Microsoft has announced the newest iteration in the Surface line with the Surface 3. Interestingly, it drops Windows RT and replaces it with a full version of Windows 8.1. It looks Redmond is just about done with the ARM version of its operating system and is laying the groundwork for the impending arrival of Windows 10.
The Surface 3 sports a 10.8-inch ClearType Full HD Plus display with an aspect ratio of 3:2. This makes it slightly smaller than the current Surface Pro 3; not to mention that the new design also makes the new Surface 3 thinner and lighter. Although to be fair, the non-Pro versions of the Surface have traditionally been lighter than the Pro variants.
Inside is a quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor clocked at 1.6GHz (and goes up to 2.4GHz with Intel Burst technology). It looks like the Surface will be one of the first tablets to feature Intel’s new branding for the Atom line, which makes it easier to identify processors and their intended use. Interestingly, Microsoft has not used the Intel Core M processor like many other current generation convertible notebooks that are likely to be competitors to the Surface 3.
Microsoft has not specified how much RAM is available on the Surface 3, but it does come with either 64 or 128GB worth of storage. It has 4GB of RAM installed, which is just about enough to run the Windows 8.1 operating system, and Microsoft promises that the Surface 3 will last for up to 10 hours of video-playback.
Rounding out the specifications are an 8-megapixel rear camera, 3.5-megapixel front facing shooter, full sized USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort, microSD card reader, and a micro-USB charging port. There are also the optional Surface Pen and Surface 3 Type Cover that will be sold separately, along with a few other accessories that will be made available when the device arrives in the market.
The most important news is that the Surface 3 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it arrives later this year. Which gives the device some longevity, although it sounds odd that Microsoft is releasing it ahead of the actual launch of Windows 10. In fact, the announcement of this product was not expected until the BUILD event in the middle of April.
The Surface 3 will be available for pre-order in Malaysia from 13 April, with the Surface 3 arriving on 5 May. At the same time, the Surface Pen, Surface 3 Type Cover, Surface 3 Docking Station and Surface 3 Screen Protector also arriving at the same time. The Microsoft Surface 3 is priced at RM1879 for the 64GB version and RM2249 for the 128GB variant. There is no news on the local pricing of the accessories as of yet.