Many of the ultra-portable laptops available these days in stores are 2-in-1s, or convertibles, which mean they include a rotating/detachable touchscreen and can be used as regular notebooks, as tablets, or something in between.
In 2017, the most popular 2-in-1 laptops are not only slim and light, but they are also powerful enough to handle daily chores, can last for 6-10 hours of use on a single charge and usually sell for under $1000, with a few exceptions.
This post gathers the best 2-in-1 ultraportables you can find right now (new entries are constantly added), and since the offer is vast, the article is split into three main sections:
- a quick summary of the best three options available right now;
- a detailed section on the premium 2-in-1 ultrabooks, options for those of you looking for the best features and traits;
- and another on the more affordable hybrids, options suited for the budget-oriented buyers among you.
The best 2-in-1 ultra-portable laptops
First choice – After reviewing most of the 2-in-1s available in stores, we conclude that THE BEST 2-in-1 portable laptop you can buy these days is the HP Spectre x360 13.
Keep in mind that as of late-2016 there’s an updated model, smaller, thinner and built on Intel Kaby Lake hardware. This version weighs 2.85 lbs, is 0.54″ thick, is entirely made out of aluminum and it’s compact for a 13-incher, as you can tell from the slim lateral bezels on the screen. Despite the thin silhouette, it’s motorized by a Core U platform with fast SSD storage, packs a 58 Wh battery and a excellent backlit keyboard. The IO is rather limited though, but you still find two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the sides and a full-size USB 3.0 slot.
The previous X360 13 is little heavier, weighing around 3.3 lbs, and lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port, but on the other hand it does include a digitizer and active pen support, which the new model lacks. The older Skylake version is also more affordable than the new model, as you’ll probably find it discounted in quite a few places.
The new Spectre X360 13 starts at around $1050 for a best-buy configuration with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB. Follow this link for more details and updated prices on both Spectres. You’ll also find more about the 2016 version from our detailed review, or you can read about the previous Spectre x360 13 in this review.
Second choice – if you don’t have $1000 to spend on an ultraportable 2-in-1, then you should look at the Asus Zenbook UX360CA instead.
This one is sleek and well built, weighs 2.9 lbs, gets a nice keyboard (not backlit though) and a very solid hardware configuration for the price, with a Core M Skylake or Kaby Lake processor, 8 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage space and a 54 Wh battery selling for around $800. Versions with only 256 GB of storage space sell for $100 less, and you can follow this link for more details, user reviews and the latest deals on this product
There are a few things you must known about the Core m platform though. First, it’s fanless, so there’s no fan inside this computer, which means it’s going to run dead quiet. And second, while it’s fast enough for daily use and some multitasking, is not as snappy as the Core i3, i5 and i7 processors found on most other ultraportables. So you should only pick a Core M computer if you’re an average user with average demands: browsing, office use, music, videos, etc.
Third Choice – If you’re looking for a more portable option and expect to use the device often as a tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the one for you.
The hardware and battery are tucked behind the screen on this one. It weighs about 1.75 lbs and is just 0.33″ thick, so it’s a lot more portable than some of the other options out there, but it’s still very well built.
The Surface Pro 4 gets Intel Skylake Core U hardware, just like the HP Spectre X360 and most other ultrabooks, it can go for about 7-8 hours of use on a charge and offers a splendid 12.3-inch display with digitizer and pen support. The Surface Pro 4 can also be a pretty decent laptop. In order to get the laptop-like experience you need to hook the slate up to the keyboard folio, with backlit keys and a decent trackpad. It types well and the Surface does well in this form as long as you keep it on a flat surface, but it lacks the lapability and the IO of a regular notebook.
On top of that, the Surface Pro 4 is rather pricey, with the basic Core i3 configuration starting at $999 for the tablet alone, without the keyboard folio, which will set you back another $130. The pen is however included. A fanless Core m3 configuration is also available in you’re looking to save an extra $100, but chances are you’ll probably find all these optiosn discounted at the time you’re reading this. Follow this link for more details and updated prices and configurations.
Bang-for-the-buck Choice – If you’d rather get a full-size multimedia computer with a 15-inch convertible screen, solid specs and an affordable price tag, the Asus Vivobook Flip TP501UB / Q553UB is the one for you.
