Microsoft’s “cheap” tablet is making a comeback. If the Surface 3 has a stylus and a screen size slightly larger than that which we have known with the first two models, it especially benefits from a major advantage: it works under Windows 8.1. Goodbye Windows RT, hello compatibility with the complete Windows software library! And luckily, we had the opportunity to take charge of the tablet.
A stylus compatible with all versions
First novelty of the tablet: the Surface 3 is the finest of all the models created so far by Microsoft, since it is only 8.7 mm thick and weighs only 622 grams. Its look has also been revised and corrected, and in fact adopts the same as that of the Surface Pro 3 with its gray magnesium case. The tablet also benefits from a 10.8 ″ screen, where that of Surface 1 and 2 measured 10.6 ″. If the difference is not obvious, the device nevertheless goes from one display in 16: 9 to that in 3: 2. It gains in definition, since the Surface 3 is able to manage 1920 x 1280 pixels (compared to 1920 x 1080 for Surface 2 and 1366 x 768 for the very first Surface RT). Another novelty: stylus (optional), the same as that of the Surface Pro 3. This is rather excellent news, because it is an accessory that was missing from previous models. We can therefore take notes on the fly or make small sketches in OneNote, or develop more complex drawings in PhotoShop or Illustrator. For the occasion, it is even possible to choose the color of the accessory. foot of the first Surface could only be adjusted in one position. That of the Surface 2 had seen a small improvement, since it could be adjusted in 2 positions … and it is therefore logically that the pivot of the Surface 3 benefits from 3 positions. And for the more daredevil, it is possible to press strongly on the tablet without the pivot breaking. In this case, the feet “unclip” and get back in place as dry. Finally, in terms of connectivity, we take advantage of a USB 3.0 port, a mini-display video output, Wi-Fi support (802.11 a / b / g / n / ac) and Bluetooth 4.0.
A “real” Windows inside
So much for the practical / aesthetic part. On the hardware side, it’s a Atom x7-Z8700 Quadricore 1.6 GHz that makes the tablet throb. The processor is part of the whole Atom generation and was presented just a few weeks ago by Intel. Casually, Microsoft therefore overlooks ARM processors by returning to the fold of conventional PCs (x32 and x64), which provides the tablet a full compatibility with Windows software library. This is the big criticism that we could make with regard to Surface 1 and 2 swept at once. In terms of storage and memory, we are entitled to an edition equipped with 64 GB SSD and 2 GB RAM, and another one 128 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM. But as the device also has a microSD card reader, you can easily extend the device’s storage capacity by 128 GB for around fifty euros.Another good point: the tablet is available in two 4G models. This is a welcome option, which already benefited the Surface 2 (optional, always). Finally, last good news: this new surface is fed with a classic Micro USB cable. Exit the magnetic owner port which Surface and Surface Pro. The other side of the coin is that, unlike the Surface Pro, you can no longer use the magnetic power port to place your stylus. Microsoft announces 10 hours of battery life for the Surface 3, which is a good average. , but obviously deserves to be checked.
Different models available, but delivered without accessories
We opened this article by emphasizing the “cheap” side of the tablet. It was ironic: because the Surface 3 has a price that could annoy more than one. The tablet is indeed sold 599 euros in its 64 GB version of SSD and 2 GB of RAM. For editing 128 GB / 4 GB, it will cost 719 euros. These two editions will be sold “naked”. You will need to add 49.90 euros to acquire a stylus, and 149 euros for the Type Cover. In this regard, note that the Touch Cover no longer exists, but that it is perfectly possible to use a model dedicated to Surface 1 or 2 (even if the old cover is not adapted in size, its connection remains compatible). Finally, it will also be possible to add a docking station, inspired by that of the Surface Pro 3 (USB ports in shambles, Gigabit Ethernet input, video output, audio input and output, etc.), which is worth 229 euros.
And in reality, what is it worth?
We had the opportunity to “play” a good twenty minutes with the Surface 3 during a presentation organized by Microsoft. It is true that the tablet is less bulky than the Surface Pro 3, that it is quite slight, that she does not heat (at least during our quick tests), and that it does not make any noise, since it is fanless. In addition, his detachable foot seems foolproof. We have tested the solidity of the pivot a dozen times, which has never weakened and has systematically repositioned after pressing hard on the tablet in order to make it give way. The stylus reacts perfectly, and this is quite normal, since it inherits the technology of the Surface Pro 3, which was already very good. And above all, what a pleasure to finally enjoy a tablet compatible with classic Windows software, and not to be confined to Windows Store applications. In short, the results are rather positive for the moment. There remains a major drawback: the price. The positioning of the device is quite strange, because opposite, the competition is fierce, between iPad Air 2 and other Nexus 9. In the end, the tablet will be able to sstuff a little expensive, especially since, unlike Surface 1 and 2, we no longer have completely free access to the Office suite, an offer replaced by a one-year subscription to Office 365. It will be necessary to wait for the first tests of its new processor to estimate if the tablet is able to withstand the dragee high to the iPad Air 2. The tablet could be pre-order from April 1, and will be delivered from May 7 in France.