Is Microsoft planning a $400 Surface tablet?

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Ivan McClellan/Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Surface tablet line may be set for a refresh in the near future, with rumors suggesting that the 10-inch tablet range would be powered by Intel hardware — and could cost just $400. Reportedly the design of the new tablet will draw much from Apple’s iPad and will feature exclusive support for USB-C.

The Surface line of laptops and 2-in-1s has been improved upon and bolstered by new models many times in recent years, leading to such fantastic offerings as the Surface Pro and the Surface Book 2. But the Surface tablets haven’t seen a proper upgrade in several years. Microsoft may have decided it was time to change that; the rumored tablets would upgrade previous offerings in a big way.

Although low-powered devices often ship with ARM CPUs, the new tablets will reportedly sport Intel hardware, though chip specifics have yet to be detailed. What Bloomberg’s sources did clarify, however, was that there will be multiple versions of the new tablets. Prices will start at $400, with different storage for various models ranging from 64GB to 128GB. LTE Advanced connectivity will also be an option for those who want high-speed internet coverage when away from Wi-Fi networks.

Each model will have a 10-inch screen, which is comparable to the standard iPad, though it’s noticeably smaller than the Surface Pro laptops. That size reduction will reportedly net a 20-percent reduction in overall weight, making the new Surface tablets very portable. The lack of space will cut into the room slotted for the battery, however, and battery life is said to be four hours shorter than that of the Surface Pros. That would put the new Surface tablets at around nine hours of battery life — not bad, but hardly stellar.

As Bloomberg reports, Microsoft’s re-entry into the entry-level tablet market may be an attempt to shore up declining sales in the Surface line by attracting a new audience to its hardware. Previous attempts at Surface tablets didn’t go anywhere near as well as its higher-end push with the Surface Pro range, which has proved competitive with the wide array of alternative, convertible laptops out there. And hey, if small scale tablets aren’t your cup of tea, Microsoft also plans bigger tablets. Much, much bigger tablets.

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