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Microsoft’s Surface 3 Arrives Tomorrow. This is What You Need to Know.

By Logan Healy
Client Support Engineer

Trivalent Group, Inc.

Tomorrow, Microsoft’s latest tablet in the Surface series, the Surface 3, will go on sale.  Back on March 31st, Microsoft responded to critics of the previously released Surface 2 and Surface Pro 3 by announcing the Surface 3, a more economical device in terms of price and power as compared to its older brother, the Surface Pro 3, while also running Windows 8.1, unlike the Surface 2.

While the Surface 2 may have satisfied the demands of some looking for a lightweight PC alternative, many consumers weren’t quite in the market for a half-baked OS known as Windows RT. Many negative reviews of the OS were due to the restriction that the Surface 2 only runs Windows Apps, a problem considering the lack of diversity of the Microsoft App Store. While the Surface Pro 3 comes pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 and was attractive to those who could afford it, it appears that consumers are still looking for a cheaper alternative for casual everyday PC use.

Arguably, the most exciting feature of the Surface 3 is the ability to run Windows 8.1 and, come late July according to reports, a free upgrade to Windows 10 compliments of Microsoft (an included 12-month subscription to Office 365 Personal doesn’t hurt, either). Like many, I cannot wait to get rid of the Metro UI from 8.1! Starting at $499, the Surface 3 is the lightest, cheapest, and thinnest Surface yet. It runs on the new Intel Atom x7 processor, which is comparable to the processor in Apple’s new MacBook Air. This new, low-cost processor is powerful enough to run everyday business and personal software but not powerful enough, however, to run intensive programs like Photoshop, AutoCAD, or video rendering applications.

For many, the biggest complaint remains the use of only a single USB port, which limits the ability to utilize both a keyboard and a mouse unless you purchase the proprietary Surface 3 Type Cover. The reason for only one USB port seems clear: to add further incentive to purchase the Type Cover or an external docking station. Microsoft did get one port right: the Micro USB port for charging. This means that you can use the same charging cable as you would for most cell phones on your Surface (iPhones notably not included). This capability is a huge selling point, as running out of juice can be the most frustrating aspect of owning a mobile device. On the rear side of the PC/tablet hybrid is an upgraded 8-megapixel camera (compare to the 5-megapixel camera on both the 2 and 3 Pro). Complementing the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera is a 3.5-megapixel front-facing camera for taking that perfect selfie or for teleconferencing.

So, like many pundits and consumers alike, I am eager to see how the Surface 3 performs when it goes on sale tomorrow. Will businesses find this to be the new alternative to buying a $1,000 laptop or will the PC/tablet hybrid fail to please because of the lack of multiple USB ports out-of-the-box? And how will the release of Windows 10 perform on the Surface 3 with the new Intel Atom x7 processor? We should have all the answers soon enough.

For Microsoft’s official announcement of the Surface 3, click here.