How The Surface Compares With The Other Hybrids

Jan 16, 2013 (06:01 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at

We have updated this review to add three more devices, the Sony Xperia, Acer Iconia W5 and Samsung ATIV Smart PC. Click here to read our updated review. .

When Microsoft Surface hit Best Buy shelves two weeks before Christmas, consumers were able for the first time to hold the tablet and compare it to similar products, like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and others (see below). Until then, consumers could only see the device in ads and test it in one of the 70 Microsoft stores and kiosks in the U.S.

Click here for a hands-on review of the Microsoft Surface Pro

Despite the Surface's physical similarity to other tablets, the specs are not always displayed. I ran a side-by-side spec comparison of hybrid tablets from Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba, Microsoft, and Dell. To be considered a hybrid, each tablet must have an OEM keyboard that closes like a clamshell for a notebook-like look.

There are many similarities between the tablet/keyboard hybrid models. All are around 10 inches and have 90 percent or more of standard keyboard size. (Keyboards are typically sold separately).

Dell XPS 10

With a starting price of $499, the Dell XPS 10 has an advantage over Microsoft Surface. The XPS has a battery built into the keyboard. Dell says it provides "all-day productivity." Expect five to seven hours per battery for a total of 10 to 14 hours.

Microsoft Surface

The Surface is Microsoft's flagship Windows 8 tablet product. Consumers who don't know the difference between storage space and memory can purchase the Surface and know that it is backed by the OS developer. Windows 7 and below had performance issues with underpowered hardware and Microsoft didn't want to risk that same problem with Windows RT. Microsoft is following in Apple's footsteps with hardware and software to be built by the same manufacturer. The price? $628 with an optional keyboard.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer was the first of the major brands to introduce the detachable keyboard. Variations of this design appeared at the 2011 CES show in Las Vegas, where every manufacturer was searching for the right form factor in products with single screens, dual screens, slide-out keyboards, running Linux, Android and Windows 7. Some devices even ran multiple operating systems.

Unlike the other devices here, the TF101 runs Android. It comes with version 3.2 (Honeycomb) but is upgradable to version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

It is the detachable keyboard that was the innovative feature. Today the design seems to be more standardized due to popular demand. The clamshell design, which allows the keyboard to protect the screen when not in use, is the preferred design. Asus added a battery to the keyboard for a whopping 16-hour battery life.

Next Page: Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx K3011, HP Envy and Specifications

Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx K3011

The IdeaTab Lynx K3011 starts at $599 and has an 11.6-inch display which allows the optional keyboard to be full-sized. Lenovo, more than any other computer manufacturer, is exploring different form factors with the Yoga and the ThinkPad Twist. It has patents pending on the Twist. Other than the Microsoft Surface, this was the only other tablet I held. It feels well-engineered and oddly light, considering how big it is. The keyboard is docked with a click and seems sturdy enough. The 11.6 inch display allows the optional keyboard to be full-sized as well.

HP Envy

The HP Envy is on the pricey side, at $849 per tablet. HP doesn't give you an option to buy the tablet alone — the keyboard is part of the package. To get the real value from Windows RT, you need a keyboard. Unlike the others, it does not add a battery to the keyboard so battery life is limited to 7 hours. It also has an 11.6 inch display.

Like Dell, HP gives customers a wizard when purchasing from the website to upsell customers on items such as a docking station and port replicator. The USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station offers dual video ports that deliver "beyond HD video and graphics" up to 2048 x 1152(1x DVI-I, 1x HDMI ) to two monitors. In addition it includes a DVI to VGA adapter.

Device Keyboard/Touchpad/Docking Station Dimensions Weight
Dell XPS 10 Detachable mobile keyboard dock- 92% full size keyboard with dedicated Windows soft keys Gesture enabled trackpad Tablet only: 9.2 x 274.7 x 177.3mm or .36 x 10.8 x 6.98 inches
Tablet only (WIFI): 635g / 1.4lbs.
Tablet only (LTE): 645g / 1.42lbs.
Tablet+dock: 1310g / 2.89lbs.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Detachable mobile keyboard dock Touchpad input 271 x 176.8 x 12.98 mm 680 gm
Lenovo Ideatab Lynx K3011 QWERTY Dock 300.9mm x 188mm x 9.48mm 18.7mm-24.5mm with dock attached 1.5 lbs. tablet, 3 lbs. with optional keyboard
Microsoft Surface Spillproof Touchpad Traditional Typepad 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in 1.5 lbs.
HP Envy X2 11t-g000 11.6-inch diagonal HD LED-backlit IPS Display (1366 x 768) 8.12 x 11.93 x 66 – 76" 3.1 lbs.

