Given the massive popularity of Microsoft’s Surface and Surface Pro lines, it’s not hard to see why other tech giants in the hybrid and convertible computer game would want to emulate the success of this do-it-all device. What is slightly surprising is that one of the world’s leading computer makers, Lenovo, would launch a product that is a near-replica of it. More than one user at Lenovo’s big launch at IFA was overheard saying the Miix 700 was “like a Microsoft Surface, but better”. That is to say, it looks just like a Microsoft Surface that has had its branding replaced with Lenovo’s name. Perhaps I should have titled this “Introducing the Lenovo Surface”…
The real key to successful imitation, in my humble opinion, is to take a product people already love and find a way to make it better. Sure, it’s a little sneaky and not terribly imaginative, but it worked for Samsung, right? At least that’s what Apple claims... In the case of Lenovo’s Surface – er, Ideapad Miix 700 – they took the form, shape, functionality and effortless shape-shifting that made the Surface so popular and tricked out the insides with a very Lenovo-like attention to performance and power. As far as the similarities go, they are pretty prominent. The magnetic keyboard cover allows the tablet to quickly switch to laptop mode, while the hinged kickstand on the back makes for easier lap work. According to Lenovo, theMiix 700 features “dual watchband hinges, opening the door for new and disruptive ways to work and play with seamless transition between laptop, stand and tablet mode – ideal for those who value stylish and progressive design”. Still, it’s nearly a dead ringer for the Surface, even down to the stylus.
Lenovo admits that the Miix 700 was “inspired by” the Surface, and they appear to have included just enough tweaks to the insides to allow users to differentiate between the two. The 12-inch Lenovo tablet is powered by Intel’s latest Skylake processors ranging all the way up to the Core m7, which can be coupled with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of SSD storage capacity. While it does not come standard, the option to add Intel’s RealSense 3D camera, which allows you to capture depth images from the rear camera or log into Windows 10 via face recognition, should be a big selling point for those in pursuit of “the latest and greatest”. The display screen comes loaded with integrated Intel HD graphics and sports a resolution of up to 2160 x 1440, and the keyboard is decidedly Lenovo, with keys that are more spaced out and resistant than those of the Surface. So what does Microsoft have to say about all this imitative flattery? Surprisingly, given their technological philosophy as a whole, the Miix 700 may very well have received their blessing. Microsoft has made their stance on technological advancements pretty clear in recent years, placing more importance in blazing trails with products that empower the entire industry than helping just themselves. Plus, they are launching their own reimagined Surface and Surface Pro this November, the same time the Ideapad Miix 700 is slated to hit shelves - for $100 less, of course.
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