(Wired) – If you want to buy a Surface, Microsoft’s hybrid laptop-tablet device, you should buy the new Surface 3. It’s the Surface that’s both useful and affordable. It starts at $500 and runs a fully operational version of Windows. The Surface 3 is a very good Surface; the Surface Pro 3 is the best Surface, but it’s more Surface than most people need. The Surface 3 is the Surface for everyone.
OK, actually, it’s not that simple. The full Surface experience requires the $130 Type Cover (for typing) and the $50 Surface Pen (for interacting with the touchscreen). That’s $680 for the whole package, which puts the “cheaper” Surface well beyond the price range of the average PC buyer, who, statistically speaking, spends less than $500. At $499 for the tablet alone, the Surface remains firmly in luxury-purchase range, along with the same-price iPad.
At least the Surface lineup is more accessible than ever. And with the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3, Redmond’s concept of a unique, ultraportable machine feels fully realized. This seems like the thing Microsoft has wanted to build all along.