7 good Windows hybrids that rival the Surface Pro 3

7 good Windows hybrids that rival the Surface Pro 3

Summary: The Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft's latest entry to the tablet/hybrid space. It doesn't compete with tablets, it's more a laptop replacement device. These alternatives may be a better fit for some than the new Surface.


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  • Good alternatives to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

    Microsoft recently unveiled the newest member of the Surface product line, the Surface Pro 3. The new tablet is bigger than earlier versions, and is available in various configurations.

    The biggest change from early models, aside from the 12-inch display, is the availability of Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. The fastest processor turns the Surface Pro 3 into a real laptop replacement when paired with a keyboard cover.

    The Surface Pro 3 ranges from $799 to $1,949 depending on the hardware configuration. The new Type Cover keyboard is an extra $129.99.

    Surface Pro 3 configurations:

    Processor Intel Core i3, i5, i7
    Display 12-inch (2,160 X 1,440)
    Weight 800gm (1.76lbs)
    Memory 4GB - 8GB
    Storage 64GB - 512GB
    Battery 9 hours
    Price $799 - $1,949

    The Surface isn't the only Windows hybrid, a number of them have been on the market for some time. There are models with different screen sizes, and keyboards that are full laptop docks. We've searched the web and come up with the seven best alternatives to the Surface Pro 3. Only models with detachable screens and good keyboard options were considered.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad 10

    Lenovo has produced a business tablet worthy of the ThinkPad brand. The ThinkPad 10 is a tablet that coupled with the Ultrabook dock turns into a full laptop. 

    The high-resolution display has wide viewing angles, a must for a tablet. The light weight of the ThinkPad 10 makes it a very good tablet, and coupled with one of the optional keyboards it becomes a solid laptop replacement.

    Lenovo ThinkPad 10 configurations:

    Processor Intel Atom Processor Z3795 SoC Quad Core
    Display 10.1” (1,920 x 1,200) IPS
    Weight 598gm (1.31lbs)
    Memory 2GB - 4GB
    Storage 51GB - 128GB
    Battery 10 hours
    Price $599 up

    Product web page

  • Asus Transformer Book X300

    The Transformer line from Asus has been around for years, starting with Android and now with Windows 8. The X300 is heavy but that's expected in such a large tablet. 

    The full laptop dock has a battery that extends the life of the tablet with its own battery.

    Asus Transformer Book X300 configurations:

    Processor Intel Core i5, i7
    Display 13.3-inch (1,920x1,080)
    Weight Tablet: 0.95kg; Dock: 0.95kg (with battery)
    Memory 4GB
    Storage 320GB - 500GB HDD with 128GB SSD
    Battery 8 hours
    Price $1,499

    Product web page

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

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  • Yoga Pro 2?

    Stunning that you left the Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 off this list. It's a fantastic 2-in-1.
    • The keyboard is not detachable.

      That was a requirement stated early on...
      • Rips Only

        This is a review of only rips. The other hybrids that leave the key attached are back flips, front flips, spins, twists. There is also a rip-n-flip that is somewhere in between.
        • Rips

          I ripped-and-flipped on spring break once. I couldn't walk right for about a week after.
          • New Windows-Android Hybrid

            The new Ramos i10 Pro is another noteworthy device out this week and is the first Dual-boot tablet with both Windows 8.1 and Android OS on the same device and features a 10" Full-HD screen, Intel Bay Trail CPU plus a 9 hour battery.
          • Ramos i10 Pro available May 25th

            One of the first sources the Ramos i10 Pro is available through is the site

      • Okay, I see that now . . .

        . . . in the last line of the first slide. To that is a completely arbitrary decision. I don't really care if the keyboard detaches. I had Surface RT for a year. I never took the keyboard off. On the Yoga Pro 2, the keyboard rotates around so you have a slate. Penalize it for the extra weight, sure, but why arbitrarily leave it out?

        I always felt that Surface was unbalanced, having so much weight in the tablet part with a light keyboard. I like the balance of the keyboard, and, with Stand Mode, which I use a lot more than I expected, I have a built-in stand when in tablet mode.

        No doubt that Yoga Pro 2 is a great laptop and decent tablet, but in this size and price range, that's what I want. If I want a pure tablet, I'm going to stick with 8 inches or less.
        • Different strokes . . .

          As a criterion, the detachability factor *is* important for some people, and I am one of them. That is one of the reasons I went with the ASUS Transformer T100TA-C1-GR (the 64GB model). When I want a tablet without the keyboard, I don't want the extra weight.

          I agree with you about the Surface - I always wondered why Microsoft doesn't bother to add another option of a *real* keyboard with the Surface.

          I considered a Yoga, but for my purpose (having my laptop/tablet with me in my purse all the time, ready to be hauled out), my 10.1 inch transformer is everything I need, and more. What might make it better? Not having to kickstart the wireless adapter from time to time . . .
          • I've got a T100TA 64-GB too

            The ASUS T100TA is my new EeePC. I love it, but I'll never detach the keyboard. Now that I've a touchscreen notebook, I like it. I'd like to have more USB ports, but I can live without them. The T100TA does everything I need and it does it so fast and so well that I can't complain. And the price and size and weight are right for me.
    • The Yoga screen feels tiny

      That 16:9 screen is a bad thing for a tablet. It is bad for a laptop, too. Thanks to Microsoft designers for breaking with one of the worst traditions in the PC industry.

