Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of convertibles kicked off a miniature revolution in computing. For years, the company tried to convince it’s hardware partners that new form factors – like tablets and convertibles – were worth investing in. Only a few hardware vendors ever took the company up on the challenge. That forced Microsoft to release the original Surface Pro, a notebook PC built to also be used as a high-end tablet, complete with great support for styluses and pens. The Surface Pro 4 is great Windows device for the average user.
It’s arguably no longer the best Windows 2-in-1 there is though. Once Microsoft had proven that there was a market for such a device, PC vendors set about creating their own Surface Pro 4 alternatives. These Surface Pro 4 alternatives all offer a unique mix of Microsoft’s original formula. Some have accessories included with them for extra value. Others offer a better assortment of ports when compared to those of the Surface Pro 4.
Maybe you want more performance or longer battery life from your 2-in-1? Maybe you want less ports, and a Windows 2-in-1 with a ridiculously thin body. Whatever your needs, there are enough Surface Pro 4 alternatives these days that you don’t have to settle. Here are seven of the most impressive Surface Pro 4 alternatives available for purchase right now.
HP Spectre X2 – $799.99
The HP Spectre X2 outdoes the Surface Pro 4 on two fronts. First, it’s absolutely gorgeous to behold, with every nook and edge exquisitely tapered and tight. Second, it has some accessories available with it that you’d have to pay extra for with Microsoft’s device.
At the heart of the HP Spectre X2 is an Intel Core M processor. The front of the device is dominated by a 1080p 12-inch LED display. More expensive models build out from there, adding in more storage and RAM. Versions of the HP Spectre X2 come with built-in connections to Verizon’s network so that users don’t have to tether their smartphones to their device to get internet access away from home or a café.
The corners of the HP Spectre X2 curve gently. The kickstand doesn’t complicate the rear of the device; instead it slides out from an alcove that runs through 2-in-1’s body. The HP Spectre X2’s keyboard is included. What’s more, that keyboard adds two additional user-facing speakers for better sound when in tablet mode.
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700
The Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 is a Surface Pro 4 alternative built for users who like the Surface’s form factor, but want different ports and a more reasonable purchase price.
Its Intel Core M7 processor delivers 9 hours of battery life, making it more of a slightly better performer than a comparable Surface. There’s a 2160 x 1440 12-inch FHD display too. The notebook/tablet uses a fin on its back to let users reposition their device. Here, Lenovo has reused the elegant watchband design from its line of Yoga notebooks. The Ideapad Miix 700 includes a single USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, Micro-HDMI out, MicroSD and an audio jack.
The value in buying the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 starts with its base price. Getting the entry model is $749.99, $50 less than the Surface Pro 4. What’s more, Lenovo is nice enough to throw in a detachable cover with an island-style keyboard embedded in it. The Pen access does cost an extra $39.99, but that’s not too bad all, things considered. Even that’s cheaper than the $59.99 Microsoft charges for a Surface Pen.
Dell XPS 12 – $999
The Dell XPS 12 isn’t a cheap Surface Pro 4 alternative by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t seem as directly inspired by Microsoft devices as other alternatives are either.
Every version of the Dell XPS 12 comes with at least 128GB of storage and an Intel Core M5 processor. Standard models have a 12.-5-inch FHD display, but users have the option to add a 4K for brighter and better looking video. An SD card reader and a USB 3.0 Thunderbolt port give you options to connect to just about every device.
Dell smartly bet on accessories for the Dell XPS 12. The device has a Pen accessory like every other tablet in this list. It also has two optional keyboard docks that completely detach. One is designed as a pure notebook experience and is included. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow users to change the display’s angle. The other is a $50 dedicated cover with embedded keyboard, much like the Type Cover’s for Surface Pro.
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S -$899
The youngest and thinnest Surface Pro 4 alternative of the lot, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S hits hard and hits fast.
Its sleek design wouldn’t have allowed for an expandable kick-stand. Rather than include one, Samsung includes a collapsible keyboard that magnetically attaches to the back of the device and holds the tablet up-right. It’s not more powerful than the Surface Pro 3, with base models coming with 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core M3 processor.
It bests the Surface Pro 4 in both charge time and actual use time. It takes 30 minutes to charge completely and lasts 10.5 hours. That’s an hour and a half longer than Microsoft’s device. It’s probably able to do this because of the 12-inch Super AMOLED display that’s built-into it. AMOLED technology allows for terrific color contrast and saturation. There are GPS sensors built-in. What’s more, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S gets its thin profile by using USB Type C instead of the older, slower USB 3.0 port standard.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S is the same price as the Surface Pro 4, $899.
Huawei Matebook – $699
Also gunning for the super-thin form factor is smartphone maker Huawei. Set to arrive in the United States on July 11th, the Huawei Matebook takes a different path to offering users what they need than the Surface Pro 4 does. It’s cheaper than the Surface Book at $699, but keeps the 12-inch display, Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that other devices in the category use. It does dump the Surface Pro 4’s authentication camera for a simple fingerprint reader that buyers can use to login.
The Huawei Matebook is as cheap as it is because it doesn’t come with a keyboard cover or stylus. Both are available seperately though, giving buyers the opportunity to build their own 2-in-1 experience.
Lenovo Yoga Book – $599
Lenovo gets points for doing something very different with its Lenovo Yoga Book. Announced at this year’s IFA 2016 trade show, it has a low-profile keyboard and supports pen input. Rather than completely replace pen and paper, Lenovo is looking to embrace it. Also, the device’s keyboard isn’t removable, despite being incredibly thin.
The keyboard can’t be taken off, but it can be turned off. It uses Lenovo’s new Halo technology so that it provides haptic vibrations to simulate what tapping on real keys would feel like. To help with the loss of physical keys, Lenovo built out its own auto-correct system. When turned off, the keyboard deck doubles as a sensor pad for writing. Paperpads placed over the keyboard deck let users get digitized and handwritten notes at the same time. The company insists that only a hybrid system like this can give users the no-compromises writing and drawing experience they crave.
The Windows 10 version of the Lenovo Yoga Book features an Intel Atom processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s able to last 13 hours on a single charge, the company says.
Acer Switch 12 – $599.99
The Acer Switch 12 mixes up the Surface Pro formula in a few ways that definitely make it worth consideration. Chief among those things is price; the device starts at just $599.99; That’s an amazing price for a Surface Pro 4 alternative.
Like some others in this line-up, the Acer Switch 12 comes with a cover with an embedded keyboard. Through a separate purchase there’s an Active Pen system for notetaking. Unlike the other devices, there’s WiGig support so that users can wirelessly connect to their desktop accessories. There’s also something almost everyone wishes the Surface Pro 4 offered at least one of: a USB Type-C Port.
The Acer Switch 12 does share a lot of the internals that these other models do. It starts with an Intel Core i3 processor, 12-inch IPS display and 128GB of storage.
Good luck choosing a Surface Pro 4 alternative.