If the allure of a tablet/laptop hybrid is too much to resist, we can't blame you. The advent of hybrid devices running Windows 10 means there are a ton of new computers that double up on functionality. Our favorite right now is the Huawei Matebook X Pro(available at Microsoft for $1,499.99).
Instead of carrying two devices, these laptops give you the option to use a touchscreen to kick back and read your favorite websites, or watch Netflix. When you need to get work done, you're only a flip, a snap, or a dock away from opening up Microsoft Office or even heavy-duty apps like Photoshop.
To judge these 2-in-1 laptops, we put them through a battery of tests in our state-of-the-art labs to gauge performance, screen quality, and other factors like keyboard and trackpad feel. We've used every one of these models in real life and have full reviews for you to read, so you can best decide which one will be the pick for you.
These are the best 2-in-1 laptops we tested ranked, in order:
Huawei Matebook X Pro (Intel i7, 16GB RAM)
HP Spectre x360 Convertible (15-inch, 2017)
HP Spectre X360 (2017, 15", 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)
Lenovo Yoga 920
Dell XPS 13 Touch 9370 (2018)
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With its snappy performance, high-res display, and long battery life, Huawei's MateBook X Pro has a lot going for it. While we love the oversized trackpad and wide selection of ports, we still had a few nitpicks. The webcam is in a strange place, and the shell is a fingerprint magnet. That said, if you're looking for a swanky ultraportable that won't burn a hole in your wallet, you can't get much better than this. Read full review.
Here at Reviewed, we test laptops for their processing capability, graphics, battery life, and screen brightness. To industry-standard mix of industry standard and custom-made tests as well as specialized lab equipment in our Cambridge, MA testing facility. We use popular benchmarks like Geekbench and 3DMark to gauge how well the laptop multitasks, runs games, and more.
For battery testing, we set them up to continuously cycle through various websites at right around 60% brightness (200 nits) until they run out of power, estimating how much work you can get done on a single charge. We also use each laptop for an extended period of time, rating each on factors like build quality, price, portability, and design.
What You Should Know About 2-in-1 Laptops
One grand may seem like a lot of money, but when it comes to laptops, it’s really the midrange price point, which means you have to make some choices. Usually, this comes down to a few main characteristics:
Performance: The CPU, graphics chip, RAM, and storage inside your PC determine how well your computer can multitask, handle intensive tasks like gaming, and store all your files. The better the specs, the snappier the laptop will feel as you work.
Build Quality: Not only do you want a laptop that can take a beating (since you’ll probably be lugging it around with you), but you want one with a well-built keyboard and trackpad since they’re your primary form of interaction with the machine. A poor trackpad or finicky keyboard can really kill the experience.
Touch Screens, Portability, and Features: 2-in-1s have gained in popularity, but that touch screen and pen cost money to include. Similarly, cramming all those powerful components into a small, easy-to-carry package can often cost more than a larger laptop with fewer design constraints.
When spending around a grand, it’s hard to get everything in one package--you usually have to sacrifice somewhere, especially as you move down the price chain. It’s all about finding a balance that fits your needs, even if that means a few sacrifices.
In addition, consider which operating system you need. Windows is still the dominant OS these days, and if you’re going to play games, edit photos and videos, or need certain software for work, you’ll probably stick with Microsoft’s offering. If you spend all your time on the web, though, a Chromebook may serve you better than you’d think—between Netflix, Gmail, Google Docs, and even online photo editors like Pixlr, you can do almost anything in a browser, and many of those web apps even work offline for those rare occasions you don’t have Wi-Fi. Chromebooks have the advantage of being cheaper (since they don’t need as much processing power) and virtually virus-free (since they run Linux under the hood). My main laptop is actually a Chromebook, and as a companion to my Windows desktop at home, it serves me very well—I can even access my Windows PC from my Chromebook through Chrome Remote Desktop.
From there, you’ll need to look a bit deeper at the form factor. You’ll usually find laptops in one of three main sizes, measured by the diagonal length of the display:
13 inches and under: These smaller laptops are great for carrying around, and more than suitable for light work like writing papers and browsing the web.
