NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Microsoft (MSFT) introduced its first few Surface tablets, there were two model lines -- the Surface Pros, which ran the full version of Windows 8 /8.1 on a PC-stye Intel (INTC) Core processors, and the Surface RTs.
These days, the Surface RT, and especially Windows RT, are mostly forgotten remnants of a failed Microsoft experiment. The company's newer produces - the terrific, year-old Surface Pro 3 and now the newly introduced, somewhat smaller and less expensive Surface 3 should help to erase earlier missteps from everyone's memories.
The new Surface 3 tablet is a real Windows computer.
It runs the current Pro version of Windows 8.1 on an Intel Atom processor and is eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 during the first year after its release, scheduled for late July. It comes with a 10.8-inch, full HD touchscreen (1920 by 1280 pixels), compared to 12-inches for the Surface Pro. Both screens feature a 3-to-2 height-to-width ratio not the 16-by-9 found on most HDTVs.
In addition to the 1.6 GHz, quad-core Atom processor Surface 3 comes with either 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of solid-state storage or 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. For the record, the Pro models offer the possibility of even more RAM plus 256 and 512 GB drives.
The new 3 also offers the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a full-size USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader and a new Micro-USB charging port (like a smartphone) rather than the somewhat balky magnetic charging plug/port in all preview models. There's an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 3.5 megapixel shooter facing forward.