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Updated: 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2015: top hybrid laptops reviewed

Hybrid laptops, or 2-in-1s, are devices that are able to serve as both a laptop and a tablet, either in a detachable design that sees the touchscreen doubling as a tablet, or a convertible approach in which the notebook’s hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect.

Hybrid laptops are generally priced in a range between $700 (about £450, AU$800) and $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131). However, some manufacturers, like Acer, make budget hybrids, and there are even 2-in-1s designed specifically for the business user, like the Dell Venue 7000 series.

Now that Microsoft has released Windows 10, expect an even greater selection of these devices to pop up, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700, which runs on the new operating system. And Apple even has its own worthy contender in the iPad Pro.

With that, here are the best 2-in-1 laptops that we’ve reviewed:

Best hybrid

CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 | Screen: 12-inch, 2160 x 1440 multi-touch (ClearType, 3:2 aspect ratio) | Storage: 256GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: Two 5MP webcams (1080p HD video) | Weight: 1.76 pounds Dimensions: 7.93 x 11.5 x 0.36 inches (W x D x H)

This is not only Microsoft’s most striking and versatile device to date, but the most convincing poster child for the hybrid category yet. And this ringing endorsement comes from a long-time skeptic of such devices.

This version of the tablet comes in cheaper than the most affordable iPad Air and 13-inch MacBook Air combined, even with the Type Cover, and that’s the point. On paper, this slate is more powerful than either Apple device, not to mention most other comparably priced laptops and tablets. The Surface Pro 3 might not be perfect, but it’s far and wide the brightest shining example of a potential tablet takeover. If you’re not concerned about a downgraded performance, consider the new Surface 3, which doesn’t provide as much kick as the Pro, but is lighter and a lot cheaper.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Best hybrid

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 (1600Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam (front-facing) | Weight: 3.26 pounds | Dimensions: 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H)

Excellent performance and battery life

Buy the HP Spectre x360. It easily comes as one of my most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at $999 (£899, AU$1,899).

If it weren’t for a few missteps with the trackpad and being too hefty for tablet use, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best hybrid

A versatile hybrid ideal for those who work as hard as they play

CPU: Intel Core i5-5300U (2C, 2.30/2.90GHz, 3.0MB, 1600Mhz) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 1920×1080 | Storage: 180GB SSD OPAL2 | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless – AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD 720p | Weight: 3.48 pounds (1.5kg) Dimensions: 12..44″ x 8.70″ x 0.74″ (31 x 22 x 1.8 cm)

The Yoga 12 is a versatile bulldog of a device. You can use it as your work laptop. You can use it for play. It won’t be the best pick for either of these tasks, but it won’t stray too far from the upper tier either. At 3.4 pounds and 0.74 inches thick, it’s just light and slim enough to claim portability. With more than seven hours of video playback, its battery is good enough to get through a workday, and it’s affordably priced starting at just $845.

Packing a full HD display that can bend into four different modes, you’ll enjoy this device’s flexibility, even though it isn’t the lightest or sexiest device on the planet. With that being said, it performs on par or better than any of the devices on this list. If you need a larger screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 is also a great option.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12

Best Hybrid

An attractive, versatile package

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p front-facing webcam; built-in dual digital microphones | Weight: 3.68 pounds (1.67kg) | Dimensions: 12.99 x 8.74 x 0.75 inches (W x D x H; 330 x 222 x 19mm)

This notebook features excellent build quality and overall system performance. It’s fast, it’s slick, and it is ideal for students who need to bang out papers and general users who want a fast, compact notebook to tote around.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000

Best Hybrid

Lenovo’s former-flagship Ultrabook is a real stunner

CPU: 1.6GHz Core i5 4200U | Graphics: Intel HD 4400 | RAM: 4GB of DDR3 | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Wireless-N 7260 Wi-Fi | Camera: 720P front-facing camera | Weight: 3.06 pounds Dimensions: 13 x 8.66 x 0.61 inches

Keyboard complicates tablet mode

With the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (starting at $1,099, £999, AU$1,599), we can now confirm that 3,200 x 1,800 pixels is delicious indeed. On top of the winning Yoga form factor, we loved the solid performance, backlit keyboard, and the snappy SSD, creating mobile device-like response times.

