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Best 2017 Surface Pro Alternatives

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation

 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation
$1,719 from Lenovo

You get a lot when you buy the ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation.

This Surface Pro alternative meets business specifications for durability and repairs. Its aluminum frame is battle tested and designed to withstand drops, temperature shock and other conditions that would damage the Surface Pro. If you damage it, someone can repair it at your home or office. Microsoft doesn’t offer that for Surface Pro.

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet’s specs are more impressive than the 2017 Surface Pro’s specifications. $1,719 gets you a model with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB of storage space and 8GB of RAM. You can add up to 16GB of RAM, LTE and a Windows Hello camera to unlock the device through Lenovo.com.

A fingerprint reader, 2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a media card reader come standard with on the ThinkPad X1 Tablet. Thunderbolt 3 ports transfer files to a hard drive faster than standard USB ports. They're also great for docks that add an external monitor and charge your device with a single cable.

Lenovo includes a ThinkPad Pro Pen and a keyboard cover that mimics the layout of the keyboards on its other ThinkPad laptops.

You get a slightly less detailed sketching and writing experience with the ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation. A Surface Pro can detect 4,096 different levels of pressure as you write or draw and the ThinkPad’s pen only handles 2,048 levels of pressure. That certainly makes for a less accurate drawing experience, but it shouldn’t bother note takers. The Surface Pen also detects the angle it’s at and adjusts the lines you create. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation doesn’t do that either.

On the other hand, the purchase price includes its pen. A Surface Pen costs $99.99 extra.

Finally, expect less battery life from the ThinkPad X1 Tablet than the 2017 Surface Pro. That sharp display and powerful processor means it only lasts for 9.5 hours of video playback. The Surface Pro lasts 13.5 hours, according to Microsoft.

Lenovo.com sells two ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Generation configurations: A model with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor costs $1,719. The second model has 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 processor for $2,369. Amazon doesn’t sell the tablet yet.

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