Several readers have forwarded information about a great sale on Surface 3: When you buy the tablet directly from Microsoft, you will get a Type Cover, worth $129, for free.
One naturally wonders if this sale is the first step towards clearly out Surface 3 inventory so that Microsoft can start selling its presumed successor, which we’ll call Surface 4 for obvious reasons. I don’t know anything about that, but it’s fair to say that in previous Microsoft hardware transitions, the firm has indeed offered various savings both before and after a new version is introduced.
Anyone considering this device might likewise be wondering whether Surface 3 is worth purchasing. I’ll point you to my Surface 3 review from April 2015, where I make the following observations:
Surface 3 is a cost-reduced Surface Pro 3, so Microsoft had to cut some corners to make the device more affordable. But like a Volkswagen Jetta compared to a more expensive Audi, the Surface 3 serves a much broader audience thanks to this cost cutting. And for the most part, I find the compromises that Microsoft made in doing so to be perfectly acceptable. This is no down-market tablet.
It’s also no wannabe, like its predecessors, Surface RT (which was miserable) and Surface 2 (which was only slightly better). And that comparison is actually kind of interesting because Surface 3 retains the stellar battery life and entry-level pricing of those previous tablets but fixes virtually everything that was wrong with them. It’s a “real” Windows PC, with full compatibility with the desktop applications that people really use.
Assuming you don’t have extreme needs—PC gaming, Visual Studio software development, CAD/CAM, HD video editing or whatever other high-end activities one might think of—Surface 3 really can do it all. It hits a sweet spot for that mass market of users.
The big differences between Surface 3 and the Surface Pro–and yes there are both pros and cons—work out like so:
- Atom x7 processor vs. Core-M or Core-I
- Less RAM: 2 GB or 4 GB only, non-expandable
- Less (and slower) storage: 64 GB or 128 GB, expandable with microSD
- Smaller and lighter overall, with smaller screen: 10.8-inch Full HD
- Optional LTE capabilities, still not available on Pro or Surface Book
- Includes one year of Office 365 Personal for free, still not available on Pro or Surface Book
- Surface Pen is not included
- Kickstand supports only three positions
- Micro-USB power connection (not Surface Connect)
- Fanless, so it is completely silent
Aside from this, a lot of time has passed since April, too. And with its latest Surface devices, Microsoft has jumped forward a few hardware generations—though Surface Pro 4 offers higher-end Intel Core M and Core-I chipsets—while offering improved Type Covers, Pens, and other technologies such as a Windows Hello-compatible camera. So one thing you’ll need to consider is whether you can live without a few of those things—an improved Type Cover and Windows Hello; you can avail yourself of the new Surface Pen now if you’d like.
That is of course a personal decision. If you are going to buy this device now, I do strongly recommend getting a 4 GB version ($599 and up) in a bid to somewhat future proof it and stretch out the investment.
Surface 3 with 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of eMMC storage. $499
Surface 3 with 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of eMMC storage, LTE. $599
Surface 3 with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of eMMC storage. $599
Surface 3 with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of eMMC storage, LTE. $699
As Microsoft notes, you will get a free Type Cover with purchase ($129 value), while supplies last. And you need to act fast: This deal is available through Sunday, January 17, 2015 only.
The fine print:
Available in Microsoft retail and online store in US (including Puerto Rico) only. Valid with purchase of Surface 3. Limits and exclusions may apply. Not valid on prior orders or purchases; cannot be transferred or otherwise redeemed for cash or gift cards. May not be combinable with other offers. Refunds will take into account the discount. Price discount does not include taxes, shipping or other fees. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Limit 3 per customer.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this.
Tagged with Surface 3