You might struggle to find this machine, since it sells under different names in various regions (TP501UB in Europe , Q553UB in the US), but it might be worth digging one up, as $999 will get you a Core i7 Skylake processor, Nvidia 940M dedicated graphics, 12 GB of RAM and a FHD IPS 15.6-inch convertible display. The Vivobook Flip is also available without dedicated graphics, and in a few different color schemes.
You’ll sacrifice on portability (it weighs 5.1 lbs), on battery life and the looks or build quality, which are alright, but not on par with the premium options mentioned above. Still, this Vivobook is an overall well made computer with excellent specs, so I’d expect many of you will look past these inconveniences knowing what you’re getting inside the case. Follow this link for more details and updated prices and configurations.
Read on for more options. We’ll cover in depth the premium 2-in-1 convertibles first, and then we’ll focus on the more affordable hybrids in the second part of this article, including those already mentioned above.
Premium 2-in-1 ultrabooks and convertibles
This section gathers the best hybrid laptops available in stores right now. Beefy specs, splendid screens, large batteries, premium materials and solid craftsmanship are some of their selling points, just don’t expect them to come cheap.
HP Spectre x360 13 and 15
If you’re willing to spend at least $1000 for a 2-in-1 laptop, the HP Spectre x360s, which are available with a 13 or a 15.6-inch display, should be at the top of your list.
Metal is used for the entire case of the 13-inch model, in a silver finishing, so the device is both beautiful and very well built. An excellent backlit keyboard and wide trackpad are part of the mix, as well as a good screen, but without a digitizer and Active Pen support. Inside the frame there’s Kaby Lake U hardware, up to 16 GB of RAM and M.2 PCIe SSD storage, so the laptop flies in everyday use, while the 58 Wh battery ensures 6-10 hours of battery life on a single charge.
The latest Spectre x360 13 is also thin, compact and light for its class. It weighs just 2.85 lbs and measures 0.55″ in its thickest point.
HP also offers the previous version of the Spectre x360 13, another great laptop of its own. This one is a little larger and heavier (3.3 lbs), but packs more full-size ports (no Thunderbolt 3 though, while the new model has two of those), a screen with digitizer and pen support, and a slightly larger 60 Wh battery. You’ll also find it discounted in many stores, so unless you want the Kaby Lake hardware or the thin-and-light body, this will probably offer better value for your buck.
All in all, we are big fans of the Spectre x360s, as you can actually tell from our in-depth review of the previous 13-inch model, as well as our review of the latest variant. The base model of the late-2016 version starts at $1050 for a decent configuration with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, while the older Skylake models are available for $800 and up.
Follow the links below for our full review of the Spectre x360 and the latest deals on both versions of this convertible.
The Spectre X360 is also available in a larger variant, with a 15.6-inch display. This version is sold as the Spectre x360 15t and shares most traits with the 13-inch model, like the keyboard, metallic case and solid construction. It also gets a 360-degrees convertible screen, available with either FHD or UHD IPS panels.
However, the 15-inch model packs a larger 64.5 Wh battery, a set of four speakers flanking the keyboard and pushing sound upwards, is heavier (4.1 lbs) and more expensive, with the base version starting at $1149.
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin
Samsung makes great laptops, too bad they only sell them on select markets. For those of you in the US though, the ATIV Book 9 Spin is an option you must have on your shortlist if you’re after a 13-inch convertible.
This one comes with a 360-degrees foldable display, and is very well built, thanks to its aluminum case and chassis, but lighter than the Spectre (weighs just shy of 2.9 lbs), slimmer (0.59″) and with a smaller footprint, as you can tell from the narrower bezel around the screen. Speaking of that, Samsung went with a nice IPS panel with QHD+ resolution, which however lacks a digitizer and pen support.
Historically, all the previous Samsung ultraportables scored high when it came to looks and build quality, but somewhat sacrificed the keyboard experience and the IO. That’s not necessarily the case here. The Spin types well, although the keys’ travel is short, and the only thing you will miss on the sides is a Thunderbolt 3 connector. Another side-effect of the sleek design though is the small battery squeezed inside this machine, with a capacity of 39 Wh, only enough for 5-7 hours of daily use on a charge. That’s not bad, but most other Skylake convertibles will outlast it.
As for the hardware inside, the ATIV Book 9 Spin is built on an Intel Skylake U platform, but only supports M.2 SATA storage and up to 8 GB of RAM, while the competitors can take up to 16 GB of RAM and PCIe SSDs.
