In September 2020, the Acer Spin 7 was presented. Three months later, the HP Elite Folio did so. Both used in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, and, things in life, a year and a half after that presentation of HP, Xiaomi has decided that it was still a good idea to launch a team with that chip.

That equipment is a convertible tablet: the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″, which, as we can see, is late, but it is also bad. Not only for betting on an ARM chip from almost two years ago, but for wanting to endorse that “Surface philosophy” that continues to be misleading. Why? Well, because of what it seems that they sell you to what they sell you goes a world. Or rather, a keyboard.

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Microsoft keeps confusing us

The fault is not actually with Xiaomi. This particular technological curse began with the launch of the first convertible devices of Microsoft’s Surface family. In many ways the idea was magnificent.: At last it was possible to have a product that could be turned into a laptop and a tablet.

Most of the photos that one sees of the Surface Pro always show it with a keyboard, but what is sold is the tablet without more. The keyboard is purchased separately, and it is not cheap.

Beyond the fact that Windows has not been a very prepared ecosystem for tablets —the operating system has been gradually adapting, many applications not so much—, the problem of the Surface has not been its design or its hardware: We are looking at products with an often impeccable construction and remarkable internal specifications.

The problem is in the photo. You go to the official website of the Surface Pro 8, for example, and it seems that what Microsoft is selling you is a great convertible laptop, with its keyboard cover and integrated touchpad. Not so: the Surface Pro 7 is just the tablet, and one has to pay quite a bit of money to be able to take advantage of it as the photos show.

The Signature Keyboard for Surface Pro with Slim Pen 2 costs 279.99 euros, in fact in the official Microsoft store. If you don’t want that muchthe regular keyboard costs €149.99, but the Slim Pen 2 costs €129.99 on its own.

The comparisons are hateful

Buy therefore a Surface Pro 8 with its keyboard it’s quite expensive, although Microsoft often offers promotions and discounts. At this time it is possible to purchase this tablet (Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD) with the Signature keyboard for Surface Pro and a 15-month subscription to Microsoft 365 for 1,187.99 euros.

lenovo

A complete laptop with similar hardware (but yes, not a convertible) can be much more affordable. This Lenovo model currently costs 599 euros, for example.

The versatility of the product is remarkable, but even if they are hateful, comparisons are inevitable. It is difficult to make equivalent analogies, and the Surface Pro 8 is more expensive, but also much more advanced and powerful than the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″.

In fact, the standard Surface Pro 8 with the keyboard (and the aforementioned offer) costs those 1,187.99 euros in the official Microsoft store. The Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ “complete” will cost 848 euros if we buy it at the official price with its keyboard. What can we buy in those ranges?

A Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14-inch Full HD with a Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD and Windows 10 Home is currently 599 euros on Amazon. Those specifications are similar to those of the Surface Pro 8 (but without the touch screen or the possibility of using it as a tablet, of course), and far superior to those of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″.

If we make the inverse comparison, what could we buy for 1,200 euros, we have teams like the ASUS ZenBook Flip 13convertible similar in orientation, for 1,159 euros.

And if the convertible doesn’t matter much, a Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 (15.6 “Full HD, Ryzen 7 5800H, 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of SSD and an RTX 3060 to play) costs 1,229 euros and is a great proposal for gamers.

Legion

A good gamer team at 1,229 euros, which is more or less what the Surface Pro 8 would cost with the keyboard.

Do we mean by this that the Surface Pro 8 is not worth it? Absolutely: Fortunately the options are there, and if one needs the versatility of that convertible format, the team at Microsoft is a great proposition. As we indicate later, the question has another answer in the case of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 “.

The problem is that the versatility of the Surface Pro 8 and its direct competitors is (very) expensive, and if you don’t need the tablet part, you can save a lot of money (or invest it in gaming-oriented components, as we have seen). The price of the normal keyboards of the Surface Pro or that of the keyboard itself of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is in fact that of a good mechanical gaming keyboard, which even having another orientation seems a priori to have more substance.

The miniaturization and the inclusion of the touchpad partly justify the price of these “keyboard covers”, of course, but in fact users can use those convertible tablets with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse although the “pack” is not so apparent in the photos.

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The problem is that as many manufacturers say they tend to show those convertible tablets as if they were complete equipment when they are not. Microsoft does it with its Surface Pro, Apple does it with its iPad Pro (look at the first image on its official website), Dell does it with its new XPS 13 2 in 1 and of course Xiaomi does it with its recent Book S 12, 4″.

The problem is the same in all cases, but the fact is that manufacturers also they don’t usually offer those packs that allow to buy tablet and keyboard with some discount. Microsoft does it at certain times, yes, but that is usually the exception and not the norm.

Xiaomi, we have a problem

In the aforementioned cases of Microsoft, Apple or Dell, we are usually faced with devices that, at least when they were presented, had state-of-the-art hardware specifications. Even being incomplete teams, “pseudoportables” to which it was necessary to add some keyboard and mouse/touchpad to use them as such, the vision was ambitious and the price of these devices is usually somewhat more justified.

Xiaomi Book S Image Copy 2

The thing is more difficult for the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″, which are certainly much more affordable in appearance, but which offer comparatively worst performance.

The 699 euros (without keyboard, eye) that the Xiaomi tablet costs they seem like a lot of euros for a product with a chip from two years ago, limited in its connectivity and also trying to convince us that Windows 11 for ARM is ready to compete with Windows 11 (or Windows 10) for x86.

Here it remains to be seen whether the proposal is really reasonable, but everything indicates that this seems difficult. External analyzes revealed that for example the HP EliteBook Folio had long battery life (14+ hours), but poor performance: “Compared to similarly priced Intel convertibles, the available performance is clearly less than what these devices offer with their x64 CPUs.”

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And we are talking about a computer that was sold as a laptop with a rigid keyboard, even if it was based on the same chip. The problem is not only in the performance, but in the software compatibilitywhich has improved but as we already mentioned in 2019 in the analysis of the Surface Pro X, it was not entirely ideal.

Xiaomi’s proposal therefore does not seem particularly promising neither in performance nor in price, and although the format is attractive for its versatility, that condemnation of the “Surface philosophy” is here more evident than ever. It will be interesting to see how these teams behave in reality, but the truth is that on paper the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ seem to have arrived late and badly.

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Tarun Kumar

Tarun Kumar has worked in the News sector for 05 years and is currently the Owner and Editor of Then24. He reside in Delhi, India with his Family.

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