General Hardware

The Best 2-In-1 Laptops In 2020, For Tappers & Typers Alike – Forbes

When it comes to function over form in the computing world, the best 2-in-1 laptops lead the charge. They are not only excellent laptops for typing, but double up as touchscreen devices too, letting you fold, convert, or even detach the screen to turn them into functional tablets.

Some 2-in-1 laptops are more tablet than laptop, and others are more laptop than tablet, but the best ones do a great job at both. This makes them fantastic for those that need the typing functionality of a laptop, but also enjoy a tablet for list making, media viewing, or large-screen photography. Predominant tablet users can enjoy non-touch screen games on a great 2-in-1, and on models with 360-degree hinges, there’s always the tent mode go-between option to enjoy — great for watching movies or streaming TV shows.

The best 2-in-1 laptops in 2020 bring to bear the latest generations of processors and graphics chips, for improved performance in both laptop and tablet mode, whether typing or gaming, as well as faster storage, and more efficient displays. This helps improve battery life, cut back on weight, and provide more space for better keyboards.

The most modern of convertible laptops have also started to stray from what had become a rather rote aesthetic of a MacBook-like silver chassis, offering something a little different for those who like their electronics to stand out from the crowd. The use of more premium materials in their design is also proliferating through to affodable devices, making for not only a more comfortable experience when in use, but a cleaner look too.


The Best 2-in-1 Laptop Overall

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

  • CPU: Dual core Intel 10th-generation i3, or quad core 10th-gen Core i5 or i7
  • Display: 12-inch, 2,736 x 1,824
  • Battery life: Up to 10.5 hours

The flagship of Microsoft’s Surface line at the start of 2020, the Surface Pro 7 evolved what was already a classic design into something a little more modern and a little more capable. It’s not the most futuristic-looking devices, with somewhat chunky bezels, but that does make it easier to grip in tablet mode, and the overall design of the Pro 7 is excellent, in both build quality and component choice.

Under the hood, you’ll find up to a quad-core 10th-generation Core i7 Intel Ice Lake processor, with 11th-generation Iris Plus graphics. That’s not only a capable, efficient processor but impressively capable GPU too, making this a device that you can work and play on with ease. Esports titles and older AAA games will play just fine on this device, and thanks to its highly pixel-dense display, you can expect your games and work to look fantastic too.

This generation finally added a USB-C port, so alongside more typical USB-A and headphone ports, you’ll find plenty of accessories that you can add to this without needing to break out an adapter.

As with the Surface Go 2, you’ll want to buy the Type Cover to give this convertible laptop full laptop-functionality, but by making it an extra the Surface Pro stays extremely light when in tablet mode, at just 1.7 pounds.


The best 2-in-1 Laptop for Typing

HP Spectre x360 13

  • CPU: Quad core Intel 10th-generation Core i7-1065G7
  • Display: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080
  • Battery life: Up to 17 hours

HP’s Spectre x360 has redefined the look and feel of modern 2-in-1 laptops in recent years, not only showcasing a gorgeous “gem-cut” aesthetic with sharp, angular corners instead of the rounded protuberances of its contemporaries, but in its combination of high-end CPUs, with a svelte and lightweight chassis.

The 2020 version of this now iconic convertible laptop only builds on the legacy of its predecessors. With an exceedingly powerful 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU at its heart, this laptop offers massive CPU performance alongside a surprisingly capable 11th-generation Intel graphics processor that is more than capable of entry level gaming.

This model retains the 1080p screen of its predecessors, which at 13-inches is more than enough detail for crisp visuals, and with its great color accuracy, movies and games look great. There is a 4K OLED option if you want it, but that will really eat into your battery life, and it’s wasted at this size of display.

Battery life is down a little on the previous generations, with HP claiming it can last up to 17 hours on a single charge. That’s optimistic, as you might expect from the official specs, but most seem to manage 10 hours of mixed usage, and up to 15 hours in some lengthy media viewing schedules, making it an amazing 2-in-1 for watching movies or shows on a long trip if you don’t have mains power access.


The Best Cheap 2-in-1 Laptop

Microsoft Surface Go 2

  • CPU: Dual core Intel Pentium 4425Y, or Core m3-8100y
  • Display: 10.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Microsoft refreshed its entry-level Surface device in 2020, upgrading it to something that feels more part of the premium Surface line, belying its affordable price. While the Surface Go 2 doesn’t have the hardware to match some of the more costly devices on this list in terms of performance and input, it’s a fantastic tablet that easily goes blow for blow with industry giants like the iPad, while providing an economical way to get the best of both the touchscreen and laptop worlds.

Trimming the bezels and tightening up the overall design of the Surface Go 2, Microsoft has made a device that’s much more than its entry-level price would suggest. The more expensive, Core M3 version is more expensive, but offers much improved performance over its predecessor, and makes the Surface Go a real competitor for the likes of the iPad Pro in terms of capability, despite being far more affordable.