So in fewer words, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin is not the most advanced premium 2-in-1 out there, the fastest or the longest lasting. It’s also pricier than the HP Spectre x360 or the Lenovo Yoga 900, as the cheapest model sells for around $1300, yet it does come with a Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, while other manufacturers push lower-end specs on their base configurations, hence they are more affordable. But if you’re after a highly portable and well built machine for daily use, chances are you’ll fall in love with this one. We did, as you can read from our reviews, and we’re not alone, judging by the splendid feedback this laptop scores with buyers on Amazon, Best Buy or the forums.
Lenovo Yoga 900 and 900S
The Yoga 900 is Lenovo’s top-tier consumer 2-in-1 at the time of this post and one of the better 13-inch hybrids, next to the HP and Samsung units mentioned before.
Just like those two, the Yoga 900 gets a 360-degrees convertible screen and is built on Intel Skylake hardware. But there are a few minor details that set it apart, with its biggest selling point being its more affordable price. A Core i7 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage for instance sells for $100 to $200 less than a similarly configured ATIV Spin 9 Spin or Spectre x360.
But is there a catch? Well, you’re not going to notice any from the specs or the pictures, as the Yoga 900 looks great, especially on the orange finishing, is thin and light (2.9 lbs), packs solid hardware with support for PCIe storage and 16 GB of RAM, gets a 66 Wh battery and a QHD+ display, with now support for Active Pens.
In daily use though, the Yoga 900 feels somewhat cheap and not as well built as the other two, and the fact that its case and body are made out of plastic, not metal, gets the blame for that. Then there’s the typing experience, which is somewhat lacking due to the keyboard being mushy. And on top of these, users on the forums and the reviews on Amazon, Best Buy or Microsoft Store complain about some quality control issues, ranging from slow performance out of the box and occasional freezes/display driver crashes, to glitchy Wi-Fi and a defective trackpad.
Keep in mind that many of those issues have been addressed by software updates, that’s why this laptop is present here. Just make sure you buy from a reliable trader that will accept returns and replacements, just in case you end up drawing the short stick.
Check out our analysis of the Yoga 900 series and comparison with the Yoga 3 Pro, or find out how it fares against the HP Spectre x360 from this post.
The Lenovo Yoga 900S is a slimmer, lighter and fanless version of the Yoga 900, built on Intel Core M hardware. It weighs merely 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) and it’s 0.5 of an inch thick, and while it it might look like a great buy, there are a few things you should know before getting one.
The hardware specs are solid, with up to 8 GB of RAM and NVMe SSD storage, it gets a 12.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen and a 53 Wh battery, enough to keep this running for 7-8 hours of daily use. However, the keyboard is very shallow, with limited key stroke, the screen lacks a digitizer and pen support, and the hardware throttles even with daily use, so the performance is lacking.
On top of these, the Yoga 900S starts at $1099 for a very basic configuration with 4 GB of RAM and an 128 GB SSD, so you’d be paying for the aesthetics here, but you’d be lacking in functionality. That’s why my advice is to stay away.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is primarily a Windows tablet, with a secondary laptop form, unlike most other convertibles out there.
This approach makes the Surface Pro more compact and much lighter than most other 2-in-1s (1.76 lbs for the slate alone), and as a result a superior tablet. As a laptop, it can do fine on flat surface with the keyboard folio attached, but it’s not very comfortable to use on your lap.
The Surface Pro has a few distinct particularities, like the 3:2 high-resolution screen with narrow bezels and digitizer (a pen is included), the multi-angle adjustable kickstand on the back, the durable magnesium body, the quiet cooling system and the rather limited IO. On top of that, the Surface Pro 4 is powered by Intel Skylake U hardware, so performance wise it is on par par with the other premium ultraportables available these days, and can even squeeze up to 8 hours of battery life on a charge, despite packing a small battery.
Overall, the Surface Pro 4 is an excellent device, but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s the right one for you or not. Its high price tag might be an important factor as well, as the base version starts at $899 for a Core m3 configuration, while the Core i5 models start at $999 and can get quite expensive once you add more RAM and at least 256 GB of storage. Oh, and you’ll have to pay $130 extra for the keyboard folio, which is not included by default.
Still, some of the available configurations are discounted online, check out this link for more details and potential deals.
The Microsoft Surface Book is an unique 2-in-1. At its roots it’s still a tablet with a dock, but unlike the Surface Pro 4, it’s actually primarily a laptop.
