Best 2-in-1s 2018 (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)
indowsIf you want a laptop with the most versatility, a 2-in-1 that either bends back or detaches to switch into tablet mode is your best choice. We've listed our favorite 2-in-1s below and here are three quick things you need to keep in mind when shopping.
- Bendback or Detachable?: Bendback 2-in-1s, which have screens that flip back 360 degrees, work far better in laptop mode and usually have greater endurance, a better keyboard and more ports. Detachable 2-in-1s, which have screens that pop off, provide a better best tablet experience.
- Screen Resolution: While some cheaper models will have 1366 x 768 resolutions, try to get at least a 1920 x 1080 display.
- Size: For the best balance between portability and usability, consider a 2-in-1 with a 12 or 13-inch display and a weight less than 3.5 pounds. Smaller laptops are great for kids while 15 and 17-inch models provide lots of real estate for drawing or media viewing.
News and Updates (October 2018)
- We reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Book 2, a detachable 2-in-1 powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 CPU. The tablet's gorgeous display couldn't make up for performance woes.
- The dual-screen Yoga Book C930 impressed us in our review, but poor battery life and an uncomfortable keyboard are definite shortcomings.
- We reviewed the Surface Pro 6, the latest premium detachable from Microsoft. Improved battery life and fast performance earned it our Editor's Choice award and a spot on our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops.
Best Overall: Lenovo Yoga C930
The Yoga C930 takes everything we loved about its predecessor — a gorgeous design, long battery life and fast performance — and added some awesome extras, including an in-chassis stylus slot and a sliding webcam cover. But of all the new features introduced to Lenovo's flagship consumer 2-in-1, the soundbar hinge stands out the most. The unique speaker hinge not only allows the C930 to convert into a tablet, but it provides solid audio quality no matter what orientation you set the laptop in.
Providing excellent performance to the Yoga C930 is an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and PCI SSD. The laptop's 13.9-inch display comes in either 1080p or 4K resolution.
Pros: Slim and attractive design; Long battery life; Strong performance; Powerful speakers; Webcam cover
Cons: Shallow keyboard; 1080p display could be better
Key Specs: 13.9-inch 1080p or 4K screen; Core i7-8550U CPU; up to 1TB SSD; up to 16GB of RAM
Best Value: Lenovo Flex 6 11
For less than $350, the Lenovo Flex 6 11 is one of the least expensive laptops to offer a flexible 2-in-1 design and responsive touchscreen. It also has a generous Intel Celeron N4000 processor that performed admirably in our tests. The Flex 6 11 delivers in a big way when it comes to battery life, lasting more than 9 hours on a charge. Housing just 2GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, the Flex 6 11 won't break any speed records, but it makes for a great travel laptop or tablet replacement.
Pros: Excellent battery life; Flexible 2-in-1 design; Adequate performance; Good keyboard; Low price
Cons: Muted, low-resolution display; Poor speakers
Key specs: 11-inch 2-in-1 touchscreen display; Intel Celeron N4000 processor; USB Type-C port; 2.7 pounds
Best Detachable Under $500: Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Go has a fantastic 1800 x 1200 display that punches above its $400 price. It's not only the pixel count that has us impressed, the Surface Go's display also has outstanding qualities. It can reproduce 129.2 percent of the sRGB color gamut and its maximum display brightness tops out at 415 nits, well above the 245 nit average for a budget laptop.
The display is our favorite part of the Surface Go, but it's not the only thing this detachable 2-in-1 has going for it. At a lightweight 1.1 pounds, the Surface Go is easy to carry around your house or take on a trip. It also has a comfortable optional keyboard with a touchpad, and its Windows Hello support makes logging in a breeze. While we wished it lasted longer on a charge, the Surface Go is an enticing 2-in-1 with a top-notch display.
Pros: Colorful and bright display; Lightweight design; Comfortable keyboard with touchpad; Windows Hello login
Cons: Below-average battery life; Chunky bezels; Keyboard and pen not included
Key Specs: Weighs 1.1 pounds, Detachable 2-in-1 design, 1800 x 1200 resolution display, Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of storage, Surface Connect port
Best Chromebook 2-in-1: HP Chromebook x2
The Chromebook x2 is a premium 2-in-1 that delivers nearly 9 hours of endurance in a sleek design. The Core m3 processor is plenty speedy for most tasks, and the typing experience is more comfortable than with the Surface Go. HP includes a pen for taking notes and drawing on the vibrant 12.3-inch display. At 3.2 pounds, the Chromebook x2 is a bit hefty, but overall it’s the most versatile Chrome OS laptop you can buy.
Pros: Bright, high-res display; All-day battery life; Comfortable typing experience; Solid sound
Cons: A bit heavier than other convertibles; Thick bezels
Key Specs: Intel Core m3, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 12.3-inch display (2400 x 1600), 3.2-pounds
Best Detachable 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Surface Pro 6 takes an excellent laptop in last year's Surface Pro and makes it even better. Battery life is improved by nearly 2 hours and the new quad-core CPUs provide outstanding performance. While the design hasn't changed much, a new sleek matte-black color variant shows off the slim and lightweight hardware better than ever. Microsoft still sells the comfortable Alcantara-clad Type Cover and the super-responsive Surface Pen, which make it easy to draw or take notes on this tablet's vivid and bright 12.3-inch display.
