Buying Guide: 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2016: top hybrid laptops reviewed


Update: We’ve introduced the latest HP Elite x2 to our list of storied 2-in-1 laptops. Find out why it’s been deemed worthy of our roundup in spot #7 below!

A 2-in-1 laptop , or hybrid notebook, is a device that can serve as both a laptop and a tablet, either in a detachable design that sees the touchscreen doubling as a tablet, or a convertible approach in which the notebook’s hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect.

Hybrid laptops are generally priced in a range between $700 (about £450, AU$800) and $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131). However, some manufacturers, like Acer, make budget hybrids, and there are even 2-in-1s designed specifically for the business user, like the Dell Venue 7000 series.

Now that we’re approaching the second year of Windows 10, 2-in-1s are becoming increasingly prevalent across the market. Although a handful of hybrids – such as Microsoft’s fantastic Surface Pro 4, and even the Dell XPS 12 – didn’t quite qualify for this list, that’s not to say 2-in-1s excluded from this list aren’t worth your consideration.

In fact, you might find your needs are better suited for one of the 6 best Windows tablets. With that, here are the best 2-in-1 laptops that we’ve reviewed:

Best 2 in 1 laptop

1. Lenovo Yoga 900

A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 256GB SSD

Gorgeous display

Slim design

Shallow keyboard

Display drivers issues

Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core i processors and a larger battery, Lenovo’s latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft’s latest Surface Book.

Much of this extra power only contributes to the weight and thickness of the Yoga 900, it still retains a slender physique and flexible frame allowing it to easily fold back into tablet mode.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900

Best 2 in 1 laptop

2. Microsoft Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB PCIe3.0 SSD

Futuristic design

Seamless tablet separation

Battery life falls well below promises

Major updates are still in tow

In 2015, Microsoft made some noise in announcing the company’s first laptop, the Surface Book. Although there’s still work to be done, namely in its perhaps ill-advised 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen, it’s still one of the best in convertible laptop options.

In its tablet, or Clipboard, mode it’s among the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 devices on the market. Dock it into the keyboard base, however, and you’re in for a real treat assuming you opt for a discrete GPU configuration.

Read the full review: Surface Book

Best 2 in 1 laptop

3. HP Spectre x360

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 4GB DDR3 (1600Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 128GB SSD

Superbly thin

Vibrant, bright display

Excellent performance and battery life

Too heavy to use as a tablet

Weird, wide trackpad

A vote for the HP Spectre x360 is a vote for one of our most recommended machines Complete with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality, the Spectre x360 is one of the best hybrids money can buy, especially considering its modest price point of $999 (£800 AU$1,899).

If it weren’t for the x360’s unwieldy trackpad, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is still one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops. And hey, at least it fared much better than its performance deficient predecessor.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best 2 in 1 laptop

4. Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

A stylish 4K convertible Ultrabook

CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD

Smart design and ergonomics

Incredibly colorful screen

Strange keyboard layout

Dismal battery life

As the first 4K-enabled convertible on the market, the Toshiba Radius 12 is a spectacular machine both inside and out. This sharp 2-in-1 laptop was designed to be held as a tablet just as much as it was meant to be used on your lap.

Thanks to its lightweight and ergonomically designed chassis, this is one transformable notebook you’ll actually want to hold in your hand.

Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

Best 2 in 1 laptop

5. HP Pavilion x2

The most affordable Windows 10 convertible

CPU: 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300 | Graphics: Intel HD graphics | RAM: 2GB| Screen: 10.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 WXGA WLED IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Long battery life

Absurdly affordable

32-bit Windows 10

Limited storage and memory

Getting into the world of Windows 10 convertibles isn’t cheap unless we’re talking about the Pavilion x2. This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It comes outfitted with an HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing.

When you’re ready kick back with some streaming media, you can pop off the 10-inch works as a great little tablet. And if you’re looking for something with a bit more screen real estate there’s the 12-inch HP Pavilion x2.