In few words, the Surface Book looks and feels like a laptop. It gets a 13.5-inch 3:2 touchscreen with pen support, and excellent keyboard and trackpad, plus quite a few ports on the sides. It also gets Skylake hardware, up to 16 GB of RAM, fast storage and potent graphics.
But there’s a catch: the screen is detachable and works as a stand-alone tablet. The processor, memory, storage and a small battery are tucked behind this screen, and the slate is light, thin and easy to hold in hand. It lacks a kickstand though, it doesn’t have ports and can only go for about 2-3 hours on a charge, so usefulness when detached is rather limited. Hooked up to the dock, the ensemble gets the keyboard, the IO, an extra battery and an optional discrete Nvidia GPU, so overall the Surface Book is really compelling as a notebook. The only complain would probably be the weight of around 3.4 lbs, but that’s something I can live with.
However, what’s going to steer many from the Surface Book is the price. The cheapest version goes for $1499, and that’s merely for a Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. If you want more storage or the discrete GPU, you’ll need to pay around $2000, and the prices go up to $3000 for the top-tier configs.
Still, I did notice that most models sells for less online. Follow this link for more details and discounts.
Asus Transformer 3 series
This one is an alternative to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, with whom it actually shares most traits and even design lines.
The Transformer 3 Pro is also a tablet with a keyboard folio, built on Skylake U hardware and with a 3:2 touchscreen with pen support. However, its screen is a little larger and gets a wide-gamut panel, and among the features that this device includes and the Surface Pro 4 doesn’t are a Thunderbolt 3 port and support for fast NVMe storage, which all combined will make it especially interesting for creative professionals.
The Transformer 3 Pro is scheduled to sell for $999 later this this year, and the keyboard folio might be included. You can read more about it in this dedicated post, where you’ll also find details on the more portable and affordable Transformer 3 T305CA, a fanless slate built on Kabylake hardware. Or you can check out our more recent review of the T305UA, and our article on the fanless T305CA.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga business 2-in-1s
Lenovo mixed the 2-in-1 form factor with the high standards of their business lines, and the fruits of this merger are the ThinkPad Yogas, the X1 Yoga and the P40 Yoga at the time of this post.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a high-end ultraportable derived from the ThinkPad X1 Carbon series. It gets sleek aesthetics, a carbon fiber and magnesium case that only weighs 3 lbs, a 14-inch high-resolution touchscreen with a non-glare finishing and Wacom AES digitizer, Skylake Core U hardware and a 52 Wh battery. It also gets Lenovo’s iconic AccuType keyboard, a large trackpad with a Clickpoint and dedicated click button, and a solid set of ports on the sides.
Reviews speak well about this laptop, but you should know that it gets rather hot under load and it’s not going to last longer than 5-6 hours of daily use.
Overall, the Lenovo X1 Yoga is a competent business convertible, but you will have to pay a pretty penny to get it. A Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage sells for around $1400, while a Core i7 processor and a 512 GB SSD will cost around $300 extra.
If you don’t want the sleekest ultraportable out there and would rather pay less for your device, yet still get the solid construction, the Lenovo keyboard and a screen with pen support, than the ThinkPad Yogas might be for you.
There’s a 14-inch model available, the ThinkPad Yoga 460, which weighs 3.9 lbs and gets a 14-inch FHD touchscreen, Skylake U processors and optional Nvidia 940M graphics, plus a 53 Wh battery. These specs make it a solid all-rounder that can cope with everyday tasks, multimedia content and some games. Is not very portable, but it’s a convertible with a large screen and has a fair price, as the base versions start at around $950 and you should find them even cheaper online.
The ThinkPad Yoga 260 is the smaller version, with a 12.5-inch FHD display. The latest Yoga 260 weighs 2.9 lbs, gets the standard keyboard, trackpad and trackpoint, gets Skylake U hardware and a 44 Wh battery, enough for around 5-6 hours of daily use. The CPU tends to throttle at high loads though and the fan is quite noisy, according to the existing reviews, but that aside, it’s a really good compact convertible.
The base versions with Intel Core i5 processors, 4 GB of RAM and SSD storage sell for around $900, and there’s a fair chance you’ll find those slightly discounted online, while previous gen models with Broadwell hardware should be even cheaper, if you can still find them in stock.
