Samsung's Galaxy TabPro S

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Clone Devices Battle It Out At CES 2016

The Microsoft Surface Pro product line has been a great success. If you want proof of its success, just take the popularity of its design at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past week, where numerous tablet/laptop hybrids appeared on the show floor in an attempt to capture the Surface Pro 4’s appeal.

First in line is the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. To be fair, Samsung produced pen-enabled Windows tablets before Microsoft did, but turned to Android, as Windows tablets weren’t profitable for the Korean company. However, now that Microsoft has succeeded, Samsung has decided to get back into the game with their new tablet.

The Verge describes Samsung’s latest device as “an Android tablet running Windows 10” and, overall, the publication is thrilled about the tablet, particularly its display.

“But the star of the show is unsurprisingly Samsung’s Super AMOLED display, which measures 12 inches diagonally and has a 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution. Its bright, colorful, and has great viewing angles, which will come as no surprise anyone that’s used a recent Samsung smartphone.”

The review goes on to note that Samsung claims its power-efficient display helps the device last 10.5 hours on a single charge, a feature that hasn’t been tested yet. In addition, Samsung has made software that allows TabPro S owners to link their Galaxy phones to the tablet and use them for fingerprint authentication.

Samsung’s Surface Pro-like device has incited a lot of excitement on Twitter.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Many new devices are trying to copy the design and success of the Surface Pro 4. [Photo via Daryl Deino]
Next up is Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1, which copies the Surface Pro 4 concept and builds on it. PCWorld is impressed with Lenovo’s effort.

“The ThinkPad X1 starts as an 8.4 mm thin, 1.75-pound tablet that fattens to 13 mm and 2.4 pounds total when you attach the included keyboard. This is basically a Surface clone, but arguably with a much better standard keyboard.”

The article adds that the Surface Pro-like tablet also includes up to a sixth-generation Intel Core M7 CPU, a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and an Intel Skylake Core M7 processor. The cheapest configuration starts at $899 and should be available during the first quarter of 2015.

Toshiba is next in line in the Surface Pro 4 clone wars with the dynaPad, a 12-inch Windows 10 tablet device that promises to give consumers an almost true pen-on-paper experience with its TruePen stylus, Wacom support and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. CNET was pretty impressed with the device.

“At 6.9mm thick and just 1.28 pounds (580 grams), it’s among the most travel-friendly of Windows tablets…Inside is an Intel Atom CPU, along with up to 4GB of RAM. But for drawing and sketching, you may not need much more, especially as the active pen promises Wacom support and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.”

Even though the dynaPad isn’t as powerful as the Surface Pro 4, it will only cost $569 and should be available by the end of January. Toshiba hasn’t had significant success with any of their tablets and the company certainly hopes that the dynaPad will be a game changer for them.

The main problem with most of these Surface Pro 4 clones is that they run on a mobile processor (Intel Core M) rather than powerful desktop processors, such as the Intel i5 or Intel i7. The mobile processors save battery life, which may be good for those who need nothing more than an office-on-the-go mobile tablet/laptop hybrid. It remains to be seen if any of these clones will be be as successful as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4.

[Photo by John Locher/AP Images]