For those of us who don’t want to lug around a big and heavy laptop, tablets are a good option. But what if those tablets don’t run the programs we need the way our laptop can? The hybrid laptop or 2-in-1 laptop can fix that. The power of a laptop all wrapped up in the convenience of a lightweight tablet makes technology portable without sacrificing quality.
What’s the difference between a laptop, tablet, and 2-in-1?
A laptop is typically a bit heavier, has a powerful processor, and, as long as it’s not a Chromebook, which is a whole other situation, can run intense programs like Photoshop. Sure, a laptop can complete your day-to-day tasks, but it really shines in the heavy-duty applications department. All laptops include a keyboard, of course, and there are a lot of lightweight options.
Tablets are more lightweight than laptops, in both the literal and figurative sense. Unless your job is drawing, a tablet isn’t typically a primary office work device. But they’re uber-portable, convenient, and feature a touchscreen interface that you can use to take hand-written notes or to draw with a stylus. Many come with a detachable keyboard, portfolio cover accessories, and a stylus. Some of these may be sold separately or as a bundle.
A 2-in-1 hybrid combines the best of these two devices. A 2-in-1 can be used like a laptop in a lot of cases, but is lighter, smaller, and compact. They usually also have the power to run heavier programs than most tablets. A 2-in-1 convertible laptop is perfect for people on the go, working remotely, or for those who commute via plane or train. The best hybrid laptops will flip, transform, and bend your device into flexible states, like portrait mode for drawing. Many also offer touchscreen capabilities, and are great for presentations. If you’re wondering why anyone buys a laptop when 2-in-1s exist, though, it’s probably because only laptops (and desktops) tend to have the processing power and speed to perform heavy work tasks (or gaming tasks, for that matter).
How “budget” is budget?
For this roundup, we’ve selected 2-in-1 hybrid laptops that are under $700. You get what you pay for, more or less, and if you want more processing power or quality graphics, then the price of a hybrid laptop will increase. That being said, these laptops are good options for students, people just starting their careers, or those who want an affordable tablet/laptop hybrid.
What should I look for in a 2-in-1?
It all comes down to your needs and preferences. If you’re looking to complete your schoolwork online with basic programs, a standard-sized and powered hybrid is your best bet to throw into your backpack. If you’re an artist who’s looking to run some heavy motion graphic programs on your laptop, then look for a hybrid with a powerful processor and a compatible stylus pen. Some people prefer a detachable keyboard to offset the weight of a hybrid.
Whatever your profession or lifestyle, a hybrid laptop should be a good mix of portability and usability. It should fulfill your computing needs while still being lightweight or compact. To narrow down your search, here are some of the best affordable 2-in-1 devices that can suit a variety of needs.