Yesterday, Microsoft introduced the affordable Surface 3 tablet in both WiFi and LTE-enabled variants. It’s not as powerful as the Surface Pro 3, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a tablet as good as the Surface Pro 3 — check our detailed comparison here to see the differences. If you happen to be a proud owner of the Windows RT based Surface 2 and are wondering if you should dump your tablet for the new Surface 3, here’s a quick comparison to make things easier for you.
There are a handful of differences worth mentioning between the two tablets. Starting off with the measurements, the Surface 2 measures 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.35 inches and weighs 1.49 lbs ,while the Surface 3 is a tad bigger at 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 in but is actually lighter, weighing just 1.37 lbs. The Surface 2 and Surface 3 screen size is almost similar, and the new tablet boasts a 10.8-inch ClearType display rocking a resolution of 1920 by 1280 pixels, while its predecessor has a slightly smaller 10.6-inch 1080p display.
The Surface 3 also features a x86 quad-core Intel Atom x7 processor clocked at 1.6Ghz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz. The Surface 2 on the other hand also has a quad-core processor; the ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra 4. That, comes paired with 2 GB of RAM and multiple storage options (32 and 64 GB). The Surface 3 excels in this area if you ask me as it offers users with multiple options and way more storage — you can get up to 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage which should be good enough for storage hungry users.
The camera is yet another department where the Surface 3 is clearly ahead of the Surface 2. The new tablet has an 8MP camera for photos and videos as well as a 3.5MP front-facing camera, while the Surface 2 comes with a 5MP main shooter and a 3.5MP front-facing camera. Both tablets are touted to offer up to 10 hours of battery life, but we can’t be sure of the Surface 3 at the moment as it’s not available yet — it’s up for pre-orders though.
The area that shines is the operating system. The Surface 2 came with Windows RT as its operating system which didn’t offer as much flexibility as full-fledged Windows so users will be happy to know that Microsoft launched the Surface 3 with a fully functional Windows 8.1 OS, plus users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 when it becomes available later this year. Furthermore, customers purchasing the Surface 3 also get a one-year free Office 365 Personal.
As far as the connectivity options are concerned, the new tablet features a USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, Micro USB charging port, headset jack, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.0. The Surface 2 also boasts a USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
To upgrade or not? Well, the answer is quite clear — Yes. If you’re rocking the good old Surface 2, and want to get a more powerful tablet, Surface 3 is worth going for. Microsoft is taking pre-orders of the tablet with the launch date set for May in several markets across the globe. I’m not sure about you, but I’m definitely going for the Surface 3 when it becomes available next month. It’s not going to cost you a lot either, it starts at $499 for the 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB storage version, and goes as high as $699 for the 128 GB storage and LTE-enabled version.Further reading: Microsoft, Surface, Surface 2, Surface 3, Tablet, Windows 8.1