Microsoft announces its cheapest and lightest tablets yet

Microsoft's quest for a sleeker and less cumbersome tablet has given birth to the new Surface 3, a cheaper, smaller but equally efficient alternative to the existing Surface 2 tablet.

Running the latest Windows 8.1 operating system, the Surface 3 also features the all new 'Cherry Trail' Atom X7 chip launched at Mobile World Congress in place of the ARM chip in Surface 2.

The 10.8 inch screen, smaller than that of the Surface 2 by over an inch, contains the same display resolution at 1920x1080 pixels with an optically bonded glass with marked improvements for outdoor usage. If you are a gamer, you could find the device perfect for your purposes given its light weight and ability to run up to 2.5 GHz of power under heavy usage.

Dennis Meinard, program manager for the Surface, has estimated the battery life of the Surface 3 to be up to ten hours of continual video playback. Microsoft have also introduced a new microUSB charger as against a standard charger and kept the device sealed to negate the sound generated by its fans.

If you thought that the sleek new features don't exactly set Microsoft apart from most tablets, the price surely will. At $499, Microsoft is offering the Surface 3 with 64GB internal storage and by paying an additional $100, you'll get the Surface 3 with 128GB flash storage and 4GB RAM along with LTE connectivity.

“We think students, families, and cost-conscious professionals are going to love this product. We’ve put a lot into that product for that $499 price, with the goal of taking that premium experience that people have told us they loved with Pro 3, and making it available to more people,” said Meinard at the launch.

For a price of $99.95, users will also be able to purchase a full-function Windows keyboard and mouse combination that will connect to the Surface 3 tablets via Bluetooth and will be available in similar design and colour as the Surface 3.

Available only in black colour models as of now, the Surface 3 tablets will start shipping in 26 countries from May 5. While the specifications seem minimalistic yet efficient, we intend to give the tablets a stiff road test to find out if they belong to the same league as the iPad Mini 3.

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