Back in March, Microsoft introduced the Surface 3 tablet, the company's "thinnest and lightest" Surface tablet to date. The big deal with this device is that it isn't based on Windows RT and an ARM-based chip, but rather the full-blown version of Windows 8.1 and Intel's Atom processor.
Customers can now purchase this tablet and its accessories through the online Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), Microsoft's brick-and-mortar stores, and select retailers such as Best Buy and Costco.
In addition to the Surface 3's availability, Microsoft also announced the launch of a trade-in program (opens in new tab). For a limited time only, customers with the Surface RT or Surface 2 can bring their tablet into a Microsoft Store and receive up to $150 towards the purchase of a Surface 3. You can also perform the trade-in online by heading here (opens in new tab).
Without reading too much into it, this trade-in deal makes it seem as though Microsoft is tacitly acknowledging that earlier Windows RT Surface devices need to be replaced. Windows RT was a colossal failure for Redmond, and although Surface devices themselves proved to be high-enough quality, Microsoft has clearly moved on from Windows RT/ARM. So much so, in fact, that it wants to get older Surface devices off the streets and put the hot new Surface 3 into as many willing hands as possible.
Here's how it works: First, customers select the tablet they currently own: the Surface RT (2012), the Surface 2 (2013) or the Surface 2 with 4G (2013). Next, customers must appraise their device. Is it working? Is the customer trading in accessories? Click the "working" choice, and customers will see a pop-up explaining what qualifies as "working." For example, the screen must not have cracks or dead pixels, and the cursor must respond normally to touch.
Once consumers answer all the questions, they click the calculate button. As an experiment, we chose "working," selected the power adapter and touch cover keyboard and selected 64 GB for the capacity. This produced a $100 redemption code that could be applied to the Surface 3 purchase. Of course, it's up to Microsoft to determine the exact condition and the final value, which they will do when the tablet is in their hands. Once the tablet has been evaluated, the company will send a promo code by email. Simply use this code when purchasing the Surface 3.
To celebrate the launch of the Surface 3, Microsoft is also offering a 10 percent discount to students who are looking to purchase the Surface 3 or other Microsoft products.
Microsoft is selling the Surface 3 in two configurations: 64 GB of internal storage with 2 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage with 4 GB of RAM. Both models include a 10.8-inch ClearType display with a 1920 x 1280 resolution and support for the Surface Pen. Backing this screen is an Intel quad-core Atom x7-Z8700 (Cherry Trail) processor (1.6 GHz, 2.4 GHz burst) and a battery promising up to 10 hours on a single charge. Other hardware details include an 8MP camera on the back, a 3.5MP camera on the front and Wireless AC connectivity.
To purchase the Surface 3, head here (opens in new tab). The Wi-Fi-based model with 64 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM costs $499. For $100 more, customers can purchase the 128 GB / 4 GB RAM / Wi-Fi model. There's also two 4G LTE models that are listed as "coming soon."
The Surface 3 Type Cover (opens in new tab) costs an additional $129.99.