Lenovo Helps Usher In Era of Arm-based, Windows 'Always Connected PC'

Using an Arm-based, smartphone-inspired processor from Qualcomm, Lenovo's Miix 630 can last up to 20 hours between charges.

Lenovo Miix 630 Arm PC

Lenovo made its contribution to the "Always Connected PC" cause with the Miix 630, a 2-in-1 detachable-screen notebook PC that runs Windows on an Arm architecture Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm.

Always Connected PCs are a device class from Microsoft hardware partners that use Arm chips similar to those found in high-end smartphones and tablets, rather than x86 chips from the likes of Intel and AMD. They promise thin and light form factors, long battery life, standby times of up to 20 days and freedom from spotty WiFi coverage via cellular wireless connections.

The 12.3-inch Lenovo Miix 630, announced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor that can enable the device squeeze up to 20 hours of battery life between charges. The Snapdragon 835 is a 2.45 GHz, eight-core, 64-bit chip built using a 10-nanometer manufacturing process.

When it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2018, buyers will be able to select configurations with 4GB or 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage that’s expandable with an SD expansion card.

Prices are set to start at $799.99 with an included detachable keyboard/cover and a Lenovo digital pen for on-screen inking. The keyboard is backlit and the stylus supports 1,024 levels of pressure for detailed sketches and responsive notetaking, claims the PC maker.

On the connectivity front, it features integrated 4G LTE with download speeds of up 600 Mbps, allowing users to browse the web, trade emails and other internet-based tasks over cellular networks. The device supports 802.11ac WiFi.

it runs Windows 10 S, a school-friendly variant of the desktop operating system that limits a user's installable software options to those found in the Microsoft Store app marketplace. Buyers that prefer the full, unfettered Windows experience can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro at no cost within 180 days of activating the operating system.

Other notable features include a rear-facing, 13-megapixel infrared camera that works with Windows Hello, Microsoft's biometric login technology. When paired with the proper hardware, Windows Hello's facial recognition capabilities allow users to log into their machines without having to type in a password. The device's front camera is rated at 5 megapixels.

Miix 630 isn't the only Always Connected PC making an appearance at CES 2018.

Lenovo's portable PC was joined by the tablet-like HP Envy x2. First unveiled in December 2017 at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii, and due out in the spring of 2018, Envy x2 is also powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor, has a detachable keyboard and includes 4G LTE connectivity.

For the NovaGo, Asus settled on a hinged 2-in-1 laptop design that supports a tablet mode when the screen is flipped back. Inside, it packs a gigabit Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and a battery that lasts up to 22 hours or 30 days in standby mode between charges.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...