We’re also going to mention the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga, a workstation with a convertible screen. Lenovo advertises it as a computer meant for engineers, desginers and graphic artists, thanks to the powerful hardware inside with Skylake Core U processors and Nvidia Quadro M500M graphics, and to the 14-inch touchscreen with an integrated Wacom AES digitizer. Reviews are really bad for this product though.
Affordable hybrids and convertibles
This section is reserved for more budget-friendly devices, that sell for well under $1000. We’ll start with a few words on the really affordable options (with MSRPs under $500) and we’ll continue with 13 and 15-inch everyday laptops further down.
The sub $500 2-in-1 mini-laptops
If you only have $500 or less to spend for a portable 2-in-1, you should peruse the devices in this section. On the other hand, if your budget allows you to get something better, jumps down to the next chapter.
These are mainly built on Intel low-power hardware platforms (Atom, Pentium or Celeron), so they won’t excel in terms of performance or multitasking capabilities, but still pack enough firepower to handle fine the standard everyday activities, like browsing, editing texts, checking out emails, listening to music, watching movies and so on, as long as you don’t try to do all these things at the same time. On the other hand, what they do lose in performance they gain in battery life, as most of these devices can easily go for 6+ hours of use on a charge.
The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is an 11.6-inch ultraportable with a 360-degree foldable display and a nice case available in a few different colors. There are also a few hardware options to choose from, with either Celeron, Pentium or Core m3 Skylake CPUs, and the gives it a fair amount of punch when dealing with multiple applications at once.
On top of these, the Inspiron 11 offers a full-size and fairly comfortable keyboard, a solid set of ports and a 32 Wh battery that can push it for about 6 hours on a charge, all tucked inside a 0.8 inch thick, 3.1 pounds body. Too bad the screen only gets a TN panel though, I would have expected an IPS upgrade by this time.
The Inspiron 11 3000 series is affordable though, with prices starting at around $250 for the Celeron versions and going to around $450 for the Core m3 configurations. Follow this link for up-to-date prices and user reviews.
HP have a very similar device in stores, the Pavilion x360 11, another convertible 11-incher available in a multitude of color schemes.
The Pavilion gets two major selling points over the Inspiron: an IPS display and a larger battery (35 or 43 Wh options). On the other hand, you can only configure it with Celeron and Pentium processors, so there’s no option for faster hardware, plus you will have to pay a little extra than you’d pay for a similarly configured Inspiron, but that’s normal considering the benefits. The Pavilion x360 11 convertible sells for between $280 and $380, and you will probably find it cheaper online. Follow this link for more details.
Other options in the same 11-inch segment are the Lenovo Flex 3 11 (with a 30Wh battery, TN display and Celeron configuration selling for around $350) and the Acer Aspire R 11, which we reviewed here on the site a while ago. This one starts at $249 for a Celeron configuration and gets a large 50 Wh battery, but potential buyers will have to accept its TN display and its rather heavy 3.5 lbs body.
A more detailed list of compact convertibles is available in this dedicated post, including small units with 10-inch screens like the Asus Transformer Pad or the Acer Aspire Switch series. You could also consider the available Chromebooks, like the Acer Chromebook R11 or the Asus Chromebook Flip, mentioned in this article.
And last but not least, in case you want an affordable notebook with a larger screen, I’d suggest taking a look at the Toshiba Satellite Fusion L55W, which offers a full-size keyboard with NumPad, Core i3 or i5 processors, a 45 Wh battery and a 15.6-inch TN HD touchscreen. As a 15-inch notebook, there’s no surprise this unit weighs around 5 lbs and its TN screen isn’t great by today’s standards, but overall the Satelitte Fusion is well appreciated and affordable, with Core i3 configuration going for under $500.
The everyday affordable 2-in-1s
In this section you’ll find 13 to 15-inch convertibles that sell for between $500 to $1000 and the time of this update.
Asus Zenbook Flip UX360CA and UX360UA
Compared to most other mid-range convertibles, the Zenbook Flips are completely new designs, that’s why they feel and look spectacular in comparison. Metal is used for most of their bodies, the hinges are small, yet strong and smooth, and the weight was kept down, despite the fact that these pack powerful hardware and large batteries.
The Zenbook Flip is available in two variants: the UX360CA is fanless, built on Intel Core m hardware, while the UX360UA is running Intel Core i processors and thus gets a fan. There are some slight differences between the two, but most traits and designs lines are the same.
