BERLIN - Microsoft bills the Surface Pro 3 as a convertible laptop replacement, but Lenovo’s new $699 IdeaPad Miix 700 takes the hybrid tablet/laptop design to the next level. Launched at IFA in Germany, this 2-in-1 takes the Surface elements of a kickstand, pen support, folding keyboard and all, and combines that with key features of Lenovo’s class-leading Yoga 3 Pro. The resulting device is cheaper and more luxurious that Microsoft's laptop killer.
The IdeaPad Miix 700 looks thin and sleek. It features a 12-inch, 2160 x 1440-pixel display, sturdy all-metal body and an attractive detachable leather-backed folio keyboard, which unlike the Surface Pro 3, comes included at no additional cost despite starting at $100 less. Inside, you get a sixth-generation Intel Core M7-CPU, 8GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera and a range of sizes for SSD storage.
When I finally got some hands-on time with the Miix 700 at Lenovo’s launch event, I was impressed by the Miix’s kickstand, which features that distinctive watchband hinge found on the Yoga 3 Pro. The kickstand has an infinite number of positions, and was not limited to just a few stops like Microsoft's less expensive Surface 3. I'm convinced every tablet should come with a built-in kickstand, and the Miix 700 does it right.
My favorite part about the Miix was its keyboard. It feels nearly as good as the one on the Surface 3. It features a well-spaced Chiclet-style design, and the more I used it the more comfortable I got.
When it comes to ports, a USB port sits on both the left and right sides (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0), which makes for one more than you get on any Surface. You'll also find a microHDMI-out and microSD port. This hybrid also comes with a Micro SIM port for LTE or 3G data.
With the Surface Pro 3 more than a year old, the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 really puts pressure on Microsoft to deliver with its next iteration of the Surface platform, which could be announced as soon as October, if the rumors are right. Lenovo plans to start selling the Miix 700, with Windows 10, this coming November.