Looking for a new laptop? Your choices are harder than ever. In addition to the usual choices: Processor, RAM, Hard drive size, and screen sizes, now you have to look at different body styles of laptops. Besides your standard laptop, you now have some additional choices. You can go with a convertible laptop, which allows you to flip the screen 360 degrees flat to be used as a tablet. You can choose a hybrid, which allows you to detach the screen fully from the keyboard and use it as a standalone tablet.
Let us go over the pluses and minus of each
The HP Elitebook X360, Spectre X360, and Lenovo Yogas are examples of convertible laptops. You can bend the screen all the way back so it lies flat against the back of the keyboard. Instant change from a laptop into a full tablet. However, all of these are a heavier tablet.
The iPad Pro, weighing 1.5lbs, a thin convertible tablet is anywhere from 1.5lbs to almost 3lbs. How long do you want to hold something that heavy in your hands?
It should also be noted that with all convertible units while in convertible mode, the keyboard itself will be rendered useless. The biggest positive is the battery life of your tablet. Since it’s still a full computer (with the keyboard still attached, expect the full day of use out of your tablet (since it doesn’t detach from your keyboard).
The Lenovo X1 Tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro, and Surface Book are examples of hybrids. These are a full-fledged Windows PC/tablet, but they have a full functioning detachable keyboard. The Microsoft Surface is the gold standard in this category.
The Surface Book, the screen detaches from the keyboard, just like the Surface Pro or the X1 Tablet. The keyboard is more of a traditional keyboard. It’s solid magnesium and feels very solid when typing. Making the device a little heavier than most, but for those that spend a lot of time typing, a real keyboard makes a huge difference.
The downside of a hybrid is once you detach the tablet from the keyboard, the battery on the tablet will not last as long as you would think, the keyboard will house some of the battery. The screen houses another smaller battery. When put together, you may get 9-10 hours. But once you detach the screen from the keyboard, the tablet itself, it may only provide 5-6 hours of battery life.
When choosing to buy a new laptop, it’s best to ask the same questions:
- What will you be using this for?
- Will you be using it as a tablet most of the day?
- How much will you need to type?
- How important is the feel of the keyboard to you?
Those are some of the questions you need to ask before buying.