Convertible and detachable 2-in-1 laptops may have been around for only a handful of years now, but pretty much everyone has taken a liking to them. These tablets-that-double-as-laptops aren’t as limited in functionality as iPads and Android slates, but they’re far better travelers than traditional notebook computers, like the Surface Laptop.
Nearly every one of the top 2-in-1 laptops on the shelves in 2017 ship with Windows 10 pre-installed. Though there are some odd examples like the Cube iWork 1X that comes jam-packed with both Windows and Android, those hybrids are few and far between. The most common convertibles are transformative Microsoft machines.
Not all of the best 2-in-1 laptops are the same, however. Some are bundled with styluses as neat little designer-centric embellishments, while others are free of bells and whistles. At the same time, you’ll notice that certain 2-in-1 laptops make use of 360-degree hinges while the rest in the pack take advantage of detachable screens, independent of their physical keyboards.
Introductions out of the way, these are the best 2-in-1 laptops of 2017 so far:
- HP Spectre x360 13
- Microsoft Surface Book i7
- Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA
- HP Pavilion x360 15
- Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
- Lenovo Yoga 720
With Kaby Lake now ruling the roost in terms of CPUs, HP decided it’s high time to flip the switch on its Spectre 2-in-1. With an overhauled keyboard and suave new logo, the HP Spectre x360 holds its own against anything Apple can show, but it also draws from it a few influences.
The four-speaker arrangement, reminiscent of the iPad Pro, ensures user-facing sound regardless of its orientation. Meanwhile, the new x360 dual-wields USB-C ports for faster charging and data transfers. Sound familiar? At the same time, none of this stifles the battery life, which manages to exceed 8 hours of straight use.
What’s more, the HP Spectre x360 can now be configured with a 4K screen and 1TB of SSD storage at a reasonable premium, making it even more deserving of the top spot on our list.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
One of the few honest-to-goodness surprises from Microsoft last year was the introduction of the Surface Book with Performance Base, also known shorthand as the Surface Book i7. It’s the same design as the original Surface Book, so don’t expect Microsoft to have done away with the controversial fulcrum hinge. However, this version of the Surface Book is not only 131% more powerful graphically than its vanilla counterpart, but the battery has improved by 20% as well.
It’s expensive, sure, but for the price you’re getting a laptop that’s both faster and more versatile than an equally priced MacBook Pro. For creative professionals with an artistic side, the more capable GPU and extensive battery life (our movie test says 9 hours and 16 minutes) are tempting. So long as it’s necessary for your workflow, it may be worth the lofty price of admission, too, even if you’re getting the short end of the stick in memory and SSD space.
Read the full review: Surface Book i7
Though Samsung is known for its phones more than its notebooks, this is one convertible worth taking for a spin. Equipped with a Skylake i7 CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is nearly as fashionable as a MacBook Pro, but for roughly half the cost. It has all the trackpad real estate you could ask for combined with a snazzy, full-size keyboard – number pad and all.
The difference is that the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is equipped to flip… inside out. Though it’s confined to a 1080p display, it’s HDR-enabled, which beautifully distinguishes the Notebook 7 Spin from just about every other laptop on the market. Plus, unlike the latest round of MacBooks, it has an SD card reader and proper USB 3.0. It doesn’t exactly push boundaries on the graphics front, but the Samsung Notebook 7 still manages to succeed by offering sublime value for rather competent specs.
Unlike the Asus ZenBook Flip UX305 before it, the ZenBook Flip UX360 ditches the MacBook Air doppelgänger approach in favor of a hybrid design with a whole array of ports. Everything from USB-A to USB-C is present, along with micro HDMI and a micro SD card reader. At the same time, it doesn't neglect the wholly aluminum chassis of yesteryear.
Although it’s still strikingly thin, the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 still manages to bear more weight than many other laptops in its class due in part to its reversible display. On the upside, the keyboard and trackpad, which are notably large and comfortable, also contribute to the laptop’s heft. While we’re still not sold on the practicality of Windows 10 in tablet mode, the ZenBook Flip UX360 is ultimately an excellent value.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
Somewhat inevitably, the hybrid nature of the Pavilion x360 leads to its undoing. It's underpowered compared to similarly priced laptops, and lacks the responsiveness and lightness of dedicated tablets. It doesn't do a great job of being a truly compelling example of either of these things.
But its usability, attractive and sturdy design, along with the impressive price tag mean that it shouldn't be completely dismissed – especially if you really want a machine that offers both laptop and tablet use modes.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion x360
Like every 2-in-1 on this list, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 does it all. During the day it can be a laptop used for work or study, but flip that sucker inside out and it’s equally proficient as a tablet, optimal for watching movies or serving up a fresh dose of memes to your friends on Facebook. The Inspiron 13 7000 is not unwieldy nor is it overwhelmingly loud and sultry. Rather, it manages to pull of an exquisite design without any of the pitfalls that usually afflict notebooks like this.
It’s not perfect, however, seeing as the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is a tad weak in the speaker department. There’s a bit of a muffled sound dispelled from its middling speakers. This makes for a case where you’ll almost definitely want to shell out for a pair of nice headphones to go with it. Despite this, the keyboard feels great, the screen looks great and the tablet mode leaves plenty of room for procrastination. There’s nothing that particularly stands out with the Dell Inspiron 7000, but if it ain’t broke…
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
The Lenovo Yoga 720 is a rare instance of a hybrid that feels just as homely as a laptop as it does a tablet. Although it’s the kind that flips 360 degrees rather than toting a detachable hinge, the modest pricing and formidable design choices more than make up for a slight deficiency in versatility. What’s more, the Lenovo Yoga 720 shows off the pristine capabilities of Windows Hello by means of a neatly placed fingerprint scanner.
For the price, the Yoga 720 gives you a nice, crisp screen (even if the 1080p starting model isn’t ideal) as well as a nice and comfy keyboard and trackpad. The only caveat is the ports, which are limited to two USB 3.1 Type-C’s and one very pertinent USB 3.0 slot. Everything else, such as HDMI output and SD card fidgeting will have to be done using pricey adapters. Then again, if you’re living in the future and handling everything through the cloud, there’s a lot to love about the Lenovo Yoga 720.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 720