Lenovo is making moves to take a bite out of the Microsoft Surface Pro, revealing its 12-inch IdeaPad Miix 700 tablet-meets-laptop 2-in-1 hybrid at the IFA consumer technology fair. And it has a number of additional features that put it a notch ahead of the Surface Pro.
First, there's a Bluetooth keyboard in the box, so you needn't fork out extra cash to buy one. But that makes this 2-in-1 feel less tablet (like the Miix brand has been used for in the main) and more laptop replacement. It fixes tight (like, really tight) using strong magnets and can fold up to protect the screen.
Second, there are two full-size USB ports (although only one is USB 3.0) on the Lenovo rather than the single one found on the Surface Pro 3. Again, it's better positioned for more laptop-like tasks.
Third - and not everyone will see this as a benefit - there's an optional Intel RealSense camera on the rear. Yes, the rear. Which is perhaps a bit oddly placed for RealSense's facial recognition login features, but the camera can also be used for depth measurements and augmented reality types of use too - although we're still not convinced about its accuracy at this stage.
To look at the two products could easily be confused as the same (ignoring the jazzy rose gold colour we've shot): running Windows, well built, with a metallic finish and rigid freely adjustable kickstand to the rear to hold everything into place, there's even an included stylus with each. No complaints in terms of how solid everything feels; this Lenovo is easily an acceptable laptop replacement.
Under the hood the Miix 700 sports an Intel Core M7 processor (the latest Skylake version) and Intel HD Graphics whichever model you choose. Then things get a little more complex as there are varying options for up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB SSD, LTE connectivity and a screen resolution up to 2160 x 1440 pixels (matching the Surface Pro 3) - but it depends which model you choose.
In terms of power that's not going to quite rival the Surface Pro 3, as Lenovo has opted for the fanless Core M option. Plus with a Pro 4 expected in the not-too-distant future the Miix 700's arrival is mid-term between Microsoft's offerings.
So has Lenovo bettered Microsoft? In affordability terms, certainly, as its $699 start price includes stylus and keyboard. But ramp up those specs and you'll be looking at hundreds more and, don't forget, the Microsoft Pro 3 pips this Lenovo in terms of raw power.
It's a close run race, though, with different solutions depending on what's more important for your needs. Here's hoping the UK pricing remains equally competitive when the product goes on sale from November.