Device Battery Life Camera Sensors Wireless
Dell XPS 10 Not specified. Dell promises "all-day productivity" 2MP webcam (front) supporting 720p@30fps
5MP Auto Focus (rear facing)
AGPS (with LTE/HSPA+ configs)
Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0
LTE(USA) and global HSPA+ options
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 9.5 hours, 16 hours with keyboard dock 1.2 MP Front Camera, 5 MP Rear Camera G-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-Compass, GPS WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz; Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
Lenovo Ideatab Lynx K3011 8 hours, 16 hours with keyboard dock 2.0M front camera G-sensor, ALS, Proximity sensor, E-compass BT 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Microsoft Surface Not specified. 31.5 W-h battery Two 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth
HP Envy X2 11t-g000 Up to 7 hours Front and Rear Facing Cameras. 8 megapixel back camera Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor 802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth

Device Operating System Storage Options Processor RAM
Dell XPS 10 Window 8 RT 32GB or 64 GB
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz DC processor with 32GB Flash Storage or
  • Qualcomm SnapdragonS4 1.5GHz DC processor with 64GB Flash Storage
Not Specified
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Android 3.2 Honeycomb O.S.(4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgradable) with Adobe Flash 10.2 support 16GB/32GB; Two USB ports, SD and Micro SD card readers NVIDIA Tegra 2 1.0GHz dual-core 1GB
Lenovo Ideatab Lynx K3011 Windows 8 RT 32GB/64GB Intel ATOM Z2760 (Dual Core 1.80Ghz) 2GB LPDDR2
Microsoft Surface Windows 8 RT 32GB/64GB Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 2GB RAM
HP Envy X2 11t-g000 Windows 8 RT 64GB SSD Intel Atom Z2760 (1.80GHz) + Intel Graphics 2GB 533MHz LPDDR2 SDRAM

Device Ports Audio Display
Dell XPS 10 Micro-USB, Micro-SD, Micro-SIM, 3.5mm headset, 40-pin dock connector (supporting HDMI via adapter) Stereo speakers with dual digital array microphones 10.1-INCHHD Display (1366x768) with capacitive multi-touch
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Micro SD supports up to 32GB, Micro HDMI, Micro USB, 2 USB 2.0 (on keyboard dock) 3D stereo with max bass response with SRS premium sound IPS panel with 178 degree viewing angle made of scratch-resistant and super tough glass
Lenovo Ideatab Lynx K3011/td> Micro SD supports up to 32GB, Micro HDMI, Micro USB, 2 USB 2.0 (on keyboard dock) Dual built-in stereo speakers, Dual digital microphone, 3.5mm Combo microphone jack 11.6" HD IPS display (1366x768 HD)
Microsoft Surface USB 2.0, MicroSDXC card slot, HD video out port, Cover port 2 microphones, Stereo speakers, Headset jack 10.6" ClearType HD Display (1366x768 pixels) 16:9 (widescreen) 5-point multi-touch
HP Envy X2 11t-g000 2 USB 2.0, HDMI Stereo speakers, Headset jack 11.6" HD LED-backlit IPS Display (1366 x 768)

Device Price Keyboard/Docking Station Total Price
Dell XPS 10 $499 $180 $679
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 $399 $175 (Has built-in battery) $574
Lenovo Ideatab Lynx K3011 $599 $149 $748
Microsoft Surface $499 $119, $129 $618.00 – $628
HP Envy X2 11t-g000 $849.99 Keyboard Included $849.99

Next Page: Summary


If you're looking for the most processor for your buck, the Surface's Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 would play a large factor in your decision. But that's the difference between hybrids and laptops. Where bragging rights on laptops where earned on processor and RAM, on hybrids they're on display, battery life, and versatility.

None of these 5 hybrids separated themselves with a display better than 1366 x768. In contrast, the iPad's Retina display has a 2048 x 1536.

Long battery life like the 16 hours battery life in the Lenovo Ideatab is a game-changer -- beating even the iPad by 5 hours. For the first time, a laptop/hybrid user can do work without being tethered to the wall and not race the power indicator to zero.

Other than the HP Envy, the pricing is deceptive because to get the real value out of these hybrids, you'll need a keyboard, which can boost the price as much as $180. But in some cases, the keyboard increases the value because it extends battery life.