Thursday, May 22, 2014

Surface Pro 3 vs. ThinkPad Tablet 10

By now, you've heard of the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that's replacing the current Surface Pro 2. The Surface Pro 3 is larger, thinner, and lighter than the Pro 2. It even has a redesigned hinge that makes the tablet much more functional and 9 hrs of battery life sounds very compelling given that this device is powered by an Intel Haswell processor. However, the switch away from Wacom and to an N-Trig pen has me wondering if the new tablet will suffer from digitizer and inking issues. I'm sure that N-Trig has come a long way since their earlier generation pens and technology, but I do not like the fact that the pen requires batteries (especially since AAAA batteries don't last very long and can be a bit more difficult to find).

Although the Surface Pro 3 is improved in so many ways, the main drawbacks for me are: the N-Trig pen and the larger size. If they had stayed with Wacom, then I think it would have been a true winner. But, I don't know that they would have been able to keep the device so think and light if they had stayed with Wacom digitizer technology. The larger size is great if you need a laptop, but if you plan to carry this device around all day and use it while you're standing, then a 10" screen is sufficient and a 12" screen is too much.

One of the other newly announced Windows 8 tablet PCs is the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 10. This is the successor to the thin, light ThinkPad Tablet 2. This time, Lenovo has created what they're calling an "Ultrabook Keyboard" that will deliver a true laptop-like experience when you're typing. One of the major drawbacks of this keyboard: the tablet sits at a single, fixed angle. At least the angle is steeper (and more functional) than the keyboard angle that we saw with its successor: the ThinkPad Tablet 2 and its Bluetooth keyboard. Lenovo has decided to stay with a 3rd generation, low-power Intel Atom processor that delivers plenty of processing capabilities while keeping the device thin and light. Lenovo has stayed with a Wacom pen for this new ThinkPad.

There's no doubt that the ThinkPad Tablet 10 has major improvements over the ThinkPad Tablet 2. However, the major drawbacks for me include: the keyboard is not backlit and the tablet only sits on the keyboard at a fixed angle.

Both the Surface Pro 3 and the ThinkPad Tablet 10 offer major upgrades from previous versions. Let's see what types of "real world" reviews start showing up over the next few months. By then, I'm sure that Dell, HP, Asus, and others will have some new models as well.

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