Two for the Price of One
For years, when you needed a real portable computer system, the only method to get it was to turn to a laptop. Then, as mobile processors ended up being more effective and running systems more versatile, you had a choice: You might either stay with the standard clamshell design or opt for a tablet, which offered you less functionality and power but higher benefit by deducting the keyboard from the formula completely. So it was simply a matter of time until enterprising manufacturers recognized that including or getting rid of the keyboard was all that was required to turn one into another. Now, the resulting product, a 2-in-1, isn’t just its own product classification– it’s one of the fastest growing in the PC industry.
So, What Is a 2-in-1?
Put simply, a 2-in-1 is a touch-optimized convertible laptop or detachable tablet with a both a touch screen and a physical keyboard of some type. When you need full-stroke secrets and a touchpad, you can use the 2-in-1 simply the method you would a regular laptop. But if you require or want complete access to just the screen for an extended amount of time, that’s an alternative as well. And you can flip backward and forward in between the modes whenever you want, generally expending just a second’s effort.
That stated, you’re still buying a PC with a complete os, whether that’s Chrome OS or Windows 10. In the future, macOS could be a player, but so far Apple has actually pointed folks who require a touch screen and tablet/laptop convertibility towards its iOS-equipped iPad and iPad Pro lines, coupled with an optional keyboard. A 2-in-1 running macOS just isn’t on the Apple menu yet.
For our functions, we break down 2-in-1 devices into two kinds: the convertible laptop (a one-piece machine) and the removable tablet (which divides in two).
The convertible laptop can transform from laptop to tablet and back once again, with a lot of systems featuring a hinge design that enables rotating the keyboard part through 360 degrees, out of the way back behind the screen. This type of 2-in-1 is the best choice if you’re intending on utilizing the keyboard a lot, as you’re ensured to constantly have it with you. (Typing the Great American Novel or perhaps a regular company report on the hard, flat surface of a virtual onscreen keyboard is an experience you would not wish on your worst enemy.).
Due to the fact that of the motion that a convertible laptop’s hinge enables, you are often able to use these systems in a range of modes. If you want to be able to share the screen with everyone in a conference, you can place the keyboard portion deal with down on the desk (called Stand or Display mode) and have the screen appearing front, kiosk-style. Or, you can prop it up on its leading edges (in so-called Tent or A-Frame mode), which uses up less space than the other modes. For versatility, it’s tough to beat this sort of 2-in-1.
In a convertible device, the battery and motherboard are usually located in the base (as in a traditional laptop), so it’s balanced for use on a lap or a tabletop. The steady bottom cover of the clamshell is also a much better typing platform than the sometimes-flimsy panel of a detachable keyboard case. There’s also more room for batteries in a laptop form element (the bottom half never goes away), which results in improved battery life.
Drawbacks to this design of device include a little additional weight from those batteries, along with some additional thickness, as the hinge mechanisms are a little more complex than a laptop’s. Likewise, because the lower half is completely attached, a convertible means that you’re constantly carrying the additional weight and bulk of the keyboard anywhere you go.
A detachable-tablet 2-in-1 is basically a slate with a keyboard case or a keyboard dock. The dock option is a bit more steady than the keyboard case, however the general idea is the very same: You can get rid of the keyboard part of the tablet and leave it behind when you desire maximum portability. Microsoft’s different Surface detachables (the Surface Book, Pro, and Go families) are the vanguard models of this kind.
Windows 10 slate tablets (and their detachable equivalents) tend to weigh less than 2 pounds on their own, and adding the keyboard case or dock can double the system’s overall weight. A tablet with a well-designed keyboard dock attached is functionally indistinguishable from a clamshell laptop, and some detachable docks consist of extra battery cells that can significantly extend the quantity of time you’re able to work off-plug. Easier keyboard cases usually lack niceties such as additional battery cells or USB ports, and the majority of will be visibly physically flexible. But if a keyboard is simply a periodic requirement for you, opportunities are you won’t mind that much.
The benefit of the keyboard case is that it is thinner and lighter overall than the usual lower half of a laptop or convertible. Detachable-hybrid tablets, however, tend to be top-heavy, because all of the system’s components and batteries, and hence their weight, are necessarily localized in the screen. You’ll want to examine your usage patterns to determine whether holding the PC in your hands and interacting with the touch screen is really right for you. Detaching the tablet and leaving the heft of the keyboard behind is optimal when, say, you’re actively presenting a slideshow on a big screen and using the tablet to draw notes on the slides in real time. Reattaching the keyboard takes mere seconds, so you will be able to easily (and comfortably) change the slideshow’s content during your lunch hour if you need to change your talk’s focus for your afternoon session.
Tech Specs: What to Look for in a 2-in-1
The remainder of the specifications (screen size, storage area, the processor used, and so on) for convertibles and removable hybrids generally follow the exact same lines as more standard laptops and Windows 10 tablets, which implies you’ll have to pay more if you desire extra speed, fancier features, or a thinner, flashier style.
For example, a system with a fanless Y-series Core i5 or Core i7 processor is likely to have exceptional battery life and an extremely thin body. These chips are usually what you will discover in detachables. That stated, in basic, you should anticipate that these systems will be rather less powerful than comparably sized laptops or convertible 2-in-1s, as these low-power mobile processors are developed for cool, quiet operation (which you’ll want for a system you’re using on your lap or holding in your hand) more so than for blazing speed.
