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Microsoft Surface 3 runs full Windows, not RT, and costs just $499

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Microsoft Surface 3

Microsoft has announced the Microsoft Surface 3 as the latest addition to its tablet/hybrid lineup, and this time it runs the full version of Windows not the limited Windows RT.

The distinction is significant as it means the tablet can run any existing Windows program where previous Surface devices have only been able to run apps specifically designed for it.

This change is down to Microsoft ditching the ARM processor of previous Surface tablets and replacing it with an Intel Atom processor, a move made possible by the latest power saving changes to Intel's newest processors.

In contrast, the Surface Pro, which has always run the full version of Windows, relies on a large tablet allowing for more battery space and more cooling to keep its older generation Intel processor in check.

Elsewhere the Surface 3 is very similar to its predecessors, sporting a 10-inch screen that's wrapped in a metal chassis with a flip-out stand.

Related: Surface Pro 3 review

This is joined by a magnetically attached cover/keyboard and more connectivity than you get on most tablets. There's a full-size USB socket, a microUSB socket, microSD card reader and a miniDisplayPort, along with the headphone jack. There will also be and LTE version as well as Wi-Fi only.

The screen has followed the improvements made to the Surface Pro 3 by moving to a 3:2 aspect ratio rather than a 16:9 one, and as such it has a slightly odd 1920 x 1280 resolution. This makes it better for portrait use as well as landscape.

The Surface 3 will be available in a number of configurations, with 2GB and 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. The starting price is £419 ($499) with the 128GB version rising to £499 ($599). However the keyboard cover and pen aren't included.

Pre-orders are open now and devices will start shipping on 7th May.

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