Imitation or flattery? Lenovo’s latest hybrid is suspiciously similar to the Surface Pro 3

Lenovo unveiled a host of new laptops and tablets at IFA this year, but, out of the humdrum of incremental updates, it was the Ideapad Miix 700 that caught my eye. Appearing to have borrowed everything from Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, apart from the terrible name, Lenovo’s 12in hybrid isn’t a mindless knock-off. Having delved beyond outer appearances, the Miix 700 seems to be a far more wallet-friendly prospect than Microsoft’s near-perfect hybrid.

Imitation or flattery? Lenovo’s latest hybrid is suspiciously similar to the Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is the best hybrid device on the market right now, topping our

best laptops list in the hybrid category, so it’s surprising nobody has copied its design sooner. The Miix 700 has the same sleek frame as the Pro 3, even including a smooth kickstand hinge using Lenovo’s Yoga 3 watchband hinge technology, but, despite the similarities, it isn’t a complete clone of Microsoft’s device.

For those excited by the Surface Pro 3 but perturbed by its ludicrous price, Lenovo may have you covered as the Miix 700 starts at just €999. For that price you’ll get Lenovo’s take on the indispensible Type Cover, already making it better value than the cheapest Pro 3 – even if it’s unclear exactly what spec machine you’ll be buying.

However, there is a caveat to the low price: all run off Intel’s Skylake Core M chipset. This shouldn’t be an issue for most, but, even with the performance boosts found within Skylake-era chips, it can’t compare to the raw power found in the Intel Core series. That said, the Core M series is far more battery-friendly, meaning more time using your new hybrid without having to have it plugged in.

RealSense Camera

On top of improved battery and a free magnetic keyboard, Lenovo has also added an extra USB 3 port, replaced the Surface’s Display Port with a mini-HDMI and will include LTE functionality and Intel’s RealSense camera, if you want. If the baseline model doesn’t provide enough heft for you, Lenovo is offering the Miix 700 with up to 8GB RAM, 256GB of Storage and a Core M7.

Hopefully with Lenovo now daring to draw cues from Microsoft’s school of design, other manufacturers will do so too. In time we could see a revolution in hybrid tablets, allowing us to burn hateful and dated clamshell designs and rigid, plastic bluetooth keyboards in a ritualistic fire.

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