Read my Surface RT review and you’ll get a take for just how much I loved the Surface RT. I think it was an incredible device for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, after two successors, Microsoft has all but abandoned the standard Surface line, opting to focus on the Surface Pro along with their other new products.
Revisiting my Surface RT made me realize that I really miss having that type of device in my arsenal, so I did what any sane tech geek would do and scoured the internet for a suitable modern successor to the Surface RT. I was surprised to find that there are actually very few Windows 10 tablets on the market today, and many of them are either very low end or very high end.
The Lenovo Miix 320 is definitely closer to the low end, but made for a compelling product that I was excited to check out. Does it fit the bill?
While Samsung is well known for manufacturing phones, they are a less prominent laptop maker. I don’t think it’s always been that way; I remember years ago going to a Best Buy and seeing the latest laptop from Samsung which at the time was advertised as the thinnest laptop in the world. While I don’t remember what model it was, I think it was quite a bit under half an inch while most laptops at the time were still pushing an inch of thickness.
It’s because of that unpopularity though that I haven’t ever gotten the chance to use a premium Samsung Windows laptop. The NoteBook 9 Pro is my first trial. I am surprised to say that I will definitely consider Samsung when purchasing my next premium laptop, and I would have never said that before.
If you’ve used a Surface Pro 3 or newer, you might have a good idea for how Surfaces became part of the conversation for the best computer hardware. While some may argue there are better devices out there, the Surface line invented the two-in-one space that is thriving today. After the Surface Pro 3, the subsequent devices have been relatively iterative in design, but along with the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft announced the first Surface Book. The Surface Book was supposed to be perfect for Surface fans who just found the Surface Pro to be insufficient for laptop use.
Microsoft’s VP of Devices, Panos Panay, was really excited to show off the “innovative” design of the fulcrum hinge and the electric lock mechanism that held the clipboard tablet portion to the keyboard.
Personally, I was really excited for the Surface Book, because after I left college I used my Surface Pro 3 a lot less. So a few months after the announcement, I purchased a Surface Book. Then I returned it for a Surface Pro 4. Then I got another Surface Book for work. And another for home.
All in, I think I’ve owned four Surface Books. So it is with some confidence that I can say that they are an overengineered mess.
As I mentioned in my post about my favorite smartphones, the Moto Z Play released in 2016 is one of my favorite budget phones. The Moto Z Play hit all of the right notes in price, design, battery life, and functionality. I was excited to try it’s successor, the Moto Z2 Play, which was released last year. The Z2 Play was not received well by many reviewers, as the Snapdragon 626 processor and smaller battery was seen as a sidegrade from its predecessor.
After a few days with the Z2 Play, I was ready to call it my new favorite budget phone. Until Verizon rained on my parade.
If you’ve read my other posts on this site, you might already know that I was a big Microsoft fan a couple years ago. I started my journey when I bought a Surface RT on the launch day in a Microsoft Store. For the next few years, the only computers I purchased were Surfaces. When I purchased my Surface Pro 2, I kept the original RT in my dorm room for some time before passing it down to my mom. My mom used it in tandem with a traditional laptop for a couple years, but never got extensive use out of it. Now, more than 5 years after buying my Surface RT, I have retrieved it from storage, and I plan to tell you what it’s like to use the Surface RT.
I have never been considered myself a Pixel / Nexus “purist”. There are a number of Android fans out there who believe that Google’s more slimmed down version of Android is the best because it doesn’t have all of the bloat that Samsung’s or LG’s versions do. I prefer not calling it “stock” android, because I know that Google adds quite a bit, but it does feel generally cleaner.
The Pixel 2 XL was released last Fall, and received with a lot of criticism. I can confidently say that if you want a more “pure” Android experience, no other phones will compare to the Pixel 2 XL.
Instead of iterating again with a Samsung Gear S4 this year, Samsung took a side step from the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic by releasing the Gear Sport. Instead of replacing the Gear S3, the Sport was made to round out Samsung’s smartwatch line with a smaller, sportier option than the larger Frontier and Classic. Samsung is trying to compete with Apple’s Watch, which is applauded for its exercise tracking abilities. Unlike Apple’s Watch Series 3, Samsung is not offering an LTE model of the Sport. Although Samsung has solidified its smartwatch line, and the Sport may be one of the best smartwatches Samsung has ever made, it’s a good thing they didn’t call it the Gear S4, because it’s quite an iterative upgrade.