Rumor has it that Microsoft, makers of the Xbox One and more, has plans to unveil a new Surface 4 to rival the iPad Air soon. Whether that’s true or not, Microsoft hasn’t said. What the company has done is introduce a huge Surface 3 price cut for shoppers of its online store.
Microsoft has cut the price of the Surface 3 by $100 online, fueling rumors that it has plans to reveal a Surface 4 in the not too distant future. The Surface 3 launched in March. It’s more powerful than the Surface devices that came before it since it has an Intel Atom processor and can run desktop apps downloaded from outside the Windows Store. On the other hand, it’s not as powerful as Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4, which are notebook replacements.
The Surface 3 launched with a price of $499, but Microsoft is selling it at $399. The site doesn’t reveal why there’s a Surface 3 price cut happening, just that the savings is available for everyone. Microsoft is loading every device with a free year of its Office 365 Personal subscription service. That’d normally cost $69.99.
To be clear, the Surface 3 price cut applies to every version of the device. A Surface 3 with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM is $499.99. Normally, it’d cost $599.99. A Surface 3 with 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and an LTE connection so that it can talk to mobile data networks, like AT&T, is $499 too. 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and 4G LTE is $599.99.
As the sales page’s footnotes reveal, Microsoft will only offer this Surface 3 price cut until February 20th. After that date, prices could increase. The company is also offering Surface 3 buyer the opportunity to save $30 on the cost of a Surface 3 dock when they purchase their device. That offer lasts until March.
The Surface 3 is a 10-inch tablet that can double as a notebook when paired with a Type Cover. In most ways, Microsoft tried to create a better iPad with the Surface 3.
A two-step kickstand on the device’s rear shell lets users prop it up on flat surfaces or their lap for a better viewing angle. With an iPad, you need a case or shell to prop-up the display. The Intel Atom processor inside lets you install apps from the web and from the Windows Store, giving you a choice that the iPad just doesn’t offer.
Whereas Apple forces users to purchase an iPad Pro to get the best writing experience, the Surface 3 comes with the technology needed for drawing and taking notes inside. Users do need to purchase a Surface Pen, which costs $49.99 extra. There’s no fiddling around with adapters when you own a Surface 3 either; each device has a full-size USB 3.0 port for connecting to printers and accessories. The Surface 3 charges through a microUSB port, like most other tablets do.
No, this Surface 3 price cut probably isn’t big enough to make anyone that wasn’t already considering the device a buyer. That being said, the Surface 3 is among the best Windows tablets available. That Microsoft preloads its Windows 10 operating system on the device now only makes them better. Windows 10 was built for devices like the Surface 3. Attach a keyboard and it morphs into traditional Windows, with a standard Start Menu and taskbar. Remove the keyboard and every app and program goes fullscreen, making everything easier to navigate with taps and swipes.
Though speculation about a Surface 4 is rampant, details are hard to come by. Microsoft hasn’t sent out invites to media outlets for a hardware briefing yet. That makes sense though, the launch of the Surface 3 was a complete surprise for most.
Presumably, a Surface 4 would include support for Windows Hello, the only feature in Windows 10 that needs specific hardware to work. The Surface Pro 4 has a Windows Hello camera that lets users login to their devices with just their face. It’d make sense for Microsoft to bring that to its lower-end device. Users can also expect Microsoft to upgrade the Type Cover for Surface 3 to match the design of the Surface Pro 4’s cover.