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.surface 3_002

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.


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31 replies on “Microsoft Surface 3 is now available”

  1. My Nook HD+ has a 9″ display with 1920×1280 IPS and the Surface 3 is 2″ larger so worry there could be graininess in comparison. The Nook has excellent resolution and shows fine detail similar to a retina and that is very important because I just read pdfs with the tablet. I don’t want to see the individual pixels.

    1. But it’s still the same resolution, so still the same information – if your small nook seems clearer, it’s just an illusion from hiding the imperfections.

      Consider, what resolution is your TV? And how big – do you watch on the smallest TV possible in order to get better “density”? A device that has same resolution but bigger display is better, otherwise everyone would be bragging about how small their tv was…

      Retina is an apple trademark, not a technology or standard (and it’s been used on things like iphone 4s with tiny screens and crap resolutions).

  2. Costco sells bundles of the tablet, keyboard, and stylus for $599 (2GB/64GB) and $699 (4GB/128GB). Basically, an $80 savings over buying them individually.

    1. Woa, the Surface is so expensive! They want $50 just for the Pen!!!? Really?? LOL No way! XD

  3. Sadly no matter what spec you use for the trade in program the RT model will only get you $100 trade in. Not worth it, might as well take it to Ebay!

  4. Very bulky midrange tablet at 500$ and up.
    The OS ruins it as a tablet, the size, perf and storage (both OS and apps are big) ruin it as a PC. And lets not forget that you can’t play any games on Atom when running Windows, the GPU is pretty good for Android games but useless for Windows games.
    At 300$ with the keyboard would be ok if it wasn’t running Windows.
    Oh and lets not forget the poor battery life, because they waste a huge chunk of space with the kickstand.

    Edit: Went ahead and measured on a pic the kickstand. Seems to be about 50cc in volume and that would be enough volume to fit an extra 6500mAh of battery.

    1. It’s not a gaming tablet realjjj its a productivity platform. Although I agree with your concern for the price, you are just dead wrong on the rest! You will not find any other tablet that offers more than a Surface with Windows and the future upgrade to Windows 10 will make it very scary for for Apple and Android tablet makers. Seriously, you don’t know what you are talking about unless you handle one and take into consideration what is coming. My Windows RT is more tablet than any Ipad out there! I can hook it to any screen, hook it to a usb hub and add any peripherals I want! Add to that the SDcard and you have more memory availability than anything else out there.

      1. If you need a laptop you can buy a hell of a lot faster for a lot cheaper.
        If you want a tablet you can do far cheaper.
        Win 10 who cares? It’s just another Windows and doesn’t make a difference at all..M$ won’t build a tablet ecosystem before tablets are dead,there is no time and even if they did, this tablet will be out of use by then.
        Nobody is scared by this at 500$, it’s likely the worst tablet to launch this year, on any planet.

        1. I wont waste time with you I have a pc at home and at work. What ever I start on my Surface RT I can finish on either of my two pc’s. I also have two android tablets that I enjoy alot, for reading, playing or watching movies or tv. By the way I can do the same with the RT. I said I agreed on the price point you made, everything else is uninformed and unexperience bable!

          1. So it’s not bulky?
            It’s not true that Windows has no tablet apps?
            It’s not accurate that the stand is using a huge chunk of space?
            It’s not true that a slow SoC , little RAM and storage are limiting when used as a PC?
            No idea what you start on one device and finish on another but i hope it’s not something as simple as Office, that’s not that difficult.
            And it’s not about what either of us wants/needs anyway, it’s about what consumers in general need/want. PC makers are desperately dumping convertibles and Windows tabs at far better prices and Windows is not breaking through on the tablet front.

          2. So it’s not bulky?

            For a business class tablet, with all the ports and features it provides… No… it’s not bulky… Sure, Apple goes thinner and lighter but pretty much no one can match them in that regard and those that do often charge more than even the Surface 3 is being priced…

            It’s not true that Windows has no tablet apps?

            Yes, it’s not true! Windows just lacks as many tablet optimized apps as Android and iOS have but there are already thousands of apps and many of the popular apps are still missing but that may change with W10…

            So don’t confuse having a limited selection with there being no selection…

            It’s not accurate that the stand is using a huge chunk of space?

            Nope, not compared to other stands with similar function that take even more space… never mind ignoring the added protection it provides while closed… and helps cover up the microSD card, which helps prevent putting it some place that may stick out or is otherwise easier to lose…

            It’s not true that a slow SoC , little RAM and storage are limiting when used as a PC?

