Microsoft announced the Surface 3 on Tuesday, a lighter, cheaper alternative to its Surface Pro 3, which was released last year. Unlike Microsoft's other non-Pro tablets, this one will run a full version of Windows 8.1. And its price point puts it squarely in competition with the iPad Air 2 — both start at $499.
Microsoft touts the device's bright detachable keyboard, kickstand, Surface Pen and 10-hour battery life as a reason to use the Surface 3 as both a tablet and laptop. It comes with Windows 8.1, with a full upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is released. The Surface 3 also comes with a year subscription to Office 365, which gives users access to online storage, Skype calls, and programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While less powerful than the Surface Pro 3 ($799), the Surface 3's lower price tag could entice some people who would otherwise have purchased an iPad. The Surface 3 is available for pre-order now and ships May 5 in the United States.