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Everyone knows the Microsoft Surface now because of the ubiquitous and catchy TV ads, but the rest of the PC industry is trying the same thing: Take a tablet and a separate, but attachable keyboard, and sell them as a hybrid device that can be used as either a tablet or a conventional notebook computer.
We had such good feedback from our recent story "How The Surface Compares With The Other Hybrids" that we thought we'd add three more devices to the list: Sony Xperia, Acer Iconia W5 and Samsung ATIV Smart PC. All 8 devices are included in this story, and the feature charts on page 3 are update to include all as well.
Originally, the premise of the article was that the keyboard had to be part of the OEM tablet and close into a clamshell; and while we've maintained the latter, the Iconia's keyboard snaps on but doesn't fold shut.
Sony Xperia Tablet S
Almost every review you read about the Sony Tablet Xperia S makes a case for the tablet to be a stay-at-home all around family tablet. From its splash-proof protection in the kitchen, a universal remote for the living room and a smudge resistant surface for little fingers, and a guest mode which allows for young people to use it without accessing the web. In this upgrade, Sony moved the speakers from the sides to the bottom so the hands hold it don't inadvertently mute it.
The keyboard/cover though still OEM doesn't open like a clamshell as much as creates an angled rest like the Surface. The angle can't be adjusted and it should come with Android 4.1/4.2 (Jelly Bean) out of the box, instead of 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Acer Iconia W5
The Acer Iconia W5 clearly is a tablet-first hybrid. The keyboard does not close up like the rest in this list. The keyboard dock like many other hybrids has a built-in battery which adds a whopping nine hours of battery life for a total of 18. And that's running Windows 8 (not RT).
The keyboard dock is light maybe too light because when connected in laptop mode the Iconia is prone to tipping. When bent backwards what Acer calls the "twist" the keyboard serves as a stand for the tablet.
Samsung ATIV Smart PC
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC's keyboard dock incorporates a touchpad and two USB 2.0 ports, but doesn't include an additional battery, so, again, the tablet is top-heavy and when using it as a laptop literally in your lap you're holding it in place with your wrists.
Like other full Windows 8 installs on a growing number of hybrids, users will be tempted to install beefy applications like they would on an ultrabook, but the specs don't support it. According to Tom's Hardware, after Windows 8 is installed, you're left with 39 GB of built-in storage on the ATIV Smart PC. And you'd never buy an ultrabook with 2GB of RAM running any version of Windows.
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.
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.
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.
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 web site 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.
Next Page: Specifications
|Sony Xperia Tablet S||Xperia Tablet Case with Keyboard||10.71 x 10.24 x 1.57 inches||1.3 pounds|
|Acer Iconia W5||Keyboard Dock||10.18 x 6.60 x 0.35 inches||1.3 pounds|
|Samsung ATIV Smart PC||Keyboard Dock||11.60 x 7.20 x 0.50 inches||1.9 pounds|
|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||Spill proof 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.|
|Sony Xperia Tablet S||12 hours||1 MP front
8 MP 1080p rear camera
|Acer Iconia W5||9 hours, 18 hours with keyboard dock||2MP Front-Facing HD Camera
8MP Rear-facing HD camera
Ambient light sensor
Bluetooth® 4.0 + HS
|Samsung ATIV Smart PC||longer battery life||2.0 MP HD Front Camera
5.0 MP HD Rear Camera
|Ambient Light Sensor
|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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.orgGHz; 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|
|Sony Xperia Tablet S||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich||32GB||1.4 GHz Tegra 3.0||1GB DIMM|
|Acer Iconia W5||Windows 8||64GB||1.5 GHz (1 MB Cache)||2GB|
|Samsung ATIV Smart PC||Windows 8||64GB||1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U||4 GB DDR3|
|Dell XPS 10||Window 8 RT||32GB or 64 GB||
|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|
|Sony Xperia Tablet S||Micro-SD
Multi-port for HDMI and USB (Can use only one at a time)
|2 on the bottom. Sony didn't specify the exact specs, except saying they ’re not on the sides where the hands can cover them.||9.4"
|Acer Iconia W5||1 Micro USB 2.0 Port
1 Micro-HDMI with HDCP support
MicroSD memory slot up to 32GB (SDHC 2.0 compatible)
|"High-definition audio support"
Two Built-in Stereo Speakers
Integrated Digital Microphone
1366 x 768 pixels
|Samsung ATIV Smart PC||1 Micro HDMI
Multi-media Card Reader
|Stereo Speakers (1W x 2) SoundAlive
Internal Dual Array Digital Mic
1920 x 1080 pixels
|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 (wide screen) 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|
|Sony Xperia Tablet S||$399||$99||$498|
|Acer Iconia W5||$599||$150||$749|
|Samsung ATIV Smart PC||$599||$100||$699|
|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|