We're in the market for a Windows laptop or tablet to replace Father's ancient (nine years old!) desktop but we have some very stringent requirements:

  • If the device is a laptop, the (touch) display must be detachable from the keyboard. A 2-in-1 laptop with a display that merely folds back does not meet this requirement.
  • If the device is a tablet, it must have a kickstand and support a keyboard accessory that attaches directly to the tablet.
  • The system should be lightweight and reasonably compact, preferably with a display between 11" and 12.5" in size and a tablet-only (keyboard detached) weight of no more than about 1.0-1.2 lbs.
  • The system should have good sustained performance. A Core i3/i5/i7 processor (type U) is preferable; systems equipped with an Atom processor do not meet this requirement, and Core m processors (type Y, e.g. m5-6Y54) are less than ideal.
    • I may be willing to settle for Core m, but only if the processor maintains reasonable clock speeds under continuous load (e.g. throttling down to something like 1.2 GHz after a few minutes of load is not acceptable).
  • The tablet-only battery life should be at least six hours under a typical light load such as Web browsing or video playback.
  • 250 GB+ storage capacity, active pen input, and discrete GPU are pluses, but are by no means necessary.
  • Price should be no more than US$2000 new.

The Surface Pro 4 with Core i7, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD ($1600) seems to fit these requirements best, but I'm concerned that it may be a bit too heavy.

Any ideas? The first two requirements and the sustained performance requirement are the only ones that are truly mandatory; some compromises elsewhere may be acceptable.

  • Surface book starts out at way over 2kUSD, and weighs in around 3.3 to 3.5Lbs. Just doing a cursory search around newegg and other tech oriented online stores, I honestly think your product requirements are a bit grandiose. Jan 1, 2017 at 3:11
  • Expanded upon the performance requirements a bit. The desktop has a very slow dual-core processor (AMD K8) so the bar isn't too high, but I don't want to see performance fall off a cliff if the CPU is maxed for more than a few minutes.
    – bwDraco
    Jan 1, 2017 at 3:12
  • On my laptop albeit a gaming system I just have CPU C-states disables, so the CPU is running at max all the time, Lowers battery life by three hours, but when compiling kernel packages for custom Linux builds, or running other things......I prefer performance. There are always things you can do within the OS or BIOS to eke more performance.......wow, a K8....great for overclocking lol. my desktop is an FX-6100 @ 4.2Ghz....only reason I got an intel laptop, is well, no good AMD based ones. Jan 1, 2017 at 3:16
  • Couple of quick suggestions would be to look at the Toshiba Z20t series, and the Lenovo Miix 700 series. Most machines with Core-M processors have sufficient cooling to maintain reasonably high (boost) sustained clock speeds.
    – Bob
    Jan 1, 2017 at 6:37
  • 2
    IMO, what you're looking for actually seems more on the tablet end of the spectrum (less powerful, more portable) Since you're looking at Microsoft already, why not the Surface Pro? Reviews suggest it lasts longer on battery, the i7 model's Iris 540 is if not better, then just as good as the underclocked 940M in the Surfacebook. It's cheaper too. Unfortunately, it is heavier than your requirements. What exactly will your father be using it for? Atoms of the Bay Trail and Cherry Trail generations are actually quite high performance (though not as much as an Core i- of course)
    – timuzhti
    Jan 1, 2017 at 12:35


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.