We live in a day and age when technology is ubiquitous, and the smartphone is the king. However, even if touch screens seem to be the future of computing (unfortunately), it’s hard (if not impossible) to perform certain tasks without a full keyboard, hence today’s article is about the best 2 in 1 laptop money can buy.
To begin with, a 2 in 1 laptop is a hybrid of sorts, also known as the love child of a tablet and a laptop. These hybrids are making a big comeback in 2020, hence if you’re looking for the best of both worlds, keep reading, because you’re in for a real treat.
The thing is, convertible laptops are getting less expensive by the day, and by that we mean they’re almost as affordable as their clamshell counterparts. And while we’re at it, check out our article about the best budget laptops.
To make it really simple for our readers, if you’re looking for the ideal balance between usability and portability, it’s hard to beat a 2 in 1 laptop; keep in mind that convertibles are especially great for kids and college students, as they’re optimized for drawing and media viewing.
How to choose the best 2 in 1 laptop
First things first: if you’re an Apple fanboy, the bad news is that the Cupertino based company has not jumped into the hybrid arena just yet, which is a little bit strange and disappointing. Okay, you can connect an iPad to a keyboard and play convertible, but that’s not the point. The good news is that there’s no shortage of convertibles from other manufacturers, ranging from Dell to Microsoft and beyond.
The development of hybrids or convertibles has been dictated by Microsoft since the development of Windows 8; Windows 10 is literally a multi-input OS and that’s the main reason for having a wide range of convertible and 2-in-1 devices today, which can be used for productivity tasks, running apps, and even gaming. However, if you’re looking for niche jobs like music production, you should choose something else.
Tablet first or laptop first
The first thing to consider in the best 2 in 1 laptop comes down to your personal choice: tablet first or laptop first? Think along the lines of Microsoft Surface Pro, a tablet-first device that can be described as a glorified high-end tablet featuring an attachable keyboard. A tablet-first gizmo is more compact, lighter and it’s great for traveling, being easier to carry around.
A laptop-first device like the Lenovo Flex is basically a convertible and works primarily as a regular laptop with tablet functionality (read touch screen). As a side note, if you want to prolong the life of your machine and benefit from peak performance at all times, especially while gaming or engaging in heavy-duty tasks, spend a few bucks on a high-quality cooling pad.
Another thing to look after is the ports and I/O department. There’s an unfortunate trend nowadays in big tech where we’re seeing a drastic reduction of ports in 2 in 1 laptop and portables generally speaking.
As in, hardware manufacturers are intentionally reducing connectivity options for users in order to keep things lighter, thinner, and cheaper. The point being, you’ll have to find a way to navigate around this problem via dongles for example, that provided your device of choice cannot accommodate the bare minimum in terms of connectivity, so check this out before you buy.
Keyboard quality comes into play if you’re going to use your 2 in 1 laptop for coding or writing, and poor keyboard quality is one of the main reasons many people have ditched platforms and devices. A high-quality keyboard is critical if you need to feel right and work well on a convertible/hybrid device.
Tech specs (CPU, GPU, RAM amount, storage space, screen size) and value for money are always important, but rest assured, as we’ll cover these issues closely, just pay attention to the Pros/Cons section in the detailed reviews below and you’ll do just fine.
8 Best 2-in-1 Laptops
Microsoft Surface Book 3
The Best 2 in 1 Laptop for Gaming
Our first pick for today is the famous Microsoft Surface Book 3, a high-end tablet-first convertible, designed by Bill Gates’ dream-team of tech nerds. For almost $2k you’ll get a quad-core Intel Core I7 CPU, 10th gen respectively, 16 GB of RAM, and a fast 256 GB SSD. The display is a 13,5’’ touchscreen variety, and the next question is: why would you pay 2 grand on these specs?
Well, eternal life is one of the first reasons that come to mind, as the Surface Book 3 boasts 15 hours of autonomy on a single charge. Yes, that’s as impressive as it sounds, and the same goes for connectivity options: you’ll get both USB A and Type C ports, plus a full-size SD card slot.
Moreover, the display is detachable, which means you can always grab it and run away with it to a conference or wherever. For live streaming and social media activities, you’ll be glad to hear that the Surface Book 3features dual 1080p cameras, dual far-field Studio Mics, and immersive Dolby Atmos sound, while the full-size keyboard is excellent for both prolific typists and coders.
