New Always Connected PCs are expensive, but here's why it won't matter

Earlier this week Microsoft and Qualcomm unveiled the first Always Connected PCs running Windows 10 on ARM via the Snapdragon 835 chipset. The move is a massive shift towards an all mobile future where modern computing is heading. It is also just the beginning as we expect Lenovo and other manufacturers to jump on board in 2018 – maybe even Microsoft too with its Surface line.

One complaint I heard right away was the $599 starting price for the ASUS NovaGo as being too high. That device features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) LCD panel with 100 percent sRGB, 64GB of storage, support for Windows Ink, a fingerprint scanner, a Precision touchpad and more. The price jumps to $799 for 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

Microsoft reveals 'Always Connected PCs' from HP and ASUS with Windows 10 on ARM

HP also announced the Envy x2 but did not disclose its planned price for its release early next year. Because of the premium materials used, thin design, and HP's tendency to use quality parts it is very likely to come in higher than $799 – though it will likely include the keyboard and smartpen.

Are they too much? I say no, but it is almost beside the point. We're only at the beginning of the Always-Connected PC wave, and there will be many more choices in the future.

For $599, hard to compare

While $599 to $799 is not cheap, or rather the cheapest PCs, I don't find the price extraordinary either.

The iPad Pro at 13-inches starts at $799 for 64GB but goes to $929 when you add in LTE. To be fair, the iPad Pro is in a different league for quality compared to the ASUS NovaGo, so I don't want to draw too many parallels.

The ASUS NovaGo Always Connected PC.

The ASUS NovaGo Always Connected PC.

Something like the ASUS NovaGo does a few things that no other device at that price range achieves. For example:

  • Support for Windows Ink
  • Week-long battery life
  • 4G LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Precision touchpad
  • Color accurate display

Windows Ink support is a big deal. While a touchscreen is one thing that does not mean N-trig pen abilities are present. The Dell XPS 13 is a perfect example. It has a touchscreen but does support smartpens because that is an extra display component, which also adds to the overall cost of the device.

There are no Chromebooks that also support inking at that price range, nor do many support biometric authentication. A 100 percent sRGB display is very hard to achieve and only found in high-end laptops right now.

In other words, for $599 the ASUS NovaGo brings some unique features and quality to the lower-end for the first time. It's difficult to make any direct comparisons because there are very few – if any – devices that share these abilities at this price range.

See at ASUS (opens in new tab)

Nothing precludes going lower

The exciting thing about the NovaGo and HP Envy x2 is that both these PCs do all that Windows 10 can do that is considered special, like having a touch screen, inking, LTE, Precision touchpad, act as a two-in-one computer, etc.

ASUS and HP could have gimped either PC by omitting a digitizer – so no digital inking – made a regular clamshell laptop, or even using just lower quality components like a non-color accurate display. Instead, both companies did what Microsoft prefers and give users the full range of Windows 10 capabilities.

That comes at a price, however, in the literal sense: someone needs to pay for those features.

Regardless, there is no reason why a PC manufacturer can't take out things like inking, a touchscreen, or use a spinning hard-disk drive instead of a pricey solid-state (SSD) one. The result would easily shave off a few hundred dollars from the retail price.

The whole paradigm of the PC is about letting manufacturers target price points and then create devices to meet those choices. That rationale applies to Always Connected PCs too, and I fully expect to see these devices hitting $299 (or even lower) and much higher also. There's no reason why Dell or HP can't make a "high-end" XPS or Spectre with a Qualcomm processor running well past $1,000 if they use quality components and offer value for the performance.

Had ASUS or HP released these devices without significant features of Windows 10 like inking it may have sent the wrong message. Instead, it should be clear now that these are full-fledged PCs and not Netbooks 2.0 with missing features.

The more important point is the NovaGo and Envy x2 are just two of what will be many Always Connected PCs over the next few years. These first PCs don't represent the full range and price points of what this category can achieve. And there is every reason to believe we'll see many hitting lower price points in 2018, which means getting worked up in a tizzy about the prices is likely very premature.

