Microsoft is a lot like the Little Engine That Could. Like the Little Engine, it keeps scaling big mountains that no one expected it to climb. Maybe this analogy doesn’t make any sense, but what does make sense is the new Surface 3, a full Windows machine in tablet form. RT is dead, but the Surface lives on!
The new Surface 3 is a big jump from the Surface RT and Surface 2 in just about every way. Instead of RT, it’s running full Windows 8.1. This means you won’t be restricted to a handful of apps in the Microsoft App Store; instead, the entire universe of Windows apps will be available for the Surface. It will even pick up stylus support like the Surface Pro offers! Microsoft is using an Atom processor, so performance is going to be more netbook than full laptop, but they’re sweetening that with the price-the new Surface starts at only $499!
I am quite excited for this, and I think if it works as well in person as it sounds on paper this will be a big success for Microsoft. I’ve used the Surface RT extensively, and the hardware is top-notch. Microsoft did a great job considering how to make a sturdy tablet experience, and that certainly hasn’t changed as they refined the Surface line. The kickstand will have three different angles, and they’ll still be offering Type Covers that magnetically snap into the bottom. I’ve also fiddled with the Surface Pro and Surface 2 in the Microsoft Store, and assuming this new Surface lives up to its siblings, it will also be a solid and well-built device. I routinely threw my RT into a bag with only the Touch Cover to protect it, and it is in fantastic condition. The only issue with the RT was software, and that obviously gets addressed nicely with full Windows in the Surface 3.
The other great thing about the Surface line is their general size. 10 inch screens aren’t huge, but if you’re just looking to do some basic browsing and web work the Surface screen is fantastic. Meanwhile, it’s compact enough to slide into a drawer or under a stack of magazines when you’re done, and you’ll hardly know it’s there. You can spring for the Type Cover, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option there are tons of Bluetooth and other wireless accessories out there for Windows-based computers. Basically, you can start at $499 and have the perfect simple to use/entry-level computer, or you can add accessories/upgrade to the larger hard drive and processor options and still have a bargain of a device that does everything you need. If you hate the touchscreen, don’t use it-you still have a perfectly functional laptop. If you like to use your computer laying down or on the go, the touchscreen makes it easy to use the Surface tablet-style instead.
I have long been a huge fan of the Surface line in general, and the Surface 3 looks like an absolutely phenomenal addition. The only downside-I have no need for a new computer right now, so I can’t justify buying one yet! Will you be snapping up a Surface 3?