Windows 8 is something Microsoft is still trying to get people to forget about. However, the entire form factor of 2-in-1 hybrid laptops is the lasting legacy from that era—and they’ve only gotten better over the years.
Windows 10 is still not the best platform when used as a tablet, but if you love the idea of a powerful laptop that can also be used at night for casual Netflix watching or doodling with the stylus, 2-in-1 hybrids are where you want to look. The Surface Pro is the most famous 2-in-1 hybrid laptop out there, but there are some really other options to check out below as well:
Samsung is one of the only companies still making decent Android tablets they’re making good Windows 2-in-1s as well. The Galaxy Book has the same premium design that customers have come to expect from the Galaxy brand of smartphones and tablets. However, outside of some nice interactions between your Galaxy phone and the Book, it doesn’t have a ton of features that make it stand out from the Surface Pro—and that includes the price point of this thing.
That being said, in terms of specs and features, the Galaxy Book looks pretty good standing side-by-side with the Surface Pro. So if you’re a fan of Samsung, the Galaxy Book is a solid step up from an Android tablet that is a bit more expensive, but quite a bit more capable.—Luke Larsen
The ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a more rugged business alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Pro, boasting excellent construction, superb keyboard ergonomics and Lenovo’s own unique kickstand twist that makes the detachable more lapable when used as a laptop. This year, Lenovo upgraded the X1 Tablet’s processor to Intel’s latest Y-Series Kaby Lake chipset, which comes with better processing and graphics performance, and made some subtle design tweaks that improves on an already respectable build.
The keyboard on this tablet is still best-in-class, befitting of the X1 Tablet’s ThinkPad heritage, and the expandable design makes it a very versatile mobile PC. Along with the ability to change a depleted battery if it fails to hold a charge years down the road and the capability to upgrade the SSD, the modular design means that you can add business accessories—like a projector or extended battery—to the compact tablet design when you need to.—CN
For mobile users, Lenovo’s Miix 720 is a powerful tablet that can replace your laptop with its bundled detachable keyboard folio cover and active stylus. With its familiar convertible form factor, the Miix 720 joins a growing list of competitors that aim to ape and outshine the category defining Microsoft Surface Pro. And the Miix does just that — balancing performance, futureproof port selection and upgradeability, making this the ultimate “pro” level tablet.
Despite its placement at the top of Lenovo’s consumer tablet lineup, the $1,029 starting price of the Miix 720 makes it a more affordable alternative to other solutions. This year’s model packs in Intel’s latest 7th Generation U-series Core i5 or Core i7 processor and ships with Lenovo’s Active Pen stylus as well as the keyboard cover.—CN
While the Spectre x2 borrows the iconic Surface Pro form factor, HP added its own design flourishes to make the Spectre a uniquely luxurious alternative to Microsoft’s category-defining detachable. A unibody frame, mid-century-like modern design, attractive Ash Silver paint coat, Midas-like copper accent and a rich Saffiano faux leather folio gives the Spectre x2 a level of sophistication and elegance that’s largely unrivaled in the tech space.
As it stands, there’s plenty to love with this form factor—a bright and high resolution screen makes this tablet an appealing choice for artists, a thoughtfully designed keyboard delivers an excellent typing experience, the quick charge technology is a great feature for road warriors and students, and the bundled pen works well for doodling, drawing and note-taking.—CN
Microsoft gave the Surface Pro meaningful upgrades this year, even if the design remains largely unchanged from the prior iteration. The Surface Pro gains newer Intel Kaby Lake processors, and the Core i7 model benefits from even better graphics performance with support for Intel’s Iris Plus discrete GPU, all wrapped in the iconic form factor complete with a kickstand. Better battery life, optional LTE configurations (coming later this year) and more options for fanless configurations round out some of our favorite feature upgrades for 2017.
As priced, the Surface Pro remains a halo product to showcase the versatility of the Windows 10 operating system. If you want the best showcase tablet from Microsoft’s engineering efforts, the Surface Pro retains its position as an aspirational piece of hardware targeted at creatives.—CN