MSI unveils S100 hybrid Windows 8.1 tablet using Intel Bay Trail CPU

The 10.1-inch device includes a separate keyboard to convert it into a laptop or tiny all-in-one desktop as well as coming with a protective sleeve.


You can buy a keyboard for your iPad , or grab a Microsoft Surface with a Type Cover , but the cheapest tablet-plus-laptop combo may just be one of the many hybrid, or convertible, devices that started flooding the market with the arrival of Windows 8 (even if their long-term success in the market has been questioned ). The latest member of that family comes from MSI, known for components and specialty laptops more than for tablets. 

With its new S100, the company provides a 10.1-inch slate with a keyboard to create a package that works as a standalone tablet, laptop, or even a small all-in-one PC if you use it on a desk. That 3-in-1 nature (though the "3" is a bit of stretch) makes it a competitor to Acer's Aspire Switch, which has mostly similar specs and which ZDNet's James Kendrick reviewed favorably a couple of months ago .

Like the Switch, the S100 comes with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage for running Windows 8.1. The two diverge slightly in screen resolution (1,366x768 for the Switch versus the S100's 1,280x800) and in choice of Intel Atom "Bay Trail" quad-core processor, with the Switch making use of the Z3745 and the S100 including the slightly older Z3740. Unlike the Switch, the S100 ships with a protective sleeve as part of the standard package.

Given its slightly weaker specs, the S100 may cost a little less than the Acer hybrid, though the inclusion of the sleeve might complicate that assumption. We have to speculate on the price because MSI has neither disclosed that information nor a release date. Most Switch configurations hover between $400-$500, so that seems like a fair price range to assume the MSI will fall into.