In order to make it more of a convertible laptop than just a tablet, you will want to opt for the additional Type Cover accessory which adds a touchpad and keyboard to the design. It can be easily detached when you want to use the Go 2 as a tablet, though, weighing just 1.2 pounds in that mode.

Whatever mode you’re in, though, you’ll be able to enjoy the vastly improved battery life of the Surface Go 2, letting you use it as an all-day work device, where its predecessor would need a recharge come lunchtime.

The Surface Go 2 comes equipped with a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone Jack, a MicroSD card slot, and a Sim Card slot if you opt for the LTE model, making sure that you have high-speed connectivity no matter where you go.

It comes equipped with Windows 10 S as standard, which does have some restrictions on the software you want install — Microsoft Store only. But you can turn off S-mode easily enough, giving you the full Windows 10 experience at the tap of a finger.


The Best Premium 2-in-1 Laptop

Microsoft Surface Book 3 15

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel 10th-generation Core i7-1065G7
  • Display: 15-inch, 3,000 x 2,000
  • Battery life: Up to 17.5 hours

The Surface Book 3 has a premium price tag, but its hardware leaves no doubt that it’s a premium 2-in-1 laptop to match. The 15-inch version is built atop a powerful 10th-generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, with up to 32GB of high-speed DDR4 memory, and up to 2TB of PCIExpress storage. Better yet, it also includes an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics chip, making this not only a powerful laptop for general processing tasks, but a capable gaming machine too — a real rarity in 2-in-1 laptops.

All of that capable hardware powers a gorgeous 3,000 x 2,000 display in the 3:2 aspect ratio — great for browsing vertical webpages, reading lengthy documents, and for opening up additional tracks in audio and video editing.

Despite this impressive array of specifications, the Surface Book 3 doesn’t abandon the real selling point of its predecessor: great battery life. Lasting up to 17-hours on a single charge, this laptop is one of the class leaders in this regard, lasting you a full workday and well beyond that. It’s not as much as the Surface Book 2, which remains a real standout amongst its contemporaries and more modern competition, but the Surface Book 3 does not disappoint.

As versatile as this laptop is, though, it’s almost as good as a tablet too, because it holds much of its hefty hardware in its keyboard base. While that doesn’t make it the most wieldy of laptops at just over four pounds, tablet mode sees you detaching the keyboard entirely, cutting the weight down to a much more manageable 1.8 pounds. Just know that detaching does leave most of the main battery in the base, which reduces battery life in the tablet mode to just a few hours.

Despite that drawback, the Surface Book 3 can do just about everything and most of what it does do, it does very well. There are a few of its facets which other 2-in-1s might be slightly better at, but few can keep pace with its overall quality and capabilities. Even at its higher-than-average price.


The Best AMD 2-in-1 Laptop

HP Envy x360 13

CPU: Quad Core AMD Ryzen 4300, hexacore Ryzen 4500U, or octacore Ryzen 4700U

Display: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080

Battery life: Up to 14 hours

AMD laptops were purely a budget option just a couple of years ago, but in 2020 they’re well worth considering. The latest-generation of Zen 2-powered Ryzen 4000 APUs are very fast and very efficient, leading to excellent performance across up to eight cores, and decent battery life too. Arguably the best example of this is in the HP Envy 360 13 2-in-1 laptop.

An understated, though not-unattractive aluminum device, the HP Envy 360 13 offers the same hardware options as its larger 15-inch cousin, including a variety of high speed CPUs, 8GB of memory, onboard Vega graphics, and up to a terabyte of fast PCIExpress storage. It also comes with a far more colorful and brighter screen (up to 1,000 nits in some configurations) which fixes one of the largest problems of the larger version.

Battery life isn’t class leading, but at well over 10 hours with mixed usage, there’s enough for a full work day and then some, and the onboard Vega graphics even enable so entry-level gaming in your off-hours without switching devices. This is no stealth gaming PC, but considering the power you get at a real dip below $1,000, it’s impressive what an AMD system can deliver in 2020.

With an effective 360-degree hinge, this Envy laptop flips into tablet mode well enough, and at 2.7 pounds, doesn’t feel too hefty — although it’s noticeably heavier than the detachable 2-in-1s on this list, and more traditional, standalone tablets.

When you turn it back into a tablet, it’s a capable machine for typing too, with a comfortable keyboard that fits snuggly into the 13-inch frame and a responsive touchpad.

The HP Envy 13 isn’t just a great AMD 2-in-1 laptop, it’s a great 2-in-1 laptop, period. It helps to redefine what a sub $1,000 laptop can be and points to a bright future for AMD powered laptops and 2-in-1s in the future.