Make no mistake that the Always-Connected PC category shift is a big one for the industry. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we need time to give consumers, the market, and manufacturers time to adjust and respond. Flashback to the post-Windows 8 two-in-one PCs to where we are now, and it is night and day. That process took a few years, but now convertible PCs are here. It's time to give Always Connected PCs time to breathe and mature too.

Further reading

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Well said Dan. Couldn't agree more. Very exciting time for PC's in general I think. With Chinese manufactures coming on in leaps and bounds to compete with the west. The price argument will be gone by the Summer.
  • The cheap chinese Arm PC makers may not be enough, the Snapdargon is a powerful chip on par with a mobile Intel Core M3 but some to much of that peformance will be lost to emulation depending upon the software. The Chinese Arm chips are not comparable to a Snapdragon so the emulation and user expereince will be far worse. You can buy super cheap x86 laptops in China already and they will peform better than low end Arm chips. MS needs to provide a means for the future of desktop Win32 64-bit software across x86/Arm that is not tied to the MS Store, then emulation doesn't matter as it is the fall back option for legacy 32-bit software. Then cheap Arm PC's from China will be much more viable. MS have not done this and UWP remains the only way for third parties to make Arm native software, MS does not know what to do with UWP as it is part of a now dead strategy and Win32 desktop developers are not embracing UWP. Without a clear strategy for the desktop many will be wary of Arm PC's you can already see this on PC fan sites elsewhere, the kind of people MS needs on it's side.
  • You have a disfunctional understanding of UWP, software and hardware bitedness and emulation. None of these things are even remotely related in the way you think they are: Even if W10oA could run Intel x64 bit software, emulation would still be required. The idea that "emulation would not matter as it is the fall back option for legacy 32 bit software" is utter nonesense. AMD's x64 bit instruction set is nothing at all like ARM's 64 bit instruction set, so getting one to run on the other requires emulation. Period. For emulation purposes, MS re- or misuses mechanisms which so far allowed Windows to execute 32 bit binaries on a 64 bit OS. Had MS built an independent emulation solution, then Windows would be able to translate both 32 bit and 64 bit Intel binaries into ARM binaries. That MS didn't build an independent solution is the only reason x86 emulation on ARM is currently tied to software bit'edness. UWP is most certainly not the only means by which third party developers can compile native ARM binaries. Again, the idea that UWP, an API, has anything at all to do with CPU architectures is utter nonsense. It's not the most straight forward procedure, but any Win32 application can be compiled directly for ARM. We can find multiple step-by-step instructions on the internet that descripbe how do to this (here). MS would prefer that developers use the UWP, but there is nothing preventing a half intelligent developer from compiling any Intel/Win32 application natively for ARM. This is exactly how MS compiles MS Office for ARM. Neither software bit'edness nor the CPU architecture that software supports has anything to do with the MS Store. The idea that such low level and hardware related concepts have anything to do with software distribution mechanisms is also utter nonsense.  
  • Just because a device is made in China doesn't mean it'll use cheap Chinese processors. 
  • Good article. Too many people jumping to conclusions based on the first two devices only. Obviously other price ranges will be addressed in due time. As you said, it was important that these first devices make a good impression by being good quality and full featured. Budget devices can and will come later.
  • They are too expensive for the preformance you get compared too intel processors. I'll be more interested in a cheaper SD835/845 or the AMD with LTE
  • You are essentially at Core-M level of performance combined with all the features (inlcuding LTE) plus 4 weeks connected standby-time and long battery live. With Intel processors at the same performance level and price point you are getting much less features - in particular you will never get something like 4 weeks connected standby with any Intel/AMD processor.  If you are interested in a cheap device, buy an Intel Atom/Celeron/Pentium laptop - then you get much less performance including much less battery live.
  • We don't know if it is Core M level. Until full reviews come out we will not know true performance or battery numbers. The price isn't bad if these are around i3 or i5 performance level when running legacy software.