The touchscreen display with 402 nits of brightness and 3000 x 2000 resolution is stunning, making the Surface Book 3 look and feel like an extremely premium 2 in 1 laptop, yet the hefty price tag which is comparable to a MacBook Pro can be discouraging for some people. However, if the design and build quality rank high on your shopping list, the good news is that it doesn’t get much better than the Surface Book 3.
The keyboard is one of the best we ever tested, connectivity features are solid (2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C port 3,5mm jack, full-sized SDXC card reader), and, most importantly, the Surface Book 3 is gaming-ready due to the GTX 1660 Ti GPU on-board.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for Microsoft’s best, it’s hard to argue with the Surface Book 3; also, if you want to create media and/or you consume a ton of it, and especially if you want to impress your friends, the Surface Book 3 comes highly recommended.
- Superb PixelSense display
- Premium design
- Amazing build quality
- Highly portable
- Fabulous keyboard
- Top hardware
- Very expensive
- Sub-par speakers
Lenovo Flex 5
The Best All-Round 2 in 1 Laptop
If you take a look at the price tag and then check out the tech specs, you instantly understand why the Lenovo Flex 5 is on our list of the best 2 in 1 laptops. For a few hundred bucks, you’ll get 14’’ of screen real estate (FHD/1080p, mind you), a brand new AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU, Radeon Vega 6 graphics, 16 GB of RAM and a lightning-fast 256 GB SSD.
On top of that, the Lenovo Flex 5 comes with Windows 10 preinstalled and a digital pen included in the retail package. To make a long and boring story short and interesting, the Lenovo Flex 5 packs a lot of power under its belt, weighs just 3.64 lbs while being merely 0.82’’ thick, retails for peanuts money, boasts 10 hours of autonomy on a single charge, and can be used in Tablet mode or Laptop mode due to its 360⁰ hinge.
What more can you ask? Considering the “full plastic” chassis, build quality is incredibly good, while the keyboard deck is rubberized for better grip; the laptop can be opened with one hand, yet the hinge is as strong as it gets. Moreover, you’ll notice zero creakings, and performance-wise, the new Vega 6 GPU is approximately 10 percent faster than the 3500U’s Vega 8.
It’s worth mentioning that the AMD’s Ryzen 5 is one of the best mid-range CPUs around, some say better than the latest Core i5 from Intel, which makes the Lenovo Flex 5 great for heavy productivity multitasking, including photo and video editing.
The soft-touch chassis offers plenty of connectivity options, including 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, a power port, a USB Type C, HDMI, a full-size S.D, and an audio combo jack, plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. The keyboard is backlit and it’s pretty good in terms of typing experience, and bottom line, if you’re looking for powerful performance and excellent value, the Lenovo Flex 5 will not disappoint.
- Amazing value for money
- Solid hardware
- Durable chassis
- Good speakers
- Digital pen included
- Display quality is mediocre
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Best Tablet-First 2 in 1 Laptop
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the successor of the Surface Pro 6, an update of an already excellent Windows 10 tablet. The Pro 7 has the same design, which has been virtually identical since the 2017 Surface Pro 5 but comes with the latest Intel processors and a USB Type C port.
Design-wise, the Pro 7 is a high-end machine, featuring premium materials and build quality, including a textured magnesium body, rounded corners, and Microsoft’s excellent kickstand on the back. The 12,3’’ responsive touchscreen is beautiful and crisp, with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels and 395 nits of brightness; also, the Surface Pen is very precise and has low latency, being perfect for drawing or taking notes, as the same goes for the smooth and responsive trackpad.
Hardware-wise, the Pro 7 runs on Intel’s 10th gen i5 CPU, backed by 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage via SSD. Besides USB Type C, you’ll get a USB-A, a Micro SD card slot, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. The Pro 7 measures 0.33’’ x 11.5’’ x 7.9 ‘’ (292 x 201 x 8.5mm HWD) and weighs 1.7 lbs, which means it’s a highly portable machine that looks and feels premium.
The redesigned kickstand has a fully adjustable hinge which is basically “free-range”, i.e. you have an almost unlimited number of adjustment points, while the detachable backlit keyboard is incredibly thin, yet excellent for typing and productivity-related tasks.
The bottom line, Surface Pro 7 is one of the best Windows tablet-first convertibles on the market today, and if money is no objective, it doesn’t get much better than this! However, if battery life ranks high on your shopping list, you may end up better with the older Surface Pro 6 model.
