Those willing to take the plunge on a tablet for this upcoming holiday season have three serious contenders to choose from. Two of those competing devices are actually hybrids - meaning the screen is detachable to form a high-end tablet. For this article, we will look at Google's Pixel C, Microsoft's Surface Book and Apple's iPad Pro.
Apple iPad Pro
The iPad series continues to be a popular choice amongst consumers seeking a good balance between power and size. True to Apple's nature, not much has been revealed in the days leading up to the iPad Pro's release date, which will fall somewhere in November.
Education is one market the Cupertino-based tech giant has its eye on. Recently, the Head of Computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence, Fraser Speirs, gave a review via a series of tweets.
Fraser noted that the iPad Pro's wide display and powerful performance allows for excellent multi-tasking. The educator saw no noticeable drop in speed while running apps. However, the only negative comment he gave concerned the price.
"Too expensive for mass deployment to pupils but potentially awesome teacher's machine," he explained.
While the average the high school student may not be able to afford the device, those entering college may find the device useful - albeit at a very pricey range.
Microsoft Surface Book
Reaching store shelves near the end of this month, the Surface Book is Microsoft's newest hybrid. Hence, comparisons will be drawn between the Surface Book and its Surface Pro 4 cousin. Both shared a Monday, October 26, release date.
According to well-published tech observer Paul Thurrott, the Surface Book's keyboard is virtually identical in length and width to that of the Surface Pro 4. What is notable is that Microsoft is offering full-size keyboard capability. This should make daily operation more comfortable.
Surface Book users can adjust brightness with two methods either thru "screen brightness toggle" or thru "the power options". Also, the keys do light up, which is useful in a darkened environment.
Unlike a laptop, the heart of the device is situated in the top half that contains the display. Hence, the top part is detachable to create a tablet. Re-attaching the top and bottom brings the Surface Book back to so-called notebook mode.
Performance is one area where the Surface Book does well for its size. The device sports an Intel Core i5 processor along with a separate Nvidia GeForce graphics card. There is 8 GB of RAM, and an internal storage capacity of 128GB. This arrangement allows the Surface Book to perform as a low-end gaming device.
The fact that the Surface Book can easily transform from entertainment rig to note-taking handset is useful for college students. Even so, the aspiring academic is going to have to shell out at least $1,699 to buy this device.
Google Pixel C
Not even Google is staying out of the tablet/hybrid game. With its Pixel C, the company is planning to step into that fierce market as well. So far, Google has kept hush-hush about the actual release date, though many observers believe the Pixel C will be out when the Winter Holidays (including Christmas and Thanksgiving) are in full swing.
Keep in mind that the Pixel C does not have a full keyboard, which may be harder on the fingers. Like the Surface Book, the Pixel C's screen is detachable to form a tablet. Another thing to note is that the Pixel C is not expected to perform like a notebook. In fact, the Android-based device is not capable of running multiple apps across the screen, according to Computer World.
Hence, professionals will find it difficult to enjoy the same productivity offered in an iOS and Windows-based system. In short, the Pixel C is much better suited at casual browsing and basic typing.
The device sells at about $499. Users should note that the keyboard is sold separately at $149. Still, this is cheaper than what Microsoft and Apple is currently offering on their versions of the higher-powered tablet.