Not long ago, the choice of a portable computer was restricted to a traditional laptop. However, as time went by, powerful operating systems and mobile processors were introduced into the market. This widened the choice for end users to include tablets as convenient alternatives.
Due to the limited functionality of tablets and the inconvenience of a laptop, manufacturers saw the opportunity of merging the two devices to create 2-in-1 laptops.
A 2-in-1 refers to a detachable hybrid tablet or convertible hybrid laptop that comes with both a keyboard and a touchscreen. This flexibility allows you to seamlessly flip between the laptop and tablet modes.
Much like their traditional counterparts, the best 2-in-1 laptops come with an operating system which is either Windows or Chrome OS. To understand 2-in-1 devices better, you have to group them into two categories: detachable hybrid tablets and convertible laptops.
Detachable Hybrid Tablets
This is a slate tablet with a keyboard dock or case. For stability, the keyboard dock is preferred to the keyboard case. If you desire optimal mobility and portability, you can leave the keyboard part behind and operate with the tablet alone.
It is not uncommon to find best detachable laptops weighing less than 3 pounds, together with the keyboard dock. Apart from the extra functionality keyboard docks provide, they may also include USB ports and extra battery cells to give you more power to work off-plug.
Convertible Hybrid Laptops
Instead of detaching the keypad, this type of 2-in-1 laptops uses a folding design to transform from tablet to laptop and vice versa. If you are a frequent user of the keyboard for input, this is the best type for you.
Thanks to the folding mechanism and the range of motion it gives, you can opt for different modes based on use. For instance, you can share your display with other participants in a meeting by using a stand mode. You can also prop it up in tent mode if you do not have much space. The flexibility of this 2-in-1 laptop type is unbeatable.
The motherboard and battery system are located at the base much like in a conventional laptop. This gives the device stability when typing on a platform such as tabletop or lap. The relatively larger room for batteries provides enhanced battery life.
How to Choose The Best 2-in-1 Laptop
Generally, 2-in-1 laptops use mobile processors which are relatively less powerful compared to traditional laptops of the same size. The mobile processors are specifically designed to allow for quiet, cool operation instead of blazing speeds.
Chances are high that you will be working on your laptop for longer hours. Because of this, it is imperative that eyes stay comfortable and stress-free. The element that takes care of this in your laptop is the display. It should be clear, with the right amount of brightness and minimal flicker to allow you to stay productive for longer.
In the spirit of mobile workforce productivity, your 2-in-1 laptop must intuitively blend portability and performance. The key elements for maximum performance include immersive graphics, powerful processors, long battery life, adequate RAM, and a larger display.
Look at the number of cells in the battery system and whether the laptop allows you to incorporate external swappable batteries. This will give you extended hours of battery life. Check the charge option the laptop comes with. Some of the modern 2-in-1 laptops have a rapid charge option that lets you charge your laptop in a much shorter time.
The build of your laptop determines its durability. Due to the nature of their assignments, 2-in-1 laptops should withstand everyday drops and bumps as well as survive the vagaries of remote working such as temperature differentials.
Some 2-in-1 laptops use a top cover consisting of a carbon fiber foam sandwiched between two carbon fiber layers. This gives you a lighter, stronger, and much thinner device. To minimize the failure rate and allow for better cooling, your device should provide an increased air flow.
As with anything else, shopping for 2-in-1 laptops involves compromises and trade-offs. Our reviews below will help you decide the laptop that best suits your needs.
1. Asus Chromebook Flip C434
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 has full HD 14” display with NanoEdge technology and super narrow bezels that are 5mm thin, which allows this 14” screen to be used in a 13” footprint. Along with that comes the option to rotate the display for 360 degrees, which means you can change between stand, tent and even tablet mode.
This Chromebook uses m3-8100y processor, which can go up to 3.4GHz and allows for a good-enough performance. Along with that comes 4GB LPDDR3 RAM memory and 64GB of eMMC storage space, as well as three USB ports, two of which are Type-C and one Type-A.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is very durable, completely made of aluminum. However, it is still very light, weighing only 3 lbs.
C434 comes with pre-installed Chrome operating system, which includes all necessary apps from Google that you may need, such as Google Docs and Sheets.
