Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Best 25 2-in-1 laptops – ultrabook convertibles and tablet hybrids

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on July 31, 2015

Convertibles, or 2-in-1 laptops as they are also called, are not necessarily a new breed of portable computers. Tablet PCs have been used in business environments since the 1990’s, but they’ve become a lot more popular among regular users in the last years, as their price has gone down and more form-factors were introduced to the market.

Intel definitely had a word to say in this, as they’ve pushed the hybrid ultrabook concept strongly and as a result, most of the recently released ultrabooks are in fact 2-in-1s.

We’re going to talk about the best ones in this post. Before we do that though, let’s see what these 2-in-1 ultrabooks actually are. First of all, they are slim and light laptops capable of solid-everyday performance and long battery life, and second, they include some sort of convertible or detachable touchscreen. This allows for several use modes, from a regular clamshell notebook to a tablet, and a couple in between and is the feature that makes 2-in-1s versatile and adaptable to all sorts of situations.

These notebooks come in many shapes and form factors right now, with a variety of different features and price tags. We’ll split the post in two main sections, premium 2-in-1 ultrabooks and affordable hybrids, and I’ll tell you a few words about several recommended device in each half. By the end of it, you should be able to pick among these computers the one that best fits your needs and budget. Or at least you’ll know that there’s no convertible laptop that can meet your expectations right now.

Premium 2-in-1 ultrabooks and convertibles

If you want the best hybrid notebooks available in stores right now, you’ll find them in this section. But be aware that they don’t come cheap.

HP Spectre x360

If you have North of $1000 to spend for a 2-in-1 these days, you’ll have very few reasons to look at anything other than the HP Spectre x360.

Long story short though, HP did an amazing job with this machine. Its ourter-case is made from metal and built like a tank, the interior houses a great backlit keyboard and a over-sized and accurate trackpad. And since this is a convertible, the screen is hold in place by a pair of sturdy hinges which allow you to use the device as a regular laptop, as a tablet, as a stand or a tent.

HP made no compromise when it came to the display either. There are a couple of options available, and even the base model, with a 1920 x 1080 px resolution and an IPS panel, is breathtaking. It does offer a digitizer and active-pen support, BTW. Pairing the display with fast Broadwell hardware, up to 8 GB of RAM and M.2 SSD storage, the Spectre simply flies in everyday use and offers 7-10 hours of battery life on a single charge. That’s something most other 2-in-1s cannot match.

On the other hand, the sturdy aluminum build does take its toll on the laptop’s overall weight of over 3 lbs, while some of the other modern 2-in-1s are significantly lighter. And since we’re mentioning the shortcomings, HP could have done a better job with the oleophobic glass on top of the screen and with the WiFi, which occasionally fails to connect to certain networks after the computer resumes from sleep.

Our detailed review gets in depth on all the important aspects, and here’s the link you should check out for the latest deals on this machine.

At the end of the day though, all the minor inconveniences and pale when compared to the package’s value. The price could however steer you towards something else, as the most affordable options start at $899 and a decent configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage goes for over $1000. If the budget allows though, the HP Spectre x360 is worth more than a look.

The HP Spectre gets the looks and the features

The HP Spectre gets the looks and the features

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and Yoga 3 Pro

These are some of Lenovo’s top convertible ultraportables these days, but while the name suggest they are similar, they are actually two different types of computers.

On the outside the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (left) and the Yoga 3 pro (right) are very similar, on the inside though they are completely different

On the outside the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (left) and the Yoga 3 pro (right) are very similar, on the inside though they are completely different

The Yoga 2 Pro is an older device, powered by a Haswell U hardware platform, while the Yoga 3 Pro is built on the newer, yet not as powerful, Core M hardware.

I’ve tested both models here on the site and you can read all about them in the detailed reviews of the Yoga 2 Pro and the Yoga 3 Pro. If you’re not sure which one to pick though, here’s what you need to know about the two, in a few words.

The Yoga 3 Pro is a very thin computer with an aluminum shell and only weighs 2.6 lbs. It’s a 2-in-1 convertible, just like all the other Lenovo Yogas, and its main design attraction is the unique watchband hinge. These aside, the Yoga 3 Pro is actually a large device, as you can see from the hinges around its 13.3 inch display and packs a shallow keyboard, which was expected on a device as thin as this one.

Hardware wise, the Yoga 3 Pro is powered by an Intel Core-M 5Y70 processor with up to 8 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB SSDs and there’s enough room inside for a 44 Wh battery. The Core M processor is however only good enough for casual everyday activities and it’s not very efficient either. On top of these, the Yoga 3 Pro is not fanless, unlike many other Core M powered machines. If you’re interested in a list of fanless ultraportables, this article will definitely help.

The Yoga 2 Pro is only marginally thicker (by about 0.2 of an inch) and heavier (by about 0.5 lbs) and offers a similar form factor and a similar 13.3 inch display. It’s also significantly faster, especially if you opt for the Core i7 processors, while it doesn’t fall short in terms of battery life.

Last but not least there’s the matter of pricing. The Yoga 3 Pro starts at $1199, but you can actually find it cheaper online. That kind of money will get you the Core M-5Y70 / 8 GB of RAM / 256 GB SSD configuration.

The Yoga 2 Pro on the other hand starts at as low as $900 for a Core i5 / 8 GB of RAM /256 GB SSD configuration and Core i7 models go for just under $1000. Follow this link for up to date prices and potential discounts.

Long story short, the Yoga 2 Pro is, at least in my opinion, a better buy than the Yoga 3 Pro model right now. The newer version looks somewhat better and is lighter, but the loss in performance and usability (fewer ports, shallower keyboard) are hard to justify by those, especially when you have to pay premium to get them.

It’s also worth noting that the Yoga 2/3 Pro lines lack a digitizer and proper pen support, and here’s where the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga series come in play. And if you want a Yoga like computer and don’t want to spend close to 1G for it, Lenovo has the more affordable Yoga 2 and 3 series in stores as well, which we’ll also address down below in this post.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga line

Lenovo merged the Yoga form 2-in-1 factor with the high standards of their business ThinkPad lines, and the fruit of this merger are the ThinkPad Yogas.

There are three different models at the time of this update, a 12.5-inch ultra-portable, a 14-inch option and a newer 15.6-inch version.

I’ve reviewed the 12.5 inch version a while ago here on the site and it’s a fairly good device. The latest generation is built on Intel Broadwell U hardware and keeps most of its predecessor’s other features. That includes, among others, the 12.5 inch FHD low-glare screen, with digitizer support. A Pen is included (with most versions, with some you’ll have to buy it separately) and you can easily tuck it away in its dedicated slot inside the laptop.

Besides these, you do get a proper selection of ports, an ergonomic keyboard and a few business-features when compared to the Yoga 2/3 Pro line. The keys are actually mechanically locked when having the laptop in tablet mode, so they are not as exposed as on the other Yogas, and last but not least, the ThinkPad Yoga is overall a stronger built machine, meant to survive the hassle of corporate environments.

All these do make the ThinkPad Yoga 12 somewhat bulky and heavy for a 12.5 incher, but if you do need what it has to offer, you’ll be just fine with its 3.5 pounds and 0.75-inch body.

On top of that, the battery life on the TY is just average, around 5-6 hours, which might not be enough to get your through a whole day’s work on a charge.

The ThinkPad Yoga starts at around $900 these days, for the base versions with Intel Core i5 Broadwell processors, 4 GB of RAM and SSD storage. There’s a fair chance you’ll find those slightly discounted online, while previous gen models with Haswell hardware should be even cheaper, if you can still find them in stock.

The ThinkPad Yoga 14 is a slightly different beast. It’s built on the same convertible form-factor, but lacks a pen or digitizer support, which are instead replaced by dedicated graphics. The TPY14 comes with a 14 inch IPS touchscreen, Haswell (on the 1st gen) or Broadwell (on the 2nd gen launched in 2015) hardware, up to 8 GB of RAM, various types of storage and Nvidia 840M graphics, all tucked inside a sturdy 4.2 lbs body.

That makes the ThinkPad Yoga a solid all-rounder that can cope with multimedia content and games. It’s not as portable as the Zenbook UX303LN, but it’s convertible, just as fast and somewhat cheaper, as the base version starts at around $1000 and you should find it discounted online.

