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Microsoft’s $400 iPad rival won’t have the powerful Intel processors of other Surface tablets

Published Jul 4th, 2018 4:21PM EDT
Microsoft Surface Lite
Image: Microsoft

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In recent weeks, two unannounced Microsoft devices have been making headlines with increasing frequency. One is the rumored Surface Phone, codenamed Andromeda, which could potentially be a compelling successor to Windows Phone. The other is a cheaper Surface tablet that would take on Apple’s iPad line. We’ve learned details about both products in recent days, but even more information about the iPad rival surfaced this week.

According to, sources familiar with the matter say that the “price downgrade” on the new tablet will be made possible thanks to a downgrade in internal specifications. Rather than equipping the tablet with an Intel Core i5 or i7 chip, Microsoft will reportedly ship the cheapest model with an Intel Pentium Silver N5000.

That’s a rather significant step down in terms of processing power, but keep in mind that the cheapest version of the current Surface Pro will run you $800. If Microsoft is going to cut that price in half, it has no choice but to strip away some of the most expensive components. The sources also say that Microsoft will offer a slightly more expensive version of the smaller Surface with either the Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y or the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y.

Beyond the news about the processors, WinFuture’s sources also confirmed at least one big detail from Bloomberg’s report back in May: Microsoft will shrink the size of the display down from 12 inches to 10 inches. That earlier report also mentioned rounded edges, USB-C connectivity, and the new tablet being 20% less heavy.

We still don’t know when to expect the $400 Surface tablet, but the device has already shown up in FCC filings, and the sources claim that briefings on the device are already taking place at Microsoft headquarters.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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