Microsoft renewed its efforts to take on Apple's line of iPads Tuesday, announcing the new Surface 3, a smaller, lighter and cheaper version of the Surface Pro 3 tablet. The new Surface 3 starts at $499 and runs a full version of Windows 8.1.
The Surface 3 is 0.34 inches thick, weighs 1.37 pounds and features a 10.8-inch high-resolution display. The device runs on a Quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor and has enough battery to power for 10 hours of continuous video, according to Microsoft. The Surface 3 replaces the Surface 2, but unlike its predecessor, this version is compatible with applications built for the desktop, such as computer video games or productivity programs.
Surface 2 ran a version of Windows, known as Windows RT, that could only run apps from Microsoft’s online store or those that came preinstalled on the device. Its limited functionality did not appeal to consumers, and sales were weak.
Included with a purchase of the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which features Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as 1 terabyte of cloud storage through OneDrive. Like the $799 Surface Pro 3, the new Surface 3 is also compatible with Microsoft's keyboard and covers and the Surface Pen, but neither accessory comes included.
Consumers can immediately place pre-orders for the 64GB and 128GB version of the new tablet for $499 and $599 respectively. Ship date is May 5. Later on, Microsoft will also sell 4G LTE versions of the Surface 3, but the company has not yet revealed pricing for those editions.