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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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This Is Why Your Windows 8 Computer Will Be Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Used Before

by Steve Kovach

samsung windows 8 slate

We’re less than two months away from Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch.

Love it or hate it, it’s going to be huge, likely the biggest operating system launch since XP.

So as the clock ticks down, Microsoft’s hardware partners like ToshibaLenovoHPSamsungDell, and pretty much everyone else are announcing their Windows 8 hardware this week. (That’s because there’s a big conference called IFA going on in Berlin.)

In fact, there are so many product announcements this week, that I don’t even have time to write about them all individually.

But they are important! Seriously. Windows is still the most popular PC operating system on the planet. Chances are you’ll be using it at work or at home within the next year or so.

I’ve been checking out a bunch of Windows 8 devices from various manufacturers in press briefings over the last few weeks. Because of the nature of Windows 8 – its default user interface is designed for touchscreen tablets instead of traditional laptops and desktops – you’re going to see a lot of funky hybrid devices hit the market this fall.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty clear PC manufacturers are still trying to figure out what to do with Windows 8.

There are a lot of cool ideas. But it does seem like most companies are sticking to a handful of common themes. Here’s what you can expect:

Tablet/laptop Hybrids

hp envy windows 8 slate combo

Samsung, HP, and a few others will release Windows 8 tablets that come with a keyboard dock. They’re similar in form and function to the Asus Transformer Prime Android tablet. These devices act as a “normal” laptop when you dock the tablet to the keyboard, meaning you can easily get around Windows 8’s classic “Desktop” mode.

Touchscreen Ultrabooks

I’ve also see a bunch of Ultrabooks that have touchscreens instead of normal displays. At first glance, these Ultrabooks look nearly identical to the Windows 7 machines that have launched throughout the last year or so. But the touchscreens make it easier to get around Windows 8’s new tile-based Start menu. The downside: I find it a bit awkward to reach out and touch a screen that’s sitting at a ~90 degree angle from my desk. However, it’s still a lot better than using your keyboard and mouse to navigate around.

All-In-One PCs With Touchscreens

All-in-one (AIO) PCs are nothing new. The concept was popularized by the Apple’s iMac, but now most PCs are available in that form. This year you’ll see more of the same, but with the added benefit of touchscreens for navigating the Windows 8 Start menu.

Regular Laptops And Ultrabooks

For the budget-conscious, most PC manufacturers will still continue to offer traditional laptops and Ultrabooks running Windows 8. That means no touchscreens. Of course, that’s going to be a bummer for users since Windows 8 can be pretty frustrating to use without a touchscreen until you learn all of Microsoft’s keyboard shortcuts.

Then There Are Some Really Strange Devices

toshiba windows 8 slider

So above you have all the “normal” types of Windows 8 hardware coming this fall. But it doesn’t stop there. Some companies are getting creative – perhaps even a little too creative – with their designs.

Toshiba has a tablet that converts to an Ultrabook by sliding the screen up and over. Dell has this interesting Ultrabook/tablet combo where the screen flips over. Lenovo has a device that lets you fold the screen over backwards, but you still feel the keyboard on the back. (It’s awkward!)

The list goes on and on…

So What Does This All Mean?

It’s pretty clear PC makers haven’t quite figured out what to do with Windows 8 yet. It’ll take some time. Meanwhile, we’re going to see a lot of experimentation with hardware designs.

So far, I think the tablet/keyboard dock combination is the best solution. It gives you the best of both worlds: a thin, light tablet you can take on the go, and a full-fledged Ultrabook PC.

And yes, I’m excited.

This Is Why Your Windows 8 Computer Will Be Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Used Before  

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Vizio launches line of drool-worthy bargain-price PCs

VIZIO Computing Family.jpg

Vizio Thursday unveiled a line of laptops and all-in-one desktop computers, marking the electronics maker’s first push into the personal-computer market with pricing that starts at $898.

The Irvine, Calif., company, which ranks as one of the top sellers of televisions in the U.S., announced five different computers at a New York event. The products will be available this summer in time for the back-to-school selling season.

Vizio shook up the market with inexpensive high-definition televisions, and it is trying to do the same in the PC industry. The closely held company, which also produces Blu-ray players and a tablet, worked on the computer designs for a couple years in an attempt to offer an aesthetic that competes with Apple’s popular products but at a lower price.

The new PCs announced Thursday will start at $898 for a 14-inch, thin-and-light laptop. That compares with $999 for the least-expensive, 11-inch Apple MacBook Air and the approximate $1,000 pricing for most new, thin-and-light notebooks, dubbed ultrabooks by chip company Intel Corp. A 27-inch, all-in-one desktop, Vizio’s highest-end computer, starts at $1,098.

“People don’t need another PC manufacturer giving them a bunch of junk at a low price,” Vizio Chief Executive William Wang said. He stressed that Vizio used high-end components to help it target tech-savvy consumers who can’t afford pricy notebooks.

Vizio isn’t targeting the high end of the PC market, he said in an interview following the event.

“Our target audience is people who can’t afford a $2,000 notebook,” Mr. Wang said.

Vizio is entering the crowded computer market at a time of upheaval. PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell have faced falling prices and sluggish sales as consumers instead choose to spend their dollars on smartphones and tablets. Computer makers are counting on new designs and Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system to reinvigorate the sector.

Read more on Vizio’s new PC lineup at the Wall Street Journal.

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Dell updates Alienware M14x, m17x, m18x with new GPUs, but no Ivy Bridge yet

New GPUs, but if you wait another week or two, you can probably get Intel’s new CPUs as well.

by 

Dell is rolling out a series of updates to the Alienware M14x, m17x, m18x laptops, including thelatest GPUs from Nvidia and AMD. This timing is odd, to say the least, as Intel’s third-generation Core i-series CPUs (also known as Ivy Bridge) aren’t included. Instead, these new Alienware models have the current second-gen chips (aka Sandy Bridge). As the high-end quad-core versions of Ivy Bridge are expected to be available from PC makers starting around April 29, the message is clear — anyone who orders one of these new Alienware laptops before that is a sucker.

If you’re interested in ordering one of these updated models after April 29, you’ll find the new 600 series graphics cards from Nvidia, as well as updated AMD options. New storage configurations include triple HDDs, with a mSATA slot, or dual hard drives on the smaller m14x. Audio gets a boost, thanks to a Creative Sound Blaster chip (clearly aiming to compete with the successful Beats Audio branding in the HP Envy line).

More interesting is that the 11-inch Alienware m11x is not getting any updates. A couple of years ago, it was Alienware’s flagship new product, and one we liked a great deal, but now it seems as if the current stock will be the last we hear of the m11x.

These initial Alienware updates are live on the Dell and Alienware websites right now, with the Ivy Bridge CPUs available sometime after April 29. If you’re considering one, just in case we haven’t been clear enough, wait the extra couple of weeks.

Dell updates Alienware M14x, m17x, m18x with new GPUs, but no Ivy Bridge yet

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