Guide to the best laptop brands

Best Convertible Laptop

Best Convertible Laptop

The launch of Windows 8 has brought forward an entire new line of laptops known as convertible, or hybrid, laptops.  In other words, they are laptops which also convert into tablets.  If you can’t decide whether to purchase your new laptop or to go with a tablet than these laptops will offer you the best of both worlds.  A laptop and a tablet….in one.

Nearly all of the best laptop brands have been pushing to develop their own version of convertible laptop.  These laptops come in many shapes and there continues to be new designs being developed and will be released on the market in the coming months.  Regardless of the design convertible laptops provide you with a lightweight computer, sleek design, and ability to use your computer in a variety of ways.

Here is our list of reviews to help you find the best convertible laptop.

Best Convertible Laptop

 

Dell XPS 12

Design:

The screen rotates on two hinges which allows the display to flip and close over the top of the keyboard.  This keeps the keyboard from being exposed.  In addition the two hinges provide additional stability when transitioning from laptop to tablet.

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Pros:Dell XPS 12

  • 12.5 inch gorilla glass screen with 1920×1080 HD display resolution
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Options for Intel Haswell core i5 or i7 processor along with 4GB or 8GB of RAM
  • Fast boot up times with reports of sleep to start times of 10-15 seconds.

Cons:

  • No HDMI or VGA port meaning you will need to carry a HDMI or VGA adapter if you want to connect to TV or external monitor.
  • There are several reviews of the touchpad being temperamental and unpredictable.

Of all the designs you will see with the convertible laptops, the Dell XPS 12 is our favorite.  The drawback to this laptop is the lack of HDMI port.  While this may not be an issue for some it is still a small annoyance that we feel Dell could certainly fix in future convertible laptops.

Sony Vaio Duo 13

Design:

The Sony Vaio Duo is converted from laptop to tablet as the display slides from a locked position down and over the top of the keyboard. The Vaio also comes with a stylus which provides great response and accuracy when in tablet mode

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Pros:Sony Vaio Duo 13

  • Very light weight compared to other laptops reviewed here coming in at only 2.87 pounds.
  • Reported battery life of over 10 hours of normal usage
  • Beautiful display you would come to expect with a Sony laptop and the Vaio display is no exception with bright display and good viewing angles
  • Full sized HDMI port available along with a couple of USB ports that will be put to good use

Cons:

  • When in laptop mode the screen is in a locked position.  This means you can’t adjust the viewing angle of the screen if you are trying to avoid lighting glare, laying in bed, or using it while taking a shower.*
  • The stylus easily falls out of the provided stylus holder meaning it could easily get lost next to the TV remote and car keys.
  • The keyboard feels cramped

* Don’t use any laptop in the shower, including the Sony Vaio

The Sony Vaio Duo is a laptop we really like with one exception – the locked hinge when in laptop mode.  If Sony can find a way to allow flexibility while still staying in locked mode then this laptop would be our current editor’s choice.  I know many users will find this is not a big deal but if you are a user who frequently adjusts the screen position then you might find this to be a frustration.  In the end this laptop has great features and performance.

Lenovo Yoga 13

Design:

360 degree flip and fold design which transitions into four modes: laptop, stand, tent, and tablet

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Pros:Lenovo Yoga 13

  • Expandable SSD slot allows you to upgrade with a second SSD later on
  • Comfortable and responsive keyboard which is what you might expect from a Lenovo laptop.
  • Tent mode is great for watching movies in bed.  Ironically enough it’s also great for watching movies in tents.
  • Processing and memory options are available depending upon what needs you have.

Cons:

  • No backlit keyboard
  • Some reviews have reports of the fan running all the time.  The fan is quiet but noticeable if you focus on it.  Other reviews have indicated they don’t have this problem and in our opinion it appears to be a problem Lenovo has resolved with recent builds.
  • The keyboard is exposed when the laptop is in tablet mode.

As with the Sony Vaio, it is the design that keeps the Lenovo Yoga from a higher rating.  With the keyboard being exposed in tablet mode it worries us that it will cause long term problems with the keyboard.  I find myself frequently setting the laptop down on a counter or table in tablet mode which leaves it sitting on the keyboard.  Despite that, we love the performance and the options.  It’s a great looking laptop and one of the best convertible laptops.  Plus the positioning of this convertible laptop isn’t nearly as painful as most yoga positions.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Design:

The ThinkPad Twist has a screen that rotates 180 degrees on a vertical axis.  The display then folds down over the top of the keyboard.

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Pros:Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

  • As you’d expect with a Lenovo the keyboard is comfortable and consistent and is especially great for a laptop this thin.
  • The touchscreen is very responsive with a bright and crisp display
  • Keyboard does not stay exposed like the Yoga
  • Reports of a sleep to start of 8 seconds.

Cons:

  • No backlit keyboard
  • Some reports of the display auto rotate getting stuck when switching from one mode to another.

We really like what Lenovo has done with the ThinkPad Twist and we give them a lot of credit for the innovation they have on display with multiple types of convertible laptops.  That is why they have two laptops which made our list.  While it fell slightly short in our favorite design of convertible laptops, the inclusion of a HDMI port and other features has it at the top of our list and is the best convertible laptop.

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