricier model at $769 has 128GB storage and 4GB RAM.


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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.