If you want a computing device with the power of a laptop and the portability of a tablet, then you want a 2 in 1. There are dozens of great convertible and detachable 2 in 1 laptops out there, but we've picked a few of our favourites.
What Is A 2 In 1, Anyway?
The easiest way to understand what a 2 in 1 is, is to think of a laptop -- a full-power laptop, with a keyboard and Microsoft Windows and all the versatility you should expect -- and then add the ability for it to transform into a touchscreen tablet. 2 in 1s let you move between laptop or tablet whenever you need, so you don't have to stay tied to a desk when you want to travel, but you can still get as much work, email or Web browsing done as you want to.
Various 2 in 1s transform between laptop and tablet mode in different ways. In general, though, you can split 2 in 1s into a few key categories. You can find those that function like a laptop normally, but have a 360-degree hinge that lets the screen flip around to become a tablet. You can find laptops with a detachable keyboard (turning the screen into a tablet), some of which have an extra internal battery to boost power. You can also find sliders: 2 in 1s that have a keyboard hidden away inside their chassis. And, of course, there are designs that take an entirely unique approach to converting.
Here's a list of what we think are the very best 2 in 1s in Australia at the moment. If you want to suggest another or share your 2 in 1 experiences, let us know in the comments below!
The 13.3-inch Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is the 2 in 1 laptop of the moment. Its 360-degree watchband hinge lets the laptop's screen tilt around all the way to the back of the chassis, so you can type normally or use it as a tablet. Despite that versatile design, the Yoga 3 Pro is a mere 12.8mm thick at its maximum, and weighs barely over a kilogram.
The Yoga 3 Pro uses Intel's latest and greatest Core M processor -- able to deliver more than enough performance for even the most demanding jobs, while only consuming a tiny amount of energy. Core M is the king of battery life at the moment, and despite the Yoga 3 Pro's super-thin and fanless design you'll get a solid eight hours of Web browsing, video watching or other general computing tasks with no problem.
The 10.1-inch ASUS Transformer Book T100 is an extremely portable and versatile 2 in 1 laptop, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on its usefulness -- you still get a full-size keyboard, Windows 8.1 or 8.1 Pro, and bundled Microsoft Office for all your home or business word processing needs. The T100 has a completely detachable keyboard dock, which stores an extra battery for a full day of usage, but the entire 2 in 1 bundle is less than 21mm thick all up.
You can expect 11 hours of battery life from the Transformer Book T100 thanks to its energy-efficient quad-core Intel Atom processor and 32 or 64GB of onboard flash storage, while you'll still have more than enough performance for basic and everyday computing tasks like email, Web browsing or social media. The T100 would also make for a great traveller's notebook or entertainment machine.
The 12.2-inch Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft is one of those amazing devices that manages to work perfectly both as a tablet and as a laptop. With a new and improved kickstand you can use the Surface Pro 3 on a desk, on your lap or anywhere in between. With the detachable Touch and Type Covers you can switch between portable and productive with the click of a magnetic connector.
What's great about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is that you can buy it for as little as $999, for the entry-level Intel Core i3 and 64GB storage for everyday tasks, or up to a more powerful Core i5 or i7 with a larger solid-state drive if you need more space or a gutsier processor for more demanding tasks like video editing, Adobe Photoshop or high-resolution photo editing in Adobe Lightroom. You can also get a dock to use the Pro 3 for serious work.
The 13.3-inch HP Envy X2 is an entertainment powerhouse, but that doesn't stop it from being perfectly suited to a day of work and productivity as well. Next to the Envy X2's 13.3-inch touchscreen you'll find two big and powerful Beats Audio stereo speakers, and behind the screen is an infinitely adjustable kickstand, so it's great for movie- or TV-watching wherever you are.
The Envy x2 is another Core M-powered 2 in 1 detachable, so it has more than enough power for the tasks you'll undertake everyday without making a huge sacrifice to battery life. With around 10 hours of battery life, you'll have more than enough juice for a long international flight or for a busy workday, with a bit leftover for the commute home or when you're out and about.
With all the power and potential of a full-size laptop, the 15.6-inch ASUS Transformer Book Flip has the extra potential of being able to tilt its touchscreen display 360 degrees all the way to the rear of its chassis, turning it into a super-sized tablet for navigating around Windows 8.1's Modern interface, playing touchscreen games or browsing the Web.