The ThinkPad Yoga 15 is a full-size computer with a 15.6 inch display and it’s actually one of the very few convertibles in this size-range. It’s built on Broadwell hardware only and weighs close to 5.1 lbs, but also offers up to 16 GB of RAM, a NumPad keyboard and several different storage options, on top of the dedicated graphics. This model has an MSRP of $1199.

thinkpad-yoga-14-15

The larger ThinkPad Yoga 14 and 15 offer dedicated graphics, more ports and larger batteries, but keep the same form factor and solid contruction

Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 in an impressive Haswell powered device, thin, light and packed with tons of features. It’s mostly a stand-alone Windows tablet, but many of its buyers swear it can replace a laptop for everyday activities, that’s why we’ve included it in here.

The Surface Pro has a few distinct particularities, like the 3:2 aspect ratio High-res screen, the very quiet cooling system (because, as any other Core equipped device, the Surface Pro 3 is fan cooled) and an a matching Keyboard Folio that you can attach to the slate for the actual “notebook” mode.

The Surface Pro 3 is a lot sleeker than the previous generation Surfaces and has seen a handful of tweaks and fixes, like the redesigned kick-stand with unlimited adjustment angles. On top of these, the 3rd gen Surface Pro offers a digitizer and pen support (although there’s only an N-Trig digitizer on this model, while previous ones relied on a Wacom).

But even so, while there’s no doubt the Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s best computer to date, it might not be capable of actually replacing a proper ultrabook for most users. It lacks the comfortable clam-shell form factor that makes laptops so easy to use on the lap, it lacks the IO and the keyboard/touchpad experience, to name just some of the things that set the Surface Pro 3 apart from an actual ultrabook.

That doesn’t mean that the Surface Pro 3 cannot be the right pick for you, especially if you plan to use it as a tablet most of the time, and not primarily as a notebook. It does not come cheap though. The base configuration, with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space starts at $799, and higher-tier configurations will quickly ramp up the price. A Core i7/8GB RAM/256 GB SSD combo will set you back around $1500 for instance, and that’s without the Keyboard Folio that costs an extra hundred and change. Most configs will get discounted down the line though, so check out this link for offers and potential deals.

Acer Aspire R13

You should have this convertible on your short list. It offers a 13.3 inch touchscreen that swivels inside its bezel, somewhat close to the design Dell popularized with the XPS 12 a few years ago and a design that does not expose the keyboard in tablet mode, but also leads to a larger footprint than with most other computers with a similarly sized display.

The approach is a bit awkward though, as the plastic frame does not extend all across the screen, but only around its lower side, and on top of that the Aspire R13 doesn’t feel that well built, since the entire case is made of plastic.

Once you get past the aesthetics, the R13 proves to be a worthy convertible. It weighs 3.3 pounds, it packs a good quality high-resolution display with pen support (works with Acer’s optional Active Pen that sells for $50 and is not included in the pack) and bundles either Haswell or Broadwell U hardware, with up to 8 GB of RAM and various amounts of SSD storage. The keyboard is borrowed from the Aspire S7 model, which means it lacks the row of Function keys on top, and there’s a large 61 Wh battery inside.

Last but definitely not least, one of this laptop’s strong-points is the pricing, as the base model MSRPs for $999 and includes a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, while other configurations sell for a few hundred dollars more. Broadwell versions are available as well (f0r instance, the i5-5500U model with a 512 GB SSD sells for $1300). I expect the prices to drop in the following months, which should make the Aspire R13 an even more interesting option. Follow this link for more details and up-to-date prices at the time you’re reading this post.

And check-out my Aspire R13 detailed review for the in-depth impressions on this machine.

The Acer Aspire R 13 is one of the most interesting 13 inch convertibles available right now in stores

The Acer Aspire R 13 is one of the most interesting 13 inch convertibles available right now in stores

Dell XPS 12

The Dell XPS 12 is another 12.5 inch device with a swivable screen, but in this case, the display rotates inside its outer-frame, as you can see in the pictures below. I can’t say that’s necessarily a better way to do it, but I can say that this solution is fairly robust and should prove itself reliable on the long term.

Unlike the ThinkPad Yoga, the XPS 12 is more of a consumer oriented device. It lacks a digitizer and proper pen support, although you can still use capacitive styluses with it. It’s also more compact and lighter, tipping the scale at 3.35 lbs, despite the fact that it bundles a 55WH battery that allows it to go for 7-8 hours of use on a charge. If you add the good keyboard, powerful hardware, the high-quality display and the accurate trackpad to the mix, the XPS 12 really sounds like a potential winner.

It’s not all roses with this laptop though, as it tends to get a bit too warm in everyday use and does lack a SD-card reader. But those are probably not enough to steer you away from the XPS 12 if you like all its other aspects.

The price however might. The base version of the Dell XPS 12 retails for around $1100, with a Core i5-4200U processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD. Higher end configurations have a list price of around $1500, but you can find actually find these greatly discounted online, for as low as $900 these days. Keep in mind that we are talking about the Haswell iterations of the Dell XPS 12 here. Older IvyBridge configs are also available and those sell for a lot less (around $800), but run even hotter than the 2014 model, lack even more ports and don’t last as long on a charge.

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 and Latitude 13 7000

The Inspiron 13 7000 is one of the best affordable 13 inch 2-in-as out there, as you can see from my detailed review posted here on the site.

It offers a 13.3 inch IPS convertible touchscreen, a nice backlit keyboard, plenty of ports and a nicely built plastic case, with a silver rubbery finishing. Dell equips this model with either Haswell or Broadwell Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, up to 8 GB of RAM and various types of storage, and both the memory and the storage are user upgradeable. There’s only a 43 Wh battery inside though, while most similar devices offer a larger one, and as a result the Inspiron 13 7000 falls a bit short in terms of battery life.

Still, this machine is a solid deal for the money. The base models start at a little under $600 and most configurations are available discounted online. Follow this link for more details.

The Latitude 13 7000 is a completely different beast: a 13 inch detachable built on a fanless Core M platform.

The stand-alone slate weighs only 1.9 lbs and includes a 13.3 inch FHD IPS touchscreen that supports 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 mini laptop. Part of the weight is due to the extra battery inside the dock, on top of the 30 Wh one tucked inside the tablet itself.

The Latitude 13 7000 is motorized by either Core M 5Y10 or 5Y71 processors with up to 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSDs and these should make it good enough for most everyday activities, especially when paired with the beefier hardware. Dell markets the device primarily for corporate users though and in order to support that it offers vPro enabled configurations and a large suite of compatible accessories.

All these don’t come cheap and neither does the tablet, as the base version has an MSRP of $1199, which makes it pricier than most other devices in this list, including the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro or the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. That’s why the Latitude 7000 might not appeal to everyone, but is nonetheless a 2-in-1 worth at least a look.

Dell's Latitude 7000 is marketed as a business 2-in-1

Dell’s Latitude 7000 is marketed as a business 2-in-1

HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G3

This is the Broadwell update of the EliteBook Revolve series 810, a tabletPC with powerful hardware and plenty of features.

The Revolve is a rather compact device, with an 11.6 inch IPS display (unfortunately only a 1366 x 768 px panel is available and there are not high resolution options) that integrates a digitizer, thus pen support. It works with HP’s Executive Tablet Pen, an optional accessory not included in most bundles.

Despite being small, HP put Broadwell Core i3 to i7 processors inside, up to 12 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB SSDs, thus this little fellow is a beast when it comes to performance. There’s also a 44 Wh battery tucked inside, so endurance is not going to be a problem either. All these features are gathered inside a magnesium chassis designed to pass WQHD IGZOMIL-STD 810G test, thus the Revolve si also one of the sturdiest and most reliable devices out there, making it suitable for corporate wear.

In fact, the only important aspect that could steer you away is the price, as the EliteBook Revolve 810 G3 MSRPs at $1299 and up. I haven’t yet reviewed this model, so I can’t say much about any of its hidden features, but if you’re after a compact, powerful, strongly built and long lasting machine, it should be on your list, if the budget allow it.

This is the HP Elitebook Revolve G3

This is the HP Elitebook Revolve G3

Fujitsu Lifebook T935 and Stylistic Q775

These are Fujitsu’s updated 13 inch lines of Broadwell powered ultraportables. The Lifebook T935 is a tablet PC with a swivable display, while the Stylistic Q775 is a detachable, or a stand-alone tablet with a matching keyboard dock.

