Ding dong, the RT laptop, as predicted, is dead. Long live Microsoft’s new and improved full-fledged Windows 8.1 laptop, the Surface 3.
Ever since Microsoft unveiled its first two Surface tablet variants, we’ve treated the Pro version as the golden child. As for the first Surface RT and Surface 2? They've been sitting in a corner, feeling all neglected and unwanted, thanks to their incompatibility with proper Windows programmes.
But today, we have a new Surface tablet that's finally all grown up. It's kicked off its shackles, and you can finally use it to run proper apps like an honest-to-goodness laptop replacement, thanks to the processing power of Intel’s quad-core Atom x7-Z8700 processor and the full-fat version of Windows 8.1
Calling it an iPad killer might not be an exaggeration either. Microsoft has always drummed on about the fine hardware and design of the Surface Pro 3, both of which are now translated to the Surface 3, in a smaller and more manageable form factor.
A 10.8in 1920x1280 display, coupled with the adjustable integrated kickstand and Dolby Audio-enhanced stereo speakers should make for a decent movie watching experience, along with a 10-hour battery life. That unusual resolution means the screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio - previous Surfaces have been 16:9 - which will make it well suited to web browsing in portrait mode.
A Surface 3 Type Cover keyboard can be deployed for moments of productivity, while a rear-facing 8MP camera and front-facing 3.5MP camera take care of photos and selfies - neither of which you should be doing on a tablet, if we're being honest. Though video calls are acceptable.
One difference from its more powerful and larger sibling is a very handy microUSB port for charging, which means, you've probably got around 20 cables for it already, not to mention the potential to chrage it up on-the-go with battery packs.
Overall, the Surface 3 is essentially a smaller, less powerful Surface Pro 3. It includes everything you love (or perhaps, hate) about Windows 8.1 - which, remember, will be freely upgradeable to Windows 10, and you can pre-order one today from £420, for delivery on 5 May, with a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription and OneDrive storage thrown in too.
Stay tuned for our full in-depth review to see how the Surface 3 matches up against its rivals.