9 best 2-in-1 laptops 2015: top hybrid laptops reviewed

TechRadar's top-ranking 2-in-1 laptop reviews

Best 2 in 1 laptops

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 incredible Microsoft Surface Book, and the stellar Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Dell XPS 12 and the first 4K resolution 2-in-1 the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12.

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

Best hybrid laptops

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The best iteration in Windows 10 tablets

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing; 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Dimensions: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches

Larger, sharper screen
Vastly improved Type Cover
Type Cover still sold separately
Battery life hasn't improved much

There's a new reigning king of Windows tablets and its name is the Surface Pro 4. Building on everything the last iteration got right, this new Surface slate introduces a larger screen more sensitive touchscreen perfected for everything from penning documents to painting images. Thanks to a newly redesigned island keyboard, tapping away on the Type Cover feels almost as good as a real laptop and the glass trackpad feels simply superb. Internally the Microsoft's latest also features a faster processor all in a shell that's actually lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Overall, these improvements make the Surface Pro 4 the tablet that really can replace your laptop. When you factor in price, especially compared to its cousin, the Microsoft Surface Book, the Surface Pro 4 is really the hybrid laptop king.

Read the full review: Surface Pro 4

Best hybrid laptop

2. Microsoft Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD

Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
Major updates are still in tow

Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that's outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it's one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it's the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world, then docking it into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of its discrete GPU.

Read the full review: Surface Book

Best hybrid

3. HP Spectre x360

Sublime. Near-perfect.

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 (2x2) 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)

Superbly thin
Vibrant, bright display
Excellent performance and battery life
Too heavy to use as a tablet
Weird, wide trackpad

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 laptops

4. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The best of the best

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)

Sharp display
Perfect as laptop and tablet
Mediocre battery life
Runs hot at times

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. And, of course, if you want the latest and greatest, try the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which we've yet to run an extensive review on.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Best hybrid

5. Toshiba Satellite Radius 15

A sharp 4K laptop

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U (dual-core, 4MB cache up to 3GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 12GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite, LED backlit, IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB mSATA SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 4.96 pounds | Dimensions: 14.9 x 9.6 x 0.79 inches (W x D x H)

4K screen
12GB of RAM
Short battery life

Thanks to the combination of a great price and stacked hardware, the Radius 15 is one of the few successful UHD laptops. It joins a small pantheon of 4K laptops, with the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 being its closest exemplar. In some ways, the Radius 15 is a better overall system with a more vibrant screen, a sharper design that's also thinner and smaller to boot.

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is still one of the 15-inch best laptops we've ever reviewed and an incredible deal if you're on a budget. But if you're ready to make the resolution jump into 4K, you can't go wrong with the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15.

Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 15

Best laptop

6. Lenovo Yoga 900

A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD

Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues

Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core I processors and a larger battery, Lenovo's latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft's latest Surface Book. All this extra power has only made the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier, however, it still largely retains a very thin and flexible frame that folds back into tablet mode.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900 xxx

Best hybrid

7. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12

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: 1920x1080 | 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)

Solid performance
Versatile design
Slightly heavy
No ethernet port

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

8. Dell Inspiron 13 7000

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 (2x2) 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)

Attractive design
Sturdy construction
Lackluster battery life
A little hefty

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

9. Toshiba Satellite Click Mini

Affordable and attractive

CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F with Burst Technology 2.0
 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
 | 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)

Full HD touchscreen
Solid build quality
Screen colours a little off
Can't charge base separately

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