The Microsoft Surface 3 is the affordable answer to its Surface Pro 3. It gets the same design and form factor as its bigger brother but comes in a smaller and lighter package. At the front, it gets a 10.8″ ClearType Full HD Plus display and it runs on Intel’s 1.6GHz Quad-Core Atom x7-Z8700 processor, which Microsoft claims to deliver 80% performance of an Intel Core i3 processor.
There are 2 models available with the base version having 2GB of RAM and 64GB storage priced at RM1,989 including of GST. If you need more, the higher spec 4GB RAM and 128GB storage version is going for RM2,389. For now it is a WiFi only device supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0. A 4G LTE version is said to be in the pipeline but Microsoft has yet to provide specific timelines for the Malaysian market. It also gets a front facing 3.5MP camera and a rear 8MP unit which both are capable of shooting Full HD 1080p resolution.
In terms of options, the Surface 3 Type keyboard is sold separately at RM479 and it comes in choice of Black, Bright Blue and Red colours. If you plan to scribble, the Surface Pen which is also available in the same array of colours would cost you an extra RM189. There’s also a docking station for a full desktop experience with display, LAN and extra USB ports but it sets you back at RM769.
When compared to its larger Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 is much lighter and thinner at 622 grams with a thickness of 8.7mm. The on-board battery is said to last 10 hours of video playback and for charging, it uses a more universal micro-USB port. So if you’re out of juice, you can easily charge using a power bank. Another key difference with the Surface Pro 3 is the kickstand, where it offers a fixed 3 step position. This according to Microsoft is done in order to reduce its thickness.
For the starting price of RM1,989, it does sound steep for a tablet. However with a full Windows 8.1 experience and the option to upgrade to Windows 10 when it is available, it is a step up for those who want a productivity tool in a compact tablet form factor. The price isn’t too bad considering the popular iPad Air 2 WiFi version is now much more expensive at RM2,045 for 64GB and RM2,384 for the 128GB version.
In our brief preview, it feels just as competent as a laptop and it should be good enough to handle all your web browsing, media viewing and office productivity needs. If you need more power for video editing, then you probably might want to consider its higher end Surface Pro 3 that comes with Core i3, i5 and i7 processor options.
If you’re interested, the Microsoft Surface 3 can be pre-ordered at the following links and stocks will be available for the general public on 5th May 2015.
Microsoft Surface 3 Pre-order partners
Surface 3 Photo Gallery
Surface 3 versus Surface Pro 3