Over the weekend, Microsoft confirmed that one of our favorite 2-in-1s -- Microsoft’s non-pro Surface 3 – will be going out of production in December. Even now, it can be tough to find a model with specs you actually want. Currently the only version available on the Microsoft store comes with just 2GB of RAM, LTE and 64GB of eMMC storage. So what is someone who’s looking for a small, or inexpensive 2-in-1 supposed to do?
Many people might advise you to wait, because after 13 months on the market, now would seem like a good time for Microsoft to refresh its hybrid lineup with a new non-pro Surface. The problem is that word on the street says even Microsoft hasn’t made up its mind about what it should do for its entry-level 2-in-1. That’s a real shame because at $500-$600 with keyboard, the Surface 3 was the best small hybrid on the market.
MORE: Best 2-in-1s
If you’re looking for cheap and portable 2-in-1, HP’s $250 Pavilion x2 10t is a great choice that gets even better battery life than the surface, although it is a bit bulkier. Asus’ $200 Chromebook Flip is another option, and with Google Play apps coming to Chrome OS later this summer, the touchscreen-equipped Flip is in a great place to take advantage of the new features.
Dell’s $250 Inspiron 11 3000 would also be another potential target, except that the one we reviewed is last year’s model, and we’re still waiting to get the recently refreshed version in for review. It should be arriving sometime in the next couple of weeks, so check back soon to see of the 2016 model can live up to its Editors’ Choice-winning pedigree.
Moving up to $600 range, Acer’s Aspire R 15 offers a great 15-inch touchscreen, comfy keyboard and lightweight design starting at just $650, although its battery life is a bit disappointing. Or you can go for Lenovo’s 13-inch Miix 700, which gives you the same kickstand plus detachable keyboard design as the Surface. While I didn’t like it very much when it first came out at $750, now that you can get a Miix for as little at $500 (opens in new tab), I’m all in.
The third and final suggestion would be to find a lower specced Surface Pro 3, which I’ve seen new for as little as $600, and combine it with Microsoft’s Type Cover 4. This gives you the best thing about the the Surface Pro 4 – its redesigned folding keyboard – and the best 2-in-1 of its generation, which has actually aged pretty gracefully. The hardest part about this plan is finding a store that still has Surface Pro 3s in stock, because like its non-pro sibling, the SP3 is on its way out too.
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