Microsoft's new Atom-powered Surface 3 starts at $499

By Shawn Knight
Mar 31, 2015
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  1. surface pro atom microsoft intel tablet laptop windows 8.1 surface mini surface 3 surface 3 pro

    Much of the lure surrounding Microsoft’s long-rumored Surface Mini was the notion that it’d come in at a lower price point compared to its full-sized brother. That project was ultimately scrapped and instead, we got the Surface Pro 3 – an impressive offering that’s unfortunately still a bit too expensive for some.

    Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about those longing for a cheaper Surface. Building on the success of the Surface Pro 3, the company on Tuesday unveiled a cheaper alternative it’s calling Surface 3.

    surface pro atom microsoft intel tablet laptop windows 8.1 surface mini surface 3 surface 3 pro

    The device carries a 10.8-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and a 3:2 aspect ratio – it measures 8.7mm thick and weighs 1.37 pounds, or 622 grams. Surface 3 is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom x7 SoC and 2GB of RAM alongside 64GB of internal storage. Buyers also get a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal which includes 1TB of OneDrive storage.

    The rear camera captures images at 8-megapixels while the front-facing shooter does the same at 3.5-megapixels and both can capture 1080p video. Physical connectivity includes a full-sized USB 3.0 connector, headphone jack, microSD card slot and a mini DisplayPort.

    Unlike previous budget varieties that used Windows RT, Surface 3 ships with a full version of Windows 8.1 (64-bit) complete with desktop applications. Battery life is rated at 10 hours of video playback.

    Microsoft plans to launch the Surface 3 on May 5 with pricing starting at $499.

    Thumbnail via Engadget

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  2. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 113   +27

    This was sounding so promising then I got to 2GB RAM....

    Have a look at your PC now - if you are running next to nothing over standard windows services, then you are probably somewhere around 1.2GB. Add an email client, some virus software a few Chrome Tabs and you will already be swapping away to page file as the OS starts to worry about memory and things will start to grind. How much would 2 more MB cost? Shame as otherwise it sounds quite a capable little machine.
  3. I don't get why microsoft don't do a tablet like the Onda v975w, it is basically an ipad air (the same screen they use for the air 1) with desktop windows 8.1, and you can get it for 160 (I swear this isn't spam hehehe).
    What I mean is that they could release kick *** afforable android and ios tablet sustitutes, not ultra kick *** ultra expensive tablets or so so tablets with not that great price. Maybe they do that on purpose so they don't compete with the rest of the industry.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 906   +242

    Seems a little pricey. Can't you get an equivalent laptop with bigger screen for around $300?
    drjekelmrhyde likes this.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,339   +1,938

    M$ keeps shooting for the goal but they're always wise of the mark. It's still too expensive. One of these days they'll figure out to use the centre forward to header the goal when the cross comes in, that way they'll finally score.
  6. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Booster Posts: 187   +43

    It should be that much with pen and battery keyboard.
  7. Bao Nguyen

    Bao Nguyen TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +21

    Hi. First of all, most atom-based tablets out there come with 2GB RAM and they're fine. Secondly, please don't use Chrome, that browser is the most memory hog of all, instead use IE11 in "metro" mode, fast fluid and use very little memory. And lastly, there is an option to increase ram to 4GB with 128GB storage.
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +529

    It doesn't matter because at $499 for 2 GB is already too expensive, never mind what they are going to charge for another 2 GB. You can buy a 17 " laptop for around $300 with a much larger hard drive and 4 GB of ram.

    This device has choice apathy. It doesn't try really hard at any one market and thus fails at them all. The price needs to come down if they are targeting the average tablet user. Otherwise, this needs to include more ram and be competitive with laptop pricing if they want to appeal to on the go professionals.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. Bao Nguyen

    Bao Nguyen TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +21

    I wonder what kind of 17" laptop you would get for $300. This Surface 3 is a premium tablet to compete directly with iPad Air 2. For the same price with iPad Air 2, it comes with full fledge OS and bundled with 1 year Office 365/1TB OneDrive. I don't see you compare iPad with the $300 17" laptop, do you? This tablet is a great deal if you ask me.
    Kibaruk likes this.
  10. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 113   +27

    I've used a 2GB ATOM tablet and once you start pushing things a little it wasn't fine. I now have a 4GB Atom tablet and it's a marked improvement. As for IE Metro - there's a reason even MS are throwing the whole thing away for Win10...
  11. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,420   +469

    Yes, that reason is called bitchie users with no reason! :)

    2gb is totally fine. IT IS A TABLET FGS! If you want a full fledged notebook go for it, as mentioned before this is a PREMIUM tablet built by Microsoft, please do tell me a Chinesse manufacturer of sub US$160 that has the same build quality, please.

