Scratching The Microsoft Surface: 5 Distinct Features Of Surface 3

Turning Over A New Surface

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Surface 3, a thinner, cheaper, less powerful alternative to the company's preceding flagship tablet, the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface 3 goes on presale starting Tuesday, starting at $499, and will be officially available for sale May 5, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft's newest device flaunts various different features from its tablet predecessors, and is intended for students, parents and mobile professionals. Following are some of Surface 3's new features that make it markedly different from other tablets.

5. Screen Size And Weight

In terms of display, the Surface 3 flaunts a smaller screen size than Microsoft's other devices in the Surface line. The Surface 3 has a 10.8-inch display and weighs 1.37 pounds, making it smaller than the Surface Pro 3's 12-inch display and weight of 1.76 pounds.

The Surface 3's lightweight design suggests that Microsoft is going in a different direction than its past enterprise-focused tablets. The new tablet's weight is targeted for students, who can easily carry the light device under their arms between classes.

4. Further Specs

According to Microsoft, the Surface 3 holds 10 hours of battery life while playing video, which exceeds that of the Surface Pro 3, which is 9 hours.

The Surface 3 also has slightly smaller dimensions of 10.52-inches-by-7.36-inches-by-34 inches, as well as a 1,920-x-1,280 HD resolution, in comparison to Surface Pro 3's 11.5-inch-by-7.93-inch-by-36-inch frame and 2,160-x-1,440 resolution.

Like the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 also offers Microsoft's signature 3-position kickstand.

3. Operating System

Surface 3 offers compatibility with Windows 8.1, as well as a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is available later in the year.

In addition to the Windows OS, Microsoft is offering a limited Office 365 Personal one-year package, valued at $69.99, with the Surface 3 purchase. This additional purchase incentive includes versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

2. Accessories

The Surface 3 offers a USB 3.0 and Mini DisplayPort, as well as front-facing 3MP cameras capable of 1,080 HD video and an 8MP rear camera. Like the other devices in the Surface lineup, the Surface 3 comes with the option to purchase the $49.99 Surface Pen.

Also available for the new Surface 3 are a line of accessories, including the Surface 3 Type Cover, docking station and Microsoft Complete, an extended service and support plan to provide hardware coverage for users.

1. Processor

Surface 3 is powered by the Intel Atom x7-Z8700, 1.6GHz quad-core chip, a cheaper, low-performance processor that is less powerful than the chips found in Microsoft's other Surface tablets.

The Surface Pro 3, and other Surface Pro tablets, contain varying options for Intel's cutting-edge, high-performance Core processor series, including the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs.

The less powerful level of processors contribute to Surface 3's cheap price of $499 for consumers. Other Surface Pro tablets are more expensive, such as Surface Pro 3, which starts at $799, according to Microsoft.