Surface 3 comes with free Windows 10 upgrade (hands-on) (Wired UK)


Katie Collins


Microsoft is
continuing its quest to solve the great consumer conundrum of
whether to buy a laptop or tablet with the launch of the Surface
3.

Following in the footsteps of previous Surface models, the setup
is simple: a large tablet with an in-built kickstand that’s
primarily designed to work with Microsoft’s snap-on keyboards, for
which you must pay extra.

What sets the Surface 3 apart, however, is that the tablet has
been significantly slimmed down. The message Microsoft wants you to
hear is that the Surface 3 is designed for those who value
portability over power. WIRED.co.uk had the opportunity to hold the
Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 simultaneously and there is a tangible
difference between both the size and weight.

For a start, at 10.8 inches the screen is smaller and it’s also
slimmer. At 12.8 inches the Surface Pro 3 can be quite ungainly to hold and play with when
in straightforward tablet mode, whereas the Surface 3 offers the
level of comfort you’d generally associate with a larger tablet.
Don’t expect iPad Air levels of svelte though; one thing Microsoft has been
very firm about is that it will not compromise over the inclusion
of a USB port, which means it has not been able to shave as many
millimetres off the Surface 3 as perhaps it otherwise would have
liked. All of its market research suggests that students and small
and medium business owners — target markets for this device –
will not buy the Surface 3 to work on if it doesn’t have a USB
port.


Katie Collins


USB may be present, but there’s no sign of USB-C, the port that caused much palava at the recent launch of
Apple’s latest MacBook and is expected at some point to replace USB as the new
standard. Microsoft says it will of course be willing to adopt a
new standard when one comes along, but the company is clearly not
willing to lead this revolution. This perhaps isn’t the boldest
move, but it is almost definitely the best choice in terms of
marketing.

On the whole, Microsoft has managed to keep the Surface 3
package lovely and neat. It now charges via Micro-USB, which will
be a huge boon for users. Being able to use a universal charger to
juice up the Surface is the kind of thing that will likely only
reveal its full usefulness to users when they are in dire straits,
and shows Microsoft’s commitment to creating a truly portable
device.

The real selling point of the Surface 3 however is in the
software. There is no need to dwell on the failure of Windows RT;
instead we can focus on the fact that the Surface 3 is
futureproofed like no other Surface before it. The device will
arrive running Windows 8.1, and will be upgraded to Windows
10
for free whenever it launches. Consumers who purchase the
Surface 3 will also get a free one-year subscription to Office
365.


Katie Collins


The Surface 3 offers the first sighting of Intel’s quad-core
Cherry Trail processor — its latest chipset of tablets and hybrid
devices — in the wild. It’s slated to offer decent graphics,
battery life and general performance. Microsoft has yet to release
any official figures for the Surface 3’s battery life, but says to
expect around ten hours of video playback.

Stuck to the chassis of the fanless tablet are two cameras — a
3.5-megapixel snapper on the front and an 8-megapixel counterpart
on the back. There’s a SD card slot on the side, and a LTE version
of the Surface — coming at a later date — will also include a
nano-SIM slot.

The Surface 3 will be available from 7 May, with prices starting
at £419 for the basic version. If you can stretch to £499, however,
you can double both the storage and the RAM. Bear in mind that
you’ll almost definitely want to purchase a keyboard for the
device, and they are sold separately for £109. Also available is a
special pen, which allows you to turn the Surface 3 into a notepad
or sketchpad.


Katie Collins


We’d question whether selling the pen as an extra — a £45 extra
too — is the savviest move, but Microsoft points out that not
everyone who purchases the Surface 3 will want one; it can keep the
price down by not including it in the box. It’s almost as though
the company has learned a lesson from the great Xbox Kinect debacle of 2014.

The Surface 3 will without a doubt be exactly the device many
laptop and tablet buyers will be looking for. Our first impression
is that the Surface would make an excellent workmate and an equally
pleasant tablet that you’d want to use for entertainment purposes
on the move. Whether it offers truly great value for money given
the cost of all the extras, however, is something we’ll wait to
make our minds up over in our full review.

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31 March 2015 | 1:00 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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