15 inches: Mid-sized laptops are a bit less portable, and won’t necessarily work in space-constrained spaces like airplane seats. But the larger display is useful for photo editing and watching videos.
17 inches: This is very large, and only recommended if you are doing video editing or other intensive work that requires a lot of screen real estate—and you don’t mind lugging it around.
There can still be varying sizes within those categories—for example, the XPS 13’s smaller bezels make it much smaller than most 13-inch laptops—and sizes in between, like the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga C930. But in general, picking a size range you’re comfortable with can help narrow down the field.
You’ll also want to consider how many USB ports the laptop has, whether you need HDMI and Ethernet, and how comfortable the keyboard and trackpad are to use—this can vary quite a bit from model to model, and it’s important to get something responsive and durable.
Finally, you’ll need to consider the guts—the processor, graphics chip, RAM, and storage that determine your laptop’s capabilities. For browsing the web and using office software, lower-power chips like Intel’s i3 and i5 are more than adequate. 4GB of RAM is usable in a Chromebook, though even web browsing can eat up RAM these days, so 8GB is recommended if you tend to open lots of tabs, use lots of browser extensions, and want a laptop that’ll last you well into the future—I wouldn’t generally advise 4GB for most Windows users these days.
If, on the other hand, you run more intense workloads—whether that means heavy photo and video editing or running the latest PC games—you’ll want something with a bit more “oomph.” Intel’s higher-end i7 processors will make those video encodes run noticeably faster, and a dedicated graphics card will ensure your games run smooth as butter (instead of choppy like a bad flipbook).
No matter who you are, I recommend erring on the side of more storage rather than less—people often underestimate how much space they’ll fill up with all their music, photos, and videos over time, and it’s a hassle to lug an external drive around. Storage can be expensive, though, so if you can’t afford a 256GB solid-state drive, consider buying a laptop with an SD card slot and using a high-capacity card for cheap, expandable storage. Keep in mind internal upgradeability, too—many modern laptops solder their components onto the motherboard, meaning you can’t swap in more RAM or a bigger storage drive down the line. So either buy a laptop that keeps its components separate or spend a bit more to buy the specs you’ll need in a couple years—not just what you need right now.
Other 2-in-1 Laptops We Tested
HP Spectre x360 Convertible (15-inch, 2017)
The HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, late 2017) can really walk the walk. With its 8th Gen Intel CPU and 16GB of RAM, this 2-in-1 packs some serious power. While we love the connectivity options, 4K display, and long battery life, the starting price is steep and it's bulky in tablet mode. Drawbacks aside, if you're a photo editor with a flexible budget, this convertible laptop is designed just for you. Read full review.
This big HP 2-in-1 gives users a big canvas on which to do work and express themselves. The Spectre X360 uses high-quality materials and has an alluring look. The 4K screen, speedy i7, and great keyboard compliment the beautiful metal build. While the trackpad is a little less great than competing laptops, there's no other 15-inch premium laptop that's quite as nice for as little money as the Spectre X360. Read full review.
From the inside out, the Lenovo Yoga 920 is a work of art. Between the superb battery life and signature wristband hinge, not only does it look great, it performs well too. While there's a lot we love, like the included stylus and bronze color scheme, the pen holder blocks the only 3.0 port and the starting price can be high. Drawbacks aside, if you're willing to spend extra, it's absolutely worth the price. Read full review.
With its attractive color scheme and barely-there bezels, the Dell XPS 13 (2018) has a lot to offer. But while we love the comfortable keyboard and responsive trackpad, it's not without its flaws. The webcam looks up your nose and there are no USB-A ports. Plus, the fans are loud under heavy workloads. Despite these quirks, we still think it's the one of the best ultraportable you can buy. Read full review.
The Reviewed staff is based in the heart of Cambridge, MA. Backed by our knowledgeable writers and rigorous test labs, we're working hard to make sure you can make the right decisions about what to buy.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.