If you want to use a stylus or your fingers for hand-written notes or drawings, then your best bet is to buy a 2-in-1 laptop with a touch screen. These convertible laptops give you more control than a touchpad when you’re letting your creative juices flow. We’ve listed the best 2-in-1 laptops below, including bendback laptops with lids that flip 360 degrees and detachables, or tablets that attach to a keyboard.
Not only can this be useful for work that calls for a more intuitive interface, but it can also offer a way to change up the way you work or to display a presentation.
The 2-in-1 laptop has surged in popularity in recent years and is available in a range of sizes and prices. There are no Apple 2-in-1 laptops as of yet, but models with both Windows 10 and ChromeOS are widely available.
So it was just a matter of time until enterprising manufacturers realized that adding or removing the keyboard was all that was needed to turn one into another. Now, the resulting product, a 2-in-1, isn’t just its own product category—it’s one of the most popular in the PC industry.
What is a 2-in-1?
Simply put, a 2-in-1 is a touch-optimized convertible laptop or detachable tablet with a both a touch screen and a physical keyboard of some type. When you need full-stroke keys and a touchpad, you can use the 2-in-1 just the way you would a regular laptop. But if you need or want full access to just the screen for an extended period of time, that’s an option as well. And you can flip back and forth between the modes whenever you wish, usually expending just a second’s effort.
That said, you’re still buying a PC with a full operating system, whether that’s Chrome OS or Windows 10. In the future, macOS could be a player, but thus far Apple has pointed folks who need a touch screen and tablet/laptop convertibility toward its iOS-equipped iPad and iPad Pro lines, paired with an optional keyboard. A 2-in-1 running macOS just isn’t on the Apple menu yet.
For our purposes, we break down 2-in-1 devices into two kinds: the convertible laptop (a one-piece machine) and the detachable tablet (which splits in two).
What to Look for in the 2 in 1 laptops?
The rest of the specs (screen size, storage space, the processor used, and so on) for convertibles and detachable hybrids generally follow the same lines as more standard laptops and Windows 10 tablets, which means you’ll have to pay more if you want additional speed, fancier features, or a thinner, flashier design.
For example, a system with a fanless Y-series Core i5 or Core i7 processor is likely to have excellent battery life and a very thin body.
These chips are generally what you will find in detachables. That said, in general, you should expect that these systems will be somewhat less powerful than comparably sized laptops or convertible 2-in-1s, as these low-power mobile processors are designed for cool, quiet operation (which you’ll want for a system you’re using on your lap or holding in your hand) more so than for blazing speed.
In contrast, a non-detachable 2-in-1 system is more likely to use a processor like a U-series Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7. It will likely be a thicker device, but you’ll have more power to do more-demanding media-creation work or heavy multitasking in the field. As with anything else when computer shopping, it’s all a game of trade-offs and compromises, and we’re here to help you decide which one is for you.
How we tested
We spend a tremendous amount of time reviewing notebooks of all shapes and sizes — and that’s saying something today, when notebooks come in so many shapes, sizes, and configurations.
To make sure our recommendations provide real value to our readers, we live with the machines for a time and use them in writing our reviews, to make sure we can assess how they’ll work for real users.
But we do have a method to our madness in conducting these reviews, and you can look behind the scenes here.
Hopefully, it will be obvious that our reviews are real labors of love — or hate, depending on the notebook — and therefore you can at least recognize that we don’t arrive at our conclusions without some serious consideration.
Our Top Picks:
|Samsung Notebook 9 Pro||15 in||2.84 lbs|
|Lenovo Yoga 720||13.3 in||3.97 lbs|
|Microsoft Surface Book 2||15 in||4.2 lbs|
|Google Pixelbook||12.3 in||2.45 lbs|
|Asus Chromebook Flip||14 in||3.3 lbs|
|Dell XPS 15||15.6 in||5.5 lbs|
|HP Spectre x360 15||15.6 in||0.71 lb|
|Lenovo Flex 6 14||14 in||3.66 lbs|
|HP Elite Dragonfly||13.3 in||3.9 lbs|
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1||13.3 in||3.2 lbs|
This is a 2 in 1 laptop designed for the user experience! The Notebook 9 Pro has a slim aluminum body with a diamond-cut design that makes the corners more refined.
In addition, it also increases the keycap and reduces the spacing between the keys and keys, making typing easier.
It features the Intel Core i7-8565U, two Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), one USB-C 3.1, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, microSD and fingerprint reader for fast charging.
Overall, the Notebook 9 Pro is reliable and is one of the best 2 in 1 laptops of the 2020.
What we like most is its golden appearance, with a noble temperament!
The overall appearance of the YOGA 720 is made of aerospace aluminum alloy, and the surface is frosted to make the whole computer look very textured.
It has a 13-inch touch screen and the Lenovo logo is still in the lower left corner of the screen.
In addition, there are two Type-C interfaces and one headphone microphone 2-in-1 interface on the left side of the body. Like the previous version, the Yoga 720 is also very lightweight and very portable.
