Surface 3 specs, price. Comparison to Surface Pro 3

Though Microsoft killed Surface RT, they have come up with a better device that is just a ‘little less’ compared to Surface Pro 3. The new design in based on Intel processor, as compared to RT’s ARM processors. Unlike RT, the all new Surface 3 allows you to run desktop applications such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop, etc. In short, it is a full-featured tablet plus laptop – depending upon how you use it, and is way better than Surface RT. This article checks out the specs and features of Surface 3 and then compares it with Surface Pro 3.

Surface 3

surface 3

Surface 3 is the latest addition to the Surface range of tablets plus laptops from Microsoft. It is said to be a tablet that can work as a laptop when attached to an external keyboard. It has the ability to run desktop applications such as Microsoft Office apps, Photoshop, Corel Draw etc resource consuming applications. It is also good for casual browsing and playing games on the go.

Microsoft will release four versions of Surface 3:

  1. 64 GB/ 2GB RAM/ Wi-Fi
  2. 128 GB/ 4GB RAM/ Wi-Fi
  3. 64 GB/ 2GB RAM/ Wi-Fi + 4G LTE
  4. 128 GB/ 4GB RAM/ Wi-Fi + 4G LTE

Surface 3 price & release date

Right now, the first two are available for booking. The 64 GB Surface is priced at $499 only and the 128 GB Surface 3 will cost $599. The cost of the LTE devices are not yet known. It is also not known when the LTE devices will be available.

As for the first two versions, they will be shipping them from May 2015 onwards. It will be May 5 2015 for sale in US and May 7 2015 for other countries. Microsoft has a limited stock and expects it will be sold out as soon as the lot is released. You can book your Surface 3 at Microsoft Store.

Though the images and advertisements of Surface 3 show the much loved Surface Pen and Keypad, they are not part of the box. You will have to buy them separately. That would cost you $49.99 for the Surface pen and $129 for the keypad case. So if you go for the $499 64GB model and opt for the keyboard and pen too, you will be spending some $630.

Surface 3 specs & features

Surface 3 is the thinnest and most lightweight Surface tablet yet. Without the keypad, it weighs around 622 grams and the total width is just 8.7mm. It is smaller compared to Surface Pro 3 at 10.8 inch screen.

Here are the full specs of the Surface 3 in a nutshell:

  • Size: 267 x 187 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 1.37 lbs or 622 grams
  • Display is 10.8 inches with ClearType technology
  • Screen resolution is 1920 by 1280 with 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Touchscreen supports 10 point multi-touch and is responsive to Surface Pen
  • Battery life is claimed to be at 10 hours when watching videos
  • RAM is 2GB or 4GB depending upon the model you are purchasing; For 64 GB Surface (the $499 device), it is 2GB; For 128 GB Surface (the $599 device), the RAM is 4GB
  • Processor used is Intel Atom x7 with 2MB Cache running at 1.6GHz and at 2.4GHz when using Intel Burst technology
  • Both $499 and $599 models come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth only connectivity
  • There is a full size USB 3.0; Micro Card reader
  • Charging can be done using Micro USB Charging port or regular charging port
  • Besides the above ports, there is a headphone jack and a cover port to plug in the keyboard
  • Surface 3 has a 3.5 MP front camera and 8.0 MP rear camera with autofocus
  • Surface 3 also has a microphone built into the tablet as well as stereo speakers
  • Warranty for Surface 3 is one year for hardware.

The preinstalled OS on Surface 3 is Windows 8.1 and it can be upgraded to Windows 10 for free when the latter releases. But the upgrade must be done within a year of release of Windows 10.

Besides the above, Surface 3 comes with proximity sensors so that it can keep a tab on your physical activities such as walking, running, driving, temperature, calories, etc.

The Kickstand included with Surface 3 has just three adjustable positions that may not be much comfortable for all the users.

surface 3 colors

Surface Pro 3 vs Surface 3

Here are the differences between Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 in a nutshell:

  • Display of Surface Pro 3 is 12 inches while that of Surface 3 is 10.8 inches
  • Resolution provided by Surface Pro 3 is 2160 by 1440. Surface 3 resolution is less at 1920 by 1280
  • The kickstand of Surface Pro 3 has multiple docks while the kickstand provided by Surface 3 has just three adjustable points
  • Surface 3 comes with an year’s subscription of Office 365 so users can avail free Office apps as well as good storage space on OneDrive. There is no such offer on Surface Pro 3 as yet.
  • Surface Pro 3 battery life is said to be 9 hours while that of Surface 3 is said to be of 10 hours based on video watching.
  • Surface Pro 3 is full fledged laptop plus tablet while Surface 3 might face problems running some of desktop applications such as Premiere etc that demand too much of computing resources but still, Surface 3 runs a host of desktop applications without any problems. These include games as well.
  • Surface Pro 3 processor are i3, i5 and i7 while Surface 3 has Intel Atom Quad core processor. Depending upon the processor type in Surface Pro 3, the types of applications running can be varied and won’t crash even at high resource consumption.

In short, Surface 3 specs are broadly speaking, as good as Surface Pro 3 specs, but with a few limitations. The processor though gives it a way good performance compared to Surface RTs, it has its own limitations when it comes to high resource demanding applications. This is not to say that you cannot use them but the speed and method of functioning of some apps may differ when on Surface 3.

It is now also available for pre-order at Amazon: Surface 3 Tablet (10.8-Inch, 64 GB, Intel Atom) | Surface 3 Tablet (10.8-Inch, 128 GB, Intel Atom).

More details can be found at Microsoft.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.