            Compared to what?

            Sure, you can get a laptop with better specs but tablets always cost more to make because they require higher build quality, more expensive construction, deal with greater thermal constraints with more limiting space, etc. that are part of the trade off for using a tablet instead of a laptop…

            You may not be able to do any heavy productivity on it but for basic usage it’s fine… You can actually run something like Photoshop well enough to cover any basic need and even do some basic video editing in a reasonable time frame as long as you keep it 720P or below and don’t go crazy with transition effects…

            Just like you can still play older games just fine… there are still plenty of things you can still do with this product…

            Modern ATOM is 3-4 times more powerful than they were during the netbook era and people did a lot more than just web browse with netbooks… So there’s even more potential now, especially as W10 will also open other possibilities that weren’t available before…

            People who own a XBox One can stream their games to the Surface 3, use a XBox controller without installing any drivers, and have fun… As more apps get ported to Universal apps they’ll also become easier to run and that too will open up more possibilities going forward…

            And it’s not like this device doesn’t provide plenty of power for word processing and other easier to run apps…

            PC makers are desperately dumping convertibles and Windows tabs at far better prices and Windows is not breaking through on the tablet front.

            Yeah, Windows just went from less than 1% market share on tablet to over 10%… Again, you’re only confusing your bias with how things actually stand… Sure, they got a very long way to go but let’s stop with the exaggerations that try to suggest they have made no progress whatsoever!

          3. Samsung go lighter (and possibly thinner, I forget), as have Sony, most manufacturers manage smaller bezels too. But yes, comparing Android/IOS tablets to a full PC like the Surface is missing the point.

            If I want a really light handheld tablet, why bother with a bulky ipad when I can have my Nexus 7. But if I want something more functional, I don’t mind 550g (my Asus T100) when it gives me a full PC.

        2. “If you need a laptop you can buy a hell of a lot faster for a lot cheaper.”

          I’ll bite: post an example of a faster and cheaper laptop *that is as portable*.

          The only ultra-portable laptops that come close are either 10″ laptops (which are all slower Bay Trail Atom) or 11.6″ laptops (which are larger, heavier, also significantly more expensive – and whilst they have Intel Core, will still be crap compared to NVIDIA/AMD GPUs). It’s not until you get to larger heavier laptops that you’ll get what you want.

          Oh, also include a cheaper laptop with 4K, since in your other comment you consider the Surface’s 1280p a let down too and think it should be as high res as phones.

          Sure if you don’t need portability and just want a laptop, get a laptop. No one is saying otherwise. But plenty of us enjoy or need the portability.

      1. How about instead of insults, you use reason to make your case like an adult.

        1. It would help if you had used reason in the first place instead of just spouting your personal bias…

          First, there’s no such thing as a tablet in this price range that will be capable of modern PC gaming… They could throw in a Core M and it still wouldn’t have the performance needed! Even the Surface Pro 3 isn’t good for gaming!

          But it’s extremely misleading to say you can’t play any PC games… only the latest high end games are really unplayable… while many older games can be played on at least low settings… Some like Portal, L4D2, etc actually play pretty well on a modern Cherry Trail…

          While even Android devices charge more for Keyboard and tablet combinations than $300… The Nexus 9 alone costs more and it doesn’t even offer a keyboard dock! While a tablet the size of the Surface would cost even more because it’s bigger!

          Never mind high build quality parts with expensive materials for a business class product like the Surface… They aren’t selling cheap plastic casing or nearly as cheap aluminum casing! Nor are the cheaper tablets offering as much storage capacity or even the option to use a active pen, meaning you’re forgetting the N-Trig is built in regardless of whether you buy the pen or not and so is part of the costs of the tablet…

          Anyone who has ever tried using the desktop on a tablet knows a pen is far better than being limited to just capacitive touch…

          While Android tablets that have tried built in kickstands usually don’t even last a year before breaking… just to show how build quality can factor into the actual value of the device during the course of usage…

          While the battery life of the Surface 3 has been reported as good… most are getting several hours or more while web browsing and you’ll get even longer if you just watch movies… Sure, it would be nice if they pushed more capacity but it’s hardly terrible… while the microUSB port should make it easy for anyone to just simply use an external power pack for extended runs…

          If you think the kickstand is a waste then simply don’t get a Surface because that’s a key feature for why people get it… You either see the value or you don’t, but pretending there is no value is just your personal bias!

