Microsoft today announced the $499 Surface 3 running Windows 8.1 to take on the iPad in the tablet market. Unlike the previous generation Surface tablets, this is the first tablet from Microsoft to run a full blown version of Windows.
This means that users will be able to use all their desktop applications on the tablet without any hitch.
Under the hood, the Surface 3 is powered by a quad-core 1.6Ghz Intel Atom X7 processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB of storage. The slightly costlier $599 model comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. Both variants also feature Wi-Fi, a 10.8-inch 1080p HD display, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x Mini DisplayPort, microSD card slot, Cover port, microUSB port for charging and Bluetooth 4.0. The tablet also comes with a three-position kickstand to allow users to use the tablet on a desk or on their lap easily.
Microsoft claims that the Surface 3 provides up to 10 hours of battery life, and weighs in at 1.37lbs. The iPad Air 2, for comparison, weighs in at only 0.96lbs.
The fanless tablet runs on Windows 8.1 and comes with one-year of Office 365 subscription. It will also receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year.
The tablet can be pre-ordered through Microsoft’s online store right away with delivery expected to be made by first week of May. Variants with 4G LTE connectivity baked in are scheduled to ship by June 26th.
With the sale of iPad slowing down, now is as good a time as any for Microsoft to take some of that tablet market share from Apple with its new Surface tablet. While the Surface 3 is heavier and thicker than the iPad Air 2, it runs a full blown version of Windows, which is going to be more useful to users.