  • We do know this because you can run processor benchmarks like Geekbench on Android as well. Compared to Core M the Snapdragon 835 is slightly below in single core, slightly above in multi-core and above in GPU as well. Thats is for native code. Emulated you are essentially at Atom X7 level.
  • Way too expensive for Atom performance plus the SD845 will be available by the time these go on sale. They will be out-dated, expensive, and under-powered. That is assuming we can trust benchmarks. Real world performance might be much different, especially when running full fat legacy programs.
    Way too expensive for Atom performance
    Just to echo this article you're commenting in, I believe the price will go down later, no doubt to around $200-$300 levels. Asus and HP just decided to go all out with their first PCs in this category. Gave them good screens, inking, biometrics, made them 2-in-1s. It will make a good impression on reviewers. Heck, the Snapdragon 845 is coming out soon, that'll probably bring x86 performance to above Atom levels, and the price of earlier SD835 devices lower. In 6 months, I hope to get me a discounted HP Envy x2, cause, why not?    Besides, obsolete Atom devices still keep coming out and some aren't cheap. Check out the GPD Pocket, that's priced at about this level and you don't even get a stylus or biometrics with that
  • @Cruncher04 I don't think it's so simple that we can say "with emulation you're experiencing performance equivalent to X". My understanding is that binary translation from x86 to ARM occurs when a section of code is first run, after which the translated binary is saved to disk. If you exercise a piece of software fully, you should eventually have a fully translated ARM program, that runs without requiring any emulation at all (although it will likely be very poorly optimized). Still, I wouldn't expect that to perform a whole lot worse than a binary that is natively compiled for ARM from the get-go. I expect performance, when you launch an x86 program for the first time, to suck, and for it to consecutively improve over time and eventually, maybe, almost reaching native ARM speeds like MS claims it will.
  • From what I understand, it's actually closer to Atom x7 levels of performance after you take into account the x86 emulator. Keep in mind that running the x86 emulator means there's overhead to running x86 applications and therefore is not as efficient as running it natively. Idk how much performance is lost, but considering the Snapdragon 835 is still a mobile processor, I don't think we'll be seeing Core M levels of performance.
  • You have to understand that everything is native until you run apps, which are natively compiled for x86. In this case performance drops from about Core-M to Atom x7. However this only applies to parts of the application which is emulated. Typically even emulated apps execute lots of native code, when they are doing an Win32 call for instance - since Win32 is implemented for ARM64.
  • I thought that as well. A snapdragon 835 can't possibly run a laptop as well as an intel chip can. Then I checked the specs. A quad core running at 2.6ghz. Ehh, not bad. My work computer is a quad core running 3.5ghz.  Then I checked the laptop I'm writing this on. A dual core AMD clocked at 2.1. With a spinny hard drive, and only 4gb of RAM. With that perspective, I believe for me, these will seem significantly faster than what I use at home. And they will have perfectly acceptable performance for the majority of the public who don't play hardcore games, or run photoshop or autocad, or solidworks, or other high intensity programs. These are just perfect for normal people. Then factor in all the upgrades, touch screen, 2 in 1, week long battery life, precision touchpad, 100% sRGB (100% sRGB for under $600??? Please show me what other options exist that have that under $600. Most monitors sporting 100% sRGB cost that much) It's tough to find any computer that has even one of those options in the $500 range. this one has all of them. This is one sweet computer at that price point.
  • You have a good point: perfectly good performance for the majority of the public, who in my view probably use their computer for things that they still find cumbersome to do on their smartphone. Just a comment on those gigahertz numbers, though: you should never compare different CPU gigahertz numbers with each other, like one ARM CPU against an Intel x86_64 CPU (like one of the Core i7, 8th gen). You can hardly ever compare them, because of how differently they are designed. CPU chips are only as fast and efficient as the OS and applications allow them to be. Just look at how responsive people say that Nokia 520 is, on Windows 8.1. I mean, it is not exactly drooling-worthy hardware, but it still runs fine as long as you can find apps that run well with 512 MB RAM. Or, look at how calculators can perform excellent on, say, 25 MHz CPUs: they run custom hardware solutions with specific software or firmware.
  • It depends on how good the performance of the SD835 in this PCs really is.
