Microsoft Surface 3 review

Will it be third time lucky for Microsoft's Surface?

  • Good screen quality; greatbattery life; strong removable keyboard
  • Low CPU and storage performance; limited RAM; Fiddly to use on lap

The Microsoft Surface 3 is a natural, successful evolution of hybrid laptops that were, with hindsight, failures. Where the original Surface RT and Surface 2 were crammed into a restrictive mould by Windows RT, the Surface 3 runs full Windows 8.1.

With this software on-board the Surface 3 is limited only by the Intel Atom CPU. Unusual as the hardware may be, it's a full' laptop at heart, one with the added flexibility of a hybrid design.

Starting at 419 it provides better screen quality than most entry-level laptops too. However, as the optional-but-essential keyboard base increases the price to 529, it represents merely a good deal rather than a great one. 

Design

The Microsoft Surface 3's body is similar to that of the Surface Pro 3's, but smaller. Where the Pro model has a 12-inch screen, this one has a 10.8-inch display, and the shrinking process comes with all-round more compact dimensions. 

At 622g and 8.7mm thick, it's the slimmest and lightest Surface yet. However, this is not really an achievement if the Surface 3 is thought-of as a tablet. At this point, there are plenty of thinner, lighter rivals. In almost every respect, the hardware only shines when considered a laptop-replacer or a tablet-laptop hybrid. 

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