Microsoft Surface Alternatives

We take a look at some alternatives to Microsoft’s flexible mobile device

The humble laptop has come a long way since the bulky blocks with tiny screens we once called portable. Once weighing almost as much as a flatscreen monitor, laptops now come in much more streamlined form, with ultra-thin and compact versions making the portable form factor indispensable for many.

Eventually, technology evolved even more and we were graced with the arrival of the PDA, which in turn heralded the tablet and modern smartphone. These touchscreen devices opened up a whole new world of possibilities, with input being freed from the standard keyboard and mouse touchpad. Touchscreens allowed greater ease of use, not to mention a whole heap of new application types.

The problem with a lot of portable touchscreen devices is a lack of power. Although the performance of such devices, like the ubiquitous iPad, has increased, with tablets that now offer more power than ever before, users who need the kind of power you’d usually find within a desktop computer have found options lacking. Some professions and interests simply don’t work well with such devices. Writing, for example, isn’t something you really want to do on a tablet, as touchscreen keyboards are, for many, no alternative to a real keyboard. This has relegated touch devices to more casual use or for less demanding tasks. By far the most common uses of these are social networking, casual gaming, small-scale remote work and general daily tasks. This is good, but wouldn’t it be good to have a device that had it all? A device that could do everything a tablet can do, with the added bonus of also delivering proper laptop functionality. Well, there is just that kind of device, with one of the most popular being Microsoft’s Surface.

On The Surface

For the unaware, Microsoft’s line of Surface systems are hybrid laptop tablet devices. Using a rather nifty combination of touchscreen tablet and detachable, portable keyboard, the unit brings the best of both worlds to users. Seen by many as the best ‘2-in-1’ option around, the Surface range successfully bridges the gap between laptop and tablet and has some of the most powerful models on the market, with the Surface Pro being the current high-end version.

Able to function as a fully fledged laptop, thanks to the attachable keyboard, and as a tablet complete with stylus, it’s a device favored by users of all kinds, from casual to professional, students to industry experts.

This all sounds like a sales pitch, sure, but the Surface really has changed the portable market, so much so that it’s already spawned a host of clones and alternatives. This is good, because the Surface range isn’t cheap. That’s not a price for everyone, and for less you could actually get a far more powerful desktop PC or standard laptop. What if you want the flexibility of a Surface, but can’t afford it or if you actually want more power and can spend even more? Well, those clones we mentioned may just be your answer.

Thanks to the success of the portable market and Microsoft’s Surface, there are now plenty of other options to choose from, many of which cost less than Microsoft’s system and some that may even have superior features. We’re going to take a look at some of these here, exploring what alternatives you can find for your budget.

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It comes with a good keyboard and specialized pen. When docked, it functions as a rock solid laptop, but whatever configuration you use it in, it’s a powerful option, one that’s targeted at high-end users who need this kind of power in a 2-in-1.

Although it’s powerful, it’s also expensive, which is quite a chunk of change.

That’s just a few of the possible 2-in-1s you can get that offer an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface, so remember to shop around online for the best deals, and don’t always go for the most popular device right away. You may regret it.

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