  • When did $599 today for any comptuter became too high?  I typically run away from those machines thinking they are too cheap.  I keep thinking there must be something up with those computers to be so cheap.  I just don't get it.  Maybe I'm just too old.  I remember paying $1,500 - 1,700 easily for an 8088 machine in the 80's. 
  • Phones with SD835's are £500+ why expect a PC with similar processor to be any less. Give it 6 months for the SD845 parts to come online then we will see the price of SD835 based systems prices drop down.
  • SD 835 phones cost that much because smartphone manufacturers tend to put them in smartphones with bezelless screens, premium gorilla glass, waterproofing, aluminum or other exotic metals, biometrics, overkill cameras etc.   You never see an SD 835 in a plastic phone with a 5mp camera, no waterproofing, no biometrics, dragontail glass or plastic display. If you did, it likely won't cost that much. This is actually something Dan is alluding to in this article.
  • I don't really share the excitement.  Sure, this is great for businesses wanting to deploy a more mobile workforce.  And it's convenient for people with a lot more disposable income.  But most of us already have a phone that's on a data plan and has hotspot capability.  Why fork out $$ for another line just to use a tablet or PC once in a while?  Makes no sense.  
  • "Why fork out $$ for another line just to use a tablet or PC once in a while? "
    This is old ways of thinking. Sure, monthly data plans will still be around but with eSIMs the market will move towards pay-as-you-go where you purchase 2GB of data and just use it until it's gone. This will be handled through the Windows Store like an app purchase. That way you use this as a regular PC, but then can grab data if and only when you need it.
  • I see him on pretty much every Microsoft news site like MSPowerUser and all he does is criticize or throw shade at literally anything Microsoft related. I'm not sure what he expects from Microsoft either or if he's just hating on them for the sake of it but trying to disguise it as constructive criticism.
  • Yeah I see that as well, him and another person just constantly complain about everything Microsoft does. Confuses the hell out of me why he is reading and commenting on every article about Microsoft if he doesn't like them, that would be like be reading about football all day and complaining, no point to it lol.
  • He also refuses to use anything but Microsoft. You would be salty too if you were forcing yourself to only use Microsoft products in 2017. They are behind for a reason.
  • In Romania Telekom is already offering unlimited Voice, Text and Data on 6€ and 12€ plans. (the difference between plans is one has unlimited fixed calls in Europe, the other one unlimited fixed and mobile calls in Europe). So you can have data all the time, even when you don't have wifi.
  • Windows store? Yuk, I guess that means it will never take off then. In all seriousness, I doubt that the performance will be an issue with these. Chrome books and MacBooks have proven that the public is perfectly happy with machines which seem “underpowered” compared to the conventional metrics of measuring desktop performance in an intel world. Battery life and people getting sick of charging a multitude of different devices every night are among the most important factors, and this enables PC’s to catch up with people’s expectations of battery life from devices like iPads which seem to last weeks between charges with light usage. After all, if you only use the device to check email and browse the web then there’s certainly an argument that traditional intel devices are ridiculously overpowered for most people, and their spinning disks cause perceptual performance and responsiveness to drop below acceptable levels. I think the always connectedness is nice, but battery life is actually the major headline here. These will be cheap as chips soon, that’s how the pc paradigm works in the real world. 
  • Ikr? I will take the far superior performance of Intel's U processors over this.
  • Nobody will stop you. At least now you have the option to choose other than Intel and AMD.
  • "Sure, this is great for businesses wanting to deploy a more mobile workforce.  And it's convenient for people..." You just gave two reasons for people to be excited. "But most of us already have a phone that's on a data plan and has hotspot capability." What do you think happens when you use your phone as a hotspot?  Now both your laptop/tablet and phone is running out of juice.
  • I don't get all the price complaining. People are totalling willing to throw 800+ dollars on a phone or an IPAD PRO,  which doesn't have a mouse by the way. I spend close to 800$ on my SURFACE 3 2+ years ago ($499 for device, 60$ for pen, 120$ for typecover + Screen protectors, ARC mouse, etc.) It remains my favorite device I've ever owned despite the limitations of the Atom CPU.  If not for my company purchasing me a tricked out SURFACE PRO (v.2017) I'd still be rocking the Surface 3.  I hope they release an ARM based SURFACE 4, or just SURFACE.    