Where the ASUS Transformer Book Flip excels is with its massive 1TB of storage, making a great choice for a 2 in 1 for an entire family to share. You also get an Intel Core i5 CPU and dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics, so the Flip has enough grunt to handle a bit of gaming as well. For the $1099 RRP, you're getting an amazingly versatile personal computer.
The 13-inch Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series is one of the most laptop-esque 2 in 1s that you can buy. It looks like an everyday notebook, but flick its hinge all 360 degrees around to the back and you have yourself a touchscreen tablet. Dell also includes a digitiser pen built into the Inspiron 13's body, so you can easily draw or take handwritten notes when you're in tablet mode.
The Inspiron 13 7000 Series uses a low-power Intel Core i5 processor in its mid-range config, but you can also opt for an even more efficient Core i3 or more powerful Core i7. The rubberised finish also makes the Inspiron 13 easy to hold in either tablet or laptop mode, and you'll get a solid 8 hours of battery life from the integrated battery.
The $429, 10.1-inch ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C is an Android detachable, designed for equal parts work and play; you can use it when you're travelling, around the house or for a bit of university or office note-taking. When you dock the TF103C into its slimline keyboard, you're able to mount a flash drive, external mouse or other USB device.
The ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C uses a quad-core Intel Atom processor, which is more than enough to handle any task that Google's mobile-friendly Android operating system can throw at it on its high-resolution 1280x800pixel display. You'll get nearly 10 hours of battery life from the TF103C, more than enough for a day of travel or for an entire week of commuting.
The Venue 11 Pro is a versatile everyday tablet, but it's more than just a tablet. With a choice of a slim fabric keyboard and a battery-toting power keyboard, the 2 in 1 Venue 11 can also work as a traveller's notebook or for some portable business work.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro is powered by either an Intel Atom, Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, depending on which specification you buy and how much performance you need. The detachable keyboard means that if you're just heading out for a quick visit away from home or the office, you don't have to carry the entire device with you. You can even dock it into an external monitor using Dell's wide range of accessories.
The 13.3-inch Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro is a cheaper alternative to the Yoga 3 Pro -- it doesn't have the same top-spec Core M processor as the newer model, but it still has a powerful Core i5 or i7 and a beautiful 360-degree rotating hinge. The screen is a beautifully high-resolution QHD panel, too, so movies and Web browsing both look great.
With the Yoga 2 Pro, you can use it in any mode between laptop and tablet -- Lenovo suggests a 'tent' mode for watching movies, or a 'stand' for touchscreen gaming. Switch between any of the modes and Lenovo's software will recommend some apps to best take advantage. Whichever way you'll use the Yoga 2 Pro's 360-degree hinged design, you'll get great battery life of around 8 hours.
If you want a serious working machine that can still run double duty as a tablet, it's hard to go past Lenovo's 12.5-inch 2 in 1 ThinkPad Yoga. Starting from $1349, on the more expensive models you'll also get a digitiser pen to help you draw or take notes on the Yoga's high-resolution display. Just like the Yoga 2 Pro and Yoga 3 Pro, the ThinkPad Yoga has a 360-degree rotating hinge that lets you switch it to an all-in-one tablet mode.
The ThinkPad Yoga lets you choose between Intel's entry-level, mid-range and high-end Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, so you don't have to pay too much for power you won't use. You also get that Lenovo signature TrackPoint control nub, as well as a touchscreen and 5-button trackpad. You can expect a full 7 hours of battery life from your new Yoga, enough for even the busiest workday.
The super-portable 10-inch Acer Switch 10 uses super-tough Gorilla Glass 3, so you won't be at risk of scratching or smashing the screen by accident. The Switch 10 is actually one of the thinnest and lightest 2 in 1 laptops that you can buy -- only 8.9mm thick in tablet mode. It connects to its keyboard dock with Acer's excellent magnetic Snap Hinge, which lets you adjust the angle of the screen as you want.
Running full Windows 8.1, the Aspire Switch 10 uses an efficient Intel Atom processor to maximise its battery life. It's made to be used on battery, too -- Acer's LumiFlex display does amazing things for readability even in the great outdoors during bright sunlight. The brushed metal finish, too, is equal parts elegant and sturdy.
