Microsoft has lifted the lid on the Surface 3, which on the outside is a clear cousin of the Surface Pro 3. It sports a similar design and comes with similar accessories — from its Type Keyboard Cover to the Stylus Pen and Dock — but how about on the inside?
Powered by a Quad-core Intel Atom "Cherry Trail" CPU, the Surface 3 is (somewhat ironically for the first non-Pro tablet to run full-fat Windows 8.1) pretty unsuitable for running the demanding desktop programs — such as Photoshop — that many users rely on.
But as a crew of writers who have tested a fair amount of tablets and laptops in their time, is there anything about the Surface 3 that could make it a good buy, despite its underpowered innards? Or is there simply no reason not to shell out a bit more for a Surface Pro 3?
- Read: Surface 3 review
Kevin Lee - Associate Editor, Laptops
Last year the Surface 3 was a surprising no-show at Microsoft's yearly Surface event. Now the Richmond company has announced its latest tablet-PC to relatively little fanfare and it's no surprise given it's a bit disappointing. I was expecting an Intel Core M-powered thin and power-sipping device, but going with an Atom processor has removed the possibility of a fanless design. All the while, I'm not confident it'll be that much more powerful than a traditional tablet, and it sure as heck won't run as long.
Patrick Goss - Global Editor-in-Chief
I have to say I'm not convinced by the Surface 3 principally because I think it falls between two stools. Ultimately it seems to be targeting a group of people who think they want a tablet with a great keyboard and the ability to do a bit of work. Instead it's an expensive, underpowered laptop with a shoddy detachable and pricey keyboard or a distinctly unappealing tablet.
Kane Fulton - Computing Editor
The fact remains that the Surface 3 is the most affordable and portable Surface tablet yet. If you loved everything about the Surface Pro 3 other than its price, and don't need oodles of processing power or a bigger display, Microsoft's new tablet grants you a ticket to the Surface party for that bit less. Unfortunately, that ticket should come at a far lower price than it does.
Desire Athow - TechRadar Pro Editor
Given that the Surface Pro 3 can be had for around a hundred pounds more, I don't see any reason why one should buy the Surface 3. It's too expensive, underpowered and accessories are too expensive.
Joe Osborne - Senior Editor
They did it: Microsoft finally fixed the Surface, and in a big way. But with such a focus on productivity, much less the price, it's tough to see who this device is for in the face of the far superior Surface Pro 3. It seems like Microsoft may have jumped the gun on this one, missing a golden opportunity to showcase Windows 10 on a marquee device. What we have now is a smaller, less powerful Surface Pro 3 that's still running Windows 8.1, the heaviest ball and chain for Microsoft's hardware.
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