Still, among the differences, the Zenbook UX360UA gets a backlit keyboard, while the UX360CA does not. It also gets a full-size HDMI port, an exhaust grill on the left-side and a slightly different design of the lower body and hinges, plus a larger 57 Wh battery compared to the 54 Wh battery on the fanless model.
The similarities include the screen options, with either FHD or a QHD+ IPS panels, the keyboard layouts, the trackpads and the speakers placed on the belly, towards the front.
The Zenbook Flip UX360CA is available in stores at the time of this update, with prices starting at $699 for a configuration with a Core m3 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage.
The Zenbook Flip UX360UA is scheduled for release in early Fall 2016, and I’d expect a Core i5 configuration to sell for around $900-$1000. I’ll update this section once we know more.
Dell Inspiron 7000 and 5000 2-in-1 series
The Inspiron 13 7000 is one of the most popular 13-inch 2-in-1s out there, and it’s been around in one form or another for a few years now, with slight redesigns and changes along the way.
It offers a 13.3-inch IPS FHD convertible touchscreen, a nice backlit keyboard, plenty of ports and a sturdily built case, with a silver metallic finishing. Dell equips the latest model with Skylake U processors, up to 8 GB of RAM and various types of storage. There’s only a 42 Wh battery inside though, while most similar devices offer a larger one, and as a result the Inspiron 13 7000 falls short in terms of battery life.
Still, this machine is a solid pick for the money. The base models start at around $650 for a Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage, and most configurations are available discounted online.
Dell also offers 15 and 17-inch versions of the Inspiron 7000. The former is just an oversized replica of the 13-incher, with the same hardware, battery size and keyboard, but a 15.6-inch convertible display and an overall weight of around 4.9 lbs. It even sells for the same price, with the base versions starting at $650. Follow this link for more details.
The 17-inch model keeps the same design lines, but it doesn’t just get a 17.3-inch display, but also a different keyboard with a NumPad section, two RAM slots, space for a 2.5-inch storage drive aside from the M.2 slot included on the smaller versions, plus a 56 Wh battery. The Inspiron 17 7000 starts at $899 for a Core i5 configuration with HDD storage, and is actually one of the very few convertibles with a 17-inch display available out there. Follow this link for more details.
Dell also offers 13 and 15-inch version of Inspiron 5000 2-in-1s, with bulkier plastic cases, lower end specs, a non backlit keyboard and more affordable prices. In fact, on the outside the Inspiron 13 5000 is very similar to the previous generation Inspiron 13 7347 which we reviewed a while ago, so the Inspiron 5000s are follow-ups of the older Dell convertibles, while the higher end Inspiron 7000s have received a redesign and a slight hardware overhaul.
You can find more about the Inspiron 5000 convertibles by following these links: the 13-inch model and the larger 15-inch variant, which is an oversized version of the smaller unit with the same traits and specs, just like on the superior range.
Lenovo Yoga 710 series
The Yoga 710 series includes an 11, a 13 and a 15-inch model these days.
The Yoga 710 11 is highly portable, weighing just 2.35 lbs, and it’s built on a fanless Intel Core M platform, with up to 8 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of SSD storage. It also gets a 40 Wh battery, a bright IPD FHD touchscreen, a pretty good keyboard without backlightning and a decent trackpad. On the other hand, it does tend to run a bit hot and the IO is very limited, with a single USB 3.0 slot on the side and micr-HDMI for video output.
The Yoga 710 11 starts at $550 for a configuration with a Core m3 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. More affordable options built on Pentium processors are available, and you can also check out the latest configurations and up-to-date prices via this link.
The Yoga 710 14 is the power-horse in the series, a competitor for all the 13-inch convertibles mentioned in this section, but with a slightly larger 14-inch touchscreen. It’s still compact, light (3.4 lbs) and thin (0.7″), and it’s fairly well built, despite the fact that some of its case is made from plastic. The hardware includes Skylake Core U processors, an Nvidia GT 940MX graphics solution, SSD storage, a 53 Wh battery and an IPS panel, and the keyboard is backlit.
The Nvidia chip is what sets this apart from most competitors, as an options for those interesting in some casual gaming. The Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD and the Nvidia graphics starts at around $800, which is an excellent price for what you’ll be getting. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts.
Last in this series is the larger 15-inch option, the Yoga 710 15, which is pretty much an oversized version of the Yoga 710 14, with the exact same specs, but a 15.6-inch screen. It weighs 4.2 lbs, which is light for a convertible in this size-range, and it doesn’t get a NumPad section on the keyboard, but the keys are backlit.