- Highly portable
- Impressive keyboard
- Solid hardware
- Ideal for daily multitasking
- Excellent kickstand
- Thick bezels
HP Pavilion x360 14-dh2011nr
The Best 2 in 1 Laptop Under $1000
Moving along to more Earthly stuff, we have the old-school HP Pavilion, a budget-oriented 2 in 1 laptop. For way less than $1000 you’ll get a 14-inch convertible with the latest-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and an impressive 512 GB SSD.
Since we’re in the affordable convertibles territory, we must mention that the Pavilion can be easily “switched” from laptop mode to tablet, tent, or stand mode, for drawing, notetaking, or whatever daily activities you’ll be using it for. The WLED-backlit 14 inch full HD multi-touch enabled IPS display is not much in terms of screen real estate, but it’s plenty for a highly portable machine, and you’ll definitely enjoy the edge-to-edge glass design that provides a whopping 80 percent screen to body ratio.
The 10th gen i5 CPU is a quad-core variety and offers a strong performance as well as above-average autonomy (10 hours or so on a single charge). The bad news is that 8 GB of RAM is all you’re going to get, i.e. there’s no additional RAM memory slot, and the 8 GB is soldered to the mainboard. However, considering that the Pavilion is business-oriented and designed to please productivity-oriented users, 8 gigs is more than enough for most tasks, given the impressive quad-core performance of the CPU.
The keyboard feels great and it’s a joy to use for avid typists, and we must mention that the UHD Graphics 620 will allow you a little bit of light gaming if you don’t get your expectations too high. The display looks vivid and sharp and has good viewing angles, yet it’s a bit dim at 245 nits. Connectivity-wise, you’ll get 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C, 1x a second USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, HDMI, and the usual charging connector; strangely enough, there’s no Ethernet port, yet you’ll get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth.
The bottom line, the HP Pavilion is a well-rounded 2 in 1 laptop with above-average speakers for such a tiny machine, excellent for productivity tasks, solidly built with tons of storage and ideal for students and travelers.
- Fast boot times
- Crisp display
- Solid battery life
- Amazing value for money
- Highly portable
- No SD card slot
- Dim display
Dell XPS 13 7390 2-in-1
The Best 13-Inch 2 in 1 Laptop
Getting back to premium gear, we have a Dell XPS convertible with a 13-inch screen. This XPS jewel is kind of expensive, but if you can live with the price tag, you’ll get a high-end machine which is actually faster than an XPS15, and yes, that’s rather unusual.
The XPS 13 is proof of concept that you can have lightweight and high performance in the same laptop, and that’s due to Intel’s 10th gen i7-1065G7 CPU, a quad-core variety with Intel Iris Plus Graphics. In layman’s terms, the Dell XPS is the nec plus ultra of mobile computing, as it comes with high-end hardware and stunning design.
If you can afford it, we promise, you won’t be disappointed! For productivity-oriented users, the XPS packs the stunning 32 GB of RAM under the hood, plus a blazing fast 512-GB SSD. We know, this sounds great, but there’s more: the anti-reflective screen boasts 500 nits of brightness, which means you can use the laptop anytime, anywhere, including outdoors on a sunny day.
On top of that, the laptop features Dell’s proprietary InfinityEdge HDR display, i.e. the bezel is pretty much nonexistent, and yes, you’ll also benefit from touchscreen functionality. The chassis is machined from a single piece of anodized aluminum (think MacBook quality), and the full HD display is protected by Gorilla glass.
Connectivity-wise, the XPS comes with Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 + BT5.0 and 2x USB Type C ports, being excellent for productivity tasks as well as light gaming. All in all, this convertible laptop from Dell is very close to perfection, so, if you can afford it, just go for it and thank us later.
- Strong hardware
- Premium build quality
- Multi-touch display
- Gorilla Glass protection
- Productivity king
- Highly versatile
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
The Best 2 in 1 Laptop for Chromebook Aficionados
After the “high-end” trip with the Dell XPS, we’ll go back down to more earthly things; enter the Asus Chromebook Flip C302, a budget-oriented 2 in 1 laptop, with a 12.5’’ full HD touchscreen and powered by the latest generation Intel Core M5.
