(PC World) – What if you could buy a Surface tablet with a bit less horsepower and a slightly smaller display but longer battery life than the Surface Pro 3? And what if you could have all this for a lot less money? If your wallet is already open, let me tell you what you’re buying: the new Microsoft Surface 3—and it’s powered by Windows 8.1.
On Tuesday morning, Microsoft launched the Surface 3 with several subtle but critical changes to its entry-level Surface offering. Gone is Windows RT, casually tossed in the dustbin in favor of Windows 8.1. Microsoft also ditched the Surface 2’s ARM chip in favor of Intel’s latest “Cherry Trail” Atom X7.
It’s a move to a more power-efficient processor that I predicted last week.
But what might really sell the Surface 3 is its low price tag: For $499, you get a tablet with 64GB of storage, the same amount found in the $799 version of Surface Pro 3 and the $599 discontinued Surface 2. (A more robust $599 Surface 3 variant with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage will also be available, together with a future model with LTE connectivity.) The first two Surface 3 tablets will ship on May 5 in 26 markets worldwide.