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Microsoft launches the Surface 3 at $499, debuts trade-in program for older models

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Microsoft’s latest version of the Surface tablet, the Surface 3, is now officially for sale in multiple countries, including the U.S. The company made the announcement on its blog on May 5, specifying that the Surface 3 will initially debut in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. On May 7, its availability will expand to countries including Spain, Finland, France, Denmark and the U.K.

The Surface 3 was originally announced back in March 2015 on the Surface blog. At the time, the company said that it wanted consumers to be able to replace even the most high-end laptops with the product. Microsoft also revealed the starting price point of $499.

Related: Microsoft offering 2,000 Bing Rewards points on Surface 3 preorders

At just 1.37 pounds and 8.7mm thick, the Surface 3 is Microsoft’s thinnest, most lightweight tablet to date. It runs 64-bit Windows 8.1 and has an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail processor. The Surface 3 also includes a full-sized USB 3.0 port, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader. An optional Docking Station adds even more ports, though it costs $200.

In terms of functionality, Microsoft is marketing the Surface 3 for both work and play. It includes front- and rear-facing cameras that can capture 1080p video, and a battery that lasts up to 10 hours. The basic edition of the Surface has 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but you can pay $100 more for an edition with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Related: Watch out, Chromebooks: Microsoft’s Surface 3 takes aim at the education market

The Surface has a 10.8-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 pixel touch screen display, while the Pro has a 12-inch display with a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution. Both editions have 256 levels of pressure sensitivity for accuracy and detail while using the Surface Pen.

When it comes to freebies, the Surface 3 provides a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage.

Related: Madman cuts open Surface 3 Pro to install new 1TB solid state drive

“Surface 3 is a labor of love for us, built from years of learning in the lab and on the feedback and insights we’ve heard from our customers,” wrote Brian Hall, general manager of the Microsoft Surface team, in the blog post.

The Surface 3 will not only be available on the Microsoft website, but also from retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. Buyers who go through Microsoft’s trade-in program can earn credit for up to $150 off the new model by trading in an old Surface 2 or Surface RT. Old Surface Pro models aren’t part of the program. The trade-in offer runs until May 31st, and the coupon earned from will be valid until June 2015.