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The Robo & Kala is a Windows tablet with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It looks a lot like a Microsoft Surface Pro X, but the Robo & Kala is thinner, lighter, and cheaper than Microsoft’s 2-in-1 tablet, especially when you realize that this tablet comes bundled with a pressure-sensitive pen and detachable keyboard.

On the other hand, Robo & Kala’s tablet has a slightly smaller screen and battery… and perhaps most importantly, it comes from a company you’ve probably never heard of. Robo & Kala launched a crowdfunding campaign for the tablet last year and backers seem to have started to receive their devices. Now the Robo Kala tablet is available from the company’s website for $1100.

While that’s not exactly cheap, it’s less than you’d end up paying to buy a tablet with similar specs from Microsoft: prices for the Surface Pro 9 with an SQ3 processor (based on Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) start at $1250 for a model with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and no keyboard. You’d have to pay more than $1700 to get a 16GB/512GB Surface Pro 9 with SQ3 + keyboard.

Here’s how the Robo & Kala tablet’s spec sheet stacks up against the Surface Pro 9’s:

Robo & KalaSurface Pro 9 (SQ3)
Display12.6 inches
2560 x 1600 pixels
16:10 aspect ratio
60 Hz refresh rate
600 nits max brightness
98% DCI-P3 color gamut
108% NTSC color gamut
13 inches
2880 x 1920 pixels
3:2 aspect ratio
120 Hz refresh rate
Adaptive color
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3Microsoft SQ3
8GB or 16GB
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
Removable SSD
Dimensions284.7 x 187.5 x 7.3mm
11.2″ x 7.4″ x 0.29″
287 x 209 x 9.3mm
11.3″ x 8.2″ x 0.37″
Weight690 grams
1.52 pounds
883 grams
1.95 pounds
Battery41.4 Wh47.7 Wh
Charging65W GaN65W
Ports2 x USB Type-C2 x USB 3.2 Type-C
1 x Surface Connect
1 x Surface Keyboard connector
1 x nano SIM (5G models)
WirelessWiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
5G (optional)
Cameras5MP / 1080p webcam (front)
1MP Windows Hello face authentication (front)
13MP / 4K w/auto-focus (rear)
1080p webcam w/Windows Hello face authentication (front)
10MP / 4K w/auto-focus (rear)
Audio2 x speakers
2 x microphones
2 x 2W speakers with Dolby Atmos
2 x microphones w/far-field voice detection
KeyboardBacklit keys
1.3mm key travel
Pogo pin & Bluetooth support
Included in base price
Surface Pro Keyboard or Surface Pro Signature Keyboard
Sold separately
Pen4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
MPP 2.0
Magnetic charging
Included in base price
Surface Slim Pen 2 
Sold separately
Starting Price$1600 (MSRP)
$1100 (currently)
$1300 (MSRP for 8GB/128GB)
$1250 (current price for 8GB/128GB)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a small company try to take on Microsoft in the 2-in-1 space by offering better specs and/or pricing (it’s questionable whether the Robo & Kala has better specs or just different specs, but it’s certainly priced competitively).

A few years ago a company called Eve Tech (now known as Dough) launched the Eve V tablet which was actually a pretty great piece of hardware… that shipped in very limited quantities, leaving many early backers empty-handed.

It’s too early to tell whether history will repeat itself with the Robo & Kala, but I’m relieved to see that at least some Kickstarter backers have reported that their tablets have already arrived.

press release (via NotebookCheck)

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  1. Hey Brad, device is now on permanent sale for $599 with keyboard, no pen (they keep change banners for different occasions, like prime day limited sale, summer deal, etc.). Also, they now sell on Amazon for $799 with $200 coupon, so basically same $599.
    You can probably put it into your daily deals list, since it’s an unbeatable 16/512Gb tablet with the keyboard included deal now on the market.

    I bought one out of curiosity to test WoA, so can share some info I haven’t seen in other reviews online, in comparison to Lenovo Duet 5i 1215u I also got on sale for $500, but its 8/128Gb, the only option they sell in US.

