These are our favorite hybrid machines.
There is yet no ideal hybrid device that functions equally well as a tablet and a laptop. However, throughout the course of last year, businesses like Microsoft, Apple, and Google continued to enhance their operating systems for dual-purpose PCs. While Android has been better adapted for larger displays, Windows 11 offers features that make it more user-friendly for multi-screen devices. A powerful 2-in-1 with a sizable touch-friendly app ecosystem is also more likely than ever thanks to the rise of ARM-based laptop CPUs, particularly Apple’s excellent M series.
Of all, even the best 2-in-1 computers have their limitations. Since they are smaller than traditional laptops, their processors are typically weaker. Keyboards frequently have tighter layouts and shallower travel, making them less durable. Furthermore, you must get a keyboard case separately because they are nearly often tablets first. They aren’t inexpensive either! Therefore, you shouldn’t always trust that the listed price is what you’ll pay for the desired 2-in-1.
A third-party keyboard can sometimes be just as excellent as a first-party one, and they are frequently less expensive. If you want to save some money, Logitech’s Slim Folio is a nice choice, and the K780 Multi-Device wireless keyboard is a fantastic option if you don’t require your keyboard to connect to your tablet.
Although in recent years we’ve made sure to include a cheap 2-in-1 laptop, there isn’t a solid option this year. Normally, we’d choose a Surface Go, but the most recent model is still prohibitively pricey. Other options, such as less expensive Android tablets, lack power and a good multitasking interface. This year, you’re better off looking at a standard laptop if you want anything under $500 that is sleek, light, and durable (like those on our best budget PCs list).
There are several fundamental standards to bear in mind when looking for a 2-in-1. To start, check the spec sheet to determine the weight of the tablet (alone, and with the keyboard). The Surface Pro 9, which weighs 1.94 pounds, is one of the heaviest modern hybrids available. Most hybrids today weigh less than 2 pounds. Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) are a little bit lighter. You’d be better off just purchasing an ultraportable laptop if the combined weight of the tablet and its keyboard is close to 3 pounds.
Additionally, you should choose an 11- or 12-inch screen rather than a 10-inch one. Multitasking will be simpler thanks to the larger panels, and the keyboards that go with them will have much better spacing. The Galaxy Tab S7+ base model has 6GB of RAM, although the Surface Pro 8 and the iPad Pro from this year both start with 8GB. This will improve performance.
Last but not least, even if some 2-in-1s come with integrated LTE or 5G connectivity, not everyone will want to pay more for it. Checking emails or responding to messages while on the road is much more convenient with an integrated cellular radio. But the price is frequently higher, even before factoring in the cost of data. Regarding 5G, you should wait to get it unless your home is near a mm Wave beacon. The current countrywide networks employ the slower sub-6 technology, which is only slightly quicker than LTE, and the coverage is still patchy.
Best overall: Surface Pro 9 (Intel)
When it comes to 2-in-1s, the Surface line is unrivalled. They are strong, stylish tablets with an operating system that is genuinely created for productivity. Microsoft’s newest and best tablet, the Surface Pro 9, improves upon the Pro 8’s already high caliber. It has all of the significant enhancements from the previous year, including a 120Hz display and a more contemporary look, as well as quick 12th-gen Intel CPUs. It represents Microsoft’s tablet PC vision in the greatest possible way thus far.
Contrast this with the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, which has the same moniker but a lesser ARM processor and less favorable software compatibility. While having built-in cellular is helpful, the Intel Pro 9 is a much superior computer.
The Pro 9 doesn’t come with a keyboard cover; you’ll have to pay extra for it, like most of the other 2-in-1s on this list. That’s unfortunate given that it costs $1,000 to start. Depending on whether you want a slot for a stylus, Microsoft offers a choice of Type Covers for its Surface Pros that range in price from $100 to $180. But at least they are spacious and pleasant. For drawing out your schematics or artwork, you can also purchase the Surface Slim Pen 2 ($130), which offers haptic feedback for a more responsive experience.
Best for Apple users: 12.9-inch iPad Pro
The ideal choice for you, if you’re already a part of the Apple ecosystem, is undoubtedly an iPad. Our choice is the 12-inch Pro. This iPad Pro, like earlier models, boasts a gorgeous 12.9-inch screen with a quick 120Hz refresh rate and mini-LED backlighting. This year, it has more battery life than ever before and Apple’s very speedy M2 chip.
With its trackpad, Apple’s Magic Keyboard offers a comfortable typing experience and eliminates the need to reach for the screen to open programmed. But you’ll also have to pay an additional $300, making it by far the most costly case on this list. Be warned that the iPad is still far from an ideal substitute for a laptop because it lacks a headphone jack and has a webcam that is uncomfortably situated along the left bezel when held horizontally. The iPad Pro 12.9 is still a good 2-in-1 for Apple users thanks to its svelte form and respectable battery life.
Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+
While Windows outperforms iPad OS and Android in terms of productivity, it trails behind the other two when it comes to touchscreen-specific programmed. The Galaxy Tab S8+ is a good choice if you want a tablet with all the apps you need and only occasionally require it to function as a laptop. On its magnificent 12.4-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen, you’ll love watching movies and playing games, and Samsung includes the S Pen, which is wonderful for sketching and taking notes. Additionally, the 8GB of RAM and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU keep everything working smoothly.
Samsung significantly enhanced its keyboard shell last year, making the Tab an even better laptop substitute. You could type on this for hours without feeling bad about yourself (or Samsung). You won’t have to worry about keeping close to an outlet because of the exceptional battery life. Even with the advantages of Android 12L, the key caution is that Android isn’t great as a desktop operating system. Furthermore, Samsung’s DE mode features a lot of idiosyncrasies despite providing a relatively practical solution.