The Microsoft Surface 3 is now available for $499 and up. Microsoft introduced the tablet and started taking pre-orders in March, but now the company has announced that it’s shipping to customers and available in stores in the US, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and a handful of other countries.
It’ll be available in Europe starting May 7th.
The Surface Pro features a 10.8 inch, 1920 x 1280 pixel touchscreen display and support for an optional Surface Pen (for pressure-sensitive writing or drawing as well as hovering actions).
Microsoft sells the Surface Pen for $50. There’s also an optional $130 Surface 3 Type Cover that lets you use the tablet like a notebook. But once you start adding accessories it might be cheaper just to buy a notebook (although good luck finding a cheap one with a 3:2 aspect display that can be detached and used as a tablet).
Still, the Surface Pro is special because it’s the first entry-level Surface tablet to run the full Windows 8.1 operating system instead of the more limited Windows RT.
It’s also one of the first devices to ship with an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail processor which is one of the most powerful Atom chips to date: Microsoft says the Surface 3 offers 80 percent of the performance you’d get from a Surface Pro 3 tablet with a Core i3 processor. But it has a starting price that’s $300 lower.
Other features include 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, and microSD card reader. The tablet has an 8MP rear camera and 3.5MP front camera and stereo speakers.
The entry-level model has 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. For $100 more you can opt for a model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Microsoft is also offering a deal for existing Surface tablet users: for a limited time you can trade in a working Surface RT or Surface 2 for up to a $150 credit toward the purchase of a Surface 3.