WHICH 2-IN-1 LAPTOP IS THE BEST?
Most of us have a desktop computer (even if it’s in the attic), a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, and several other smart devices. That’s a lot of different devices under one roof! But the pendulum is swinging back. Manufacturers are combining the best features from different devices to create highly versatile hybrid gadgets that adapt to the user instead of vice versa. Leading the innovative pack is the 2-in-1 laptop.
A 2-in-1 laptop gives you all the features of a laptop, but it lets you enjoy the freedom and immediacy of a tablet. These devices can be costly, so when you purchase one, you want to be sure you’re getting the one that’s right for you. After reading this guide, you’ll understand what a 2-in-1 laptop can do for you and which features would help you do it best.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY 2-IN-1 LAPTOPS
A 2-in-1 laptop is like a transformer. It can change from one device into another depending on your needs at the moment. When you have to work, the unit offers all the features you would expect to find on a laptop. When you want to play, just fold under (or remove) the keyboard and your laptop becomes a tablet. As a tablet, it has touchscreen capabilities, allowing you to navigate quickly and intuitively like you would on your smartphone. Or, if you’d like to do something creative, grab your stylus and let your muse guide you.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN QUALITY 2-IN-1 LAPTOPS
A backlight makes it easier to see your laptop screen in different types of lighting.
The ultimate goal of a 2-in-1 laptop is to let you work (or play) wherever you are, without tethering you to a desk (or anything else). The best models will provide at least a day’s worth of running time, about eight hours, with each charge.
The faster the charge time, the better. You don’t want to only have access to your 2-in-1 every other day because it takes 12 hours to fill the battery.
Your 2-in-1 will inevitably experience a lot of tossing around. Treat it with care, and get a model with tough hinges.
The current trend is to streamline, so ports are vanishing. If you need to connect devices, make sure the 2-in-1 you are considering has the proper ports.
Until you find yourself typing in the dark, you won’t fully appreciate the need for a lighted keyboard. This is a highly desirable feature.
If you are a diehard Mac user, it’s important to note that Apple does not make a 2-in-1 laptop, so you will need to get comfortable with another OS.
The four typical RAM offerings in a 2-in-1 device are 4GB, 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB. 4GB can be limiting, but 16GB puts you in the highest price zone. Most situations can be handled sufficiently with 8GB. However, if you have specific needs that require more RAM, don’t skimp, or you will be dissatisfied.
In a TV, high definition might not be noticeable because you’re viewing it from a distance. On a 2-in-1 laptop, however, higher-definition models look dramatically different, because your eye will be close enough to see the detail.
You will likely have sensitive material on your 2-in-1, so you’ll want security measures like a fingerprint reader to keep unwanted users from accessing your device.
Only having a 10-inch laptop screen to do all your work will be limiting. Conversely, a 17-inch tablet isn’t convenient when you need to just grab and go. Carefully consider which is more important for your needs: size or ease of carry.
If you’re comfortable with cloud storage, physical space isn’t as much of a consideration as it used to be. However, if you like to have your files on your device, don’t be stingy with memory; it gets eaten up quickly.
HOW MUCH YOU CAN EXPECT TO SPEND ON THE BEST 2-IN-1 LAPTOPS
In the $200-$450 range, you’ll find entry-level 2-in-1 laptops that typically only feature 4GB of RAM and closely resemble tablets. Moving up to the $500-$900 range, the RAM expands to 8GB, and you can find some decent 2-in-1 laptops that offer a good value.
Once you move into the $1,000-$1,500 range, you’re getting 16GB of RAM and some of the highest-quality hybrids. If you wanted to, you could spend thousands more, but at that point, it would be more cost-effective to purchase a high-end laptop along with a high-end tablet.
2-IN-1 LAPTOPS FAQ
Q. Do all 2-in-1 laptops use touchscreen technology?
A. Yes. The point of having a 2-in-1 is to get the best of both worlds. When you need to type, you’ll find the laptop mode is your best option, as it has all the features your laptop would have. However, when you want to touch up your photos, scroll through Instagram, or play a little bit of Alto’s Adventure, you’ll want to fold back (or remove) the keyboard to take advantage of the touchscreen technology.
Q. I’m a gamer. Would I be happy with a 2-in-1?
A. Maybe not. Since portability is a main concern, these units are designed to be low-end power-efficient devices. Most 2-in-1 laptops simply can’t handle the high demands of hardcore gaming.
Q. Can I use a mouse with my 2-in-1?
A. The beauty of a 2-in-1 is its versatility. You can use a keyboard, a mouse, a stylus or your finger. The choice is yours.
WHAT ARE THE BEST 2-IN-1 LAPTOPS TO BUY?
Top 2-in-1 laptop
Our take: A lightweight powerhouse that is available at a reasonable price.
What we like: Samsung’s Notebook 7 has a 256GB flash-based memory that offers users faster startup and data access speeds. The laptop comes with Windows 10, 8GB RAM, and a fingerprint reader for security.
What we dislike: The biggest drawback to this potent tool is its shorter-than-expected battery life.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Top 2-in-1 laptop for the money
Our take: If you’re on a budget but would still like an impressive machine, this laptop will meet your requirements.
What we like: ASUS has created a lightweight, entry-level model to get you hooked on the streamlined beauty of a 2-in-1. The battery boasts a 10-hour life, and the backlit illuminated keyboard along with the free 100GB Google Drive storage is much appreciated.
What we dislike: It’s not quite as powerful as other options, and 4GB RAM is less than ideal, but that is to be expected at this price point.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A solid choice at a comfortable price. However, if you need more, this laptop can be upgraded.
What we like: Dell’s 2-in-1 comes with an 8th Generation Intel Quad-Core i7-8550U Processor, 256GB memory, and 8GB RAM. The unit also has a backlit keyboard, an integrated IR webcam, and an LED backlit touchscreen.
What we dislike: Weighing slightly over five pounds, this is one of the heavier 2-in-1 options.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.