          While this will be hardly the only product coming to the market… it’s why choice is better because eventually someone will produce something you would want to get and those that don’t won’t matter as long as there are other choices!

          Besides, no matter what you think this is still a big upgrade from the previous Surface RT/2 models and a x7 is a high end ATOM solution… meaning tablets made with the lower end x5’s and designed for budget range models should be significantly cheaper options, but means the GPU performance gains may be lower as the trade off as the lower end models have either 8 or 12 EU’s instead of the max of 16… but there are always trade offs when they push pricing lower…

          1. Let me start by saying that i have never claimed that the Nexus or any other tablet launched in the west in the last year is worth buying.

            The SoC in CPU perf is midrange,, at most upper mid range.When the
            fastest phones are 50% faster, you are that. The GPU perf doesn’t matter
            in Windows since it’s too low.
            1280p is far from high end, phones are going 4k this year or early next year.
            Just that makes it clearly midrange and hugely inappropriate at 500$. The perf per price is ridiculously poor.

            For gaming that’s the OS’s fault but it is there, and if you can’t play at max res, then why have the screen. That’s a problem for all Windows tabs, you got to pay a lot to play games (there are a couple of tabs with discrete GPU). There was a dual point on gaming. First that the Atom is not bad compared to other mobile SoCs but Windows cancels that and second that it’s far too weak for the OS.
            The pen is a niche and very few consumers use it so the value it bring is very low for most potential buyers.That’s why so tab maker include one, or why resistive touch failed long before capacitive enabled the boom in touch.

            The kickstand is easy to use but is wasting a lot of space and the battery life is actually poor,that’s not debatable.It’s not as dumb as the digital crown on the Apple Watch but it’s a poor solution. It’s hard to find good pics with the kickstand and measure it but if my math is accurate ,they could almost double battery life by getting rid of the kickstand.

            When it comes to size , if you compare it with the extra popular ipad air 2, the S3 has 20% bigger screen (area) , 43% higher weight and 75% higher volume. That is super bulky.

            Oh and btw, Core M is the same size as this SoC (it really is, 82mm2 for Core M vs an estimated 83mm2 for this 14nm Atom) but it costs many times more for no valid reason, except Intel’s monopoly. At least the Pro is bigger and has more storage so i would be fine with it at 500$
            Seriously since when is it ok to pay Apple prices for PCs?

          2. First, the fastest phones are not 50% faster… The only SoCs that are faster are also highly specialized… Like the Apple’s A8X is pretty much optimized to only run iOS and would have far less performance running anything else…

            So don’t confuse general purpose performance numbers with optimized performance numbers!

            Second, the GPU of Cherry Trail is 50% to 2x better than the previous Bay Trail… This doesn’t put Intel on the high end for mobile graphics but neither are they on the low end any more either!

            And no, Windows does not cancel out anything… W8 is easier to run than Windows 7 and Windows 10 will be even easier to run… The only thing you can claim is the lack of mobile apps but that could likely change over the next year as MS opens up the option for developers to more easily port their apps without making them specifically for the Windows platform…

            This includes now allowing Win32 apps to be ported as well and converted into Universal apps, which opens up a much larger potential for productivity even on ARM based devices…

            Third, you phone comparison is simply insane… a HD resolution on a small phone screen is going to be a heck of a lot cheaper than on a much larger tablet screen!

            While screen quality isn’t limited to just resolution, and the fact is the screen does cost more because it’s both larger and contains additional technology with the N-Trig integration…

            The closest examples for Android tablets would be the Samsung S-Pen options and they definitely are priced similarly high, especially at similar size, without any keyboard options added…

            Fourth, the Kickstand is not wasting space… a high end kickstand with adjustable hinge normally takes more space, especially if you get one separate from the tablet and most aren’t as durable as the Surface that will retain its firmness and strength even after months of continuous adjusting the kickstand…

            You’re just confusing your personal bias with whether it has any value… but to someone who wants a reliable way to prop the tablet that not only works but will last then it’s worth it… Again, don’t like it then just simply look for a different product!

