December 23, 2019
We often juggle multiple work scenarios and our laptop is usually at the center of both work and play. While a traditional notebook form factor works for the majority of purposes, 2-in-1 notebooks can adapt better to your lifestyle and offer the flexibility to use the device in the most comfortable manner possible.
Ever since Microsoft introduced the Surface line of convertibles, many OEMs have been replicating the 2-in-1 form factor for their own offerings. The Microsoft Surface lineup still remains the best 2-in-1 choice but there are now equally good offerings from HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and even Google.
Like most computer hardware, buying a 2-in-1 laptop comes with its own set of challenges. Since the 2-in-1 notebook is meant to be used in multiple orientations, one needs to be sure that the display hinge is of a good quality and does not offer resistance when switching from laptop to tablet or tent modes. In a table mode, the laptop will be used very near to the eyes so having a high-resolution screen, which is at least full HD, is important so that text and icons don't appear pixelated. For most use cases, integrated graphics will do just fine but when you want to play that occasional AAA game, a discrete GPU will offer great performance benefits.
The overall size of the 2-in-1 laptop also needs to be considered. It is not very practical to use a 17-inch laptop as a tablet so anything below 15-inches would be ideal. The slimmer the laptop, the easier it is to hold as a tablet but you also run the risk of losing essential ports. Most 2-in-1s in this list offer the standard USB connector but those that offered modern connectors such as USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 were given due preference. Many OEMs also offer a whole set of accessories such as Type Covers, pens, or wireless input devices so these should also be kept in mind while making a purchase.
Taking into account all the above factors, we at TechNadu have compiled a list of the best 2-in-1 notebooks available in the market today. All these devices are high-end offerings that can adapt well to the user's needs. So, without further ado, these are the 8 best 2-in-1 laptops available for your consideration.
When it comes to having a powerhouse of a 2-in-1 laptop, there is little competition to the Microsoft Surface Book 2. The Surface Book 2 is the best detachable laptop you can get in the market today and sports high-end specs in a thin and light form factor. You can configure the Surface Book 2 to your liking including the ability to order one with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB discrete GPU. The Surface Book 2 can be used in multiple modes including as a laptop, tablet, studio, movie, or tent mode. The display can be detached and be used as an independent clipboard. It is one of the best displays you will ever use and it supports full touch and ink functionality.
The Surface Book 2 has the leading-edge hardware but is not without its flaws. The thin chassis often results in thermal throttling and the device is known to consume more power than the adapter can provide while playing intense games. However, Microsoft has been constantly supporting the Surface Book 2 with firmware updates and with improvements to Windows 10's power management features, this really is the best 2-in-1 notebook in the market today, if you don't mind shelling out quite a heavy sum for it.
The Surface Pro 6 is Microsoft's latest offering in the hugely popular Surface tablet lineup. It is a minor refresh to last year's Surface Pro but comes with the latest Intel CPU options. Microsoft has improved the overall Surface experience in almost all aspects with faster processors, better battery life, and support for active pens with higher levels of sensitivity and tilt. The Surface Pro 6 is also compatible with the Surface Dial that allows intuitive navigation in supported apps. Similar to the Surface Book 2, you can use the Surface Pro 6 in multiple modes. An optional Surface Type Cover now comes with a premium Alcantara fabric finish and doubles up as a protective cover as well.
The Surface Pro 6 is a welcome addition to the Surface family but users are annoyed that Microsoft hasn't still embraced the USB Type-C port even after 6 generations. You also don't get the Surface Pen or the Surface Type Cover bundled with the package so these will add up to the already high cost. However, if you are looking for the most powerful tablet that also doubles up as the best 2-in-1 device, the Surface Pro 6 is what you should be looking for.
The Lenovo Yoga Flex 6 14 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops under $500 and you get pretty decent specs for the price. The sub-$500 model offers the 8th gen Intel Core i3 dual-core CPU with 8 GB DDR4 RAM and a 128 GB SSD. True to its name, the Yoga Flex can work in multiple modes including as a laptop, stand, tent, or tablet. The 14-inch FHD display supports touch and ink and works well with the optional Lenovo Active Pen. The 45 Wh battery should provide enough juice for a typical workday.
There is nothing much to fault about the Yoga Flex, especially when considering its price. We do feel that a Thunderbolt 3 port would have been really beneficial as it allows connecting eGPUs when the integrated graphics does not cut it. The screen is not the best out there but should work just fine for regular office work and entertainment.
