Update: Our latest 2-in-1 laptop review just so happens to be the best of the year so far. Samsung is at it again, this time with the MacBook Pro- and HP Spectre x360 15-rivaling Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. Read on to find out more!
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.
All of the top 2-in-1 laptops ship with pre-installed. And with of remote wiping and disabling of stolen notebooks, you can count on them being just as secure as your mobile devices, if not more so. That’s good news for those of us worried over the Windows 10 source code.
Defenses aside, not all of the best 2-in-1 laptops are the same. 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:
- Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- HP Spectre x360
- Microsoft Surface Book i7
- Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
- HP Spectre x360 15
- Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
- Lenovo Yoga 720
- Lenovo Yoga 910
- Lenovo Yoga 900S
Ever so deserving of our Editor’s Choice award, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is every bit as competent as the 15-inch MacBook Pro and for a substantially lower cost. Though it’s limited to only one configuration, albeit across two different sizes, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is as powerful as it is pragmatic. If this wasn’t evidenced by its 360-degree hinge and vivid screen with brightness up to 450 nits, then maybe its onboard stylus will convince you.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, at both the 13.3- and 15-inch sizes, is defined in part by the inclusion of the S-Pen. Replete with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, the S-Pen is every bit as capable as Microsoft’s Surface Pen and without the need to be recharged. That’s icing on the cake given the already-extensive battery life of the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. So you can endlessly jot down ideas in Samsung Notes or even doodle in the Samsung Air Command app.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
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
More than just a basic hardware refresh, the HP Spectre x360 is as easy on the eyes as it is to use. Because the keyboard feels natural to the touch, there’s no debate as to whether this 2-in-1 is better as a laptop or as a tablet; it comes equally recommended as both. If it made a peep, what with its silent fans and subdued chiclet keys, the HP Spectre x360 15 may even garner a few jealous stares.
Equipped with not only two USB-C ports, but everything from full-size HDMI to an SD card slot, the HP Spectre x360 15 is effectively the anti-MacBook Pro. Not only is it substantially more affordable than Apple’s closest competitor, but this swanky hunk of metal flaunts a shimmering gold finish that leaves “Space Gray” looking like yesterday’s news.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 15
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
Lenovo has knocked it out of the park once again with the Yoga 910. Once thought to bear subpar keyboard travel and buggy software (no thanks to firmware incompatibilities), the Yoga 910 addresses many of the complaints we had with its predecessor. A sharper, more contemporary design is complemented by not only an Ultra HD screen, but one that’s 13.9 inches big with super-slim bezels to boot.
Although the battery life comes in short at a mere 4 hours and 32 minutes, according to our TechRadar movie test, it’s one of the few remaining 2-in-1s to keep classic USB ports intact. That’s a feat on its own for those unprepared for the adapter-riddled future of USB Type-C. Fortunately, however, a pair of USB-C ports are in sight as well, giving users the choice between which interface you prefer. Plus, the speakers aren’t half bad, suiting the Yoga 910 for all sorts of entertainment as well.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910
The Lenovo Yoga 900S feels like a direct response to Apple's 12-inch MacBook. The 12.5-inch display, the USB-C port and even the Intel Core-m chip on the inside reeks of the controversial, yet incredibly lightweight MacBook. It's a response, however, that brings with it a handful of notable advantages over Cupertino's solution.
For one, you get access to full-size USB 3.0 ports in addition to the Type-C interface. The highest end version ships with an m7 processor and 1440p display and costs less than MacBook's comparatively specced built-to-order model. Unfortunately, you'll also have to deal with a smaller trackpad and a similarly inadequate keyboard, but otherwise the Yoga 900S is an impeccable value.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900S
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article