      It is well-explained here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2013/03/06/linux-founder-linus-torvalds-blasts-pc-industry-praises-googles-chromebook-pixel/
      • Hasn't been a problem for me

        The 16x9 ratio has only been an issue for me on devices like Surface when I've tried to use it in portrait mode. Yoga Pro 2 is awkward in portrait mode, no doubt; I would not use it this way. But as for the size of the screen, especially after using Surface for a while, I really like the 13.3. I have 50-year-old eyes, but I VPN to work frequently and have no problems.
      • 16:9 Screen Bad?

        Read the link you posted, and it's just an opinion of one person. Every one have a different taste. Some like 4:3, others 16:9 and then others 3:2 which is in between the 16:9 and the 4:3.

        The new Surface Pro 3 is now 3:2, I am not sure if I will like it until I have one my hands. I got use to 16:9. But to say it's bad without prove is very irresponsible.
      • I agree. finally, someone has moved away from a format that is only useful

        for people watching movies. In a 24" monitor, sure, wide is nice but in the small tablets and laptop screens (14" or less) it's too cramped. editing a word document or web page is a pain since so much of the screen real estate is taken up with tool bars etc. there is little room left for the actual work. in portrait mode, it's too narrow to be useful. I'm really excited by the new aspect ratio. it's closer to an actual sheet of paper 8.5x11 in ratio so as a tablet, where you want to write (with a pen, which in my opinion eliminates pretty much every one of these 'alternatives') it is far superior to any other tablet. my only pause is the price. I was buoyed by the initial announcements of $799 but that is for the relatively anemic core I3 processor and very little memory.
        • The Golden Mean/Ratio

          Actually, it is a long-standing visual esthetic preference of humans to view rectangles showing pictures, whether paintings, buildings, or... computer screens in a proportion known as the "Golden Ratio" or "Golden Mean" of 1.6+ :

          A screen with a ratio of 8:5 (or 16:10 as is commonly expressed) is very close to this constant. That works out to monitor sizes as seen sometimes of 1920x1200/1680x1050/1440x900/1280x800/1024x600 (the last is a bit off at 1.7 - and I bet that is why, subconsciously, the old netbook 1024x600, did not quite "look right" to a number of users, as well as current low-end 7" tablets).

          What it boils down to for a lot of us is simply getting more vertical pixels in landscape mode than the typical 1366x768 provides, or the horizontal pixel count in portrait.

      • One of my major issues with most tablets

        The 4:3 or really the 3:2 is a much better tablet for factor. Really, its better as a laptop too. 16:9 is just a movie screen, and though at one time I watched movies on my laptop I have giant TVs for that now. Hopefully more companies will follow the 3:2 form factor.
        A Gray
  • Tough competition

    Comparing the specs and price I would say the surface is the best by a good margin for devices in the price range.
    Competition all have a lower resolution display, cheaper alternatives are not even full HD or have a "small" processor. Weight is better for the surface, battery is among the best and price is competitive and even good.

    There must be a reason why ultra-books are not selling that much - they are far from very good and price is uninteresting.
    • Yoga Pro 2

      Here again, I give you the Yoga Pro 2. It's a little bigger than Surface Pro3 (13.3"), but it has a gorgeous quad HD display. Yoga Pro 2 also has a fantastic keyboard. Surface Pro 3 is a no doubt a better tablet than Yogo Pro 2, because it's lighter and the keyboard can come completely off, and pen support and battery life is better on the Surface. But if you want a great small ultrabook that can be a tablet when you need it, you should be considering the Yoga Pro 2.
      • I was looking at specs and price of the Lenovo

        And I agree, it seems a more balanced option... but the keyboard is always there. Screen is bigger and with an incredible resolution.

        I know many praise Lenovo as quality devices, mine was not like that - keyboard was bad and noisy, display was not among the best, it was clunky, plastic felt bad, battery needed replacement too soon, it wasn't particularly light and for some reason HDMI output was tricky, track-pad was a joke. Not saying it was bad but I don't see myself wanting a Lenovo anytime soon.
        • Track pad

          While I find Yoga Pro 2 to be really good build quality with a great keyboard, one thing I do not like is that the entire track pad pushes down for the mouse buttons, rather than having separate mouse buttons. It takes some getting used to. You go to press a mouse button and the mouse moves. You have to remember to use your *other* finger for mouse position.
          • Touchpad issue

            Yes, I am not sure why buttons have gone by the wayside. But the integral click in the pad itself takes some getting used to. My wife has a Sony Vaio and the left and right buttons are integrated into the touchpad. Yet their is no physical or visual cue as to left and right division. Sometimes you click left and you get a right click. I still have a laptop with left and right buttons which I find better. I guess eliminating buttons saves money? When I use my wife's Vaio I usually end up using a mouse.