Those looking at a capable 2-in-1 notebook powered by AMD Ryzen should consider the HP Envy x360. It sports an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U APU that easily beats the 7th gen Intel CPUs in most benchmarks. Since this is an APU, you also get integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics that allows for swift handling of GPU-intensive tasks on par with most low-end discrete GPUs. The FHD touchscreen supports pen and touches input, which is helpful when the laptop is used in any of the operating modes. HP has provided enough connectivity options so you need not go dongle hunting while on the move.
HP offers a tilt pen as an optional accessory but that apparently does not support pressure sensitivity so artists will be disappointed. That said, the screen itself looks and works great so if pressure sensitivity is not a criterion, this is a great 2-in-1 for the price. AMD Ryzen offers immense value for money and great multi-threaded performance so running CPU-intensive apps is a breeze.
The Microsoft Surface Go is easily one of the most affordable 2-in-1 laptops out there. The base configuration can be had for just $399 but you would want to extend your budget in order to realize the full potential of this notebook. The Surface Go is fanless thanks to the low-power Pentium Gold 4415Y chip but that does not mean it is underpowered. Actually, you can manage to run games like Fortnite at low settings easily at 30 fps. The 10-inch PixelSense display is the same that is found in higher Surface models and supports the full array of Surface touch and pen accessories.
While the Surface Go makes for a compelling purchase, do note that that the lower end versions feature eMMC storage, which is not really an ideal option for running Windows 10 and desktop apps. Stretching the budget a little bit can get a capable SSD, which provides a great performance boost.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro offers all that is expected from a good 2-in-1 with enough power under the hood. The Notebook 9 Pro is powered by a 7th generation Intel U-series CPU, which means low power consumption yet enough performance for most day-to-day tasks. The Notebook 9 Pro is available in both 12-inch and 13.3-inch variants along with an AMD Radeon 540 GPU option for those who need the extra GPU power. For the price, the Notebook 9 Pro offers a great computing experience. The screen can be flipped fully backward or used in tent mode for movie watching. A good thing is that Samsung bundles the S-Pen along with this purchase so you need not spend anything extra.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro offers great performance for the price and apart from the occasional heating issues, you cannot go wrong with this 2-in-1 laptop.
Windows dominates the market when it comes to offering the best 2-in-1 laptops but if you mostly live in an online world with little need to use regular desktop programs, Chrome OS might be a better option. Most Chrome OS devices, or Chromebooks, sport very low-end specs but that changes with the Google Pixelbook. Chrome OS does not require a high-end machine but for those who need a powerful 2-in-1, the Pixelbook has you covered. Chrome OS runs within the Chrome web browser so it is familiar to most users and gets automatic updates. Recent versions can also run compatible Android apps. With the Pixelbook, Google aims to offer a touch experience that users are already used to on Android. The 12.-inch high-res display is great for playing FHD or even 4K YouTube videos and the Core i5 CPU ensures a long battery life.
While the Pixelbook is an excellent device, Chrome OS might not be for everybody. You might start feeling the pinch when there is a need for that occasional desktop app you prefer. Having said that, most apps and services are created for web use so running them in Chrome should not be an issue.
The HP Spectre x360 is easily one of the best looking 2-in-1 laptops out there. Everything about this laptop oozes premium quality. This notebook packs as much a punch as it looks. In fact, it is one of the best-specced 2-in-1s in this list right after the Microsoft Surface Book 2. You get the latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U CPU that offers excellent performance without being a strain on the battery. The Spectre x360 also comes with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB GDDR5 memory for handling graphics-intensive apps and ensuring the overall smooth performance of the touch UI. The 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD should cater to the needs to most mobile road warriors while the included connectivity options ensure that you can hook up all your peripherals. HP also offers a Thunderbolt 3 port that can connect to more powerful eGPUs and external displays but we are sure the included 4K display will wow you over with its 100% sRGB coverage.
Despite featuring top-of-the-line components, the included 6-cell battery can provide up to 9 hours of battery life, which means it can easily last a typical workday or more. The only gripe with this laptop is the sheer number of HP bloatware that comes installed so we suggest starting with a clean slate for getting the best performance out of this beauty.
Dear reader, those were our picks for the best 2-in-1 laptops available in 2018. These notebooks offer the power of a traditional laptop along with the convenience of a tablet. We recommend users exercise due diligence while purchasing one as most components in these notebooks are soldered, which makes upgrading to a higher specification down the line very difficult. Therefore, you would have to estimate your current and future requirements before making a purchase decision. In most cases, the pen input is an optional accessory but we recommend that you budget for the same as it is a useful add-on that helps in utilizing the 2-in-1 form factor to its fullest potential.
We hope that this article has helped you in deciding on a good 2-in-1 laptop. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any doubts or would like to suggest what other laptops we should include and we will get back at the earliest.