Once perceived as but a pipe dream for those looking to use their laptops as tablets and vice versa, 2-in-1 laptops have become increasingly popular with creative and lazy people alike. Whether you enjoy spending your time working on character designs for your upcoming graphic novel or propped up in bed rewatching every episode of The Office for the umpteenth time, these hybrid machines have a little bit to offer everyone.
2-in-1 laptops differ drastically from traditional laptops or even the touchscreen kind mainly as a result of their distinct hinge designs. Some, like the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro below, can be flipped 360 degrees inside out for a makeshift tablet mode, hindered ever-so-slightly by putting their keyboards on the back. Others, such as the familiar Surface Book 2, curiously detach their screens entirely from their keyboard bases for a more native tablet experience.
Both methods of conversion contrast with the situation years ago, where you would need an iPad for doodling or kicking back in bed, while your laptop collected dust until you needed it to apply for a job or write a paper. As we fall deeper into the pits of whatever 2018 has to offer, we encourage that you cut down on the multitude of gadgets in your house by switching to the best all-in-one, 2-in-1 laptops your budget can afford.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro can go head-to-head with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and for a substantially lower cost. Though it’s limited to only one configuration, albeit across two different sizes, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is as powerful as it is pragmatic. Defined in part by its inclusion of the S-Pen, this heavy-hitting hybrid is every bit as capable as Microsoft’s Surface Book and without the need to recharge its stylus.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and AU readers: check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch).
Google’s new Pixelbook does something that we couldn’t have seen coming. It takes the Chromebook platform and shoots it straight into the stratosphere, competing with premium products from Apple and Microsoft. It’s able to accomplish this herculean task by beefing up the internals and, more importantly, by including full Android app support. This means that this device tears down the barriers that would prevent macOS or Windows users from jumping on the Chromebook bandwagon. It might cost a lot more than other Chromebooks on the market, but the Pixelbook is truly the future of the platform.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
We get it, the Pixelbook is enticing, but it’s also out of your price range. In that case, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is a choice alternative. Having introduced a touchscreen and convertible design to Google’s cloud-based Chrome OS, the Asus Chromebook Flip is made better by its compatibility with Android apps. That’s right, just like the Pixelbook, you can use the Asus Chromebook Flip for Google Play apps, albeit after installing an out-of-the-box update.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
Though many heads will be turned to the 15-inch model this time around, as Microsoft recently debuted a large-sized laptop for the first time ever, the 13.5-inch rendition of the Surface Book 2 deserves your attention nonetheless. To start, it comes with a 7th- or 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, respectively, depending on your needs. But, per usual with the Surface devices, the draw isn’t what it can do on the inside, but rather, how it can transform on the outside. Not only can its screen be detached from its keyboard, but it’ll last longer too.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13-inch)
Gamers ought to look elsewhere, but for everyone else, the Lenovo Yoga 920 is a passable alternative to the ludicrously expensive Surface Book 2. For those who value, well… value over a screen that can be detached completely from its keyboard, the Lenovo Yoga 920 has a lot of good to offer. The design, for instance, is less pronounced and has the subtlety of a more traditional Ultrabook. Meanwhile, it’s thin and powerful all the same.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920
To be fair, we loved the 13-inch Surface Book already, so when we first caught word that a 15-inch Surface Book 2 was in the works, our expectations were amplified. In the end, Microsoft’s second 2-in-1 laptop isn’t perfect, but it is an impressive feat held back by a handful of (frankly necessary) concessions. For starters, this machine features cutting-edge 8th-generation Intel processors and Nvidia 10-series graphics for gamers and creative types alike. Pair that with its nifty convertibility, and we have ourselves a winner.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)
With Kaby Lake now ruling the roost in terms of CPUs, HP decided it’s high time to flip the switch on its Spectre 2-in-1. With an overhauled keyboard and suave new logo, the HP Spectre x360 holds its own against anything Apple can show. At the same time, none of this stifles the battery life, which exceeds 8 hours of straight use. What’s more, the HP Spectre x360 can now be configured with a 4K screen and 1TB of SSD storage, too.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
Equipped with a Skylake i7 CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is nearly as fashionable and powerful as a 2016 MacBook Pro, but for roughly half the cost. With all the trackpad real estate in the world paired with a snazzy, full-size keyboard, the Samsung Notebook 7 is a real treat even without accounting for the fact that it’s a 2-in-1. You’ll flip once you realize that your laptop does too – and with an HDR-capable screen at that.
- This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360.
If the 13-inch Lenovo Yoga 720 is a caterpillar, the 15-inch model is a majestic butterfly, freshly hatched from its snug cocoon. Outfitted with the choice between only the best HQ series Core i5 and i7 processors, this 2-in-1 is competitive spec-wise with the 15-inch MacBook Pro while remaining but a fraction of the cost of Apple’s flagship machine. What’s more, it even has the ports you know and love in addition to the still-blossoming USB Type-C interface.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 720 (15-inch)
More than just a basic hardware refresh, the HP Spectre x360 is as easy on the eyes as it is to use. Because the keyboard feels natural to the touch, there’s no debate as to whether this 2-in-1 is better as a laptop or as a tablet; it comes equally recommended as both. If it made a peep, what with its silent fans and subdued chiclet keys, the HP Spectre x360 15 may even garner a few jealous stares.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 15
- This product is only available in the US and UK as of this time. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch).
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
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