    It's not meant to run skyrim, office, mail, web, and call it a day. Of course it can do more and you can push it and it will probably deliver, but don't expect an i7 performance even if you had 16gb of ram the proc is the bottleneck.
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    $499 too pricey for this tablet. They could sell these for $199 and still make money. But they won't do that. It's all about paying out the high priced salaries executives at Microsoft. As for 2 GB of RAM is just not enough. As the bare min should be 4 GB of RAM.
  13. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,420   +469

    Please do tell me where to get a 10" full HD high quality IPS panel tablet LTE capable for $199 to get two!!
  14. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    Most tablets at that price point only have 2GB of RAM. 3GB would be the sweet spot, especially since it is running full Windows. That said thought, Windows 10 is said to bring memory management improvements.
  15. 4GB is the sweet spot to run windows 8, or 7, without any problems for normal use, but 2GB run perfectly fine if you don't open a world of apps and broswer tabs, so, for a tablet 2GB were you don't have 20 apps open it is perfectly smooth, I guess because I haven't tested it.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +529

    The problem I have with calling this variant premium is that it doesn't have good enough parts. At it's current price, the system should have a faster processor and more ram. As it stands right now, you are going to get a better experience on the Ipad than you are going to get on the windows tablet. It may be a full OS but due to it's limitations it will only be able to run a fraction of the apps.

    Think about it like this, why would anyone want a subpar, jittery tablet with a full OS that's overpriced over an ultra-thin laptop or an Ipad? Hell, a keyboard and a case (pretty much required purchases) are going to run you another $120. Might as well buy an ultra light laptop at that point.
  17. I love how people bash on MS but not do the same to Apple who have a tablet, charge the same and sell all it's accessories separately.
    Both IMO are good devices. Not the best but are good enough to warrant the price. Afterall if you don't like any of them, then don't buy it. No one cares either way because there are people out their that like those products and will buy them.

    BTW, the surface 3 is NOT a computer. The computer version is the surface pro 3. So stop trying to compare the surface 3 to something it is not just because it has a full OS to it.

    If you worrying about RAM, I can already tell you that the surface 3 isn't for you. If your worried about price the surface 3 isn't for you, might as well say that for the ipad as that is the same thing, price and performance. These are tablets and are marketed as such.
  18. Bao Nguyen

    Bao Nguyen TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +21

    I see your point but I disagree with the "doesn't have good enough parts". It has the lastest Atom x7 chip from Intel, and 2GB of RAM should be enough for most tablet apps. Ofcourse it won't be as smooth if you use desktop apps. If you really need to use desktop apps, then go for the 4GB/128GB model.

    Buying into a premium product you're buying user experience and supports. If you really would spend $300 on the low-end ultrabook I'm telling you you're buying $300 of troubles. This tablet won't tick all the boxes for everyone, same as any other tablets out there including the iPad. Like it if you do, don't like it if you don't, price doesn't matter the market will judge whether it sells or not.
  19. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +529

    This article is about microsoft's new surface 3, not about apple products. No one is talking about apple products because they are keeping to the topic.

    If the surface 3 can run full windows apps and has x86 parts, it's is comparable to laptops. Your term "computer" applies to tablets, smartwatches, and many other devices, if I wanted to take the literal definition.

    "No one cares either way because there are people out their that like those products and will buy them"

    As Bao Nguyen said, "Like it if you do, don't like it if you don't, price doesn't matter the market will judge whether it sells or not."

    I personally don't see this selling much until there's a price drop or something added.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I'm a cheap bastard, I find any phone or tablet a hard sell at $300. $400 had better at least come with a keyboard (not that onscreen touch BS) of some form. And I agree with some that for $500, it had better have 4GB memory or I wouldn't even look at it for a wish list.
    Evernessince likes this.
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +529

    I don't know if you should call yourself cheap, you just don't want to waste money. At this device's current price tag, it needs to be better than an ipad (or other high end tablets) or better than a laptop of the same price.

    It's great that it has full windows but that doesn't mean much if it cannot do anything with that. Gaming is out of the question, the CPU is a low Hz quad core so legacy apps will run like crap (this removes money professionals from the equation), 64 Gb of storage isn't good considering windows is going to take up at least 20 Gb and becomes much more hefty over time compared to IOs and Android, and the screen isn't even up to the resolution of competing devices.
  22. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 113   +27

    I agree, at that price this isn't some toy to do a bit of surfing and emails. Surface was always targeted as a laptop replacement so I don't think 4GB is too much to expect. With 2GB business application like Mapinfo, Tableau etc will struggle - I guess they want to keep its big brother relevant....
  23. I was stating that your complaining over nothing as other manufacturers are currently doing the same. As we have already seen ms surface has n will sell. That has alrdy been proven hence the 3.

    A tablet a computer, no, just cause it uses parts like a computer doesnt make it a computer. Hence why they call it a tablet as it cannot do everything as a computer. Just as any tablet, ms surface 3 will have its limitation.

    If you dont like it, cant afford it then dont buy it. Complaining about a product when it isnt even out is funny. Especially since every surface has been better than the last one.
  24. No its not. Only the pro series is that way. Surface is not a laptop replacement. The surface pro is. Dont fall for marketing pr. Always do research.

    I havent seen the surface marketed in like 6 months. Only the pro has been and that is a computer.
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    So you are saying the definition of a computer changes each year. And that the computers we had 10 years ago are not currently classified as computers. Never mind bringing up the topic of computers we had 20 years ago.

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