  • If they can get the price down low enough to be Chromebook price competitive for schools, they will sell a lot of them.  My kids school has a huge problem with Chromebooks not being charged enough and not make it through a school day.  Classrooms have a limited number of outlets.  So, long battery life and 30 days of standby would be a huge plus over Chromebooks.
  • Microsoft already has Windows 10 S with X86 processors, so they are already competing against Chromebooks. In fact it seems like Windows 10 S is working as they gained shipment share worldwide and in the US Windows 10 S seems like it is free to OEMs, so that explains why these OEMs are using it for ARM. It's possible that Always Connected PCs will require Windows 10S
  • Your kid has the problem because that's exactly what cheap device is expected to offer, whether it is Windows, Linux, Chrome OS or whatever. Or you think that maybe Windows increases the battery level while working off the grid?
  • I am looking forward to those devices. I am out in the field a lot and while I could use my phone as hotspot, the fact that it goes pretty hard on battery life and that I frequently have several one hour conference calls a day, makes me hesitate to do so. With an always connected PC, I can do my emails and office work with the comfort of a keyboard and a decent screen while not having to worry about my phone battery. The price doesn't shock me. Maybe the elusive foldable device (if it ever comes to light) will even allow me to get rid of my phone. All it needs to do is to allow me to be productive. My PBX is in O365, so Skype for Business is my phone and if they ever manage to combine Skype and Skype for Business, I would be able to text as well, effectively making my phone obsolete. I am sold on this and I believe it can only get better.
  • I'm a little baffled here. This is a phone that you would spend $600-800 on with glee, but you add pen support, a keyboard, and a (mostly) full PC OS. I didn't pay too much attention to these things because I'm not in the market for such a device, but when I saw "are they too expensive?" I was expecting something around $1,000 to be a complaint. $600 for a pen-capable laptop that does everything a $700 phone can seems perfectly reasonable. It might be a bit high for some people, but if W10 on ARM is as fully features as its x86 counterpart, then I see no reason why you wouldn't deem this worth the price. There could be some validity to the highly limited storage, but a microSD addition wouldn't cost more than $60 to add a 128 GB storage bump. Storage really seems to be the weak point, given they seem to want to market this as a legitimate computer. Just as I wouldn't recommend something with a Celerson and eMMC drive at 32-64 GB, I wouldn't recommend this as anything other than a backup laptop. That's where I think the price can be a problem--it's got features left and right, but limitations in the hardware, namely that storage. So, you've gotta supplement that for another $50 to make it barely passable (at 194 GB of combined storage) or for $75-100 for an external HDD. You're now in a weird position where I'm wondering why you don't just use your phone and get a proper laptop and use tethering.
  • $600 for a pen-capable laptop that does everything a $700 phone can seems perfectly reasonable.
    It *does not* do "everything a $700 phone can" -- it could not fit into your pocket and holding it to your face for protracted time would present some challenge. Taking it for the morning run is nobody's idea of fun either. Bottom line is: given the same specs, more compact device, normally, will be *much more* expensive. If we do not see it here, (IMHO) it is perfectly reasonable to call the bigger device overpriced.
  • I'm reserving judgment on the pricing until we know EXACTLY how good (but potentially bad) full Windows 10 Pro is on an ARM SoC. If these devices can deliver the same performance as, say, a core i3 or core i5 Intel processor plus 4G connectivity and longer battery life, then I say the premium price is more than justified. But if the performance turns how to be as bad as it was on Windows RT for x86 programs (you know, the ones that matter? Like Chrome?), then this is definitely overpriced. Only time will tell.   (I have a feeling the HP one will still be cheaper than a 4G enabled Surface though, given that HP has pretty much been deliverying products that are far better than the Surface line for lower prices lately).
  • Anybody that thinks a Mobile chip can compete with a full 45 watt Intel Core i3 or i5 is deluding themselves, at best this will compete within the range of Intel Atom the miminum and Core M series the highest. This is a market that Intel doesn't serve and ARM processors is the perfect replacement for them. 
