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Gone are the days of bulky, oversized traditional laptops. In 2020, it doesn’t make sense to opt for a basic, boring traditional laptop—certainly not when 2-in-1 devices exist. These convertible laptops make it easy to change how you use your laptop in your everyday. You can still keep your laptop in a standard clamshell form to work on your term paper, before folding the screen backwards into a tent for your own personal movie night. Flip the screen all the way around to take notes in class, or prop it up to give an update on your latest project.
Convertible laptops take the best of both laptops and tablets and roll them into one device, but with so many 2-in-1 devices on the market in 2020, it can be tough to pick the right one for you. From high-end premium laptops made for productivity, to Chromebooks and budget Windows devices that give you the flexibility of a real computer and a tablet, there’s a little something for everyone. We’ve rounded up the five best 2-in-1 laptops you can grab in 2020, so no matter your needs or your price range, you can finally move into the future of computing.
When it comes to picking a single great convertible laptop, the decision is simple. Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 isn’t just the best convertible laptop you can pick up today—it’s also one of the best laptops on the market. A spin-off model of Dell’s massively successful XPS line, their 2-in-1 model doesn’t fall behind in speed, power, or productivity just because its hinge can flip 360 degrees. This is a great laptop, no conditions necessary, and its status as a convertible king is just icing on the cake.
Although this model launched in late 2019, Dell used the 2-in-1 model to pave forward a new path in design for both the traditional 13″ and 15″ XPS laptops. While the design on those newer models is a bit more refined than what we can see on this device, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Dell has stuck true to its carbon-fiber design, with a thin, metal frame that feels sturdy and durable. That carbon-fiber print might not be for everyone, but in our eyes, it delivers a striking, clean design worthy of the XPS branding.
This newest model does offer a couple of small changes compared to previous iterations of the 2-in-1. The keyboard now runs from edge to edge, giving users as spacious a deck as you’ll find on any other 13″ laptop on the market in 2020. The touchpad is large too, and with Windows Precision drivers available by default, it’s responsive and reliable. Plus, in the top-right corner of the keyboard, you’ll find a redesigned power button that features a built-in Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint sensor.
However, the big change comes from the display: while it still features the same striking, minimalist design that the entire laptop market has followed in the footsteps of, it’s also moved to a 16:10 aspect ratio. While 16:9 is perfect for movies and games, anyone who works primarily with productivity tools will tell you that 16:10 is king. Having that extra space on the top and bottom of the device makes a big difference in how you use the laptop each day, and it’s great to see Dell following their closest competition, Apple, in offering users a taller screen.
Inside, Dell has upgraded the XPS’ processor to a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7. This is a powerful low-voltage chip, capable of performing some pretty intensive tasks without destroying the battery life. Obviously, the lack of a dedicated graphics card means editing 4K video and playing intensive games are basically off the table, but photo editing, light video editing, and even some basic gaming on low settings should all be possible with this device. Plus, with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, you’re covered on all productivity fronts.
This is all without addressing the 2-in-1 elephant in the room. At nearly three pounds, it’s hard to call the XPS 13 light, but it’s no heavier than most other convertible laptops on the market today. This year’s model includes a newly-designed dual hinge that remains sturdy while shrinking in size compared to previous XPS 2-in-1 models. While some reviewers have noted that Windows 10 doesn’t always switch to tablet mode after flipping the screen, most of these issues have been ironed out in bug fixes.
Seeing Dell continue to innovate and shine with their entire XPS line is exciting, and it’s hard to recommend a general use laptop these days not made by Dell. If you’re looking for a convertible 2-in-1 and you aren’t really restricted to a budget, the XPS 13 is the best way to go. While the high-end model runs you a cool $1,649, models with a Core i3 or Core i5 processor start at just $999.
For years, Lenovo’s Yoga series has become synonymous with the very concept of a 2-in-1 device, cornering both the mid-range and high-end market with both the 700-series and 900-series. Their latest laptop, the Yoga C940, runs about the same price as Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1, but includes a larger display, a slim design, and some excellent battery life on the 1080p model.
If you’re one of the select group of people that absolutely cannot stand Dell’s carbon-fiber design on their XPS series, the Yoga C940 is for you. With an all-metal design, available in either silver or gunmetal gray, this is a clean looking laptop. Despite measuring in at just .6″ thick, there’s almost no flex in the chassis, and at 3 pounds, it’s ultraportable. A classic Lenovo-style keyboard, complete with the iconic curvy keys, is comfortable and easy to type on, while the included stylus makes productivity tasks on the touchscreen a breeze. Factor in a great touchpad and a fingerprint sensor, and Lenovo easily goes head to head with Dell on almost every front.
If there’s one thing we don’t like about the design, however, it’s the top notch that protrudes from the screen of the device. While this does give the laptop the extra room it needs for a webcam and a mic without being forced to add a nose cam, it’s still a questionable design choice that some may hate. Still, the display sitting below it is truly excellent, with both 1080p and 4K models available. For most people, the 1080p model is more than enough, especially since battery life takes a serious hit on the 4K model. This year’s model moves from a 13″ display to a 14″, all while keeping the size of the device basically unchanged. In our eyes, Dell’s move to a 16:10 display is a bigger deal, but if you’re looking to stil with a traditional 16:9 display, Lenovo has you covered.
