Surface team answers queries about Surface 3 at Reddit AMA

Just few days back Microsoft announced the all new Surface 3. To answer various questions on Surface 3 , Panos Panay Corporate VP at Microsoft and his Surface Team did a Reddit AMA. Here are some of the questions and their replies as it is, from the Surface Team. Read on to know so many interesting things.


Surface Team RedditQ: Does the Surface 3 with LTE have a GPS chip? Do you have plans to release an LTE/3G version that is internationally unlocked?

Surface Team [ST] : Yes, the LTE versions have a GPS chip. 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: How well does the Surface 3 handle a bunch of Bluetooth connected devices? For example, say I’m using a BT KB/Mouse plus a headset for listening on Xbox Music and also syncing my FitBit. And what about the WiFi?

ST: 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: What can you tell us about the Surface Pro 4?

ST: No mystery, we are always working on different products and we will not stop being relentless about it… I think we both know that we can’t talk about what and when :-).

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

ST: 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: Windows 10 guts out a majority of the powerful edge gestures and “power user” interface elements like semantic zoom. These had a higher learning curve, but lead to a better experience once mastered. Do you feel that removing these lessens the usability of a device like the Surface?

ST: I think you will find awesome benefits as you learn to use Windows 10. I am using it day in and day out, and I have found the product increases my effectiveness, and I am now much more fluid with it. Granted, I use a different test device on a daily basis as we need to continuously test every aspect of the product, but I will tell you it has felt great to use Windows 10 on Surface.

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?

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

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

ST: micro USB … enables charging through all the chargers out there today. Optimized for charger (13W) in box. Full size USB…no adapters needed for everything in market today.

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

ST: 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: Is this surface capable of running visual studio 2013 smoothly and developing applications?

ST: Yes!!

Q: Wouldn’t it be more fair to compare the S3 to the new MacBook as opposed to the iPad for price point?

ST: We think lots of people are going to pick a surface 3 versus an iPad. The opening price points (for the regular iPad, not the mini) are very similar, but with a Surface you get 64GB of storage and can use it as a tablet and a laptop.

Q: Does the Surface 3 have the thermal threshold for CPU cutoff ?

ST: Yes we do thermally throttle on S3..

Q: Does the Surface 3 have a TPM? Can it domain join?

ST: It has a Firmware TPM as part of the SOC. It can domain join if you are running Windows Pro.

Q: Will the Surface 3 have its own unique docking station?

ST: Yes, we have a docking station available at the same time of Surface. It has GB Ethernet, 4 USB ports, mini display port and audio, storage for the pen and is styled similar to the docking station for Surface Pro 3

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?

ST: 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: How is the eMMC performance in comparison to the SP3 SSD?

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

Q: Are there plans to release a new Surface when Windows 10 goes RTM?

ST: Surface 3 is definitely made for Windows 10 and vice versa. don’t wait!

Q: Why was the choice made to go with the Atom x7 CPU vs an Intel core m CPU?

ST: 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: Will the Surface 3 support virtualization?

ST: For virtualization recommendation is SP3. This is based on available memory & 8GB SKU.

Q: Are Surface RT owners at least going to get a half update?

ST: Windows has announced that there will be an update for 8.1, but want to set expectations that it definitely is not windows 10. there wont’ be an upgrade path.

Q: How would you say the Surface 3 holds up to Photoshop?

ST: Photoshop – Given variety of content and scenarios, best answer is relative to SP3 i3. For PC Mark 8 Creative Tests S3 performance is 80% of SP3 i3.Pen – S3 and SP3 use Ntrig technology.

Q: Surface 3 would be compatible with previous type covers?

ST: Yes, previous covers work with Surface 3. the size is a little different, though with the new 3:2 aspect ratio, so if you use your Type cover 2 it just won’t cover the whole screen.

Q: Why no continuous kickstand like SP3? Does the Surface 3 have the same satisfying click sound when opening/closing the kickstand?

ST: 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.

Absolutely! On Surface 3 we defined the sound before we engineered the parts. The sound is created by the materials of the foot snapping onto the magnesium. The hinge snaps the kickstand to the Surface body and imbedded magnets hold it perfectly flat. …. which gives it the perfect sound.

Q: Are you planning to release Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 in other regions?

ST: We don’t have plans for more regions right now. sorry!

For the complete set of Q&A, please visit Reddit.

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Vasudev G. is a Technology Enthusiast. He is a Windows Insider MVP and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products.


  1. Amr Khalil


    Can I join my company domain controller through Surface 3.

  2. vasudevG

    Which ver of Windows are you running on Surface 3? Is it Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro?

  3. Amr khalil

    8.1 pro

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