I don’t know how Lenovo did it but they have. The Lenovo X1 Tablet keyboard is amazing, and an engineering highlight. It’s got that classic Thinkpad feel of silky key-tops and solid, confidence-inspiring mechanics. There’s a touchpointer, mechanical mouse buttons and a touchpad. There’s even a backlight. Video overview, including the Lenovo X1 tablet itself, below.
IFA 2015 has brought us a range of new and upgraded convertible PCs but the one that I’ve had at the top of my list for a while is the Acer Switch 11V which seems to offer just the right balance of features for a Core M 2-in-1. The problem is that Lenovo are launching the Miix 700 which might be an even better option because it uses the latest Core M generation. The Acer Switch 11V has taken so long to get to market that it’s still using the first generation. Acer might need to adjust some pricing on the 11V if they want to see it compete successfully.
Acer have done a reasonable job of keeping the looks and plastics from feeling cheap but the Switch 11V isn’t a style-statement. Inside you’ll find a ‘proper’ SSD connected via a SATA port. Speeds aren’t known at this stage but expect it to outperform something like the Surface 3. The performance of the Switch 11V can’t be determined by Core M model number because, as with all Core M builds, it depends on how well the Acer engineers have designed the internal airflow and heat-sinking. A full test will be needed to determine that.
I liked the keyboard but the trackpad needs longer term testing before it can be evaluated.
A 28 Wh battery inside the Acer Switch 11V is a little small when you compare it to the 41 Wh of the Lenovo Miix 700 and that’s going to really affect battery life. If you’re looking for an all-day battery-powered mobile PC solution the Switch 11V isn’t it.
Take a look at the video to get a good overview of the Acer Aspire Switch 11V.
An early sample of the 12.5-inch Asus Transformer Book T300FA 2-in-1 has been reviewed by Ultrabookreview. The 812 gram fanless tablet (1.79 pounds) is not as light as the ASUS Chi but at around 600 Euro (based on one online pre-order price) it looks like a good value and yet powerful 2-in-1. A 1366×768 screen might put off those thinking about replacing a laptop for productive use but there’s a nice feature in the docking-keyboard drive-bay.
ASUS Transformer Book T300FA runs on Core M
A few noteworthy take-aways from the review include the relatively slow eMMC disk speeds. They’re no faster than a $200 PC and should have been better. Having said that there’s a disk bay that can be used. It’s a USB-connected SATA interface and speeds, with the right SSD, should be better than the eMMC. Unfortunately that wasn’t tested in the review. The other slightly disappointing thing is the battery which, at 30Wh is small for a 1.6KG total weight. ASUS haven’t put a battery in the dock so you’re looking at around 5 hours of browsing on the tablet and less if you’re docked to the hard drive.
Core M performance is as we would expect with Ultrabook-level 3D performance and sub-Ultrabook CPU performance which is impressive on a fanless device. Weight still needs to come down though so for the best ultra-mobile PC experience on a 12.5-inch 2-in-1 you’ll have to wait for the ASUS Transformer Book Chi.
As I continue my review of the HP Pro X2 410 G1 [first impressions] I’m acutely aware of what’s going on around it this week. The Surface Pro 3 and new products and announcements at Computex have us all thinking about larger-screen tablets and 2-in-1s. One competitor was from HP themselves as Microsoft held up the Pro X2 612 on stage at their keynote. It offers a full HD screen, SSD and Wacom options that aren’t available with the X2 410. It also offers a range of CPUs that start with a Celeron (4th gen Core) and go up to Core i5.