Both are powered by Broadwell U processors and both offer 13.3 inch displays with pen and digitizer support. The Lifebook gets a WQHD IGZO panel, features like an integrated fingerprint-reader or 4G modem and a 17 mm aluminum and magnesium body that weighs 3.25 lbs. The Stylistic settles for only a FHD IPS panel, a more limited IO and a smaller battery, but still gets the optional 4G/LTE module in a 2.2 lbs body (that’s for the slate alone, without the dock).

As expected neither of these laptops are going to be affordable and since they are mostly targeted towards enterprise users, regular consumers might actually struggle to find them in stores. But if you do need all those business features, you should at least have these on your short-list.

The Fujitsu T935 (left, middle) and Q775 (right) offer features you're not going to find on most other convertibles, but are mostly targeted at corporate use

The Fujitsu T935 (left, middle) and Q775 (right) offer features you’re not going to find on most other convertibles, but are mostly targeted at corporate use

Affordable hybrids and convertibles

This section is reserved for more friendly-priced devices, that sell for less than $1000 and some of them for even under $500.

The basic 2-in-1 mini-laptops

If you only have $500 or less for a highly-portable machine that can do a fine job both as a tablet and as a laptop, you should definitely look at some of the devices in this section. These are mainly built on Intel low-power hardware platforms, namely latest generation ATOM or Celeron processors, and while they won’t excel in terms of performance or multitasking capabilities, they still pack enough firepower to handle fine the standard everyday activities, like browsing, editing texts, checking out email, listening to music, watching movies and so on. Check out some of these options below:

  • Asus Transformer Pad T100 (review) – a 10-inch tablet with a docking unit, the T100 was launched a few months ago and was met with great success. Its retail price of under $350 is to “blame” for that (potential discounts are available here), but that alone would not be enough to attract users. The Transformer Pad T100 is also a fairly-nicely built device capable of delivering a good-everyday experience thanks to the Intel Atom Bay-Trail Z series processors powering it, and a battery life of roughly 8 hours on a single charge,
  • Acer Aspire Switch 10 – this is Acer’s iteration of the exact same concept: an Atom Bay-Trail pushed 10 inch tablet with a latch-able docking-unit. Being released several months after the Asus T100, the Switch 10 benefits of a few extras: a metallic case, as opposed to the glossy plastic one on the Asus, a more advanced dock, with multiple user positions, and a brighter screen, which will come in handy if you plan on using it outside or in other bright-light environments. On the other hand, those who bought the Aspire Switch 10 complained about poor battery life (up to 5 hours on a charge) and some design-flaws of the docking unit. Either way, the Acer 2-in-1 is an alternative to Asus’s solution and sells for under $400 as well. See this link for more details and some user reviews.
  • Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series –  a slightly larger device, with an 11.6 inch screen and a Yoga-like form factor. It’s available in a few more hardware options, as it is powered by either a Bay-Trail Celeron processor, a Haswell Pentium CPU or a Core i3. The latter option should definitely give it a bit more punch when dealing with multiple applications at once. On top of that, the Inspiron 11 does offers a larger and more comfortable keyboard, more ports and a battery that can push it for about 6 hours on a charge, all these inside a 0.8 inch thick, 3 pounds body. Last but not least, Dell went really aggressive with the pricing here, as this series starts just under $350 for the Atom version, while the Pentium configurations will sell for around $400. Follow this link for up-to-date prices and some user reviews.
Cheap 2-in-1s you can get for under $500: Asus Transformer Pad T100 (left), Acer Aspire Switch 10 (middle) and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (right)

Cheap 2-in-1s you can get for under $500: Asus Transformer Pad T100 (left), Acer Aspire Switch 10 (middle) and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (right)

  • HP Split X2 – a 13 inch Windows 8.1 tablet with a connectable docking station, powered by Intel Core Y Haswell hardware, which, alongside the SSD storage, translates in even faster performance than the Dell Inspiron above. There’s also a matching docking unit, that offers a keyboard, but also potentially an extra battery and storage unit. The HP Split series though only gets a 1366 x 768 px TN touchscreen, which is rather mediocre for a tablet these days, but when you’ll look at what you’re getting for the price, you might be able to get past this aspect. The Core i3 / 4GB RAM / 128 GB SSD version of the Split X2 sells these days for about $550 (see this link for details).
  • If you do want a similar device with a 1920 x 1080 px IPS screen though, HP offers the Spectre X2 tablet, but this one starts at $650 for the same specs mentioned above, which is a bit too much for my liking. HP have a few different other affordable 2-in-1 models actually, with prices ranging from $299 to $799 and you can check them all out on their website.
HP Split X2 (in black) and Spectre X2 (in silver) - 2-in-1 tablets with docking units and speedy Intel Core Y hardware

HP Split X2 (in black) and Spectre X2 (in silver) – 2-in-1 tablets with docking units and speedy Intel Core Y hardware

Lenovo Yoga 2 and 3 series

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is a laptop whose screen flips over t0 360 degrees and is in fact the device that actually pioneered this nowadays popular form factor a couple of years ago.

The original Yoga was released in 2013 and Lenovo worked on two successor series since then, the Yoga 2, a Haswell equipped version, that hit the stores in 2014, and the Yoga 3, a Broadwell powered line that was launched in early 2015.

The Yoga 2 13, the most popular of the Haswell models, comes with a 13.3 inch FHD IPS screen, a nice keyboard and trackpad, a fair selection of ports and a few different hardware configurations. It’s still rather bulky and heavy for a 2-in-1, tipping the scale at roughly 3.5 lbs, but it does have a good price on its side. The base version, with a Core i5-4200U CPU, 4GB RAM and 500 GB HDD+16GB SSD storage starts at $899, but you can actually find this config, and the others available, slightly discounted online, if you’ll follow this link.

There’s also an 11.6 inch version of the Yoga 2, which starts at as little as $500 and which I’ve reviewed here on the site. For that you’re getting a 1366 x 768 px IPS touchscreen, an Intel Haswell Y series (lower-power hardware than the U series) or an Intel Pentium BayTrail-M hardware and a rather small battery that can last for about 5 hours on a charge, all inside a 3.2 lbs device. Again, not very light, especially for a 11 incher, but if you like the form factor and don’t have a lot to spend on a compact 2-in-1 laptop, the IdeaPad Yoga 2 11 can be a decent option for you.

The 2015 iteration offers a Yoga 2 11 model, with a FHD 11.6 inch display, a much lighter body than before (2.4 lbs) and Core M hardware. That makes it fanless, much like the BayTrail-M versions of the Yoga 2 11, but at the same time the newer model should be somewhat faster and should last a bit longer on a charge. It will also run hotter and sell for more, with a MSRP of $799 at launch, that should get more affordable as time goes by.

The 13 inch model was replaced by the Yoga 3 14, now with a 14 inch FHD IPS display. Lenovo claim they’ve put a 14 inch screen inside a 13 inch body, but in reality the new model has gained a few mms here and there, as well as a few ounces. The other big changes are on the inside, as the Yoga 3 14 is powered by Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors and now gets a faster AC wireless module. Not much has changed otherwise, except for the more generous IO, since there’s now more room for ports on the edges.

On the other hand the Yoga 3 14 is rather expensive, with the base versions scheduled to sell for $900, which makes it far less competitively priced than the Broadwell powered Dell Inspiron 13 7000 or Acer Transformer Book Flip TP300, which the Yoga 2 13 managed to tackle closely in the past. I’m not going to draw any conclusions till I actually get to test this new Yoga, but for now it doesn’t seem as good of a deal as the previous model was, especially since the gap between Broadwell and Haswell U hardware is small.

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300 and TP500

As most other Asus Transformer Books, these Flips are a great deal for the money you’ll be paying for them.

There are several models included in this series and the 13 inch and the 15 inch versions are the one that should catch your attention.

I’ve reviewed the Transformer Book Flip TP300 here on the site and you should check out the article for my detailed impressions. It’s also known as the Q302 in the US and bundles Haswell or Broadwell hardware, up to 8 GB of RAM, HDD or SSD storage, a 13.3 inch FHD IPS convertible touchscreen and a 50 Wh battery. On top of these, you can get some models with Nvidia dedicated graphics (the TP300LDs) or some without (the TP300LAs). And yes, the names are highly confusing, that’s just something Asus are “good” at.

