Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning to launch a new Surface tablet that’s smaller and cheaper than the current Surface Pro… and that smaller, cheaper tablet might have passed through the FCC this week.

If you’re wondering what corners Microsoft is going to cut to keep the price down, a report from WinFuture may have the answers.

The new tablet is expected to have a 10 inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, a less impressive stylus, a cheaper version of the optional Surface Type Cover, and a significantly less powerful processor — although there will allegedly be a few different CPU choices.

Microsoft Surface 3

According to WinFuture’s sources, Microsoft will offer a cheaper tablet with an Intel Pentium Silver processor based on Intel’s low-cost/low-power “Gemini Lake” architecture, or a somewhat pricier version with a Pentium Gold chip based on 7th-gen Intel Core “Kaby Lake” architecture.

While it’s not entirely clear which Pentium Silver and Gold chips Microsoft would opt for, WinFuture guesses that we’re probably looking at a Pentium Silver N5000 quad-core Gemini Lake chip for an entry-level tablet and a Pentium Gold 4410Y or 4415Y dual-core chip for the higher-end model. All of those chips are 6 watt processors that could be used for thin-and-light, fanless machines like a Surface tablet with a 10 inch display.

There’s also a chance that the upcoming tablet will support 4G LTE, or at least have an LTE option.

Then again, there’s also a chance that WinFuture’s sources are incorrect and none of these details are set in stone. So take this with a grain of salt.

That said would you be interested in a $400ish Surface tablet with a Gemini Lake processor and/or a $500ish model with a Pentium Kaby Lake chip? Or at that point would you rather just spend a little more to get a Surface Pro?

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15 replies on “Report: Microsoft’s cheaper Surface will have a Pentium processor”

  1. I don’t know about interesting surface pro options, but my interest in this depends solely on 2 factors:
    Small size – 10 inch is absolute maximum and must be lightweight (I don’t want to carry a full size ultrabook)
    Goes the extra mile with cooling – it simply must run properly ”fanless” (can be loaded for half an hour without throttling)

  2. Great to see a smaller Surface again. Going to buy this when it comes out.

  3. Any rumors of the release date? With the FCC filing, I hope it’s not too long now.

  4. Not trying to troll, but what do people do with surface tablets that they can’t do on ipads or android tablets? Do they come in a special size or weight? I see some of my coworkers carrying them around taking notes… I just don’t understand the appeal of the devices.

    1. Compared to iOS: general, fast, easy file management, backup and transfer.

      Compared to Android: regular, long support with security updates, only 2 weeks of work to deactivate most W10 telemetry instead of impossibility of setting privacy in Android.

      Compared to both: use of productivity software unavailble on both, better manually set security.

  5. I would have preferred they just kept the same size as the other surface tablets. When you get to 10″…productivity drops too much for me to consider purchasing it at any price. My HP Spectre x2 is a 12″…any smaller and I wouldn’t be able to see everything on the screen. As it is…I largen my browser fonts to 110% which is perfect for this tablet.

  6. I hope suspend battery life is improved. MS makes my Surface 3 go into hibernate after being in sleep mode for a while and I can’t disable it. Resuming takes a while.

    From what I’ve read, MS intentionally did this because they never were able to keep the power consumption low enough during sleep/Connected Standby/InstantGo. I guess with a faster CPU and SSD, wake from hibernate would be much faster but I like smartphone-like wake speeds. Too bad Windows on ARM isn’t powerful enough yet and the devices are expensive for what you get.

  7. The CPU does not matter provided it is faster than Atom, comes with SSD and the tablet is fanless. Being a Surface, we expect 3:2 (4:3 would be even much better).

    Very much more importantly, the display must be outdoor-friendly by having a very low reflectance (like current iPad displays as the worst acceptable case and matte would be perfect), the battery life must be long, the battery user-replaceable, the battery standardised, the firmware reliable, service prices reasonable (instead of the current rip-off) and clearly announced (instead of the current perfect hiding). I would be very surprised if Microsoft got any 2 of these 7 points right.

  8. I really like my Surface 3 and was saddened when MS discontinued the non-Pro Surface line. It’s great to hear they’re bringing it back!

    There are some nice potential upgrades since the Surface 3 came out. I’m looking for to it.

    1. It will most likely use the Pentium Silver mobile processor, the N5000

      Which is quad-core, 4.5-6Watts, and Passmark score of over 2500.

      So this thing is almost close to a core M3 7th gen Passmark score of 3500. The 8th gen core M3 should be in the surface Pro.

      So this is a very nice upgrade, perfect size and amount of power at the price point. Definitely worth getting.

      Hopefully the OEMs start releasing similar versions, and hopefully ARM64 versions at that price point as well.

  9. Great! I’m hoping to replace my Surface 3 LTE. I’m hoping for a Core architecture based CPU. I’d like to run 1 or 2 VMs with decent performance. I wouldn’t mind spending ~$500 for it. Even better if that price includes the LTE modem.

    I wonder when this will be released.

    1. I really like my Surface 3 with LTE. Very portable. It’d be great to have a better spec’ed version. The Atom, 4 GB RAM and slow eMMC (SSD would be nice) have been bottlenecks for me. Plus the battery life isn’t as long anymore (really hate non-user replaceable batteries).

      I hope this has both USB A and Type-C ports. At least 2 Type-C ports so 1 is free while charging.

      1. I hate user replaceable batteries too. It’s largely what’s kept me away from the Surface line. It really irritates me when companies intentionally make products with short lifespans. HP’s Elite x2 has proven there’s no excuse for not making a tablet that is reasonably easy to service.

  10. Here in the UK at least, the magic spot is about £300 for midrange tablets. That’s what the 2018 iPad and Chromebook Tab 10 sell for. If Microsoft can also hit that sweet spot, I see this selling very well indeed.

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