  • It's not about competing, it's about delivering the same smooth performance. No one is expecting these underpowered devices to be able to run editing software. But they must be able to smoothly run BASIC stuff like Google Chrome, fully fledged Office etc. And previous ARM devices from Microsoft either couldn't or ran it terribly. And considering this will be emulated Windows 10 Pro, that is a concern. And again, if the real life performance/experience (not that benchmark crap nerds love to run) delivered by this matches the performance of those more powerful chips, then the price is justified. That's the point.
  • You'd rather run emulated Chrome than a native ARM64 Microsoft Edge app... then complain about the performance. And why can't these devices run editing software?
  • Lol
  • Have you seen the usage numbers for Edge? They are terrible for a reason.
  • Essentially what you are saying is, that significantly longer battery life and standby time has no value. I guess most will disagree with this statement. I am going to go out on a limb and say more performance has no value as long as the applications you are using running smoothly.  
  • That's not what I said at all so... Of course it has value. Just not to justify paying almost the same as you'd pay for a more powerful option. If those factors were THAT important, we would all be using feature phones. But no one is going out paying the same 800€ for a Nokia 3310 they pay for a Galaxy S8 even though the Nokia 3310 has far far better battery life and stand by time than the S8.
  • You are just repeating the same nonsense. Saying that you would not pay the same as for a more powerful option is equivalent with claiming battery and standby has no value. Proof: If it had value, then paying the same for less performance would be valid. This however contradicts your statement. q.e.d.
  • "Saying that you would not pay the same as for a more powerful option is equivalent with claiming battery and standby has no value."   No, it's not. It's saying that battery and standby are not as important as the power of the device itself. Which is why I made the analogy with the smartphone and feature phone. Your inability to understand that - well, your intelectual disonesty, actually - is what prevents you from understanding it.   Consumers value the capabilities of a machine more than its battery. Therefore, if the experience in them is worse, it's irrelevant that they can *potentially* (because these claims have yet to be proven) have longer battery life. The consumer will NOT pay the same for an underperforming computer just because it lasts longer. Period. Sales of laptops and smartphones have shown that already.
  • Windows RT didn't run x86 software
  • Well, actually, it did. Or rather, it was capable of emulating it, just like they're doing now. Office was emulated. And some devs actually managed to break into the RT code to enable the emulator. The only difference is that back then Microsoft didn't want to emulate x86 unto ARM and now they do (because they saw that otherwise the thing flops because the Windows Store and Windows apps are a fiasco).
  • I know it seems uncharitable in a the blaze of PR from a product launch, but yer if Windows store or Windows Apps are involved or mandated, that’s pretty much the kiss of death. I guess most sensible people will wait for the Surface device to show the rest how it’s supposed to be done then wait for the other manufacturers to catch up. That should take at least 2-3 years. 
  • I would actually settle for Core-M performance as that's what I'm using right now on my SP4 and it's plenty for my use case.  Atom performance would a no-go!
  • This segment needs a hero Surface device. That will probably use a 845, so we won't see it until next year.
  • yes, but even these devices are coming next year, they will probably run RS4 with CShell otherwise they will lose before starting with the ancient file ui
  • That's what i'm waiting for.  And i'd gladly pay a premium for it if the performance is there.
  • What I find tricky is how to value windows on ARM. I've been used to Intel for so long. Sure there's value in efficiency and better battery life (something we've been crying about for the last 10 years or more, and now here apparently). I'm still trying to figure out where to place this revival of the pc. Do we compare windows on ARM pcs with pcs, or can we compare them to smartphones too (after all 835 is 835 right?). And so if smartphones don't support continuum or DeX, can we consider them of less value and expensive if a high end 835 SD chipset smartphone doesn't support a DeX type feature (after all it would mean a smartphone can do less than a pc with the same hardware, despite a smaller screen). Interesting times with food for thought.
  • Dan, I'm curious what you're basing this statement on: "To be fair, the iPad Pro is in a different league for quality compared to the ASUS NovaGo, so I don't want to draw too many parallels." Is it just because it has a picture of a half-eaten fruit on it that you say that, or are there some objectively superior aspects of the quality of the device compared to the ASUS?