    In terms of performance, it’s noticeable less snappy compared to Lenovo, probably due to lower single core performance overall and missing ‘burst’ functionality (Lenovo can go to 35W on CPU). But on the other hand, Robo does not throttle, 7-zip benchmark scores, for example, drops rapidly on Intel after 2-3 passes.

    Battery life to my surprise is comparable to Lenovo’ in the causal web/media consumption scenarios, if one is mindful about Windows battery saver and Energy Efficiency mode in the browser (Edge has very good optimizations compared to Chrome now, plus there is no arm version of Chrome). Robo drains about 10-12% a hour, while Lenovo 12-13%. Actual power draw in watts is higher on Intel, but Lenovo has larger battery, 41 vs 50Wh, so it kind of cancels out. But for CPU intensive things Lenovo goes over 25% a hour, while Robo seems to stay below 20% on average. I was unable to find software that shows battery discharge rate for Gen3 in real time.
    Same goes for the video playback: for local files Robo goes under 10%, while Lenovo stays in around 10-11% per hour with all optimizations on.

    GPU on Intel is also much faster and obviously has better compatibility, but both devices are not made for gaming, so that’s not so important.

    Also, I have my doubts about future support of the Robo device. It feels a bit unpolished, for example, there is some services and factory OS provision files on the system disk, and Robo has only recently provided recovery iso on their website, but its forgivable for their first product of that kind.

    In general, for the $599 price tag it’s very competitive. I definitely would not pay $1200 Microsoft charges for Surface SQ3 with the lower specs and no keyboard included, given that their Intel version is cheaper and much faster than my older Lenovo, but when a Windows tablet is priced on a level of premium Android or iPad it’s a whole different story.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your impressions!

      Sounds like a great deal at $599… if a slightly less compelling deal at the original price. 🙂

  2. Don’t care much about the absence of 120Hz and 5G since I don’t use it much in the first place, but 8cx Gen 3 is definitely welcome. Microsoft’s SQ3 might be based on 8cx Gen 3, but the Surface Pro 9 ARM is only limited to SME customers here in Malaysia.

  3. I received mine without any problems. The screen is great. The audio is unusual, with a speaker on each side of the device and some rather extreme stereo as a result. Processing speed is no better than my old Kaby Lake i7 for photo processing, but it does the job. It’s seriously light and portable and comes as a complete package, which is what most users want, I suspect.

      1. I think 20 hours is optimistic to say the least. It will depend on what you’re doing with it of course. My benchmark is the HP Spectre X2 it replaced. The battery life on Robo vastly exceeds that of the X2. I can certainly sit editing photos for three hours and still have at least half the battery life left.

    1. I received the Robo & Kala 2-in-1 bundle with Laptop+Keyboard+Smart Pen+ Laptop Sleeve+Screen Protector recently. So far, I love it! I have tried many Windows 2-in-1 devices over the years including the original Surface Pro, HP Spectre x360s, Surface Pro 7, and most recently the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 13. The Robo & Kala is the device I was searching for.
      I should preface by stating that I am not a AAA gamer, graphic designer, or video editor. I am a .Net programmer professionally, and also someone looking for a thin and light tablet with adequate performance, a vibrant screen, and great battery life for casual use. I have a large and beefy Ryzen 9 laptop for work, but the Robo & Kala will be the device I travel with going forward. It’s amazing owning a device that basically feels like an iPad Pro or Galaxy Tab S8 in hand with the benefits of those devices, but can also run full Visual Studio, MongoDB, IIS, SQL Server, etc. in a pinch to get my work done.

  4. Feedback on Kickstarter looks pretty promising, and benchmarks are pretty good. They sems to have some minor drivers issues and such but looks like they respond fast. So, it’s significantly cheaper than Surface, has about the same CPU speed as 11th gen laptop i7, has BT keyboard (that Surface Touch Cover lacks), pen, SSD is easily accessible for upgrade (just like in latest Surface), and battery life seems to be pretty decent. The only thing missing is 3.5m jack. If I did not have a Win tablet already, I’d buy it for that price.