Microsoft unveils the $499 Surface 3 running Windows 8.1

Microsoft on Tuesday upped the ante in the tablet race by announcing a new version of its Surface tablet/laptop hybrid, the Surface 3. Matching the iPad Air’s starting price, the $499 device is being advertised as Microsoft’s lightest, thinnest and least expensive tablet yet.

Under the hood, the Surface 3 is powered by a quad-core 1.6Ghz Intel Atom X7 processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB of storage. The slightly costlier $599 model comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. Both variants also feature Wi-Fi, a 10.8-inch 1080p HD display, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x Mini DisplayPort, microSD card slot, Cover port, microUSB port for charging and Bluetooth 4.0. The tablet also comes with a three-position kickstand to allow users to use the tablet on a desk or on their lap easily.

Microsoft claims that the Surface 3 provides up to 10 hours of battery life, and weighs in at 1.37lbs. The iPad Air 2, for comparison, weighs in at only 0.96lbs.

The fanless tablet runs on Windows 8.1 and comes with one-year of Office 365 subscription. It will also receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year.

The tablet can be pre-ordered through Microsoft’s online store right away with delivery expected to be made by first week of May. Variants with 4G LTE connectivity baked in are scheduled to ship by June 26th.

The device has a 10.8-inch screen with a 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution and 3:2 ratio (same as the iPhone 6 Plus and less than the iPad Air’s 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution Retina screen).

There’s an eight-megapixel camera out the back and a 3.5-megapixel shooter out the front, each capable of shooting 1080p HD video.
So what do you think ?

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