Performance will largely depend on which model you pick, but the one we looked at offered comparable specs with Dell’s XPS 13. That includes an identical 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and a 512GB SSD, though on the $1299 model, you’ll see a reduction in RAM to 12GB. For some, this may be enough of a reason to make the jump to the more expensive 4K model, which includes 16GB of RAM. However, for general use, 12GB is plenty, and should last for several years to come.
Lenovo helped to cement the 2-in-1 design as what it is today, and the C940 really shows the evidence of how far they’ve come. One of the coolest things about Lenovo’s current iteration of its hinge design is the built-in soundbar that delivers crisp and clear sound for movies and music, helping to make the Yoga a fantastic content consumption machine. Its wide range also helps keep your screen sturdy and stable, without any sort of the wobbling issues you’d see pop up in older devices.
At the end of the day, Lenovo’s Yoga series continues to be an excellent choice for anyone looking for a quality 2-in-1 laptop. While it may not hit the same highs as Dell’s XPS 13, it comes close enough to nearly reduce the choice to a coin flip. Lenovo has done a great job over the last several years in keeping their Yoga series alive and active. With a larger screen, a cleaner design, and 11 hours of battery life on a charge, the Yoga C940 might just be enough to win over more than a few dedicated Dell fans.
Asus has constantly made some of our favorite Chromebooks, and that trend has continued into 2020. Like the Chromebook Flip C302 before it, we’ve crowned Asus’s Chromebook C434 as the single best convertible Chromebook a student can buy today. When compared to the older C302, the biggest change here—quite literally—comes in the display, which moves to 14″ and runs edge to edge along the device. That makes the actual frame of the laptop not much bigger than the C302, despite a much larger screen. Asus even managed to keep the webcam at the top of the display instead of moving it to the bottom, which means that, despite the thinner bezel, you lose none of the actual features of a normal display.
Outside of this change, most of the device remains the same. The display has a 1080p resolution, which means the pixel density is a bit less than what we saw on the 12.5″ model. A newer version of the Core m3 powers the device, supply similar speeds and battery life. You’ll still get access to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, along with two USB-C ports and one standard USB port for connecting drives monitors, and more to your laptop.
As expected, the device weighs a bit more, coming in at 3 pounds, so it’s fair to assume you won’t be holding the laptop in tablet mode too often. And yes, this does still have tablet mode, living up to the Flip branding with a 360 degree hinge. Unfortunately, one of the biggest weak points of the original C302—the speakers—still remain, with the device sounding tinny and distorted at high volumes.
All in all, the C434 is a much more premium laptop that you’d expect to get in this price range, feeling about as high-quality as everything else on this list. To beat what Asus is offering with the C434, you’d have to spend almost twice as much money, and frankly, it’s tough to recommend. Outside of the mediocre speakers, the Chromebook Flip C434 offers everything we would want in a Chrome OS device in 2020, and remains our pick for the best Chromebook for students in 2020.
Asus does offer a newer version of their Chromebook Flip, the C436. However, with a starting price of $799, we recommend most buyers pick up the C434 instead. While the C436 does offer improved speakers and an even better build quality, it uses a smaller battery than the C434, resulting in poor battery life. Considering the extreme difference in price and Asus’s decision to continue selling the C434, you’re far better off picking up the cheaper laptop.
You don’t need to switch to a Chrome OS device to save money compared to our two top picks. While Asus’ Chromebook Flip is a great option for anyone looking to stick with Windows while not breaking the bank on Dell’s XPS 13 or Lenovo’s Yoga C940. Acer recently refreshed their Spin 3 for 2020, upgrading almost every aspect of the device. Starting at just $699, the Spin 3 is thinner than ever before, measuring just .67 inches thick and weighing a little over three pounds. A 1080p 14″ display offers excellent viewing angles and brightness, especially at this price range, while keeping bezels relatively thin on each side of the screen.
The real star of the show are the new 10th-gen Intel Core processors, with options for both Core i3 and Core i5 chipsets depending on your budget. The Spin 3 is configurable up to 16GB of RAM, a full terabyte of storage, and even gives you the option of a backlit keyboard for taking notes in the dark. As you’d expect, the Spin 3 can flip 360 degrees into tablet mode, and an included Wacom stylus gives you writing capabilities far beyond what you would expect from a laptop this cheap.
The 2020 version of the Spin 3 starts shipping this spring, so make sure you pick up a model with the 10th-gen Intel Core processors, and not the older 8th-gen versions.
If we’re being honest Microsoft’s entire Surface lineup of devices could fall into this category—with the exception of the Surface Laptop, which uses a traditional laptop form factor for those interested in staying with what they know. While the Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Book 2 are both excellent performance devices, and the Surface Pro X remains a fascinating glimpse into the future of ARM-powered PCs, the Surface Go is an affordable entry-point into the world of Microsoft’s acclaimed Surface lineup.
Though its 10″ display sounds small, this makes the Surface Go one of the best convertible devices on this list, since it can truly transform into a tablet by removing the Go from its keyboard dock. Obviously, performance on a device this small and affordable takes a serious hit, but for general browsing, word processing, and most other day to day tasks, the Surface Go can accomplish almost everything you throw at it. We do recommend springing for the version with 8GB of RAM, however; 4GB of memory simply isn’t enough in comfortably use in 2020, and it certainly won’t keep you running down the road.
Ultimately, as long as you’re comfortable with the 10″ display and the small keyboard and trackpad, the Surface Go is a fantastic convertible device that, unlike every other laptop on this list, allows for a truly mobile experience.
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