First look at the new Microsoft Surface 3

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First look at the new Microsoft Surface 3
Microsoft Surface 3

Thinner, smaller, with 10-hour battery life.

Microsoft is continuing its effort to become a player in the mobile hardware market, today releasing the new Surface 3 tablet, which comes with longer battery life and weight savings for better portability.

Compared to the current top of the range Surface Pro 3 - which is also expected to be replaced by a new model this year - the Surface 3 has a smaller, 10.8-inch screen at 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as opposed to the 12-inch 2160 x 1440 pixel display on the Pro 3.

The amount of system memory has also been pared back in the Surface 3, which comes in two configurations with either two or four GB of RAM, where the Surface Pro 3 can be had with either 4GB or 8GB.

A new Intel Atom X7-Z8700 quad-core processor powers the Surface 3, unlike the full-blown Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 mobile chips in he Surface Pro 3.

Using a new processor has enabled Microsoft to add one extra hour of claimed battery life, meaning the Surface 3 now promises to last ten hours.

While the Surface Pro 3 can be optioned with up to 512GB of solid state storage, the Surface 3 tops out at a maxiumum of 128GB.

The multi-position kickstand support at the rear of the Surface Pro 3 didn't make it into the Surface 3, which instead boasts a three-position stand. Nor does it ship with the Surface Pro 3's pen, which has to be ordered separately.

Surface 3 does however come with an additional magnetometer sensor and 4G LTE mobile broadband connectivity with a nano-SIM slot in some markets - but not in Australia and New Zealand.

The result is a substantially smaller device that weighs 622 grams as compared to 790 grams for the Surface Pro 3, and which measures 267 x 187 mm in total with 8.7mm thickness. Older devices measured 291.1 x 201.4 x 9.14mm, by comparison.

The Surface 3 will be available in Australia from May 5, and will cost $699 for the 2GB RAM and 64GB storage version, and $839 for the 4GB/128GB variant.

Adding a Surface 3 type cover costs $180, and the aluminium pen - which comes in silver, red, dark blue or black - will go for $60. The Surface 3 docking station is another $280.

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