Review: Microsoft Surface 3

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Microsoft wants to get in the hardware game, and the Surface 3 is its latest offering for the customer who wants a lightweight replacement for a laptop. Here’s a look at some of the key specifications and features of the Microsoft Surface 3:

Hardware

The Surface 3 comes with a 10 inch, touchscreen display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels. It is powered by the 1.6 GHz Quad-core Intel Atom processor, which provides power efficiency at the cost of power over the Intel Core range of processors. The Surface 3has 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD for storage as standard.  $100 more will snag you 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage instead.

The Surface 3 is 802.11 Wireless ready and Bluetooth 4.0 capable. The specifications look the most rugged for a Windows 8 operated tablet. The device also sports quite a few standard ports for everyday use. And, Microsoft has done away with their proprietary charging standard, in favor of USB charging, which is a welcome change.

The Surface Pen makes a return, allowing for a new way of interacting with the tablet. The pen has a pressure-sensitive nib that changes input depending on how hard you press, making the Surface 3 a great choice for artists on the go.

Software

The Surface 3 runs a full version of Windows, opposed to the poorly-received Windows RT operating system.

This provides the device the capability to install and run standard applications instead of depending on the Microsoft App store. Microsoft also promises a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it becomes available.

Design

The build of the Surface 3 is top quality and it feels like an expensive piece of hardware in the hand. It’s one of the lightest tablets available in the market for the performance, weighing in at only 1.4 pounds without the keyboard. Unfortunately the keyboard is not sold along with the Surface 3 but it costs $130 more.

The slim flip cover that doubles as the keyboard with useful key backlighting. The Surface 3’s kickstand allows for 3 different angles depending on use case. The Surface Pro 3 allows for unlimited angles with an improved stand, but the 3 different angles on the Surface 3 should suffice.

Performance

Microsoft had to skimp on power to save cost for the Surface 3. Users cannot expect laptop-like performance from the Surface 3, but the Atom allows the device to be much more portable. The Surface 3’s biggest improvement over its predecessor isn’t in the hardware, but in the software with a full version of Windows.

The Surface 3 provides plenty of performance for everyday tasks, and it shouldn’t lag behind during word processing or surfing the internet. You probably want to avoid heavy applications such as video or image editing.

Price

The base price of the Surface 3 is at $499, but this doesn’t include the keyboard, which, one would assume, is a must-have, and it comes in extra at $130. The Surface 3 Pro base model starts at $200 more than the Surface 3 model, but packs a greater punch as the Intel Core i3 processor comes as standard.

Pro promises an experience closer to a laptop than the Surface 3. However, for light use, the Surface 3 is a great tool with extraordinary portability.

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About the Author
Divya Palaniappan is an engineer and an avid techie who considers information worthless unless verified. When she isn't wracking her brain over machines she loves spending time in her garden.

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