            Fifth, the iPad doesn’t offer any direct peripheral ports… while the Surface provides a full size USB 3.0 port, a display port, a microSD card slot, and a microUSB charging port… in addition to the docking port that the Keyboard cover connects to…

            Also Part of the screen layers include the N-Trig digitizer… which the iPad doesn’t offer either… and the Surface is more durable overall, even though it also has to make room for moving parts like the kickstand hinge that the iPad also doesn’t have to deal with…

            So you’re comparing apples to oranges with the iPad to the Surface…

            Sixth, Using similar sockets doesn’t mean the chips are the same size… It’s close but mainly because a Core M is a dual core and the x7 is a quad core… and at least you acknowledge that it would cost a lot more to use a Core M but none of that changes that your original comparison was misleading at best!

            Seventh, you being fine with the Pro at $500 is an equal failure to understand just how much it actually costs to make such a tablet and ignores the fact the starting price is much higher… especially as you’d need the Core i7 if you wanted to do even moderate modern gaming and that pushes the price close to triple to quadruple the S3…

            Really, the Surface 3 charges less than the iPad… For $499 on the iPad you’re getting a device with virtually no ports, no built in memory expansion option, smaller size tablet, no built in active pen option, only 16GB of Storage that’s barely any faster than eMMC used in the Surface 3 and you get less RAM with the iPad with no higher option as you increase capacity options…

            The iPad Air 2 with 64GB is $599, versus Surface 3 at $499… never mind the cost of adding the accessories needed to provide the functionality of the ports, card reader, etc on the Surface 3 and you’d end up paying more than the Surface 3 with the Keyboard Cover and pen combined… Especially, if you get the combo discount deal that takes $80 off for the Surface 3…

          1. Maybe that way you could win,although that’s hard to imagine since you seem confused even about the meaning of the term troll.

    2. Well, I use a Dell Venue 8 Pro on a daily basis. Pretty much my primary system, my home desktop is used about 1-1.5 hour a day. I can play on the BayTrail Atom with TES:Oblivion on medium settings, native resolution and a couple of mods, ~40 fps. The battery life is superb to any laptop I had previously. There is no moving parts, it’s dead silent (I will never buy any portable machine with active cooling ever again!). The main storage is only 32GB which is enough for the OS and all the programs I use, and a 64GB microSD holds the Steam games, my Dropbox and all the music and movies I take with myself on the go. I also love the digitizer, I use the pen to write and to draw some pictures in my free time, way cheaper than a professional Wacom. Why not an Android tablet then? Because as a sysadmin who is constantly on the go I need to be able to run special industrial software, diagnostic programs for all kind of hardware. Most of my colleges are carrying around bulky 15.4″ notebooks or a MacBook Pro. Me, I can just waltz in with my tablet in my coatpocket (in a keyboard protective case), and an RJ45 and RS232 adapter in my other pocket.
      Oh, another thing, I don’t carry around chargers, the tablet charges on any USB port I can find. I can just borrow literally any phone charger if I need one.
      Why did I tell you about my old Dell tablet? Because all this stands with the Surface 3, and more. I plan to buy one very soon.

    3. So basically, it’s not for you. Good thing that MS doesn’t limit Windows to a choice of one or two devices.

      Whilst I prefer Android overall for a pure tablet, I don’t see Windows “ruins it”. For a PC, it’s a great ultra-portable option. 128GB is plenty for a primary drive, and hard disks of this size are typical for ultra-portable laptops (I’d also much rather have solid state over the crappy slow spinning discs that are usual way laptops manage larger sizes).

      Atom is fine for Windows games these days – it doesn’t magically become better just because it runs Android! It won’t run recent AAA PC games, but nor will anything this portable (or see the Surface Pro if you want a higher end GPU); there are still plenty of older or more casual games.

      MS claim “up to 10 hours”, I don’t know what you’re referring to battery life issues? Kickstand has the advantage that it’s easier to use as a PC, whilst still being very lightweight and portable.

    1. Not at first but they’re coming later… Prices may start dropping by then, but you’ll be looking at an additional $100 for the LTE version…

  5. 80% of the i3 Surface Pro 3? Perhaps in one hand picked benchmark. 60% is more the norm I’ve seen across reviews and that’s largely because the i3 SP3 is 30-50% slower than the i5 model (no turbo really hurts it).

    1. Dual core vs Quad Core is another factor, the i3 will definitely have the advantage in single threaded performance but two cores and hyper-threading isn’t as efficient as 4 actual cores for multi-threaded processing… but I agree that the 80% isn’t properly representative of overall performance… even with the faster 2.4GHz burst clock speed for the x7 vs the 1.5GHz with no Turbo for the i3 as the added handicap…

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