  • Come on, when have you ever seen a $600 laptop that was anywhere near an iPad when it comes to build quality?
  • There is iPad and iPad Pro, and if you compare screen quality, camera quality Asus is definetely closer to iPad that costs 329$ with 10" screen I think. CPU is somewhere in between, but closer to iPad Pro. And the quality of the case is probably below even non-Pro iPad. Also it is highly unlikely that Asus features artistic level pen precision of iPad Pro (which is currently even above Surface I think, or at least was at launch time). So in many ways iPad Pro is a different league when compared to Asus.
  • Historically, ASUS while being good for the money has never been synonymous with craftsmanship and quality.
  • I'll talk smack about Apple, but its hardware quality is bar setting. They make some mistakes e.g. MBP line, but the iPad hardware/display is outstanding. I rarely find anything by ASUS jaw-dropping. They tend to get 90% right and flub the last 10% for some reason.
  • Agree, they are usually first on the block with a ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’ approach but like most of manufacturers apart from the Surface line there are always major product flaws which mean I would never consider them, not least cheap tacky materials and design. Apple on the other hand do have a good rep for industrial design and quality materials, And Dan is completely right, the iPad Pro is a beautiful nippy device if you can afford it, and I wouldn’t expect these particular manufacturers to be able to compete with it at this price point. 
  • Not that Snapdragon 835 powered phones are that much cheaper, if any.
  • Exactly.   This is the price of a good phone.   When I saw the headline for this story, I was expecting something in the $1,200 range.  
  • $600 - $800 is not “too expensive”.   This article makes no sense.  
  • For A LOT of people it is. Maybe you should try to look past your daddy's wallet once in a while and look at the real world around you ;)
  • Lol.  My daddy’s wallet?   Really?   My parents have been dead for 30 years.   Nice try, buttmunch.  
  • Lol.
  • It really isn't, and I'm not comparing my wallet to yours, I'm comparing this against what it's competing with. Tablets, phones, laptops. This is another option and Idk about you but my phone was $1000.00 (Samsung Note 8) and my Surface Pro i7 with dock, mouse, keyboard was $2000.00. This kind of device could do everything I do on my Surface Pro for less then 1/2 the price, how is that expensive?
  • I'll stick with my Dell Latitude 7350 all the same. Intel Core M for native x86 support, not emulated. Had M.2 slots for the WiFi/LTE/SSD, so all can be upgraded. I have a T-Mobile LTE compatable M.2 card, a 1 TB SSD and the 8GB RAM model. You can grab them used on Ebay with a 128/256GB SSD and 8GB RAM for about $200-300 and about $60 for the LTE card.
  • Does your latitude last a whole week?  Does it have pen support?  Does it have biometrics?  The only unknown is performance for these new Windows on Arm devices.
  • Does this thing last a whole week?
  • Ask me if I care. Also, why do I need it to last a week straight? I have both wall and car chargers for it. I actually use the thing for work, programming custom PCB boards for an automated Smart Market I do final testing and QA on before they ship and it does the job just fine. It's always connected, aka LTE card and has GPS. It works with Dells Tablet Dock, so if I really wanted, I could tear that thing apart and make a dock in the dash of my car and make it my car stereo pretty easily. I can stream games from my laptop/desktop to it on Steam as well and it may not be the greatest for gaming, but can do so in a pinch. PS, the keyboard has a 2nd battery in it. It last pretty damn long on the battery itself when needed. A week? No, but more than enough for my needs and it's not emulating crap, has 1TB of storage, feels more like a laptop when docked to it's keyboard, etc. Oh, and it does support Pen, has a fingerprint reader on back and a credit card reader. So, maybe you should do your homework before commenting about pens and biometrics.
  • I like the idea, but I think second or third version will be usable. I didn't test it myself, but since my basic surface book struggle while under load, this would probably die trying :-) But I will follow this area closely
  • Yeah I agree, 2nd or 3rd gen will probably be the best time to get one, if interested in one.
  • Dan, any idea if x64 emulation is currently being worked on?
  • There was a previous article that Qualcom & MS are working on this, no ETA yet.
  • There are no Chromebooks that also support inking at that price range...
    Um, Samsung Chromebook Plus Convertible Touch Laptop, $450 list price, S Pen included. THAT’S the competition.
  • Doesn't have LTE, also not N-trig. Also, not a backlit keyboard. Those are significant differences, imo.