On the other hand, a non-detachable 2-in-1 system is more likely to use a processor like a U-series Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7. It will likely be a thicker device, however you’ll have more power to do more-demanding media-creation work or heavy multitasking in the field. Similar to anything else when computer system shopping, it’s all a game of compromises and compromises, and we’re here to help you choose which one is for you.
Prepared for Our Recommendations?
Below are the top 10 convertibles and removable hybrids we’ve checked. We revitalize the list typically to include the latest products, so inspect back regularly. Don’t require the distinct transformational capabilities you receive from a 2-in-1? Check out our evaluations of the best total laptops, the leading business notebooks, our preferred ultraportables, and the top Windows 10 tablets.
Best 2-in-1 Convertible Laptops Featured in This Roundup:
Lenovo Yoga C930
Pros: Integrated stylus. Thin and light. Trendy metal style with numerous color options. Optional 4K display screen. Webcam personal privacy filter. Dolby Vision (HDR) assistance. Excellent battery life.
Cons: No SD-card reader. Ships with some bloatware.
Bottom Line: With a revamped hinge, an integrated stylus, and a streamlined design, Lenovo’s Yoga C930 2-in-1 convertible laptop is even better than its winning predecessor.
Acer Chromebook Spin 11
Pros: Rugged sufficient for school use. Wacom stylus included. Two USB-C and two USB 3.0 ports. Two cameras. Snappy keyboard.
Cons: Small, low-res screen. Easy-to-lose stylus. Imperfect Android compatibility.
Bottom Line: The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is an 11.6-inch convertible that uses keyboard, touch, and stylus input, runs Chrome OS and Android apps, and shakes off knocks, drops, and water spills. It’s the best chromebook we’ve seen for kids.
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2
Pros: Long battery life. Intel Core i7 power. Compact, convertible form element. Premium building and style. USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 port and USB 3.0 ports. Windows Hello works with finger print reader and IR webcam.
Cons: 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM make it somewhat costly. Lacks on-board storage for Active Pen.
Bottom Line: Despite its fancy exterior, the HP EliteBook x360 2-in-1 laptop is all business within, with an Intel Core i7 processor, 14-hour battery life, and an extensive set of security features.
HP Chromebook x2
Pros: Elegant removable design. Sleek screen. More lap-friendly than tablets with kickstands. Strong efficiency and battery life.
Cons: Expensive. No backlit keyboard. Mediocre cameras.
Bottom Line: It could use a $50 or $100 price cut, but HP’s pioneering Chromebook x2 detachable joins Google’s $999 Pixelbook as the elite of the Chrome OS field.
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 520
Pros: Terrific performance. Elegant, strong watchband-style kickstand hinges. Lenovo Active Pen is consisted of.
Cons: Stand design prevents comfortable lap use. Fairly short battery life. Periodic fan noise.
Bottom Line: Can’t spring for a Surface Pro? The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 520 is the best midrange Windows tablet you can buy today, with outstanding computing efficiency, a good keyboard, and an included stylus.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen)
Pros: Two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Terrific 3K touch screen. First-class keyboard. Aggressively priced Core i7 design.
Cons: Battery life might be better. Somewhat balky touchpad. Pen isn’t magnetized to stick to the side of the tablet.
Bottom Line: With its revamped ThinkPad X1 Tablet, Lenovo serves the Surface Pro notification. This 13-inch showpiece Windows 10 slate packs a great pen, a top-shelf keyboard cover, and Thunderbolt 3 support.
Asus ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461UN)
Pros: Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card blows away incorporated graphics of competing 2-in-1 systems. Appealing audio. Active pen consisted of.
Cons: Slightly dim screen. Does not have 4K screen choice. No Thunderbolt 3 port.
Bottom Line: A 14-inch screen and devoted graphics make the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 convertible 2-in-1 a rarity worth checking out, however do not expect to play the most recent titles at the highest-quality settings.
HP Spectre x360 15 (2018 )
Pros: Good port choice. Comfy keyboard. Brilliant 4K display screen. Exceptional battery life. Consisted of leather case.
Cons: Finicky touchpad. Heavy.
Bottom Line: Although it’s large and unwieldy in Tablet mode, the HP Spectre x360 15’s thoughtful design and top-notch performance make it an outstanding 15-inch convertible laptop.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Pros: Speedy new 8th Generation Intel processor. Great battery life. Premium feel. Streamlined all-black color option. Brilliant display screen. Well-implemented kickstand.
Cons: Minimal modifications from previous design. As ever, keyboard offered individually. Not ideal for in-lap use. Rather restrictive configuration combinations. Restricted ports.
Bottom Line: With a modest speed increase and a new color choice, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 may not have altered much from the previous model, however what we liked about this 2-in-1 convertible then, we still enjoy now.
Microsoft Surface Go
Pros: Low-cost entry indicate the Surface line. Construct quality is high. Little, light-weight design. Excellent capacity for education use.
Cons: Middling speed. Keyboard is cramped and costs additional. Narrow for on-lap use. No full-size USB ports.
Bottom Line: The sturdy Surface Go is the least pricey path into Microsoft’s outstanding Surface tablet line, and the most portable choice. Just know that frequent tourists will like it best, and the core processing power is on the light side.