Here are 5 things you need to know about the Surface 3

The newly announced Surface 3 tablet is very different than the first two versions with that brand name, and it also has some differences compared to the current Surface Pro 3. Comparisons aside there's a lot to get excited about, but there are also a few little details that might have slipped by unnoticed.

So without further ado, here are five things that you need to know about the Surface 3.

1. New way to charge

Surface 3 MicroUSB

This new charger is a huge change from previous Surface models, which used a proprietary magnetic cable to power the tablets. The Surface 3 comes with a standard microUSB port to charge the device, which means any microUSB charger can now be used for this purpose.

This is potentially bigger news than some would credit it for. There are power outputs to consider, but it could mean one less power adaptor to put in your bag when you travel.

2. Limited kickstand

Surface 3 Kickstand

Unlike the Surface Pro 3, which allows its users to adjust its kickstand in a ton of different positions, there are just three fixed positions for the kickstand for the Surface 3. Microsoft revealed more about those positions in its announcement.

"This kickstand has three preset positions - a narrow angle that's great for working at a traditional desk, an intermediate angle that is designed for sitting on the couch or using the device on your lap, and a wide angle that provides a natural writing or drawing canvas."

While this is a step down from the Surface Pro 3, it's actually a modest increase from the the 2-position stand of the Surface 2.

3. 'Windows 10 Ready'

Unlike the first two Surface tablets, which used Windows RT, The Surface 3 uses a full 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, and business customers can have the Windows 8.1 Pro version installed on the tablet. As with every Windows 7 and 8.1 PC, Microsoft is promising that the Surface 3 can be upgraded for free to Windows 10 when it is officially launched later this summer.

We still don't know what, if any future the Surface RT and Surface 2 have. Not an issue with the Surface 3.

Side note: The Surface 3 will be sold with a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, a $69.99 value. In addition to access to the full versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote, it comes with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.

4. Killer display

The first two Surface models had a 10.6-inch display and an aspect ratio of 16:9. The Surface 3 has a slightly larger 10.8-inch 1920x1280 resolution display. More importantly, the screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes the display look and operate more like a standard tablet while still allowing it to be used in laptop mode.

Along with this the Surface 3 enjoys the same overall design language as the larger, more expensive Surface Pro 3.

5. Newest Intel Atom CPU

While the Surface Pro 3 can be bought with Intel's high-end Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, the Surface 3 only has one chip inside. The Intel Atom x7-z8700 processor, which just launched this quarter, is a low-powered chip using the Cherry Trail architecture. It's a quad-core processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, with burst speeds up to 2.4GHz. You can learn more about the chip at Intel's website.

While the real world performance of this chip is as yet unknown there's no reason to expect anything less than a good experience with it right now in the Surface 3.

Source: Microsoft

John Callaham