The Surface Pro 3 is one of my favourite laptops, so much so that I went out and bought one, but the RM5,000 price tag for the 256GB version (plus Type Cover and one year of Office 365 subscription) that I got took a hefty toll on my wallet. If you’re like me and the flexibility of a Microsoft Surface is something that you look for in a computer but don’t really want to fork out a big wad of cash for a computer, then you might want to take a look at this.
Microsoft has just announced the Surface 3, a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro 3. Designed around a specific price point and targeted at students, schools and anyone looking for an affordable, ultra-portable computer, you can’t expect industrial strength performance from the Surface 3 but you can expect it to get your basic computing needs sorted.
With a starting price of RM1,879, the Surface 3 packs a quad-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor with a choice of 2GB of RAM in the 64GB version and 4GB of RAM in the 128GB version. The screen is smaller, 10.8-inch multi-touch display with full HD resolution versus the 12-inch, 2160×1440 display on the Surface Pro 3. And you only get a 3-position kickstand instead of the micro-adjustable kickstand on the Surface Pro 3. But aside from that, everything about the Surface 3 is essentially the same as the Surface Pro 3. You get the tough as nails magnesium casing, stereo speakers with Dolby sound and support for the very intuitive to use Surface Pen, and you also get a microSD card slot to expand usable memory. If you Skype a lot, there’s a 3.5MP 1080p from camera and if taking pictures with a tablet is your thing, there’s also a 8MP 1080p rear camera (the Surface Pro 3 get 5MP 1080p for both the front and rear cameras.
The Surface 3 runs full Windows 8.1 and can be upgraded to Windows 10 for free. You also get a one-year subscription of Microsoft Office 365 Personal, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, plus OneDrive cloud storage right out of the box.
What you don’t get out of the box is the Surface 3 Type Cover keyboard and the Surface Pen. While I can forgo the Surface Pen (in fact, I lost mine already), you can’t fully appreciate what the Surface can do without a keyboard, and if you’re on a budget buying the Type Cover to go with your Surface 3 is a costly option (the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover cost RM499 retail).
The Surface 3 goes on sale starting May 5, 2015. Pre-order starts on April 13. The 64GB version retails for RM1,879 and the 128GB version sells from RM2,249