Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Microsoft launching Surface 3 with Atom x7 processor

, posted: 1-Apr-2015 02:00

Surface 3 - back view with Type Cover

This week I had a chance to get a little hands on time with a pre-release unit of the new Microsoft Surface 3 - a 2-in-1 device with 10.8" screen. Is it a tablet or a laptop? Frazer Scott (Marketing & Operations Director for Microsoft NZ) says "like Surface Pro 3, Surface 3 is a tablet that can replace your laptop but is thinner, lighter and even more affordable."

With this launch Microsoft have taken and blended much of the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 3 together - and deliver a result that will certainly be attractive to many more buyers than the Surface RT and Surface 2 products. It include the new Intel x7-8700 Atom cpu which operates at 1.6ghz and bursts up to 2.4Ghz. This 14nm chip avoids the limitations of the processor in the Surface and Surface 2 models in that it supports standard 32-bit and 64-bit applications (though the 2GB unit I saw was only running the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1).

Launch price starts at NZ$799, and those wanting it to be more than a tablet will no doubt be lining up for the Type Cover (NZ$200) whilst those who love to write on their tablet will be interested in the and Surface Pen (Stylus) which will sell for NZ$80. To sweeten the deal Microsoft are bundling an Office 365 subscription for 1-year.

The Surface 3 kickstand differs from previous Surface products in that it offers a 3-stage kick stand. Charging is via a MicroUSB connection rather than the proprietary magnetic chargers of previous Surface devices. Notably absent is a USB-C connection as has been included with the latest MacBook Air and Google Chromebook Pixel.

Local launch is yet to be announced but early May is rumoured. A 3G/4G LTE model has not be announced for the US market but is not confirmed for New Zealand, however this could be announced at a later date.


  • Pricing Surface 3: 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage - US$499 / NZ$799.00
  • Pricing Surface 3: 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage - US$599 / NZ$959.00
  • Surface 3 Type Cover US$129 / NZ$199.99
  • Surface Pen US$49 / NZ$79.99
  • Surface 3 Docking Station US$199 / NZ$309.99
  • Surface 3 Screen Protector NZ$49.99
  • US Only: Embedded 3G/4G LTE option adds US$100 to the price of the Surface 3

Key Specifications:

  • Windows 8.1 (upgrade to Windows 10 is free)
  • Office 365 Personal subscription (valid for 1-year)
  • Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad-core processor
  • 10.8in (1920x1280, 3:2) ClearType display, 10-point multi-touch
  • 64GB or 128GB storage, plus support for microSD up to 128GB
  • 2GB or 4GB RAM
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x Micro-USB, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x audio jack, 1 x cover port
  • 8 Mp rear camera; 3.5 Mp front camera (both with Full HD video)
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby audio
  • Three-position kickstand
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sensors: Ambient light, Proximity, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Digital compass
  • Power Supply: 13W MicroUSB power supply
  • 4G connectivity optional (US only)
  • 10 hours claimed battery life
  • 267 x 187 x 8.7 mm
  • 622g
  • One-year limited hardware warranty

Be sure to listen to NZ Tech Podcast this week which will feature hands on time with the new Surface 3.

Surface 3

Surface 3 - kickstand positions

Surface 3 Docking Station

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