Just like the other affordable 13 inchers in this list, the TP300 is fairly bulky and heavy (3.85 bls), but that’s mostly because of its Macbook-like metallic case, while devices like the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 or the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 and 3 14 rely on plastic shells, and the aluminum covered body will probably make a difference for at least some of you.

The price will as well, as the Asus Transformer Book Flip is usually $50 to $100 cheaper than a similarly configured Dell, HP or Lenovo unit, although that might vary from region to region. Follow this link for more details and up to date prices.

With its Macbook like body and affordable prices, the Transformer Book Flip TP300 is one of the best mid-range convertibles out there

With its Macbook like body and affordable prices, the Transformer Book Flip TP300 is one of the best mid-range convertibles out there

I’ve also reviewed the larger member of the Flip family, the TP500, and you can read all about it from this post.

The Asus TP500 is one of the few affordable 15 inch 2-in-1s available these days

The Asus TP500 is one of the few 15 inch 2-in-1s available these days

It’s overall not as impressive as the TP300, but it’s cheaper, with some configurations starting at around $500. It keeps the touchscreen, the form-factor and the metallic body and adds a NumPad keyboard, more ports and options for Nvidia 840M graphics, but also only bundles a 48 Wh battery, so it won’t last as long as the 13 inch model on a charge.

Still, if you want a 15.6 inch convertible with an attractive price, the Tp500 should definitely be on your list, next to devices like the Lenovo Flex 15. Follow this link for more details and up-to-date prices.

 Asus Transformer Books: T300, TRIO the popular T100/T200 and the T300FA and T300 Chi

The Transformer Books are fully baked Windows 8 tablets that can be used as standalone devices, or connected to some multifunctional docking stations that bundle a keyboard, some ports and in some cases, a few extras, like a different hardware platform of their own, a HDD or an extra battery. In other words, with the Transformer Books, the hardware is tucked behind the display, and the entire screen ensemble is completely detachable from the lower part of the laptop.

The Transformer Book T300LA is an affordable 13.3 inch device built on Haswell U hardware, which retails for roughly $900 these days (or even less). The Transformer Book Trio on the other hand is somewhat more interesting, as a premium looking device that dual-boots Windows and Android, but the experience is not always flawless and the series is available in limited regions around the globe. You can read more about these over here, so have a look.

The Transformer Book T300FA and the T300 Chi are more recent entries, built on Intel’s Core M hardware. They provide a completely fanless experience, enough power for a casual everyday activities and 6-8 hours of battery life, as well as room for a HDD in the included docking stations. Both come with 12.5 inch IPS displays and the T300 Chi is the skinnier, lighter and more premium built version of the two. They are not yet available in stores at the time of this update, but I did review the T300FA model a while ago and you can read more about the Chi in this post.

There are also the more affordable Transformer Book T100 and T200 to mention here, that sell for between $300 to $500. You can read about them in this post and we’ll also mention in the following chapter of this particular article.

The Asus Transformer Books: a stand alone Windows tablet with a multifunctional dock

The Asus Transformer Books: stand alone Windows tablets with a multifunctional dock

Lenovo Flex 2 and 3 lines

These are Lenovo’s lines of affordable ultrabooks.

The Flex 2 series is avialable in a 14 and a 15.6 inch variant, starting at around $500 (and going for even less online), with decent specs, plenty of ports and a screen that flips on the back, like on the Yogas but only to about 270 degrees. And that means than unlike the Transformers above, the Flexes cannot be used as tablets, but only in Laptop, Tend and Presentation modes.

The Flex 2 15 gets a 32 Wh battery, weighs 5.1 lbs (which translates in about 4-5 hours of everyday use for a mid-level Core i5 configuration) and a 1366 x 768 px TN touchscreen, which can’t really stand next to the IPS displays on the Asus line. On the other hand, the Lenovo Flex 2 15s are about $150 to $200 cheaper than a similarly equipped Transformer Book TP500.

The 14 inch version of the Flex 2 is identical to its larger kin, just slightly more compact (weighs 4.2 pounds) and even more affordable, as the Core i5-4210U CPU/ 4GB RAM / 500 GB HDD configuration sells for under $500 these days.

The Lenovo Flex 2 series - you'll hardly find anything similar for the money

The Lenovo Flex 2 series – you’ll hardly find anything similar for the money

The Flex 3 series actually improves most of the areas where its predecessors felt short. First, they are powered by Intel Broadwell hardware. Second, they now get optional FHD IPS panels that can actually convert all the way to 360 degrees, just like on the Yogas, although the base versions are still offered with TN HD screens. Third, they are a bit more compact and lighter than before and they can get optional Nvidia dedicated graphics.

Despite all these things, the Flex 3 laptops are still very affordable, with the 14 inch model starting at $549 and the 15.6 inch version at $579.

Lenovo also introduced a smaller Flex 3 11 convertible that sells for $399 an up and is still a fully convertible device, but only settles for Celeron hardware and an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 px display. Even so, it should be a decent competitor for the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 and the HP Pavilion 11 X360.

The FLex 3 series includes an 11.6, a 14.0 and a 15.6 inch model

The Flex 3 series includes an 11.6, a 14.0 and a 15.6 inch model

Acer Aspire R7

This is perhaps the most bizarre 15.6 inch laptop in this list, for two reasons. Number one, the screen swivels around a very sturdy metallic leg, as you can see in the pictures below, and that allows for a few different use modes: Laptop, Tablet, presentation and the Star-Trek Enterprise mode, with the display actually hovering over the keyboard. Number two, Acer decided the put the trackpad on top of the keyboard, to accommodate this form factor, and that will take a lot of time to get used to.

Other from that, the Aspire R7 is a good looking and sturdy built laptop that packs powerful Haswell hardware, plenty of ports, a large 54 Wh battery and a Full HD IPS screen with stylus support. Be aware that there’s also an older R7 model, with Intel Ivy Bridge hardware and a few other minor differences; you should not look at that one, but at the Aspire R7-572 model described above.

So, long story short, with a price tag of $900 for an Intel Core i5-4200U based configuration or even less these days and no major flaws, as long as you’re OK with the form factor, the Aspire R7 is a 15 inch convertible you should consider.

A proper priced laptop with plenty of interesting features, but a bizarre form factor

The Acer Aspire R7 – a proper priced laptop with plenty of interesting features, but a bizarre form factor

Other 2-in-1s worth mentioning

This list consists of a few older hybrids that you might still find in stores, but are no longer good enough to make it to the recommended list. However, for the right price and as long as you’re fine with their shortcomings, these are still worth your money.

  • Dell XPS 11 – this is highly portable 11 inch laptop. It weighs 2.5 pounds and is only 0.6 of an inch thick. On top of that, it is more powerful than many other 11 inch 2-in-1s, as it is motorized by an Intel Haswell Core Y hardware platform. And it last for roughly 6 hours on a charge. And it packs a splendid 2560 x 1440 px IPS touchscreen. But why is the XPS 11 higher on the list? Well, for two reasons: it’s very expensive, starting at over $1000 (although you can find it discounted these days, for under $800 in most cases) and packs a crappy keyboard.
  • Asus Taichi – this is an ODD beast, as it offers two different displays, a touchscreen on the lid-cover, and matte screen on the inside. And that opens doors for a lot of use modes, as you can use the two screens independently, or together, if you want to. The 11.6 inch version of the Taichi is available for about $800 these days, maybe even less online, and it bundles Intel’s IvyBridge platforms. A 13 inch version is also available on some markets, larger and heavier, but also with an improved selection of ports and bigger battery. However, the Taichi line was never upgraded to Haswell hardware and will probably never will.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Twist – another IvyBridge ultra-portable, with a slightly bulkier body and a classic tablet-PC form factor, with the screen swiveling around a center-placed hinge. It packs a 12.5 inch display, a fair series of ports and a tough-built body, like a proper ThinkPad should. That makes it rather heavy, at 3.5 pounds, but some of you might take the extra weight and bulk for a sturdier construction, and a very good price. These days the ThinkPad Twist sells for as low as $500 ( see this link for more details ).
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix – this is Lenovo’s interpretation of the same concept displayed by the Transformer Book TX300: an independent Windows 8 tablet running on Intel IvyBridge hardware, with a multifunctional docking unit. The Helix is more sober looking than the TX300 and more rigid as well, integrates cellular connectivity and digitizer and pen support, so you can use it for taking notes, sketching, drawing and so on. The Helix is also more compact and lighter than the Transformer Book, sporting an 11.6 inch screen, but it’s fairly pricey, selling for $1400 and up,  and not without flaws: runs hot and noisy and the entire docking unit is bulky and awkwardly designed.
Interesting, but not good enough: Asus Taichi, Asus ThinkPad Twist and the Dell XPS 11 (from left to right)

Interesting, but not good enough: Asus Taichi, Asus ThinkPad Twist and the Dell XPS 11 (from left to right)

Wrap up

These are most of the best convertible ultrabooks you can find in stores right now. More are going to become available in the next months, so stay tuned, I’m constantly updating the list, adding new products as they hit the stores.

