Microsoft Surface 3 review

Microsoft has introduced its lightest and thinnest Surface tablet yet, and I know what you are thinking: no, the Surface 3 is not the long-rumoured Surface Mini.

That said, the new tablet bears most of the qualities you may expect from a small Surface – it is lots portable and extra affordable than the Surface Pro 3, whereas packing less in the power division.

The Surface 3 is the primary non-Pro Surface to get full-fats Windows 8.1, slightly than Windows RT, which featured on the Surface RT, Surface 2 (& Surface 2 4G). At 10.8 inches, the brand new tablet is closer in dimensions to these devices while being barely taller because of its 3:2 aspect ratio display.

The Surface 3 comes with a Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 “Cherry Trail” CPU clocked at 1.6GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.4GHz), 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. If you wish to dial up the power, a second version comes with 4GB RAM & 128GB of storage.

The previous will set you back £419 (around $619), whereas the latter comes in at £499 (around $738). Whereas cost of entry is lower than entry-level Surface Pro 3, which begins at £575 (around $850), that device gets you a extra powerful Core i3 CPU and a bigger display. The spotlight, then, is on whether the Surface 3 represents higher value for money on the low-end.

Design

I have all the time liked the design of Microsoft’s Surface tablets, and the Surface 3 is no exception. Its clean edges and two-tone silver-and-black end simply lend it that premium edge over equally-priced Windows 8.1 tablets.

If you’ are considering that the Surface 3 is overpriced when you think about the specs inside, you may be reassured that design and build quality is partially liable for that.

It sports the identical magnesium alloy design, and at 622 grams (versus the Surface Pro 3’s 800 grams), it is noticeably the lightest Surface yet. Whether you are carting it about or holding it in a single hand to draw on using the Stylus Pen, it is the closest but to feeling like an A4 pad of paper in the hand.

If the Surface Pro 3’s multi-place kickstand was thought-about a step forward, the Surface 3’s is 2 steps back. Actually. Just like the Surface Pro 2, you may place it again into 2 different angles – a narrower one and a flatter one. That would make it much less attractive to designers who have gotten used to the Surface Pro 3’s versatile leanings, however for the casual user it should not be an issue.

DisplayMicrosoft Surface3

One of many Surface 3’s standout features is its display. It is sharp, and especially vibrant, with deep black and bold colors that ‘pop’. With a resolution of 1,920 x 1,280, it offers more than sufficient room for snapping apps and windows side-by-side, and you may see extra of what is going on vertically because of its 3:2 aspect ratio. One of many big selling points of Microsoft’s Surface tablets is that you need to use them as each a tablet and a laptop, and the Microsoft Surface 3 touch-sensitive display is very responsive to the touch.

The display’s clarity and powerful colors makes it a contender for watching videos. Firing up a 1080 pixels YouTube clip produced impressive outcomes, and the Surface 3 should be similarly up to the task of displaying content streaming from Netflix and other services.

AccessoriesMicrosoft Surface3

The Surface 3 comes with various accessories in tow, together with a Surface Pen that is an identical to the one used on the Surface Pro 3. It possesses a reassuringly weighty really feel and has a pressure-sensitive nib that permits you to make thicker strokes by pressing down on the display tougher.

Like members of the Microsoft Surface Pro line, the Microst Surface 3 comes with a Touch Keyboard Cover, which is not included as normal and will add an eye-watering £109.99 to the overall cost. It operates identically to earlier Touch Covers and options backlit keys, along with a extra precise trackpad, according to Microsoft. It’ll even be offered with a docking station that can add addition ports and charge the device for £164.99 (US price but to be confirmed). Not like previous Surface tablets, the Surface 3 charges by way of micro-USB instead of a proprietary connector.

Early verdict

The Surface 3 is a promising addition to Microsoft’s Surface family of devices, and one which stands an opportunity of swaying you when you was tempted by the Surface Pro 3 however put off by its price tag. As soon as once more the accessories, which are not included, do not come cheap – however they are important to the experience. It is a trendy and effectively-built tablet that can appeal to anyone seeking to surf the internet, jot notes and use touch-sensitive applications, but how it performs with the Cherry Trail CPU could be the key factor in whether it is better value for money than the Surface Pro 3.

Compsmag