Read the full review: HP Pavilion x2

Best 2 in 1 laptop

6. Dell Inspiron 13 7000

An attractive, versatile package

CPU: 2.1GHz Intel Core i7-5500 | Graphics: Intel Core i3-5010U processor | RAM: 4GB DDR3L (1,600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch HD (1366 x 768) Truelife LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 500GB HDD

Attractive design

Sturdy construction

Lackluster battery life

A little hefty

Though there’s nothing remarkably distinct about the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, it’s a sturdy device that packs both performance and style. What’s best about the Inspiron 13 is its ability to camouflage itself as a conventional laptop. Bend that sucker back like you’re about to break the screen right off the hinge, though, and you’ll be greeted by a flexible tablet design accompanied by shrieks of terror from your colleagues.

If you’re a student or a hardy at-home worker cranking out last-minute assignments in the wee hours of the night, you’ll be delighted to hear that the Inspiron 13 7000’s keyboard, at least according to Dell, is waterproof. We wouldn’t advise, say, resting your steaming hot cup of joe on its alphanumerics, but of course it’s a welcome feature.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000

Best 2 in 1 laptop

7. HP Elite x2 1012 G1

CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM | Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 FHD UWVA eDP ultra-slim LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB M.2 SATA TLC SSD

Responsive trackpad

Clear screen

So-so hinge

Short battery life

If you’re looking for something more resistant than a Surface Pro but with minimal added weight, the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 is a top contender. Featuring a backlit keyboard, Wacom “Active” pen support, and Thunderbolt 3, the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 is as versatile as it is alluring.

And that goes without mentioning the 12 point stress test the tablet underwent through production. Yes, HP claims that its Elite x2 1012 G1 can endure drops, bumps and temperature shifts that would leave other tablets on the market dead in the streets. $1,349 might seem pricey for a device with only a 1080p display, but the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 is better in action than in description.

Read the full review: HP Elite x2 1012 G1

Best 2 in 1 laptop

8. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

A business laptop with a modern twist

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS, multi-touch | Storage: 512GB SSD (SATA3)

Premium build quality

Snappy keyboard

Poorly-colored display

Short battery life

The Yoga 260 is in every way a modern re-imagining of the classic ThinkPad, complete with a rotating touchscreen, responsive recharging stylus and Skylake processor. Thanks to the onboard Intel Core i7 processor, this machine is ready to chew through everyday tasks without skipping a beat.

We wished the battery life and color-faded screen were a little less subpar but if you can stand for the shortcomings, there’s a versatile and feature-packed laptop waiting for you in the Yoga 260.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

Best 2 in 1 laptop

9. HP Spectre x360 15

This 15-inch hybrid is more portable than you think

CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD, IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB Flash SSD

Contrast-rich screen

Long battery life for its size

Poor ergonomics

Weak speakers for their size

The Spectre x360 15 is an excellent 2-in-1 laptop that stands out with its thin, all-metal body. It features an excellent 15-inch IPS touch panel and it only gets better if you add on the affordable 4K screen.

What’s more, the battery life on the x360 15 is surprisingly unhindered by the high resolution display. Those unimpressed by lengthy battery lives and more focused on sleek, ambidextrous designs, however, should scroll down to what’s next on our list.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 15

Best 2 in 1 laptop

10. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Asus‘ thin and gorgeous 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 capacitive multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD

Flexible and versatile

Thin and light design

Micro-sized ports

Unimpressive battery life

If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 machine with portability to boot, there aren’t many devices that beat the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi. This 12.5-inch convertible is among one of the thinnest in its class and taking the screen off the keyboard base turns the T300 Chi into a true Windows tablet.

Though the device is powered by a low-wattage processor, it packs enough punch to drive a 4K display, getting you through all your daily tasks. Sadly, battery life is a little on the short side and you’ll have to cope without full-size USB and HDMI ports, but otherwise this is an excellent and affordable hybrid.

Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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