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 ultrabook alternatives.

Drawing the line on these 2-in-1 laptops, it’s impossible to say which is the best unit in this class, and that’s because there are some many good different models available, with different features and form factors. I personally like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the Acer Aspire R13 more than the others, but these could be options only if you’re looking for premium design and performance and you’re ready to pay premium for these.

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 decision is all yours. My indications are only meant to shed some light on each unit’s particularities, their strong points and their quirks.

If you need more help deciding though, 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.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

429 Comments

  1. rave

    March 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    hey andrei..was lookin for a 13″ convertible.i found HP’s X360 a012dx..
    pretty decent config.
    what do u think?my use is for college purpose.

  2. KQ

    March 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Hello, I am in the market to replace my 2 much older Dell laptops and a Nexus 7 tablet with an efficient 2-in-1 laptop that can support the following tasks.
    *Windows 8.1 Pro
    *MS Office 2010 or 2013 – 64 Bit
    *Adobe Acrobat (latest version for editing)
    *VPN connection
    *work with MS Access databases
    *Very good graphics
    *ability to connect to 2nd & 3rd Screens for spreadsheet work
    *Touchscreen
    *Stylus – nice extra however not necessary
    *Full keyboard including numeric pad would be helpful however not necessary
    *Fully convertible from laptop to tablet (flat)

    Considerations – options
    *something with an i7 processor
    *SSD and of sufficient size

    Brands & Models considered
    *Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga
    *Acer
    *Asus

    Would you be able to provide me with some recommendations please? Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      You haven’t mention a screen size or a budget. The full-keyboard, the stylus and the convertible form-factor , combined with all the other requirements, are going to limit your options a lot.

      If you’re willing to sacrifice some of those things on your list, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3rd Gen or the Asus Zenbook UX301LA should come close to what you want.

    • Gerard

      July 29, 2015 at 9:24 am

      I’ve just purchased the HP spectre x360. I find it astonishing that it hasn’t been reviewed in this seemingly comprehensive article

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Easy. The HP Spectre X360 is not in here YET because we’ve yet to review it, due to it reaching my country very late and due to it being very expensive over here. WE’ll have a review on the site in the next few days and then it will be added to this post as well.

  3. Kelly

    March 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Hi,
    I’m looking for a laptop/tablet/hybrid/… as a replacement for my asus zenbook ux31a. I was disappointed by it’s battery life, the quick faulty keyboard and the quickly defectieve charger.
    I Am now looking for something with a long battery life so that it can last na entiteit schoolday (as there are often no Charging spots in class) so preferably >7h. Mostly used for making notes in class and checkend on internet, but I need to be able to connect it to a projector for powerpoint presentations. I’ll buy an external harddrive if necessary so storage is not the main consideration.
    Any suggestions? Preferably affordable :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 24, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Something like the Asus Transformer Book T200TA might do the trick for you. Long lasting, fairly portable, and rather cheap. Aim for the $499 version with 4 GB of RAM. You’ll need a micro-HDMI to VGA adapter in order to connect this thing to a projector, but that shouldn’t be more than $15.

      • Kelly

        March 24, 2015 at 11:15 am

        Thanks :)

  4. Ann Grant

    March 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I’m finally getting rid of my desktop and looking at 2 in 1’s. I’m in my 50’s and simply use a computer to access the internet and use Microsoft Office a little bit. My husband is 6’5″ and has large hands so I’m trying to find something that has a decent size keyboard and is light weight. I’d also like something that has a docking station so we can use it with the new large monitor that I just purchased, but I also want to be able to use the laptop relaxing on the couch. I am very interested in the Lenovo Yoga 3 14″ or something like it in the $800-1,000 range, but I’ve heard that the touch screen doesn’t work very well on the Yoga. What do you think or suggest?

  5. malcolm

    March 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Andrei!
    Great job helping everyone with their questions. I’ve got one too….I was looking at the Dell Inspiron 13 7000. Trying to decided between the 4th generation i5-4210U vs i5-5200U (5th generation). Both 8GB RAM/500GB Hard drive, both with the HD (1920 x 1080) display. Price is 699 with two year warranty for the i5-4210U vs. 784 for the i5-5200U and one year warranty. Is there a big enough difference between the performance to warrant buying the 5th vs 4th generation? Minimal game usage, some spreadsheet and videos. Thoughts and recommendations please.

  6. Linda

    March 26, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for your comparison reviews of different ultrabooks. Can you suggest a Windows based 2-in-1 detachable 13.3″ or smaller laptop/hybrid with core i5, 4 or 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB SSD, with active digitizer pen (where you can sign documents and note taking) and decent battery life and ports for business use and travel? I have been thinking of buying a Surface Pro 3 with the keyboard cover and then a bluetooth keyboard to compensate for the flimsy keyboard cover. Your thoughts on the 12.5″ Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga which comes with low glare screen with digitizer pen and support. I like the Toshiba z20t and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300, however powered by core M processor as it’s not as fast in performance.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you on your thoughts and suggestions.

  7. John

    March 26, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Hi,

    I’m lookinG for a convertible 2 in 1 that can handle the following tasks and meets the following criteria my budget is $800.00 give or take $50 for tax.

    -13 to 14 in. No smaller no larger

    -as light as possible I travel a lot and having a light laptop even if it’s ounces makes a difference

    -enough processing power to have multiple apps running with multiple Web tabs open at once for when I’m doing research and writing papers(preferably the newest/most powerful i7 I can get for the price point) so basically good at multitasking

    -at least 7 hours of battery life

    -can lay flat in tablet mode/form

    -high resolution display, at least full HD 1080p,for videos(movies/TV shows)/pictures (netflix/Hulu esp.) With decent viewing angles

    -ultrabook boot times from power up and sleep with snappy ultrabook performance in general

    -will last me a good 3-4 yrs and will be able to handle win 10 when it comes out

    -storage doesn’t matter much I have an external hard drive and usbs

    I appreciate any help you can offer, I’m not very techy and I recently purchased a laptop that met very few of these criteria because I didn’t know better.

    Thank you!

  8. Janko Hrasko

    March 29, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    It’s a shame there’s not a single powerful convertible notebook. Not a single piece. Looking for something with Intel Core i7-4710 CPU. Obviously I have to buy a gaming laptop for work.

  9. Melissa

    April 3, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Can you recommend a 2-in-1 for Photoshop and Illustrator? I have a 7yr old Dell XPS (sill alive! Unbelievable) that has obviously treated me well and an all-in-1 desktop Mac that was a gift. I’m about to do a lot of backcountry travel and need something light, but still able to handle creative suite work. I like the idea of using a stylus to work in CS, though it looks like they still haven’t perfected the interface for tablets. Since I’ll be in the backcountry, battery life is important (though an extra battery can also fix that) and screen brightness for outdoors. Is trying to find a 2-in-1 instead of an ultrabook going to be a silly waste of money? What would you recommend? I’m partial to the XPS 13 touchscreen, but have a limited budget of 1500 or less (something 1000-1200 would be even better). Surface Pro 3 for Adobe’s collaboration? Am also open to trying Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga?

    Any thoughts would be helpful…
    Thank you,
    Melissa

  10. Rorie

    April 12, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Andrei, (and other posters!)

    thanks for your great article, but am still really confused what would suit my needs. I have had a couple laptops now and all good but now all dead and they were all heavy.