The Yoga 710 15 is also available without dedicated graphics, with the base Core i5 models starting at around $750, while the Nvidia GT 940MX configurations start at around $900. Follow this link for more details.
The tablets: HP Specte X2, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S and others
While most convertibles in this list are laptops with a 360-degrees convertible screen, there are also a few devices that are primarily tablets and work as laptops when hooked up to their docking stations or keyboard folios, like the Microsoft Surface Pros and the Asus Transformer 3s mention in the previous section. Those are not the only ones though, there are also a couple of other good options that we’ll mention below. Just keep in mind that these are highly portable and great for inking, taking notes or drawing with compatible pens, but lack the IO, the battery life and the versatility provided by other form-factors.
The HP Spectre X2 is my favorite of this bunch and you’ll find out why from our review. This one gets the specs and the performances in a really beautiful aluminum body. It includes a 12-inch screen with an active digitizer, Skylake Core m hardware, a 42 Wh battery, a good keyboard dock with backlit keys and decent IO. It also weighs around 2.7 lbs with the dock.
The higher specked versions are rather expensive ($800 and up), but a Core m3 model with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage goes for under $600 these days (you’ll find out where from here). The keyboard dock in included on all models, while a pen is included on certain configurations, but the device is going to work with most pens so there’s no specific need to buy the HP one.
Another interesting option is the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S. This one is very slim and light (1.72 lbs for the slate, 2.35 for the slate and keyboard), is built on Core m hardware, gets a 12-inch AMOLED display and a 40 Wh battery. The build quality is OK, despite the back being made from plastic. This device only gets a single USB Type-C port though, unlike the Spectre which gets two.
One other particular inconvenience of the Tab Pro S is the lack of a kickstand, which means you’ll either have to hold it, or use it with the keyboard folio that only allows fixed screen inclination. Another is the fact that it’s not going to work with any styluses. Samsung promised a compatible Pen a while ago, which it’s not yet available, so in the meantime you can get something like the Bambook Fineline 2 stylus. Besides these, the keyboard is rather flimsy and feels a bit cheap, so using it on your lap is going to be uncomfortable.
Despite its inconveniences, the Tab Pro S is overall a highly portable slate that offers good performance and an unique screen. The $900 price of the base configuration is hard to swallow, but you will find this one cheaper online.
The Dell Latitude 13 7000 is a 13-inch business detachable also built on a fanless Core M platform.
The stand-alone slate weighs 1.9 lbs and includes a 13.3 inch FHD IPS touchscreen with support for Wacom pens, although a pen is not included in the pack. A keyboard dock is though, and when latched together the two parts make up for 3.7 lbs laptop. Part of the weight is due to the extra 20Wh battery inside the dock, on top of the 30 Wh one tucked inside the tablet itself.
Dell markets this device primarily for corporate users and thus it offers vPro enabled configurations and a large suite of compatible accessories. Despte all these, the Latitude 13 7000 is not that expensive, as the base version with a Core m5 processor has an MSRP of $599.
The Toshiba Portege Z20t is another Core M powered tablet with an attachable dock. It is a bit more compact and slightly lighter then the Dell (3.3 lbs for the tablet + dock), mostly because it gets a smaller 12.5-inch display, with a non-glare treatment and active digitizer with pen support. On top of that, a secondary Wacom digitizer is bundled in the pack, if you require more precise pen recognition.
The docking unit includes a great keyboard, solid IO and a 36 Wh battery, alongside the other 36 Wh battery inside the tablet, and combined the two will easily offer 10+ hours of everyday use on a charge.
Toshiba’s Portege Z20T doesn’t come cheap though, with the base model starting at $999, but if you need a capable and long-lasting business device, this might be the one for you.
There are a few other devices that we’re not including here due to scoring poor reviews with buyers, despite otherwise receiving praises from the media. Among them, there’s the Dell XPS 12 9250, the Lenovo Miix 700 or the Huawei Matebook. Check them out yourselves if interested in more details, and get in touch in the comments section at the end of the post if you have any questions about them.
Asus Transformer Book Flip and Vivobook Flip series
There are several models included in this series, with screen sizes ranging from 11.6 to 15.6-inches. We’re not going to list all the available models, because there are dozens out there and Asus’s naming policy is confusing.
