Microsoft announces new affordable, smaller ‘Surface 3’

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Microsoft has announced a smaller, thinner, lighter and less-powerful Surface Pro 3 version dubbed ‘Surface 3.’

Powered by Intel’s new low-power Atom X7 processor, the new Surface 3 tablet features a 10.8 inch (27.43cm) screen, a 3.5-megapixel snapper on the front and an 8-megapixel counterpart on the back. The tablet is 0.34 inches (8.7mm) thick and weighs 1.37 pounds (621g). The Redmond claims that the new Surface 3 tablet is the thinnest and lightest Surface the company has ever shipped.

The new tablet promises a 10 hours of video playback on a single charge and runs a full build of Windows 8.1 that comes with a year subscription to Office 365, offering users access to the likes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The tablet will be eligible to update to Windows 10 when the new operating system launches later this year.

The new Surface will also come with a full-sized USB 3.0 port for connection to a monitor and other devices. There’s also a Mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, a headset jack and a cover port on board.

Announcing the launch, Panos Panay, head of Microsoft Surface, said “As we planned the next addition to the Surface family, the questions to answer for our customers became simple. What product would we build to be sure we could make the very best of what we built in Surface Pro 3 available to many, many more people?

“The result is Surface 3, as well as a mobile-broadband version, Surface 3 (4G LTE). It’s the thinnest and lightest Surface we’ve ever shipped. It runs full Windows, including desktop applications. It includes a one-year subscription to Office 365 to help you really get down to work. And it starts at just $499 (from £419 in the UK).”

Pricing for the Microsoft Surface 3 will begin at £419 for 2GB RAM and 64GB SSD and will rise to £499 for 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Both are currently available to pre-order from Microsoft’s website. The touchscreen pen and keyboard cover are not included, and add £155 to the cost.

A 4G version is expected to arrive sometime later in the year.