    I am a post-grad history student and part time teacher. I want to start looking at more documents online on my cloud rather than printing, I also extensively web browse for my research, and of course use MS word for writing my dissertation. I want it to be light and portable as I will be travelling to Australia for research and need it for archives, libraries etc. My primary computer here at home is a large lenovo 23″ touch screen that is where everything is stored, and what I use the most for work at home. I would use a tablet at school teaching to show powerpoints, my teaching portfolio in an electronic form, for typing and use in meetings and so on.

    I need a keyboard to type on and a mouse function/port, yet light, easy to travel with and good battery life and durable.

    Any ideas?

    Many thanks if you could reply.

    Yours,

    Rorie

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

      Hi Rorie? What’s your max budget? And do you have a screen size in mind?

      • Rorie

        April 18, 2015 at 8:03 am

        thanks Andrei I ended up buying a microsoft surface pro, its excellent thus far

  11. AJ

    April 14, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Hey,
    I’m looking for a 2 in 1 laptop for school and everyday use. I don’t need anything too crazy but I also don’t want a slow computer that will be out dated in a week. I really like the Lenovo options and have had good experiences with their products in the past. I would like a 12.5-15 inch display preferably FHD that is touch screen, tablet mode capable and an efficient processor for school/web surfing. I am looking to spend $500-800 if possible thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Hi AJ. I’d look at something like the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 or the 3 14, or maybe the lighter Yoga 2 Pro which is not greatly discounted. The Asus TP300 or the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 are also alternatives withing your budget. AIm for something with a Core i5 processor (4th of 5th gen) and if possible 8 GB of RAM. SSD storage would help a lot, or at least the option to upgrade the machine to an SSD later on.

      If you want a fanless detachable and don’t care much about battery life, something like the Asus Chi T300 could be a nice option as well. Check out my review here on the site.

      • Bill

        April 18, 2015 at 12:55 am

        He should steer clear of anything Lenovo. They are NOT IBM anymore and it shows. If you want to use your laptop, buy something else.

  12. Hafsat

    April 17, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Hi Andrei,

    I’ve been using an iPad for a couple years but find it’s too limiting especially for writing papers (can’t format or use track changes). In terms of apps, I need FB, twitter, mail, photo, telegram, kindle, spotify and a couple others. But I need a laptop/tablet that can be used ALL the time + must have great battery life as I’m often in a country where electricity isn’t constant. Between Microsoft surface pro 3 and Acer Aspire R13, which wld make sense for me? Or wld you recommend sthg else. Budget is $1500. Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 17, 2015 at 8:29 am

      I don’t think the Aspire R13 should be on this list. The Surface Pro 3 could, although since you mentioned writing papers, you’ll need time to get used to its keyboard folio.

      The HP Spectre x360 could be another option. I personally haven’t reviewed it, but I’ve read good thing about it.

      You could also consider some of the Core M convertibles in this list: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/5165-broadwell-ultrabooks/ , although they might not deliver on that long battery life. Depends what you mean by long though. 6 hours of daily use is doable, but more might not be.

  13. Bill

    April 18, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Avoid the lenovo’s unless you like hiring lawyers to return expensive gadgets for you.

    My Thinkpad yoga screen and keyboard broke in 10 days. After they didn’t show up to come get it twice I went to the service shop. They refused to accept a return counting the two weeks it took them to deliver it in the return period! Are you kidding me?

    They supposedly fixed it (replaced screen and keyboard) but the mechanical problem in the screen bezel that broke the screen in the first place wasn’t fixed.

    A couple of weeks later, the mouse pad started flaking out, hardware problem, quit working entirely within 2 days, the machine also started giving boot errors sometimes at the same time, then it quit booting… back to shop. They said it would take OVER A MONTH to fix. What part of a laptop takes a month to replace? Much complaining and it came back faster with a new motherboard.. and wait for it.

    THE SCREEN CONNECTION WAS BROKEN AGAIN. The day I got it back the screen has flickery stripes across it, which are clearly directly related to the bezel problems.

    The build quality is bad and service is worse. The screen problems are fundamentally caused by a weak lower screen bezel. There is basically no structural integrity on that side when in tablet mode.

  14. Ana

    April 19, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Dear Andrei,
    i would really like a convertible touchscreen 15incher with num pad and 1920 x 1080 res. Also lightweight and good battery life would be great. Know im asking for much and will have to compromise but what would be the best options considering? num pad is a must .Are there any other options besides asus transformer bookflip tp500? thankyou!

  15. Kyle

    April 20, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Hello Andrei,
    I fist want to say thank you for all of the great information.I have a question regarding three different laptops that im considering. The three laptops include the yoga 2 pro, yoga 3 pro and the HP spectre x360.
    As you can tell i am looking for a touch screen 2 in 1 laptop around 14 inches that has at least a 256 SSD. I am a college student so the laptop will be used in writing papers, doing research and computing in excel, streaming the web and basic day to day activity.
    I know you said you recommend the yoga 2 over the yoga 3 but how would you compare these to the spectre x360.
    Thank you again for the post

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

      I haven’t reviewed the Spectre x360 but I’ve read many good things about it. each of the to has pros and cons, so make sure you read many detailed reviews and user opinions before taking a pick.

      As a side note, the HP is Broadwell powered, which will make it more efficient and faster when it comes to graphics (mostly visible in games though). That could be a decisive point when comparing the two.

  16. Jane Young

    May 1, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you for an excellent comparison of what’s out there. Really useful as I start looking around for the best 2 in 1, with a form factor that appeals to me. As it happens, independently of your post (but assisted by various negative comments about the Yoga 3 Pro), I had already decided that on balance the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro is probably the one I’m going to go for, so great minds and all that! Cheers, and keep up the good work….

  17. Scott

    May 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I’m planning to buy the HP spectre x360.

    What do you imagine (since you haven’t tested it yet) would be the difference between getting the i5 vs. the i7 (all else equal)?

    Better battery life on the i5, cooler/less noisy fan on the i5…?

    I’m not a gamer, just use lots of applications. Is there a way to manually throttle the i7 to operate like the i5 most of the time and only engage the extra power in the rare occasion I need it?

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      the differences are pretty much standard. Somewhat better battery, lower temperatures and less noise with the i5. However, those will be mostly visible when pushing the laptop and running more demanding tasks or heavily multitasking. Otherwise, in daily use, the two CPUs should behave pretty much the same.

      The processors adjust their frequency automatically, there’s no point in manually messing with that. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it either. Just make good use of the Power Profiles and you should be alright.

  18. Chandra

    May 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Wow, this is an incredibly helpful article, and I’m hoping that I can get more guidance.

    I am looking to replace my laptop (an Asus Zenbook that I’ve been pretty happy with) in the next few days. It is kind of a hybrid laptop use. I use it a lot of for work (including a lot of typing so I need something with a decent keyboard). I access the internet a lot and I often have a lot of programs running. I also use it as a personal laptop and run some games and use it a lot for Skype. I travel with it a lot on long flights and would like something with a good battery life, and I need something with useable ports since I often will need to connect it to projectors and such. I would like a larger screen, but probably not as big as the 15.6″ since I will need something that can easily be thrown in a bag and dragged on a long flight. My current laptop is a 13.3″ screen and I’ve been happy with that. Lightweight would be great but battery life is probably more important. Since it’s a company buy, I don’t really have a budget limit. I’d also be willing to consider a non 2-in-1 if there is something else you would recommend that is really better for what I need. I like the idea of a 2-in-1 but to be honest, maybe I don’t need one if there is something better out there. I know I’m going to stick with Windows products, though. What would you recommend?

    Thanks so much for the help, and for being willing to help us lost sheep figure this out. The variety of computers out there can make this really confusing, and it’s great to have someone willing to help.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      I would get the Dell XPS 13 with the FHD matte display, an i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM. It’s powerful enough for what you need, will offer about 6-8 hours of battery life and it’s compact.