I will tell you the the Flips are usually mid-range convertibles with solid prices and specs. The 13 and 15-inch versions are built on Intel Broadwell and Skylake Core U hardware, with different amounts of memory and storage. Most of them get IPS screens and some even include dedicated graphics, usually Nvidia GT 940M chips. As a general rule, the models with Nvidia graphics get the TD, LT or UB abbreviations after the series name (example: TP500TD, Q503UB), while the ones without dedicated graphics finish in LA or UA (examples: TP501UA).
Since these are not premium computers, you should expect to make some trade-offs when going to them. For instance, the build quality is good, but not excellent, plastic is used for some parts of cases, keyboards lack back-lightning on some configurations and others. The excellent prices usually compensate for all these and are one of the reasons these Asus notebooks are popular.
Lenovo Yoga Flex lines
These are Lenovo’s most affordable 2-in-1s, and the latest generation in the series are the Flex 4 models, but the older Flex 3s are also worthy of attention.
The Flex 4s are available in 14 and a 15.6-inch variants, starting at around $500 (and going for less online). All versions offer Intel Skylake Core U hardware, with the base models getting Core i3 processors, 4 GB of RAM and HDD storage, while the higher end ones can be specked with faster CPUs, more RAM and SSDs. All also get backlit keyboards, FHD IPS touchscreens and 52.5 Wh batteries.
The build quality on the other hand is only average, with plastic being used for the cases and chassis, and these Flex ultraportables are also fairly thick and heavy – 3.9 lbs for the 14-incher and 4.6 lbs for the 15-inch model. Other than that though, if you want a simple and inexpensive computer with a convertible display, these Lenovos are options you have to consider.
HP Envy and Pavilion x360 lines
HP’s lines of mid-range convertibles include the Envy and Pavilion series. Normally the Envy models are a step-up from the Pavilions, which target budget oriented customers, but in this case the two don’t overlap, at least at the time of this post.
And that’s because if you’re after a 13-inch unit you’ll have to look at the HP Pavillion x360 13t, a device built on Skylake Core U hardware, with a 48 Wh battery and a FHD IPS screen. The case is entirely made out of smooth plastic, is available in a few different colors and is rather heavy at 3.8 lbs, while the keyboard is not backlit, which is something you might be able to accept from a computer that’s usually more affordable than other 13-inch convertibles, starting at around $500. Follow this link for mode details.
If you’re after a full-size convertible with a 15.6-inch display, HP offer the more premium Envy x360 15t, with metallic construction and a backlit keyboard, among others. It weighs 5.1 lbs though, which makes it heavy for a convertible, even if the choice in materials is good.
You can get this notebook with a FHD IPS screen, Intel Skylake Core U hardware, an optional Nvidia GT 930M graphics chip, 8-16 GB of RAM and a 48 Wh battery, and configurations with AMD A12 processors and Radeon graphics are also available.
Overall though, the Envy x360 15t is mostly in this list because it’s well built and sells for cheap, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to compete compete with the other 15-inch 2-in-1s that offer better specs or are lighter. A Core i5 model with 8 GB of RAM and HDD storage sells for around $600. Follow this link for more details.
These are the best convertible ultrabooks you can find in stores right now. More are launched every month, so stay tuned, I’m constantly updating the list, adding new products as they hit the stores and discarding the ones that become obsolete.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in a highly portable laptop, you should also check out my list of the best ultrabooks of the moment, my selection of highly recommended Chromebooks and maybe this other list of more affordable alternatives for those of you on a lower budget.
Drawing the line on 2-in-1 laptops, it’s hard to say some models are better than the others, as they are different and address different needs. Some are overall more interesting than the other though. For instance, the HP Spectre X360 is a great all-rounder, if you have around $1000 to spend, the Zenbook UX360 is an excellent mid-range option, the Microsoft Surface Pro offers performance in a compact and light shell, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and the Toshiba Portege Z20t are great business options, while the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 or the HP Pavilion X360 11 are great buys if you don’t want to spend a lot.
At the end of the day though, you know exactly what you want from your next computer and how much you’re planing to spend on it, that’s why the final decision is all yours. If you need more help deciding, if you spot any new product that’s not included in here or if you just have something to ask or add to this list, don’t hesitate to use the comments section below. I’m around and I’ll reply as soon as possible.
And before you go, keep in mind that such posts take countless hours of work, so if you appreciate the result, make sure to show this link to your friends and stay around for future updates.