Considering the fact that the Flip C302 is a very affordable convertible laptop, don’t expect miracles or high performance: besides the M5 CPU, the laptop has just 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, yet the chassis boasts a full-metal construction and that’s absolutely great in our book.
Since we’re talking 2 in 1 laptops, it comes as no surprise that the C302 can flip like no other due to its flexible 360 Degree hinge that allows it to be used in tablet mode if one so inclined. The sleek aluminum body has zero flex and it’s feather-light, weighing only 2.65 pounds; the retro-illuminated keyboard is excellent, though it must be said: the Flip C302 is specifically designed to be used in tablet mode with tons of Android apps and all that stuff.
It’s worth mentioning that the Flip C302 is equally comfortable to use as a classic laptop or in tablet mode, and the light OS delivers strong performance despite modest hardware under the hood. Battery life is more than adequate (approximately 6 hours) for a highly portable device, and Android apps are game-changers for the Chrome OS landscape.
Connectivity is taken care of by Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band 2×2, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0 Type-C, headphone/microphone combo jack, and a microSD card, so you’re pretty much covered. Bottom line, if you’re kosher with the idea of buying a premium (and rather expensive) Chromebook, this one is arguably one of the best out there and our favorite to date.
- Premium look and feel
- Excellent keyboard
- Gorgeous display
- Dependable battery life,
- Highly portable
- Disappointing speakers
Microsoft Surface Go 2
The Best 2 in 1 Laptop Under $500
Back to Microsoft with the revamped/upgraded Surface Go 2; the new generation offers a larger display, better computing performance, as expected, and longer battery life. Basically, the Surface Go 2 is bigger, better, faster, more. All jokes aside, if you’re looking for a tablet-centric 2 in 1 laptop of sorts, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is the way to go (see what we did here?).
This glorified tablet with an attachable keyboard is excellent for idle time and/or work from home (same thing basically); despite being a Microsoft product, this baby is not overpriced, shockingly enough, and it boasts a light and thin design, as well as excellent build quality.
The Surface Go 2 features a built-in kickstand and has a full HD camera with face recognition for prolonged Skype/Tik Tok/YouTube/whatever streaming sessions. The hardware department is taken care of by an Intel Core M3 processor, just like the Chromebook reviewed above, helped by 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage space. Again, this is basically the Asus Chromebook Flip running on Microsoft OS, can do almost anything a budget laptop does, and can even run full Windows 10.
Now, it’s up to you to decide what you want: Windows 10 familiarity or Chrome OS and tons of Android apps. Regardless of your choice, you’ll get an excellently designed 2 in 1 tablet-centric laptop, perfect for browsing, emails, homework, etc. with almost-laptop versatility and performance and tablet portability.
- Premium design
- Full HD camera
- Solid battery
- Vivid full HD display
- Excellent keyboard
- Not the best hardware
Acer Chromebook Spin 311
The Best Budget 2 in 1 Laptop
Last but not least, we present you with the cheapest Chromebook on the planet. Enter the Acer Chromebook Spin 311, a 2 in 1 laptop that retails for peanuts money. For significantly less than $300, you’ll get a convertible laptop powered by an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, with an 11.6’’ HD touchscreen display, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 32 GB eMMc.
A quick look at the hardware specs will tell you half the story: we know, it’s not impressive, as in this is not a computing powerhouse, yet consider this: the whole show runs on Chrome OS, which is the lightest OS on resources on the market today.
Now you’re starting to get it: for the price of a mediocre smartphone, you’ll actually get a real-life laptop that can be used for productivity tasks (in the money-making process, right?), has built-in virus protection, boots up in seconds and boasts 10 hours of battery life. On top of that, the crisp HD display is protected by Gorilla Glass, which means it’s virtually indestructible; connectivity is taken care of by Intel Gigabit Wi-Fi 5 with 2×2 MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO, the shell is robust, and considering the price asked, build quality is on par with the big boys out there.
Are you impressed yet? This tiny laptop/tablet can run all Google apps in the Play Store and can store important documents/pictures/videos in Google Drive (up to 100 GB). The 360° Hinge will transform the Chromebook into a tablet, stand up display, tent, or whatever, and there’s even a wide-angle view webcam included that supports HDR imaging.
- Crisp HD display
- Solid connectivity
- Cheap, fun and versatile
- Good battery life
- Impeccable build quality
- Lovely size
- Not a true replacement for a laptop