At the $1,000 price point, you could put the Yoga 2 Pro in just about anyone’s hands and make them quite pleased.

For those of you who crave portability more than anything, Lenovo recently unveiled the new LaVie Z, which the company claims is the lightest convertible on the market. For those who want more power and don’t mind a little heft, you could also check out the Lenovo Yoga 3 2014.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Best Hybrid

The laptop that will bend over backwards for you

CPU: 1.5 GHz Intel Core i7-3689Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 (integrated) | RAM: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz SODIMM | Screen: 11.6″ HD LED Multitouch 1366×768 | Storage: 128GB DDR SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Lenovo 802.11 b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 1.0MP 720p HD integrated webcam | Weight: 3.10 lbs Dimensions: 11.73″ x 8.03″ x 0.67″

Tablet mode leaves keys exposed

Yes, another Lenovo hybrid! The 11.6-inch Lenovo Yoga 11S (starting at around $799, £599, AU$1,299) laptop is a flexible machine that can fold over from a typical laptop stance to a stand position, to a position with the keyboard behind the screen, ready for delivering presentations.

It comes with HDMI, SD card and USB ports, and boasts a surprisingly impressive Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage. The screen is sharp and bright, though not full HD, and works well with Windows 8. It’s also nicely light and small for portability. You can easily use the Yoga 11S as you would any other laptop, replete with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S

Best Hybrid

CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F with Burst Technology 2.0? | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics? | RAM: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM ? | Screen: 8.9-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD, 16:10 aspect ratio, 10 points multi-touch screen? | Storage: 32GB eMMC Flash Memory? | Connectivity: Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n (up to 150 Mbps) | Camera: 5 MP Full HD rear camera with auto focus (back) and 2 MP Full HD web camera (front)? | Weight: Tablet 1.04 pounds (472g); Tablet with keyboard 2.16 pounds (978g)? | Dimensions: Tablet 9.25 x 0.385 x 6.34-inches (235 x 161 x 9.8mm) (W x D x H); Tablet with keyboard 9.25 x 6.72 x 0.78-inches (235 x 170.6 x 19.9mm)?

Toshiba has created an incredible value full HD laptop that doubles as a tablet. It’s perfect for frequent travelers, students taking notes in lectures, workers in meetings and people on a budget. This machine is well built and it runs smoothly and fast.

Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Click Mini

Best Hybrid

Another excellent transforming tablet-laptop from Asus

CPU: 1.46GHz Intel® Bay Trail-T Quad Core Z3775 | Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2 GB LPDDR3 | Screen: 11.-inch 16:9 IPS HD (1366 x 768) with multi-touch screen | Storage: 32GB eMMC With 500 GB HDD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0 | Camera: Front 2 Mp and rear 5 MP | Weight: 1.71 pounds Dimensions: 12 x 7.6 x 0.47 inches (W x D x H)

If you are looking for a combination of Windows laptop and tablet, the Asus Transformer Book T200 is a very appealing option that offers a fair amount for only $539 (£349, or AU$690).

The T200 is quiet, light, well built and feels responsive during normal usage. Battery life is excellent, so you won’t find yourself hunting obsessively for charging points throughout the day. Its “smart” hard drive bay adds plenty of storage space alongside the speedy 32GB SSD, and despite having a disappointing resolution, the IPS display is at least vibrant with good viewing angles. Good connectivity in the form of USB 3.0 and RJ45 ports are welcome additions, with a reasonable pre-loaded software set finishing off the package nicely.

Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T200

Best Hybrid

A powerful, small tablet that wants to play in the big leagues

CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro | Graphics: Intel Gen7 graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 10.8-inch FHD 1920 X 1080 IPS display | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel 7265 dual-band 2X2 802.11 ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 2-megapixel webcam; 8-megapixel rear camera | Weight: 1.6 pounds (0.72kg) Dimensions: 11.01 x 6.95 x .42 inches (27.97 X 17.65 X 1.07 cm)

Modest battery gains over i5 model

At the $700 (£437 and AU$800) entry price, the Venue Pro 7000 offers a nice balance of performance and portability in a travel-friendly size. However, unless you find yourself accessing CPU and GPU taxing apps, you might find more value in an Atom-based convertible. Going with Atom will lower your cost and give you better battery life.

