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Microsoft Scales Down With Surface 3

Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft’s latest laptop-replacing tablet is essentially a scaled-down version of its last one, but the new model will also be offered with a 4G LTE option.  

Unlike the Surface 3 Pro, the new Surface 3 comes with just one choice of processor: Intel Atom x7. It’s available in 64GB or 128GB of storage and 2GB or 4GB of RAM. (The Surface Pro 3 can go up to 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.)

Geared toward students and other value-seeking consumers, pricing starts at $499 for a model with Wi-Fi, but it does not include the detachable keyboard or the Surface Pen. Those will be sold separately for $129 and $49.99, respectively. 

The Surface 3 will run the full version of Windows 8.1, and consumers will upgrade to Windows 10 for free when the OS becomes available. The tablet also comes with a one-year subscription of Microsoft Office 365 Personal, which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and some Cloud storage.

Microsoft drops the front-facing camera down to 3.5 megapixels (from the Pro 3’s front- and rear-facing 5 megapixels), but it ups the rear-facing camera to 8 megapixels.

At 10.8 inches, the display is a bit smaller, and the resolution is a bit lower at 1,920 by 1,280 (vs. 12 inches and 2,160 by 1,440). Consequently, it’s also a bit lighter, weighing in at 1.37 pounds vs. the Pro 3’s 1.76 pounds.

Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, Dolby Audio speakers, three-position kickstand, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, MicroSD card reader and MicroUSB charging port. Battery life is listed at 10 hours, which is an hour longer than the Surface Pro 3.  

It’s currently available for pre-order and will sell through retailers beginning May 5. The 4G LTE version of the Surface 3 will be sold through T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless later this year.

A $199 docking station will also be available for users who want to connect an external monitor. Unlike the Pro 3, the Surface 3 will be able to connect to only one external monitor.