      2-in-1s usually won’t last more than 6 hours of daily use on a charge, are bulkier and heavier than a standard laptops or don’t offer good keyboards (something like the Surface Pro 3). Still, You can definitely consider the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3rd gen, which meets all the requirements, offers a slightly larger 14 inch screen is a slim and light body, excellent keyboard, ports and a convertible form-factor. It should also handle hassle well, since it’s a ThinkPad. This thing is really expensive, but since budget is not a concern…

      • Chandra

        May 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        I am seriously considering the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but I’m worried about connecting to projectors. My coworkers has a Lenovo Yoga Pro 2, which she likes, but has found that using the adapter to connect to the vga projectors never works. Apparently that is an issue with many of those computers. I can’t seem to find anything about it online. Do you have any experience with this? Thanks so much for your advice!

        • Andrei Girbea

          May 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm

          There are better and worse ones. Look for one with excellent reviews on Amazon and you should be OK. that’s what I do when I have to buy adapters.

  19. Theresa

    May 6, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Andrei,
    I’m looking for a laptop with the following features:
    15″
    convertible
    fast processing/loading speed
    backlit numeric keyboard
    touchscreen
    awesome display
    under $1000
    I’d like an hdmi port & dvd reader/burner, but that’s not high priority. What do you recommend that will have the least problems with the highest quality?

    thanks for your help!
    Theresa

  20. Erik

    May 15, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I’m looking for a cheap 2-in-1 laptop (Around $450) that I can use for school work and that preferably comes with Microsoft Office. It would be nice if I could play games on it as well. (Doesn’t need to be the best but to be able to play minimum would be fine).

  21. Liz

    May 20, 2015 at 5:54 am

    What’s the brightest 2-in-1 with the longest battery life under $1000?

  22. Fatch Racall

    May 27, 2015 at 3:13 am

    Having used a Fujitsu q702 for the past several years (and having the detachable hinge eat it’s way through the base’s plastic backplate), I’ve been trying to find, with no real luck yet, a list of the best 2-in-1’s and tablets that include digitizer pen support.
    Perhaps we could see a similar article comparing such devices? I’d also love to see how the tablet portion attaches to the base in more detail on these types of articles, due to the above experience (seriously, disintegrated into many little pieces after about 2 years of use on a $1500+ device does not make a happy consumer. All it would have taken was a little lever of metal inside the base, but noooo, can’t do that can we?! Gotta save that weight!).

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Hi, I’m working on such a post as we speak. I’ll try to include details on the hinge and the latching mechanism wherever possible. The article should be available later this month.

  23. John B.

    May 27, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Thank you for your insightful articles!

    Doesn’t anyone make any 2-in-1’s in with a 17″ HD screen form factor??? I like the Lenovo Z70 Intel® Core™ i7 5500U 2.4GHz Processor, 16GB DDR3L, DVDRW, 1TB + 8GB SSD HDD, 2GB NVIDIA GT 840M, 17.3″ Full HD 1920 x 1080, Windows 8.1 however this is not a 2-in-1. When I’m traveling (especially in those cramped airline seats) I would like to fold the keyboard out of the way to watch a movie or just read an e-book using the touchscreen. I want the larger screen when working to be able to open/view large spreadsheets or to edit video. If I have to drop to a 2-in-1 with 15″ screen which ones would you recommend?

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2015 at 9:51 am

      No, there’s no 17 inch 2-in-1 that I know of and very few 15 inchers for that matter. The Acer Asprie R7 and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 15 are some of the best in this class.

  24. saurabh

    May 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I wanna buy a 13 inch convertible 2 in 1 ..for the designing work and use Maya and 3ds Max.. .So recommend me for a comparison laptop.. .my budget is 1500$

  25. DD

    June 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for this great website, very helpful.

    Unfortunately the price points are slightly different here in India so I am hoping that you’ll indulge further and help decide between the following three Inspiron models (one of them is not an Ultrabook) OR suggest an alternative to look at.

    dell.com/in/p/configuration-compare.aspx?returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dell.com%2Fin%2Fp%2Flaptops.aspx%3Fc%3Din%26l%3Den%26s%3Ddhs%26~ck%3Dmn%23!facets%3D57485~0~300277%2C57485~0~300276%26p%3D1

    This will be my primary work & personal laptop, probably will spend 7-8 hours on this device everyday. Most of the use is working on heavy ppt, word, excel files simultaneously with chrome, IE and some other applications like Cisco VPN, AT&T WebConference, etc. I do travel every month – long layovers sometimes.

    I have done some research on the ghost touch issue and haven’t seen much posted about it lately – seems with the onset of Windows 10, new drivers and newer hardware models these are solved. What do you think?

    Also, whatever I buy I do plan to upgrade it to 512 GB SSD some years down the line and convert the existing HDD to an external USB disk.

    Old laptop’s dead (a 2006 HP Pavilion DV6000 series) so the request is a bit urgent.

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 8, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Sry but that link isn’t working here. Which models are you considering? For your needs I’d get the Core i7 if within budget and 8 GB of RAM.

      Not sure the ghost touches issue has been fixed, but if you’re willing to take a chance, then do it. Just make sure you order from a source that would allow you to send the product back in case something goes wrong.

      • DD

        June 8, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        Hi Andrei,

        Thanks for the quick reply & sorry about the link. I am looking at the following 3 options:

        a) Inspiron 14 5000 Series (Intel®) Rs.58,590.001 (~922 USD)
        dell.com/in/p/inspiron-14-5448-laptop/pd?oc=x540454in8&model_id=inspiron-14-5448-laptop

        b) Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Laptop Rs.65,570.001 (~1024 USD)
        dell.com/in/p/inspiron-13-7348-laptop/pd?oc=x540754in8&model_id=inspiron-13-7348-laptop

        c) Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Laptop Rs.71,770.001 (~1121 USD)
        dell.com/in/p/inspiron-13-7348-laptop/pd?oc=x540755in8&model_id=inspiron-13-7348-laptop

        And I’m looking to buy from Dell directly (online) so sending it back shouldn’t be an issue (theoretically).

        Thanks!

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm

          Like I said before, get the model with the Core i7-500U processor and 8 GB of RAM. In your case, that seems to be the 13 7000.

          • DD

            June 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm

            Perfect, thanks!

  26. Gisela

    June 9, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Great blog, and wonderful of you to do so much follow-up on the questions! I am looking for a relatively light & compact laptop for use at uni and home, budget up to $1500. Want 8 GB RAM, 256 GB ssd, touch screen, nice keyboard feel, and good battery life. Wondering if people really like the 2-in-1’s — do they actually get used as tablets part-time? Is the digital pen is awkward to take notes with? Considering Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 12 (is that clickpad really as awful to use as people say?), Dell Inspiron 13 7000, or Dell XPS 13 if I abandon the idea of a 2-in-1. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

      I would skip on the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, it’s rather big and your budget allows for better devices. The HP Spectre x360 would be my top priority if looking at a 2-in-1 and maybe the Lenovo THinkpad X1 Carbon 3rd gen (if withing budget). Then the XPS 13, but that’s not a 2-in-1.

  27. Aurélio

    June 13, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Hi Andrei,
    What is your analysis of the “Notebook 2 in 1 touch Pavilion x360 – core M” ?

    I’m interested in the use of text editing, spreadsheets, images editing such as Adobe Photoshop and internet browsing.

    Thanks for that can help me.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 16, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Haven’t tested it. Core M is generally good for daily tasks but will choke with demanding activities like Photoshop or multitasking. Try to find some detailed reviews online. If you want a 2-in-1 the Asus T300 Chi could be also considered.

  28. Radiant

    June 24, 2015 at 4:44 am

    As far as I can tell My Sony Flips 14A & 15A core I5 4th Gen are still the most advanced convertibles in the world.. (Even though they are from Last Year!!)
    I have four of them. I Don’t have an I7 but I’m on a bit of a budget.

    Albeit you have to update the software & run the Calibration tool (from the Sony Website..) before they will work properly. (No easy task for some people I suppose)
    Easy enough for me.
    But once that is completed you have a beautiful super machine that beats out all others!
    Plus you can get them cheap!!
    You wont believe the experience..
    But you have to understand that the software and calibration must be updated before they are useable.
    Radiant

  29. Radiant

    June 24, 2015 at 5:04 am

    FYI
    All these updates are totally free and most can be done with your Viao update Icon provided on the Desktop. The Calibration tool is the most important and you will have to go to the sony.com website to find that.
    It’s easy and also free. Please be careful to follow the instructions.
    Radiant

  30. Jason

    July 5, 2015 at 11:33 am

    First I wanted to thank you for the great post. Very helpful!