Pros: Long battery life; Excellent performance; Comfortable keyboard; Vivid, bright display
Cons: No USB-C port; Sluggish SSD; 256GB SSD config is pricey
Key Specs: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824-pixel display; Up to 8th Gen Core i7 CPU; 1.7 pounds/2.3 pounds with Type Cover
Best 15-inch 2-in-1: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Dell's bendback convertible looks a like the the clamshell version of the XPS 15 2-in-1, but its thinner than ever before. You still get the carbon fiber deck and InfinityEdge display, and the screen is bright and vivid. We also love the maglev keyboard, which is one of the best low-profile typing experiences we've ever tried.
Pros: Strong performance; Excellent screen; Fantastic low-travel keyboard
Cons: Below-average battery life; Webcam still looks up your nose
Key Specs: 15-inch, up to 4K display; Intel Kaby Lake G CPU;
Best Design: HP Spectre x360 (2018, 15-inch, Kaby Lake G)
The Kaby Lake G series version of the HP Spectre x360 retains its predecessors' good looks. The relatively thin and lightweight 15-inch convertible has a striking copper-on-black color scheme that helps it stand out from the competition. Its aluminum build and unique edges also give it an undeniably premium appearance that is sure to turn some heads.
Pros: Gorgeous design; Colorful display; Very good performance; Keyboard now has a number pad
Cons: Poor battery life; Loud fans
Key Specs: Intel Core i7-8705G processor; AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU; 4K display; 512GB M.2 NVMe PCle SSD
Best Business 2-in-1: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
With a detachable screen and military-grade durability, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet offers both flexibility and peace of mind. Additionally, its lightweight 2.6-pound body and slender size (12 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches) make it a great travel companion for those days away from the office. Perfect for video conferencing, the X1 Tablet's surprisingly good 2MP camera makes it one of the few laptops that don't desperately need an external webcam. Add a stunning display, great keyboard and stylus and good performance, and it's easy to see why the ThinkPad X1 tablet is our business 2-in-1 pick.
Pros: Rugged yet elegant design; Bright, detailed cameras; Beautiful display; Comfortable keyboard; Good performance
Cons: Battery won't make it through a full day; Useless stylus slot; Weak speakers
Key Specs: 3,000 x 2,000 resolution display; 512GB SSD; two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports; military-grade durability
Best Performance: HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
The ZBook Studio x360 armed with a powerful Intel Xeon processor and a Quadro P1000 GPU all packed into a slim 0.8-inch thick frame that can perform all the 360 degree flips. It has a gorgeous aluminum hood, a vivid 4K display and a 9 hour battery life. It also comes with an optional ZBook Pen, which features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity as well as tilt controls and three customizable buttons.
Pros: Premium design; Gorgeous 4K display; Military grade durability; Great keyboard and stylus; Excellent performance and graphics; Long battery life
Cons: Lid flexes; Lackluster webcam; Expensive
Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 4K display; Intel Xeon E-2186M processor; 1TB SSD; 32GB of RAM; Quadro P1000 GPU; 4.9 pounds
Best 2-in-1 for Kids: HP Chromebook x360 11 G1
If you want an inexpensive laptop for your kid, consider a Chromebook. Not only is Chrome OS secure, but Chromebooks are easy-to-use and typically cost less than their Windows counterparts.
The standout laptop for kids in this growing segment is the HP Chromebook x360 11 G1. This $400 2-in-1 has a rugged design, so you don't have to worry about it slipping out of your child's hands. For students, the x360 lasts nearly 10 hours on a charge, and the webcam is great for those who take virtual courses.
Pros: Long battery life; Durable construction; Good speakers; Solid webcam
Cons: Plastic materials; Dim display
Key Specs: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 screen; Intel Celeron N3350 processor; 8GB of RAM; 2.9 pounds
Best Splurge: Microsoft Surface Book 2
The 15-inch version of Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is a stunning technical achievement that packs a powerful, Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU into the base of a detachable 2-in-1. With that kind of graphics might, you can edit 4K videos or create professional 3D animations while you are connected to the keyboard and then pop the screen off for some drawing or note-taking. The Surface Book 2 also features a brilliant PixelSense display, a powerful Intel 8th-Gen Core i7 CPU and over 12 hours of battery life.
Pros: Vivid display; Best 2-in-1 graphics performance; Versatile detachable design; Long battery life
Cons: Expensive; No Thunderbolt 3
Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 3240 x 2160 screen; Intel Core i7-8550U CPU; Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics; 4.18 pounds
Best Rugged 2-in-1: Dell Latitude 7212
If you need a computer to take with you to a construction site, an oil rig or another place where drops and spills are likely, the Latitude 7212 is your best choice. In our tests, the Latitude survived 4-foot drops, without getting so much as a scratch. A super bright screen and nearly 10 hours of battery life (with dual batteries) round out this impressive package.
Pros: Survives 4-foot drops; Bright screen; Good battery life
Cons: Expensive; Fuzzy texture on screen
Key Specs: 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen; 2.6 to 5 pounds (depending on configuration); Up to 9:44 battery life