There may be some life left in the tablet form factor, at least on the Windows side of things. Joining the new $399 Microsoft Surface Go is the Lenovo Miix 630, announced at CES but finally going on sale starting yesterday.
The Miix 630 is notable for being one of the initial Windows 10 devices making use of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor, joining the Asus NovaGo and HP Envy x2 convertibles. Choosing the ARM-based processor option can yield impressive battery life but also lead to performance hiccups (which Qualcomm hopes it can remedy with the forthcoming Snapdragon 850 chip).
Like its Snapdragon brethren, the Miix 630 is designed to compete with Microsoft's Surface devices, adding a few intriguing features beyond the claimed 20 hours of battery life. It includes built-in 4G LTE "always on" connectivity and can even synch emails and notifications while in sleep mode. A keyboard cover and digital pen are standard, while Microsoft offers them as optional accessories.
In addition to the Snapdragon chip, the Miix 630 features a 12.3-inch 1080p HD touchscreen, 4 gigs of RAM, 128GB of storage, microSD card slot, a USB 3.0 port and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The included full-size, backlit keyboard doubles as a screen protector when you are traveling with the device.
The Lenovo hybrid runs Windows 10 S, though you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free during the first six months you own the Miix 630. While many applications through the Windows Store are compiled for the Snapdragon 835, those that aren't (and are 32-bit) can be run through an emulation layer.
Device makers are hoping that the battery life and connectivity of ARM-based processors not only outweigh any potential performance challenges running Windows, but also can command a premium prices. At $899.99, the Miix 630 is clearly priced to compete with the Surface Pro, which starts at $799 but requires another $100 for a stylus and $160 for a keyboard cover to match what the Miix includes. In comparison, a Surface Pro with built-in LTE like the Miix 630 starts at $1,499, though you also get an Intel Core i5 CPU and twice the RAM and storage of the Miix.