If you can't be forced to decide between Windows and Google's Android operating system, then ASUS' Transformer Book Trio is the 2 in 1 laptop for you. With two Intel processors, two solid-state drives and two sets of RAM in the one body, the Transformer Book Trio lets you use Android on the go and Windows when you need to get some serious work done.
Packing an Intel Core i5 processor for Windows 8.1 and an Atom for Android, the Transformer Book Trio is always using as little power as possible while maximising both performance and battery life. In the best case scenario you can expect up to 13 hours of battery life, which is almost enough to last the longest international flight in the world. What this means is that in everyday life, you'll never run out of power for the Transformer Book Trio.
The 11.6-inch HP Pavilion x360 may look simple, but don't let it fool you -- this Windows 8.1 2 in 1 is every bit a fully-fledged PC, despite being portable and lightweight. Its 360-degree hinge, as the name implies, lets you flick it from laptop to tablet mode in seconds.
Using a low-cost Intel Celeron processor to keep its price as affordable as possible, the Pavilion x360 doesn't skimp on features -- you still get a capacious 320GB hard drive, Beats Audio speakers and a great keyboard/trackpad combo for everyday typing, Web browsing and other productivity tasks.
The home notebook HP Pavilion x2 is a detachable, with a removable and clippable keyboard dock that lets you use it in tablet mode for portability or with the keyboard attached for some serious typing tasks. The 10-inch touchscreen tablet has its own internal battery, but hook up the Pavilion x2's dock and you'll find you double the battery life straight away.
Depending on which Pavilion x2 you buy from HP, you have an Intel Atom processor inside, more than up to the task of running Windows 8.1 and the everyday apps and functions you'd expect. At under 1.5kg for the tablet and keyboard base combo, the HP Pavilion x2 is a portable powerhouse.
Probably the most radical 2 in 1 laptop on the market, Dell's XPS 12 is a 12.5-inch screen sitting in an outer frame, but to switch from laptop to tablet mode you don't twist the hinge 360 degrees -- you simply flip the entire screen. That way, the screen is always sitting on top of the keyboard, so you'll never get any accidentally-pressed keys.
As one of Dell's XPS lineup of laptops, the XPS 12 doesn't lack for power at all, with an Intel Core i5 processor and 128GB of onboard solid-state storage. If you want, you can even pick a more powerful Core i7 processor for extra grunt. You'll get over 8 hours of battery life from the XPS 12, more than enough for a full day away from the power outlet.
As essentially a smaller version of the Inspiron 13 7000 Series, Dell's new Inspiron 11 3000 Series takes that same idea of a fully functional laptop with the versatility of a tablet, and takes it even further by making the overall device even more portable.
Depending on how much power you need, you can choose an Intel Celeron dual-core or Core i3 processor, both of which run Windows 8.1 smoothly for a full day of battery life. Along with a nice bright display, you'll also enjoy the Inspiron 11's water-resistant keyboard, which gives you one of the best typing experiences possible on a 2 in 1 device.
The 11.6-inch Toshiba Portege Z10t takes the long-running Toshiba formula of an incredibly thin, portable and light notebook and adds that crucial 2 in 1 element of a detachable keyboard dock. Not only do you have the ability to switch between a tablet and a full-power notebook, but the Z10t also adds an internal digitiser pen that lets you write and sketch and take notes
A range of Intel processors are on offer, including a low-power Celeron and a super-efficient Core i5 optimised to consume the lowest amount of power possible. You'll be getting more than 7 hours of battery life from this notebook, if you even need that long. If you want the ultimate on-the-road productivity tool, you can even buy the Toshiba Portege Z10t with an integrated 4G mobile broadband module.
The 11.6-inch LG Tab-Book has a novel approach to being a 2 in 1; the entire screen slides up on a 40-degree angle when you need it to, at the touch of a button. Sliding away its tablet design to reveal a keyboard, the LG Tab-Book is 90 per cent tablet with that crucial 10 per cent of laptop -- for when you absolutely need to type out a document or take notes at a meeting.
With a high quality IPS display the LG Tab-Book is one of your best 2 in 1 choices for watching movies or TV shows when you're on the move. You can choose between an Intel Atom or a high-powered Core i5 processor, both of which will have excellent battery life -- you'll just have to pay slightly more to get that extra processing power.