For those who need power and performance, the confines of a 10.8-inch display may be too rigid to maximize productivity. Opening more than a few tabs or windows on the small display will trigger claustrophobia. If you need to be more productive, there are bigger convertible options, like the Surface Pro 3, to choose from that may fit that need better. Or, if you prefer Android OS, and you don’t mind a little less kick, you can go with the Dell Venue 10 7000.

Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000

Best 2 in 1 laptops

This 2-in-1 laptop takes thinness to a new level

CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 processor (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with turbo boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 12.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 (WQHD) capacitive multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 2MP 720p webcam | Weight: 3.14 pounds Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches (W x D x H)

Vibrant display made for media

The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is one of the first laptops to finally get the hybrid form factor right. Thanks to the use of a magnet latching system and Intel’s fanless Core M processor, Asus has been able to produce a lighter tablet-laptop hybrid that’s thin to boot.

The detachable Bluetooth keyboard also opens up a few alternative ways to use the device. Over the last few weeks, I propped up the screen while I used the keyboard as a remote for Netflix and stood the screen on its side, using it as a makeshift vertical screen. The best thing about all this is it’s entirely seamless, letting you easily switch between tablet and laptop modes with ease.

Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Joe Osborne and Kevin Lee contributed to this article

View the original article here

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When you can buy (or download) Apple’s fall releases

James Martin/CNET

Wednesday morning Apple used its event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to introduce a whole slew of new products at once.

From new iPhones to an entirely new device for streaming television, the announcements were more expected than surprising.

Most confusingly, however, everything announced is available at different times. Below is when you can expect to get your hands on each pretty new thing Apple introduced, showed off or even barely mentioned today.

Beware though, some dates are just as broad and open-ended as you’d expect from Apple.

Right now iPad Mini 4; new Apple Watch bands and designs Sept. 12 iPhone 6S, 6S Plus preorders open Sept. 16 iOS 9 and Watch OS 2.0 available Sept. 25 iPhone 6S and 6S Plus available in stores October 5 new Apple Watch Hermès edition

Available right now are new Watch colors and new bands, including a new rose gold anodized aluminum Sport Watch.

Coming later this fall are several high-end stainless steel Hermès-branded Apple Watches in four colors (Fauve, Etain, Capucine, and Bleu Jean) and starting at $1,250, AU$1,700.

While we didn’t see complete refresh of the Apple Watch this fall, we do get an update to the software that powers these wearables, as well as a look at some new native apps. Watch OS 2.0 will be a free update for all Apple Watches.

Packed with plenty new features, iOS 9 is a free update for the iPhone 4S and newer; iPad Pro; iPad Air and Air 2; iPad 2; third- and fourth-generation iPad; iPad Mini and newer models; and fifth- and sixth-generation iPod Touch.

With new 3D Touch, Live Photos and a 12MP, 4K video-shooting camera, this iPhone may look very much the same, but it appears to be very, very different.

The phones are starting at $200, £540 on contract for the 16GB iPhone 6S and $300, £619 on contract for the 16GB iPhone 6S Plus. In Australia the full price of the phones begins at AU$1,079 for the 6S and $1,229 for the 6S Plus. For a full run-down on pricing, check out the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus first takes.

Apple’s also offering installment pricing if you want to make payments. Check out the rest of the UK pricing as well.

Shown very briefly during the display of 3D Touch (not Force), Apple let the cat out of the bag about the new operating system’s availability even before their online store was back up to confirm.

This will be a free update for anyone running OS X Yosemite on a Mac computer. For more details on what’s included, head over to CNET’s first look of El Capitan.

Finally, the long-rumored iPad Pro has arrived — along with the Apple Pencil. Yes, seriously.

The iPad Pro starts at $799, £520, AU$1,140 for the 32GB model; for all the details head over to the iPad Pro first take. Check out the rest of the UK pricing here.