  • Yes they are very significant differences. But do these worth $150 more in the eyes of an average consumer? Or in the eyes of an ICT director of a budget-constrained school district? Most likely not. So where's their target market now?
  • Actually, i was surprised about the low price of this first devices, especially compared to IPads and better Android Tablets.
  • I wonder when they will come with 4K+ screens, as even smartphones are more capable... Is 4K not needed?
  • Dan, I think you should start off 2018 with an eye to laying out an article that defines the PC market. Can you divide the market into different pricing tiers (maybe 5)? I think this article is trying to make the point that there very well could be more competitively priced Always Connected PCs, that these two early entrants are not the floor. But, the frame of the article would lead a casual reader to think that these numbers are outside of an accepted range for normal computer pricing... And that you are trying to dispel thinking that this entire category is overpriced.
  • So while i personally do not care about the price. this article seems more like its trying to defend something. lets not forget the big big reason Microsoft talked about using arm chips last year was to bring the cost of computing down. and the manufactures all agreed this was good. the reason for the reduction in price was because of less chips to put on a motherboard since snapdragon is an SOC unlike intels solutions. and a reduced thermal footprint, whiel allowing for all day battery life. Now price should not be a huge concern for some people, but others find that price to be high, especially when competing with Chromebooks. make no mistake windows on arm is to challenge chrome books not ipads. so the comparisons should be to chrome books which some models have arm chips. Basically, the reason people have said this is too expensive is that Microsoft marketed it wrong and Microsoft as usual sucks as marketing.. here is the thing. The general consumers see smartphones us underpowered and meant for on the go stuff, but when they need real horsepower ( which they practically never need) they go to a computer. microsoft has marketed the pc and laptop form factor as a powerhouse, this is where Microsoft needs to educate teh consumer and show them why an arm chip at this price point is worth it. lets not defend Microsoft in this, but WOA and windows 10s should be the power couple for Microsoft in education. until the laptops are cheaper than the competing "crapbooks" this will be shoved to the wayside as consumers want "intel" on a laptop. microsoft cannot rely on its partners to market for them. they have to market to the consumers why this is what you want even if you are sacrificing raw power.
  • The chips do bring the price down, which is why you can evidently soon buy a laptop/convertible with smartpen support, LTE, 100% sRGB touch display, Precision touchpad, backlit keyboard, week's battery life, and a quality SSD for $599. Find any Atom/Intel laptop that has that now for $599. You can't. The difference is they used the saving to sink it into adding previously premium-only features to a budget device. But as I say, they can eliminate the pen, the SSD, or the color-accurate display and drop the costs even further.
  • I hope they do lower the price down very soon, or they will be stuck in a niche market. The common perception of these ARM devices is that they're sub-par computers, and no, just adding those fancy stylus or high-res display is not going to change that perception. I get your point that they're not expensive in the sense that they have so many 'premium' features and no comparable devices come at that price point. Surface RT was like that.
  • No better start for the platform than 2 OEMs delivering devices that support "flagship" features are fairly affordable pricing. Rubino is right.
  • > Say that "These devices are expensive" > Sent it with a =>800$ S835 android device. Those average consumers...
  • Dan is the Man !
  • They are expensive for sure. Just wait 1year, Chinese knew how to do it. Maybe Xiaomi gonna release these kinda product next year 🙃🙃
  • LTE for tablet and PC seems pointless to me. I won't pay for a second data plan when I already have one on my phone. Unless those new always connected PC comes in phone size with full telephony features then it is useless. Remove LTE and unlock Windows with the price difference to have a real Windows Pro instead of 10S.
  • I do have to say that I was actually expecting prices to be a lot higher. I am genuinly surprised at how "cheap" they are. I am also really intrigued what these qualcomm processors can deliver in regards to performance when compared to intels ultrabook offerings. This might be the only downside to them especially since they are emulating some of the software they can run, which surely will have some performance impacts. Other than that from what I have seen so far, their buildquality seems to be way better than what you would normally get in a ultra thin notebook at this pricerange.