Microsoft Surface 3 drops Windows RT, claiming to be the tablet that replaces your laptop for less than the Pro 3
The Microsoft Surface 3 will be released in the UK on May 7 and will be powered by an Intel powered processor, providing the strongest evidence yet that Windows RT’s days are numbered.
Like the more expensive, business-oriented Surface Pro 3, the third generation of Microsoft’s standard Surface is billed as the tablet that can replace your laptop, offering the battery life and portability of the former with the ports and functionality of the latter.
However while both previous versions of the Surface have used Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 designed for ARM-based chips, the Surface 3 runs the full version of Windows 8.1 and is powered by an Intel Atom x7 processor.
Surface 3 release
It also includes many of the features of the Surface Pro 3, such as a more flexible kickstand, magnesium design and 10.8-inch display which boasts 3:2 aspect ratio that improves the device’s performance in portrait mode. Microsoft says the system is the lightest, thinnest Surface it has released to date.
On board is a 3.5 megapixel front facing camera, 8 megapixel rear lens, a full size USB 3.0 port, a MicroSD card reader and MicroUSB charging port. It is also compatible with a range of accessories, such as pens and docking stations, and boasts a ten hour battery life while watching video.
The Surface 3 comes with the options of either 64GB or 128GB of storage and 2GB or 4GB of RAM, and will also be available in a 4G LTE variety for those who need a constant connection. It’s also cheaper than the Surface Pro 3, with the basic model costing £419.
Owners will receive a year’s free subscription to Office 365 and OneDrive cloud storage and the device will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when it is commercially available. Although mainly targeted at consumers, Microsoft claims the device is suitable for businesses with the University of Phoenix, Prada, BASF and Emirates among those to submit pre-orders.
“Surface 3 brings what customers love about Surface Pro 3 to more people, delivering the premium design and productivity of Surface in a more affordable device,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. “We’ve taken everything we learned making Surface Pro 3 and poured that innovation into this newest Surface. It’s beautiful, versatile, powerful and productive, and our customers are going to love what it lets them do.”
RIP Windows RT
While the Surface Pro range has been critically well received, the RT-powered Surface has been greeted by a lukewarm reception thanks to its incompatibility with legacy Windows software and the fact users are limited to using applications from the sparsely populated Windows Store.
While some third-party manufacturers released RT machines, many manufacturers were alienated by the fact Microsoft chose to release its own tablet, making it difficult for anyone else to compete.
It is unclear whether Microsoft will ever release another RT device, with Windows 10 promising to offer the same experience on smartphones, tablets and PCs as part of a vision of a converged operating system.
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