While not talked about, the iPad Mini was also released today. Available immediately, pricing for the 16GB models begins at $399, £319, AU$569. You can see more UK pricing info here.

Introducing the new device, CEO Tim Cook said, “It starts with a vision and our vision for TV is simple.” It also has quite the personality, with Siri-integration running deep in this overhaul of the Apple TV.

The Apple TV 2015 edition starts at $149. For more pricing details, head over to CNET’s preview of the new streaming box.

Check out everything that was announced during the show in our roundup. And, you can see all of today’s Apple news right here on CNET.

View the original article here

iPhone 6S Plus in short supply due to production issues, says analyst

Are production issues stalling the iPhone 6S Plus? CNET

Consumers looking to buy the iPhone 6S Plus on its September 25 launch date may have trouble finding one.

At the launch event on September 9, Apple unveiled its next-generation iPhones — the iPhone 6S and the iPhones 6S Plus. Demand has been heavy for the new phones, especially the 6S Plus, according to Apple, leading to long wait times for those who’ve preordered. But another factor may limit availability of the new large-screened iPhone.

The iPhone 6S Plus’s backlight module, which supplies light to the screen, is allegedly suffering production issues, according to a Monday investors note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which was picked up by AppleInsider. Kuo apparently didn’t specify the exact nature of the problem but said the slowdown in production rests with Apple supplier Minebea, which has been manufacturing the backlight modules.

Assuming Kuo’s information is accurate, and the analyst is usually on the money, the production slowdown could put a dent in iPhones 6S Plus sales. Buyers who started preordering the new 5.5-inch-screened phone on Saturday are already facing ship times of up to four weeks, compared with a ship date of September 25 for the 4.7-inch-screened iPhone 6S. That delay could dissuade new buyers looking to preorder from opting for the 6S Plus, perhaps leading them to choose the 6S or picking a rival phone if they want a large display. Even further, supply of the iPhone 6S is expected to be limited on the September 25 launch date, again potentially pushing smartphone buyers to consider other options, both Apple and non-Apple.

Apple has reportedly moved more of the production of the module to another supplier called Radiant, with whom Apple has worked in the past to build the backlight modules for the iPad Mini. Kuo said he thinks Radiant may be “more skilled” at making the modules, AppleInsider said.

“We believe Minebea’s (JP) backlight module production issues in supplying iPhone 6S Plus (6S Plus) is one of the main factors in the model’s supply shortage,” Kuo said, according to MacRumors. “To tackle this issue, we believe Apple (US) has been increasingly transferring high-ASP 6S Plus backlight module orders to Radiant, boosting its sales momentum.”

Apple is expected to have somewhere between 1.5 million to 2 million iPhone 6s Plus units for sale on launch date, according to Kuo.

On Monday, Apple announced that preorders for the two phones were “very strong around the world,” and online demand for the 6S Plus was “exceptionally strong,” said Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller. Based on the number of preorders, Muller added that Apple is “on pace” to surpass last year’s initial sales when it moved 10 million units of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus during their first weekend of availability (including more than 4 million preorders during the first 24 hours).

But this year’s launch weekend numbers are likely to get a boost from China, which was not part of last year’s initial launch. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in an investors note on Monday that China is likely to account for around 2 million in iPhone sales during the opening weekend. Overall, Munster predicts Apple will sell 12 million to 13 million iPhone 6S and 6S Plus handsets the first weekend.

The new phones offer one major enhancement over their predecessors, namely the new 3D Touch, which allows the phone to respond differently based on how much pressure you apply. Otherwise, most of the changes entail improvements to the processor, body, camera and several other components.

Beyond China, New Zealand is the only other addition to the list of countries that will be first to get the new iPhones. The other regions are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK and the US.

View the original article here

How to use the Google Docs Research tool on Android

Google

Google just added a new Research tool to its Docs app on Android. The new tool will allow you to place quotes or images in your documents without leaving the app. This is very handy if you’re working on a longer research project, a party invitation, or a worksheet for students. Here’s how to use the new tool:

Tap on the menu (three dots) in the upper right hand corner and choose the Research option. You will see Google Search load within the Docs app.Google Docs Research tool pulling a quote on Android. Nicole Cozma/CNET Search the Web within the app for your subject. Web and Image results are divided by tabs along the top.For quotes, press and hold on text as you would when copying it in another app. For images just tap on the one you want to use.The Insert button will appear in the top right of the research pane to place the quote or image in your document.

