The main thrust of Windows 10 is that it can change functionality depending on the device you are using—it shifts around the user interface depending on whether you are utilizing a touch screen or controlling a mouse and keyboard. This is why 2-in-1s are probably the most exciting device for experiencing Windows 10. You get to do both.
Last week at Computex, we saw manufacturers roll out new wares custom built for running Windows 10. Hybrid tablets and 2-in-1s were big news, and we got a look at new offerings from Asus and HP designed with Windows 10 in mind.
While the new computers each have compelling features, none boasts a clear-cut advantage to what Surface 3 already brings to the table. In fact, we are seeing manufacturers mirror Surface 3 specifications with their new offerings, using an Intel Atom Cherry Trail CPU, 2 or 4 GB of RAM, a USB Type-C port, and a small solid-state drive (SSD) for storage.
The Asus Transformer Book T100HA is the heir apparent to the popular Asus Transformer Book T100. The T100 HA model will be even lighter than its predecessor at 580 grams for the tablet, plus another 453 grams when the keyboard dock is attached. Initial reports are claiming the T100 HA boasts up to 14 hours of battery life.
Like the Surface, the T100 HA is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Cherry Trail and comes in 2 GB or 4 GB memory configurations. Storage size could be as large as 128 GB depending on what SSD Asus decides to include, and has a USB Type-C port.
The 10.1-inch screen is slightly smaller than the Surface 3 at 10.8 inches. Reviewers have noted that the HA keyboard feels small and takes some time for adjustment, and has a “plasticky” feel.
Also new at Computex is an updated version of the HP Pavilion 10 X2 which came out last year. This Windows 10 iteration is due out in Summer with HP switching out the Intel Atom Bay Trail processor for the Cherry Trail. Like last year’s X2, the updated model will come with 2 GB of memory, with the possibility of a 4 GB variation coming out as well. The 2014 model has a maximum storage capacity of only 32 GB, and it is not known at this time whether that will be expanded upon.
The Pavilion 10 X2 is slim and very lightweight. The tablet and keyboard weigh a combined 800 grams. It features a USB Type-C connector and leveled-up speakers courtesy of Bang & Olufsen. It has a smallish 10.1-inch display with wide bezels.
Lower Price Point Usually Means Cheaper Build
Any wiggle room in pricing is a give and take with build quality. Both of the lower-spec Asus and HP models aim to come in priced lower than $400 for both the tablet and the keyboard. That is more than $100 lower than retail for the Surface 3.
Quality that you can feel is one major selling point for the Surface line. Many of the early reviews for Surface 3 laud its tangible features—users simply like the way it looks and feels, so much that it has begun getting mentioned in the same breath as the Apple iPad in regards to media consuming pleasure. Plus, it has a kickstand.
Adding peripherals (a detachable keyboard, stylus pen) makes the Surface 3 a legitimate production tool. Using a tablet in this way amplifies the importance of the feel of the machine. Paying for durability becomes a wise value proposition for such a production tool.
Microsoft: Equal Parts Products and Software
Earlier this year I examined Microsoft’s transformation from a software company to a product company under Satya Narayana Nadella. It appears the company’s hard-charging comeback is fueled by products like the Surface Pro 3 and the Lumia smartphone, as well as turning the corner by embracing freemium software (Office 365 and Skype) and the Work & Play bundle.
With Windows 10, Microsoft finds itself in a position to develop products specifically for the software they are creating. Doing so successfully would be a first in the history of the company, and it would appear that Microsoft is well on its way with Windows 10 and the products Microsoft has put around it. If Microsoft can pull this off it would find itself breathing Apple’s rarefied air as a company that builds both products and software. To use an industry buzzword, this is the synergy that results from a company producing both the operating system and the machine under the same roof.
This—perhaps more than any other reason—is what makes the Surface 3 the optimal Windows 10 machine: They are built for one another.