Surface 3 Tablet Delivers Features for Home, Office, Classroom

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-04-01
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Surface 3 Tablet Delivers Features for Home, Office, Classroom
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    Surface 3 Tablet Delivers Features for Home, Office, Classroom

    By Don Reisinger
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    The Display Is Close in Size, Quality to Surface Pro 3
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    The Display Is Close in Size, Quality to Surface Pro 3

    If one were to put the Surface 3 next to Microsoft's already available Surface Pro 3, he or she would quickly discover that the differences in screen size are negligible. The Surface 3 has a 10.8-inch, 1080p screen, compared with the 12-inch display on the Surface Pro 3. The latter tablet has a resolution of 2,160 by 1,440, making it only marginally better than Microsoft's latest slate.
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    Yes, It Will Run Windows 10
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    Yes, It Will Run Windows 10

    Microsoft has reassured customers that when Windows 10 launches later this year, the Surface 3 will be fully capable of running the operating system. Like other devices currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8, the Surface 3 will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the operating system launches later this year.
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    The Kickstand Is a Little Different
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    The Kickstand Is a Little Different

    When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3, the company made a big deal about the kickstand and how it can be positioned at any angle for the ultimate in user comfort. The Surface 3, however, has taken a bit of a step back and can only be propped up in three preset positions. That might not be a deal-breaker for most users, but it's something to keep in mind for those who prefer total flexibility.
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    So Long, Windows RT
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    So Long, Windows RT

    Microsoft's Surface 3 is designed to replace the previous Surface tablet that was running the ill-fated Windows RT. In its place is a full version of Windows 8.1, the same operating system available in the Surface Pro 3. Windows RT was supposed to be Microsoft's tablet-based answer to iOS and Android. It wasn't. And it failed.
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    Bring On Office 365 (Personal)
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    Bring On Office 365 (Personal)

    Microsoft is offering free access to Office 365 for the first year of Surface 3 ownership. However, companies hoping to get their hands on the professional versions of the platform should know that the deal is only for Office 365 Personal. That platform comes with full offline versions of the software, 1GB of online storage, 60 minutes of Skype calling per month to mobile phones and landlines, and more. It typically costs $70 per year per user.
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    Surface 3 Goes for Atom
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    Surface 3 Goes for Atom

    A major difference between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 is the processors built into the devices. The Surface 3 comes with the mobile-focused Intel Atom, which would make it suitable for simpler applications. The Surface Pro 3, meanwhile, can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor. Those interested in the Surface 3 as a notebook replacement would do well to consider the Surface Pro 3 instead.
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    Surface 3 Works Just Fine With Surface Pen
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    Surface 3 Works Just Fine With Surface Pen

    Surface Pen, the stylus that works with Microsoft's tablets, is fully supported in the Surface 3. Surface Pen feels much like a pen and comes with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, allowing users to easily draw or take notes. It's a high-quality stylus that is easily one of the best on the market. It's nice to see it supported in the Surface 3.
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    The Configurations Depend on Storage, Connectivity
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    The Configurations Depend on Storage, Connectivity

    Microsoft, like other tablet makers, isn't content to simply offer one version of its tablet. The company has several versions of the Surface 3 available, depending on the amount of storage and connectivity a person wants. Buyers can select 64GB or 128GB storage options. From there, they need to decide whether to go WiFi-only or WiFi and LTE. Pricing varies depending on the choice.
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    The Enterprise Is Not the First Target
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    The Enterprise Is Not the First Target

    If anything is certain, it's that the enterprise is not the primary market for the Surface 3. While Microsoft would gladly see business customers use the device, it says on its Surface 3 homepage that the tablet is the "perfect balance of performance and value for students, families, and more." On the same page, Microsoft says that the Surface Pro 3 is the "ultimate in performance and versatility for professionals, creators, and more." Keep that in mind.
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    It's All About Affordability
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    It's All About Affordability

    The central theme in the Surface 3 is affordability. While the Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, the Surface 3 goes for $499 to start, and goes up $100 with a jump in storage. Microsoft will deliver those versions with WiFi-only connectivity on May 5. The company will release LTE versions on June 26, but as of this writing it hasn't announced pricing for these models.
 

While there has been some talk of Microsoft eventually leaving the tablet market to renew its focus on software and services, it appears now that the company is determined to make its Surface tablet line a success. On March 31, Microsoft unveiled a new tablet, called the Surface 3. The tablet is designed to replace the lower-end Surface models that previously ran its modified Windows 8 operating system, Windows RT. Not surprisingly, given the product it's replacing, the Surface 3 is designed to appeal to customers looking for a cheaper alternative to Microsoft's flagship Surface Pro 3. In the case of the Surface 3, however, Microsoft hasn't exchanged quality components and design for a lower price tag. Microsoft's new tablet includes features that customers will find will work just fine when Windows 10 launches in the summer of 2015. All together, the Surface 3 is a solid design for those seeking a Windows tablet suitable mainly for personal and student use. But there is nothing to prevent the Surface 3 from being used effectively by business professionals, according to Microsoft. Take a look at this eWEEK slide show to learn more about the features of Microsoft's latest tablet model.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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