- Excellent FHD display with NanoEdge technology
- Ability to rotate the screen for 360 degrees
- Powerful m3-8100y processor
- Durable, aluminum design
- Very light, just 3 lbs
- Low RAM memory can cause stutters occasionally
2. Microsoft Surface Go
The Surface series is one of the most popular when it comes to devices that provide power and portability in the same package. The Surface Go is the smallest available, at a 10-inch diagonal and 1.15 lbs. weight, which makes it perfect for working, reading emails, or browsing your social media feed wherever you are.
The tablet is equipped with an Intel Pentium Gold processor, 4GB of RAM memory, and 64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD (according to the version you choose). All this power allows you to run Windows 10 Home and Office apps, plus a wide range of other useful software.
The high-res 10” PixelSense Display is perfect for images, videos, and supports 10-point multi-touch so you can work with the pen. It also gives users up to 9 hours of power and allows connectivity with other devices using the multi-tasking USB-C port and the headphone jack.
Keep in mind that the device doesn’t come with the Surface Go signature cover – you will have to purchase it separately.
- Small and lightweight (fits in your bag)
- Fantastic for connecting with the world
- Runs Windows 10 Home & Office 365
- It moves extremely fast
- Useful accessories (the cover, pen, and mouse)
- Fast charging port
- Some lag during scrolling
- Doesn’t come with the keyboard
- It heats up when running demanding programs
3. Lenovo Yoga 730
The Yoga 730 runs Windows 10 on a platform that’s powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U mobile processor with quad-core. This makes the device run smoothly, whether you’re just browsing or working on your latest report. Of course, the 8GB RAM memory and the SSD also have a word to say in this.
The 15.6” FHD 10-point multitouch IPS screen displays high-quality images and videos due to the Intel UHD Graphics 620 card. Just like most 2-in-1 designs, the Yoga 370 supports a 360-degree flip-and-fold design which allows four different viewing modes (laptop, tent, stand, and tablet).
In terms of connectivity, the device supports HDMI, next-generation wireless-AC networks and has a Thunderbolt port. Finally, there’s a built-in HD webcam with dual-array microphone and a fingerprint reader, to keep any prying eyes away from your private information.
- Ultra-thin design for increased portability
- High-quality graphics
- Superior processing power
- Windows 10
- Good connectivity options
- The touchpad is a bit too sensitive
- Not designed for gaming
- A bit difficult to open
- The case retains finger smudges
4. HP Spectre x360 Gemcut 15t
HP Spectre x360 Gemcut 15t has 6-cores i7 8750H processor, with 2.2GHz, which can be overclocked up to 4.1GHz. As for GPU, it has NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti, which has 4GB of video memory. To crown everything, there is a total of 16GB of RAM memory, which makes this laptop perfect for all types of users. It comes with pre-installed Windows 10 and 512GB of SSD storage.
HP Spectre x360 has a top-notch 4k Ultra HD display with integrated HP Truevision technology and ThunderBolt 3. Along with that comes Gorilla Glass protection and TrueVision FHD Camera. Apart from that, it has excellent Bang and Olufsen Quad Speakers with 12 HP Audio Boost.
- Excellent 4K UHD Display with TrueVision technology
- Perfect hexacore i7 processor
- The excellent battery lasts up to 15 hours
- Fingerprint reader
- First-class GPU and RAM memory
- The trackpad is not very precise
5. ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UX461FN-DH74T
The ZenBook Flip 14 from Asus is a masterpiece! The first thing you’ll notice is the ultra-elegant design that features an aluminum case with the spun-metal finish specific for Asus devices. Furthermore, the device is ultra-thin (0.5 inches) and light (3.3 lbs.), which makes it amazing for traveling. The 360-degree flappable touchscreen is perfect for those moments when you want to browse, and the keyboard and Pen are great for when you need to work.
The 14-inch 10-point touchscreen features a wide-view FHD resolution, with a nano-edge bezel that protects the screen without limiting the view.
Under its elegant case, the ZenBook hides a powerful engine, fueled by an Intel Core i7-8565U Quad-core Processor. All this processing power is used to support 16GB RAM and one 512GB PCIe SSD.
Also, the battery will last for about 7 hours, and it charges at 60% in just 50 minutes, due to fast charge technology. Furthermore, you won’t have to remember any passwords due to the built-in fingerprint reader in the touchpad that’s compatible with Windows Hello feature.
Finally, the device supports 802.11a/c WiFi networks and has HDMI/USB Type C ports with an integrated SD card reader.
