Surface 3 recharges over a battery pack, unlocked LTE version coming, and more facts from the Reddit AMA

This afternoon, the Microsoft Surface team took to Reddit to do another 'Ask Me Anything' session. Users put questions to the Microsoft engineers about the recently announced Surface 3, due to hit store shelves in early May.

As usual, the Surface developers revealed a few interesting tidbits about the latest hardware from Microsoft. We have rounded up the most exciting questions and the answers for you to read below. Here are some highlights!

  • Unlocked LTE version is coming but no ETA
  • LTE version does have GPS
  • No daisy-chaining for monitors, but you can connect up a 4K monitor, albeit at a terrible 30Hz
  • Surface 3 has the same Wi-Fi/BT chip and software as the Surface Pro 3, so there should be no issues out the gate

Read on for the rest!

Reddit AMA with Panos Panay and the Surface team at Microsoft

Q: Why micro/full sized USB over USB-C?

A: micro USB ... enables charging through all the chargers out there today. Optimized for charger (13W) in box. Full-size adapters needed for everything in market today.

Q: Does the S3 support 4k displays at 60Hz?

A: 4K at 30Hz with Intel X7 Gen8 engine.

Q: Does Surface 3 support Always On Always Connected (Connected Standby)?

A: Behavior is just like Surface Pro 3. 4 hours of connected standby, then into hibernate.

Q: Does the Surface 3 with LTE have a GPS chip?

A: Yes, the LTE versions have a GPS chip.

Q: Do you have plans to release an LTE/3G version that is internationally unlocked?

A: We are doing an unlocked LTE version. Can't say where it will be available yet, but we hear you and in many markets we will have it available. Stay tuned for more!

Q: Will there be an LTE model compatible with AT&T in the US?

A: Not saying anything more today other than that we will be available working with T-Mobile and Verizon. we're excited about that. we will have more news later...

Q: How is the eMMC performance in comparaison to the SP3 SSD? Is it a significant difference?

A: S3 eMMC is about 50% of SP3 SSD. If your workload involves heavy file transfers (like video editing) recommendation is SP3.

Q: Why Surface 3 is almost as thick as Surface RT from 2012? I mean it's only .4 mm thinner than SP3 (24nm Core i5/i7 with fan) while having fanless 14nm Atom inside.

A: The combination of a powerful machine, with all day battery life, full USB and a great kickstand results in 8.7mm. This is the fittest device we could create by not removing these essential elements. I think it's pretty fit :)

Q: Can we convert the charging micro-USB port to a full-size USB port with an adapter, and then plug in any USB device to it?

A: Yes! The micro-USB port charging port also handles USB data

Q: Why did the team decide to ditch the Surface text logo for the Microsoft logo?

A: We realized that a Surface contains all of what we as Microsoft has to offer. It is the physical extension of a software experience. To reflect that, we thought it was more appropriate to carry the Microsoft mark. And we all liked this idea :)

Q: How well does the Surface 3 handle a bunch of Bluetooth connected devices? Say I have a BT KB/Mouse plus a headset for listening on Xbox Music and I'm also syncing my FitBit. Any issues? How about the WiFi? Any issues like the SP3 had?

A: For sure you can connect all the Bluetooth devices you mention above at the same time. As for WiFi, no issues... People will get the same WiFi experience that Surface Pro 3 users are getting today.

Q: Any chance we can get an updated video driver for the SP3? Windows 10 has destroyed the stability of the displayport out, making the device kinda useless in my case.

A: We are so aware of this…drivers are under test. When we have one working to our satisfaction, we will make it available. We dogfood the same stuff, and we are feeling the same pain.

Q: Why was the choice made to go with the atom x7 cpu vs an intel core m cpu?

A: The key to Surface 3 was to give great performance, but to also keep the device thin and light. We benefit from this latest quad-core processor from Intel in a couple ways: First, we get great performance with a new burst mode feature where the chip will run up to 2.4GHz. However, when performance is not needed, it throttles down to 1.6GHz saving power so we can keep the battery as small as possible (keeping the devices as thin and light as possible.

Q: Does the Surface 3 have a TPM?

A: It has a Firmware TPM as part of the SOC.

Q: Any plan for surface 3 for Indian students ???

A: There isn't a plan right now. we definitely want to at some point though!

Q: Will there be a trade-in program for those loyal fans with orphan devices (RT/Surface 2)?

A: We'll definitely think about trade-ins. we don't have plans right now. Will also see what retailers are thinking - those are often done by the retailers themselves.

Q: Why no continuous kickstand like SP3?

A: This was a key decision for Surface 3 to keep the product affordable (and thin and light). We know from research the most important angles from Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, and then we added the 3rd most shallow angle based on feedback from Surface Pro 3. Overall, keeping price as a priority while giving large range of angles was the goal.

Q: Will the Surface 3 support two 1440p displays via daisy-chained DisplayPort connections?

A: The Surface 3 does not support daisy chaining monitors over DisplayPort. The Pro line is great for folks who need this.

Q: How does the battery life compare to the Surface 2 and given the Surface 3 has a microUSB port will it support remote chargers?

A: Both devices get a full 10hrs of video playback. Surface 3's microUSB give more access to chargers and will at least maintain power from remote battery packs

Q: Could I use the Surface 3 for video editing?

A: Yes. x86 machine, so apps will run. Best reference point is PC Mark 8 Creative Benchmark which includes video editing performance that is 85% of SP3 i3.

Sound off in comments about what we learned. Has any of this news changed your mind about getting one?

Source: Reddit

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.