Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the Surface 3, the latest version of its tablet that can double as a laptop thanks to a keyboard attachment.
The Surface 3 is a slimmed down, less costly version of the the Surface Pro 3, a tablet that critics welcomed as the first two-in-one device that finally began to deliver on its promise of functioning reasonably well in both laptop and tablet mode. While Microsoft initially had trouble selling the Surface line, things improved when it began marketing the 2-in-1s as laptop replacements rather than tablets which also boast a laptop mode.
At a starting price of $499, the Surface 3 marks a steep discount on the Surface Pro 3's $800 price tag. The Surface 3 includes a 10.8-inch display and an Intel Atom x7 processor, which gives it enough juice to run a full version of Windows 8.1 and, coming this summer, Windows 10. The low cost of entry could also attract buyers unwilling to fork up $899 or more for Apple's cheapest offering, the $899-and-up 11-inch MacBook Air.
Previous Surface tablets ran Windows RT, a stripped-down operating system for mobile devices that could run apps but not Microsoft's flagship Windows desktop applications. Early reviews of the device have welcomed the addition of a full-fledged Windows operating system as a welcome and necessary improvement to the non-pro Surface line.
The Surface 3 is currently available for pre-order at the Microsoft Store, and will hit retail stores by May 7.