- Ultra-portable & elegant
- Impressive processing power
- Good performance
- High-quality display
- Can be used as a tablet and a laptop
- Works with Asus Pen
- Speakers are placed at the bottom
- The audio jack may be problematic
- No Thunderbolt port
- Only supports HDMI 1.4
6. Google Pixelbook
Google Pixelbook comes with an Intel i5, 128 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. The touchscreen measures 12.3 inches and has a 2400 x 1600-pixel resolution.
In addition to the headphone jack, this 2.4-pound laptop has two USB-C ports. With just the right mix of a soft and mechanical keyboard, this is not only one of the best Chromebooks, but also an enjoyable device to use.
- Thin and light design and quality aluminum build
- Stylus pen support
- Excellent keyboard
- Poor audio performance
7. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
This is a midrange 2-in-1 laptop with a solid Intel Dual-Core i7-7500U processor and a 13.3-inch touch display to go along with. This 3.2-pound convertible also has a 16 GB DDR4 RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The stealth silver shell looks professional and solid.
The keyboard boasts of concave keys together with hotkeys that allow you to juggle your external monitor as well as toggle on and off the speakers, trackpad, and Wi-Fi. In terms of ports, this machine has a full HDMI port, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0.
- HDR Mode
- Snappy keyboard
- Backlit keyboard
- Poor Battery Life
8. Lenovo Flex 14
Lenovo Flex 14 offers an excellent 1920 x 1080p FHD display and comes with AMD Ryzen 5 series 3500U processor, which is mobile. Along with that comes Radeon Vega 8, which allows you to edit videos, photos and stream with great ease and without any stutter. Furthermore, Lenovo Flex 4 has USB-C, HDMI and USB 3.1 ports.
With Lenovo Flex 14, your data and personal info will be completely safe because it has built-in protection, which comes with already installed Windows 10.
Another very small, but nice feature Lenovo Flex 14 has, is webcam shutter, allowing you to close your camera when you are not using it.
Very cool additional equipment is an active pen, which can be used to write or draw on the screen, which is both useful and interesting.
And to support all that, there is a pretty decent battery, which can last for 10 hours. Along with that comes special recharge technology, which can power your laptop’s battery to 80% in less than one hour.
- Excellent battery
- Built-in protection
- Camera privacy shutter
- Comes with Radeon Vega 8
- Active pen included
- Gloss screen instead matte paper-like screen
9. Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop
Acer Spin 3 comes with the Intel Core i7 8565U processor from the 8th generation of that group of processors, which is very powerful and has had great performance throughout the history. Along with that comes 14” completely full HD multi-touch convertible display with LED-backlit.
Acer Spin 3 has a good amount of RAM memory, 16GB DDR4, as well as 512GB of SSD storage, which would satisfy even some more demanding users.
Another very useful feature Acer Spin 3 has is an active stylus that is completely rechargeable. Along with that comes bezel that is only 0.38 inches thin, as well as great dual front-facing speakers. This laptop has Wi-Fi of 802.11 ac, making it great for internet surfing and doing some more complex tasks.
Acer Spin 3 is only 0.78 inches thin and weighs only 3.75 pounds. Apart from that, it has a very good battery, that can last up to 12 hours of intensive work.
- Excellent i7 processor
- 14” Full HD, for a beautiful picture
- Very good battery life supports up to 12 hours of intensive work
- Multi-touch display
- A large amount of RAM memory
- Battery degrades quickly, after a while it will only last around 4 hours
10. Microsoft Surface Book 2
This is one of the best detachable laptops on the market. It gives you up to 17 hours of battery life and 13.5-inch PixelSense Display. With a resolution of up to 3240 x 2160, you will enjoy clean, crisp, and sharp images.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 comes with either Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. In terms of storage, you can choose from 256GB to 1 TB SSD.
- Long battery life
- A solid resolution
- Evenly distributed weight
- Great trackpad and keyboard
- Powerful Nvidia graphics
- Wobbling display when you touch it
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3 support
Generally, 2-in-1 laptops are designed to give you the flexibility of a traditional laptop and the convenience of a tablet. Whether you go for the detachable or convertible laptop, you will find similarities in processor speeds, storage, builds, and other aspects.
The best point to begin your search for the best 2-in-1 laptops is to analyze what you want to achieve with the machine and your budget. In this way, you will know the specifications to look out for and the range in terms of price.