The Best Detachable Laptops – November 2018
As laptops become more powerful and compact, desktop computers are becoming less popular and relevant. Unless you need an extreme amount of processing power for pro-level tasks or gaming, it simply doesn’t make much sense to invest in a desktop machine that you can’t take with you on the go.
But even some ardent laptop proponents are starting to embrace an even more portable and streamlined type of computer: the detachable laptop. Bridging the gap between a traditional laptop and a tablet, these intrepid devices often feature fully detachable keyboards—meaning you can treat the screen as a standard tablet when you need to.
Regardless of whether you work in a creative field and require a stylus to sketch images directly on a screen, or you simply want the flexibility of being able to choose between on-screen touch controls and a traditional keyboard, you may want to check out this list of the best detachable laptops around.
HP has earned a reputation in the ever-competitive world of tech for creating truly great products at reliable price points. This is how this world-renowned company has managed to remain a prominent presence in tech, and the HP Elite X2 is a testament to the fact that they haven’t lost their edge.
This incredibly compact and powerful detachable laptop has absolutely everything you’ll need for both work and play. It’s incredibly thin so you’ll be able to take it with you on the go without adding any extra and unnecessary bulk to your bag or suitcase, and it’s durable enough to withstand the occasional bump or drop.
You get a brilliantly clear and rich 12” FHD ultra-slim LED-backlit touchscreen that can be used with a stylus pen, and an Intel Core m5 1.1GHz processor (with turbo boost speeds of up to 2.7GHz) provides more than enough power to complete a wide range of professional and creative tasks.
This device comes with a 256 GB solid state hard drive—which is much faster and far more reliable than traditional, spinning-disc drives—and 8 GB of super-fast SDRAM helps ensure that you won’t run into any problems if you try to run multiple apps at once.
This laptop also comes loaded with an integrated Intel HD graphics 515 card, and the keyboard is light to the touch yet incredibly responsive—a major plus for writers who like to pound on their keyboards with a certain amount of gusto.
The audio quality of the X2 is also surprisingly powerful and articulate for a laptop of this size, and there’s enough bass response and definition to facilitate low-end heavy tracks. You also get a 2MP front camera along with a 5MP rear camera, and a 4-cell battery alongside USB-C and USB 3 ports for added connectivity.
All in all, if you’re looking for a detachable laptop to act as your go-to workhorse computer, you’d be hard pressed to find one that offers more power and overall stability than the HP Elite X2 in this general price range.
If you’ve been around computers long enough (and most of us certainly have), you’ve undoubtedly come across Acer devices, which are renowned and respected for their no-frills quality. This Alpha 12 machine stays true to Acer’s winning product strategy by offering a uniquely powerful and streamlined interface that can be used to do everything from streaming movies to compiling advanced and complex code.
At a similar price point to the HP Elite X2, this unit comes loaded with an Intel Core i7-6500U Processor at 2.5GHz (which is capable of turbo boost speeds of up up to 3.1GHz) and an advanced Intel HD Graphics 520 card that delivers crystal-clear images and resolution. With a small but noticeable improvement over the HP Elite X2’s graphics delivery, the Alpha 12 may be slightly more suitable for creative professionals who work with visual media on a regular basis.
Like the HP Elite X2, this device also comes with a super-fast 256GB solid-state hard drive along with 8GB of SDRAM, and features both USB-C and USB 3 connections.
A lithium polymer battery provides up to eight hours of power on a single charge, and Bluetooth 4.0 technology means that you’ll be able to connect a wide range of third-party devices without issue. You also have the option of using the included stylus directly on the screen.
The one area in which this machine seemed to fall being the Elite X2, however, was in sound quality—due to its speakers lacking the type of rich-yet-tight bass response that the HP delivers. Still, this may not be an issue for potential buyers who either don’t care about sonics or have an external audio source ready to go.
You don’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy a great detachable laptop. This Asus Transformer Book proves that you can pack a sizable amount of power into a small and affordable package, at just under $300.
While we wouldn’t recommend throwing away your go-to laptop or desktop when you purchase this unit, we would highly recommend it as a travel computer for when you need to work on the go but don’t want to haul around your number-one machine.
Available in a variety of configurations, the standard Transformer model comes with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage—not enough power to carry out more professional-grade production and editing tasks, but more than enough to engage in word processing and Internet browsing at fast speeds.
The battery life on this machine is also uniquely impressive, since it’s able to keep the Transformer running for up to eleven hours even during more power-intensive tasks like playing back video.
The Transformer is also supremely portable—at just .35 inches thin—and weighs only 2.2 pounds with the keyboard attached. This means that you’ll barely notice it in your bag if you tend to travel light on a regular basis.
We were also impressed with this detachable laptop’s incredibly responsive and enjoyable keyboard, which is designed to emulate a full-size keyboard while keeping a compact form. It also comes with a precision touchpad that features palm-rejection technology and Windows Gesture support—and you’ll be able to choose from a surprising number of ports including USB, micro USB, micro HDMI, micro SD, and a headphone jack.
When it comes to pioneering and innovating new and exciting pieces of tech, Lenovo has few real competitors. This convertible laptop—which comes standard with an Intel Core i5 2.5GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD—is uniquely lightweight and portable. It also packs enough punch to be used for more power-hungry tasks and apps.
Its detachable keyboard and unique watchband hinges can adjust up to 150-degrees, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the perfect viewing angle in any configuration, and the touchscreen display boasts an impressive resolution.
You also get an HD integrated rear-facing camera that can snap high-quality photos at 5 MP, and the included Lenovo Active Pen is ideal for harnessing bursts or creativity and artistic inspiration.
The speakers on this unit are also impressive, thanks to Dolby-enabled technology that delivers rich bass and articulate highs. The Mix 510’s 8-hour battery life also means that you’ll be able to enjoy extended work or media streaming sessions without scrambling to find an outlet.
It’s somewhat fitting that we’re rounding out our list with another HP detachable laptop, since HP is known for creating a wide range of products at different price points that can appeal to people on drastically different budgets.
Unlike the Elite X2 at our top spot that clocks in at $879, this significantly cheaper laptop may be a better option for potential buyers who don’t necessarily require that much power or storage space.
With a 1.44GHz Intel processor capable of turbo boosts up to 1.84GHz, 2GB of fast SDRAM, and 32GB of solid-state storage, this affordable laptop is nothing to scoff at, and it’s perfectly capable of carrying out a wide range of every-day tasks—from browsing the web to working with Microsoft Office programs and beyond.
It features a 10.1-inch diagonal anti-glare LED-backlit touchscreen that’s colorful without being jarring to the eye, and you have access to several types of useful ports—including a USB 3.0, USB 2.0, microHDMI, and microSD port.
The battery performance on this machine is a particular strength, since you can go cordless for up to 9.5 hours on a single charge.