    I currently have Fujitsu T580 and I love it but it gets bogged down with multiple windows open. It is core i5 with 2 gb of ram and 1 terabyte HD.

    Have thought about replacing with Acer Switch 11 core i5 with 4gb and 500 gb hd. What are your thoughts? Also the Dell latitude 13 7000 looks promising due to the 8 gb of ram?

    Mostly used for work as a business consultant so great deal of research and document handling.

    Many thanks for your thoughts.

    Jason

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Jason. I think getting something with an SSD instead of a HDD would help the most. 4 GB of RAM would be a minimum, but if you can afford something with * would be even better.

      The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 or the Asus Transformer Book FLip TP300 are both interesting options and both allow later RAM/storage upgrades.

      • Jason

        July 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

        Thanks for the quick response. I like both those options but was concerned about the weight. I like the cover table format but thought a detachable would allow greater optuons.

        Seems that there is a tough compromise to be made between computing power and tablet form factor.

        Again thanks

    • Radiant

      July 12, 2015 at 1:30 am

      Hi Jason.
      If you are on a budget and willing to take the risk the Sony Vaio flip 14A core i5 or even core I3 are so advanced you wont believe you bought it on Ebay for around $450.00. As I mentioned in the earlier post I have four and they all are perfect after the needed software updates.
      My last one cost me $425. on Ebay free shipping no taxes! That one is actually a core 3 with 4 gigs of ram but the speeds are insane and I cant tell the difference from my core I5 Vaios with 8 Gigs of ram.
      Not only are the Vaio flips extremely beautiful to use and look at.
      They have Hidden Goodies like superb Pen Touch, Triluminus 1920 X 1080 full HD Display that is alarmingly awesome!! Great Sound, Backlit Keyboard! Cool touch Aluminum palm rest!! Etc.. Etc.. They just blow everything else out of the water.
      ((Also if you want to upgrade to an SSD no problem!! the back cover is removable for access to ram and hard drive upgrades!!))
      Try that with a $2000.00 Surface pro 3… Not gonna happen..
      But if you have the money the $2000.00 Surface is a great option.
      Radiant

  31. Justin

    July 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Andrei, Thank you very much for your reviews and recommendations.
    Personally, I prefer the 2-in-1 laptops that allow the screen to be detached eg Asus Transformer series.
    What is your opinion on the hybrid offerings from Toshiba, eg. Portege Z20t? Do they provide a good alternative to the Asus Transformers?
    Cheers.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 10, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I spent some time with the Portege Z20t. It’s good if you need the rougher build quality and the extra features (much more capable dock, long battery life, digitizer with matte film, etc). It’s heavy though also very expensive for a Core M config. So for me it would be a tough sell.

  32. parker

    July 12, 2015 at 6:56 am

    first off, wow, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. It is very well written. Even with all of that information I can’t quite decide which laptop I shall purchase? Could you help me out? I am look for a laptop with these features/specs listed below…

    ~laptop to tablet convertible (of course)
    ~Windows 8 (of course)
    ~under $900
    ~battery life 7-8 hours
    ~weight (as light as possible) NO heavier than 3.5 lbs.
    ~cpu speed (at least) 2ghz
    ~ cpu processor doesn’t matter
    ~ (around) 13″ screen
    ~ hard drive 750 gigs or so (doesn’t matter)
    ~I’d prefer for it to be as thin as possible
    Thank you ever so much!!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Something like the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, Asus TP300 should work fine for you. Get an i5 processor, preferably 8 GB of RAM and aim for SSD storage (you’ll have to settle for less space, but the computer would be much much quicker).

  33. Tim

    July 12, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Andrea, tqvm for your informative review. The prices and discounts posted are very different from over in APAC region ie Malaysia. I had done a lot of comparisons since end of June. I’m currently using a Life book P series and need to change a better performance 2 in 1. I had surveyed most of the mid to premium range ultrabooks plus 2 in 1. I need a 2 in 1 for my online professional studies as well as online research and sometimes entertainment. My budget is between $3,000 to $3,800 with pen input support. Dell 13 7000 which is selling at $3,799 (i7, 8G RAM & 256GB SSD) & HP Spektra 360 $3,999 with lower specs (i5, 8GB RAM (not sure) & 128GB SSD. These 2 models are in my list however the phantom ghost touch screen has given me a 2nd thought and therefore now I’m considering Acer Aspire R13; $3,599 (i5, 8GB RAM and 128SSD). I acknowledge the Acer’s keyboard problem but can Acer support wireless keyboard? Please comment. Thank you very much

  34. Ynette

    July 15, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I am looking to buy a hybrid/convertible and am specifically looking at HP Spectre x 360 and Dell Inspiron 7348.

    My habits: I like to keep a few tabs on the windows open, I use the laptop for almost anything – office work, watching videos, but no gaming & no graphic design. I like to carry my laptop around.

    Can anybody advise which and the configuration?

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 15, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      I’d get the HP if within budget. Aim for a config with a core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and SSD storage (256 GB should be enough for daily use).

      The Dell is cheaper, but also bulkier and heavier. Some models were reported to have problems with the screen (ghost touches) and the trackpad.

  35. Chandran Nallathambi

    July 22, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Hey Andrei great job with this review.. I’m looking for a 11 or 12 inch hybrid that I could carry to college frequently(with decent battery life) also one which could manage moderate work load like a Photoshop app. Primarily I’ll be using a browser, media player or Microsoft office most of the time. I would prefer something within $600. I was looking at pavilion x360 n010dx , yoga 2 and the transformer t100(all 11.6 inches). Are they powerful enough? And are there any better ones? Personally I’ve never used a CDC or Pentium quad core processor. Will it be enough or should I go for an Intel core processor?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      I’d get at least a Core M machine if you plan to use Photoshop, and even so you should only stick to the most basic of tasks, especially if you plan to run a recent Photoshop version.

      That being said, the Acer Aspire Swtich 11 V (soon to be launched) and the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi or T300FA are your most affordable options. They barely fit within your budget though, but maybe you can find them discounted in the following months.

      • Chandran Nallathambi

        July 24, 2015 at 7:39 am

        Thanks for your prompt reply.. Am fed up with the choice in hybrid segment. Am also trying to put in more money and I finally decided to go with ThinkPad x250

  36. cameron

    July 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Hi, thanks for all the info, I’m looking for some help on a 2 in 1 which might be most suitable for using with my Go Pro, i want to be able to do some editing in HD so looking for decent graphics. Thinking I might need to get a big gaming laptop to get some of the things I want but then loose the mobility and flexibility of the 2 in 1.
    Also wondering if any of these come with dvd drive, I’ve still load of stuff on disk which I’ll need to get transferred if I do away with having a machine with a disk drive. Budget of about $1000, quite like the look of yoga 2 pro but not sure if meets my needs. Any help appreciated.

    Cammy

  37. Edward Fordham

    July 31, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Hi Andrei

    I really enjoyed your article

    I am hoping you could please advise me as to choosing the best device
    I need a device that is relatively small so a Hybrid 2 in 1 Laptop/Tablet or preferrably a Tablet that connects to a key board docking station

    I have been doing my research however most of the options have a little bit of what I need in one device but not one that ticks all the boxes that I know of

    The device needs to be able to have a SIM slot for a mobile connection
    It needs to have all the ports and connections that a normal sized laptop would have ( USB port for printer, mouse, HDMI ect)
    The device needs to have a good battery life as it will be used for work purposes >8 hours
    Touch screen
    Windows 8.1 that will be upgraded to windows 10
    Preferably a front and rear camera

    Please let me know if you need more information

    I look forward to your response

    kind regards

    Edward

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      You don’t have a lot of options. You haven’t mentioned a budget, but something like the Toshiba Portege Z20t should do the trick. HP has a similar device as well.

  38. Jesse

    August 1, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Picked up a HP ENVY x2 – 15-c101dx Windows 8.1 64 Intel® Core™ M processor
    8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L SDRAM (onboard) 15.6″ diagonal FHD IPS WLED-backlit touch screen (1920 x 1080) for $449.99. Will use mostly for internet browsing, office programs, maybe try some gaming etc and would like some feedback on if you feel this model will do or if I should look for something else. Thanks

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