Quotes and images will appear in your document at your cursor’s current location.

While this process is similar to copy and paste, it’s a bit more streamlined since you don’t have to leave the app to grab a quote or image. Perhaps Google could integrate this functionality with Google Books as one of the research tools in the future.

What do you think of the new research tool? What would you like to see added? Add your thoughts in the comments.

For more information on recent updates to Google Docs on the Web, check out Google courts classrooms with updates to Docs, spreadsheets by CNET’s Rich Nieva.

View the original article here

MOTOACTV successor: TomTom announces Spark GPS sports watch lineup, two with music support

tomtom-spark.jpg (Image: TomTom) While some runners prefer the sounds of nature while running, rock and roll motivates me to go faster while keeping my mind off the miles going by under my feet.

TomTom announced its new Spark GPS series. These four new devices all provide GPS tracking, 24 hour activity tracking, automatic sleep tracking, Bluetooth for connecting to your smartphone, and 5 ATM water resistance. Two models provide an integrated heart rate monitor and two models provide 3GB of storage for offline music playback.

Back in 2012, I was banging out the miles with the MOTACTV GPS running watch with integrated music player. I still have it, but the battery only lasts a couple hours and it’s not easy to get your GPS data from the old MOTOACTV system into RunKeeper or other modern tracking service.

Few others have tried to provide this same GPS capability with offline music support since the MOTOACTV set the bar. Adidas has one, but it has horrid review ratings and is not a device I would consider. I thought my Sony SmartWatch 3 might replace the MOTOACTV, but I found the GPS a bit limited and there is still no compelling running application for Android Wear.

Lately, I’ve been running with my Apple Watch on one wrist and the Polar V800 on the other. The Apple Watch has no integrated GPS so I’m just using it to provide music while the V800 provides extremely accurate GPS tracking. I’ve also been known to run with my smartphone, but as they continue to grow in size this becomes more of a hassle and running with a single wrist-mounted device is the most convenient. As you can see, I have yet to find a true MOTOACTV replacement, but that may soon change.

Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director, TomTom, stated:

We know that music plays an important role when it comes to motivating and improving sports performance, but relying on a smartphone is all too often an uncomfortable experience. The unique combination of an integrated music player, built-in heart rate monitor, 24/7 activity tracking, multi-sport functionality and GPS in TomTom Spark makes it easier than ever for people to get more from their workout, and improve their overall fitness level.

I’m still hoping to see Garmin, Suunto, or Polar release a GPS sport watch with integrated music, but at least we finally have TomTom stepping up first to offer this support.

The four new models from TomTom include the following:

TomTom Spark: Base model GPS watch that provides GPS, daily activity, and sleep tracking.TomTom Spark Cardio: Adds an integrated heart rate monitor to the base model.TomTom Spark Music: In addition to the features of the base model, 3GB of storage is available for offline music. TomTom Spark Music + Cardio: Top-of-the line model that includes 3GB of storage for music and a heart rate monitor.

The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, the one that might finally replace my MOTOACTV, is priced at a reasonable $249 and will be available for pre-order on 1 October. Pricing for the other models has not yet been announced, but they should be available to order in mid-October. In the past, there was a difference of $100 between the models with and without a heart rate monitor.

TomTom will also offer up two retail packages of the Spark Music models that includes a set of headphones. An update scheduled prior to the end of 2015 will add smartphone notifications to all four and continuous heart rating monitoring to the two watches with an integrated monitor.

TomTom previously used a heart rate monitor with proven Mio technology so it remains to be seen how accurate this new monitor will be. I personally don’t mind running with a chest strap if it provides more accurate data so if that saves some money I may choose that option.

I enjoyed using the previous TomTom Multi-Sport Runner, but desktop software stopped working for me so I gave up on it. Fortunately, TomTom makes it easy to export data to various services, including RunKeeper, and I am hoping that its new desktop software is improved.

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