Its screen can choose up to 4K resolution and provides 100% sRGB IPS screen in gamut space. Whether it’s playing games or office, its interface is very clear and smooth.
The detachable display is the biggest feature of the Surface Book 2! Its configuration is quite high and the price is very expensive.
Since many 2 in 1 laptops are 13 inches, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 looks really big. It is equipped with i7-8650U, Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processor.
Both performance and quality are impeccable. Another thing worth mentioning is that the Surface Book2 is equipped with a USB-C interface for the first time. The standard is USB 3.1 (Gen1).
In general, if you don’t consider the price, then it is the best 2 in 1 laptop.
We think Google PixelBook is the best Chromebook laptop in the market today. It has a mature Chrome OS ecosystem and the price is affordable.
The design is the same as the Pixel smartphone in a two-tone design. After opening the lid of the PixelBook, you will see a gray chocolate button, a white, slightly elastic wrist rest area and more aluminum areas.
It’s very light, only 1.1 kilograms, you can carry it with just one hand.
Although the keystroke of the keyboard is not very large, it is fast in response and can provide a satisfactory typing experience.
At the same time, the PixelBook’s keyboard supports backlighting, which makes it look even cooler.
It is perfect for people who travel a lot! In general, it’s small and slim, it can be easily put into a smaller backpack or handbag, but the performance is very strong, can cope with various situations.
For compact Chromebooks, Asus is one of the best manufacturers. Its silvery look looks like an Apple laptop, giving it a high-end feel.
In addition, its button distribution is very reasonable, and the feedback is timely. Surprisingly, it has a battery life of more than 8 hours.
6. Dell XPS 15
If you want a 15-inch laptop, the XPS 15 is definitely one of the best choices! Its body shell is made of precision cut piece of anodized aluminum, with a matte silver-gray body, it looks full of quality.
The most fascinating thing is its micro-border design! In the 14-inch body, a 15.6-inch screen was loaded, and at first glance, it was like no border.
It uses a 15.6-inch touch screen with a resolution of 3840×2160, which has a very good display.
However, it has been tested and found that its heat dissipation and battery life are not very good.
Often, the battery life of a large-screen laptop is relatively short. But HP Spectre x360 is an exception!
Its battery life is more than 2 hours longer than most 15-inch laptops. In addition, it is quite powerful in terms of configuration.
It has the 8th generation Gen Core i7 CPU, color 4K display and more. Our favorite is its high-definition display, whether it is a game screen or a high-definition movie, it is very satisfying.
This is a 2 in 1 laptop that we really like. With a screen size of 14 inches, the casing is made of polycarbonate plastic and fiberglass to give a fresh feel.
On the left side of the device, there is a power port, HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-A, USB 3.0 Type-C and 3.5mm combo audio jack.
Unfortunately, the USB Type-C port cannot be used for charging, you will need to use the included pin charger. But its screen resolution is only 1920×1080, which is not good under direct sunlight.
If you are looking for a cheap Windows 10 laptops, then it is definitely one of the best options.
As far as 2-in-1 laptops go, the HP Elite Dragonfly tops our list with its combination of portability and power.
It’s also one of the most beautiful business laptops we’ve tested in a long time, touting a thin and light design – complete with incredible speakers, a sublime keyboard and the optional 550 nit 4K display – that’s absolutely hard to contend with.
This hybrid gets our coveted five-star rating, which already says a lot as we don’t give that out lightly. And, did we mention it also boasts an excellent battery life, which gets you a long way when working on-the-go?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find fault in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019). Design-wise, not only is it incredibly compact and lightweight, but it also boasts that gorgeous responsive display, stunning woven design and delightful to use keyboard. But, it’s more than just looks.
It’s pretty impressive as well when it comes to performance, thanks to its 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics.
If you’re looking for the best 2-in-1 with more than enough power, a lot of versatility and a stunning design to boot, you’ll be crazy not to get this.
Why would I want a 2-in-1 laptop?
Simply put, a 2-in-1 laptop allows you to have the best of both devices at your fingertips. You can use the tablet to draw and take hand-written notes with a stylus, or you can use its touch-screen and gesture features for your day-to-day activities. But when you need more control or need to type something up, you can switch into laptop and keyboard mode. Best of all, these machines feature the computing power to run full-sized applications like Adobe Photoshop and more.
What size laptop should you get?
This really comes down to two things: Personal preference and lifestyle. If you’re traveling often and usually have your computer on your back, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you’re a huge movie buff who doesn’t normally take their tech on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch screen with a bulky construction so you can have better Netflix and chill sessions.
Is it worth buying a 2-in-1 laptop?
In our opinion, this is naturally an interesting option to consider because of the various benefits we’ve mentioned so far. Getting one of these devices will also save you money since you’re effectively buying two devices for the price of one. In fact, our test confirmed that this is probably the main reason why its popularity keeps growing alongside the number of units sold.