With the Ultrabook initiative successful and behind it, Intel and the PC industry is moving on to the next challenge — the 2-in-1. This is vague term covers a very wide variety of laptops that can also serve as tablets. Some have a detachable keyboard, like the Surface Pro 4. Others have a 360-degree display hinge, like the Lenovo Yoga 910.
This category has faced an uphill battle. It’s not easy to pack a touchscreen, powerful hardware, and a big battery into one package. We’ve reviewed many 2-in-1s poorly, and those that do are almost universally expensive. Until now.
A number of new, high-profile 2-in-1 computers are hitting the market this season. While many of them are still relatively expensive, prices have come down a bit, putting most into the $800 to $1,100 range for a machine with impressive specifications. That’s a leap forward. Past 2-in-1 systems were often both expensive and not particularly quick.
At the same time, battery life is improving. Older devices often struggled to fit a 40 watt-hour battery, but now we’re seeing systems with 50-watt, 60-watt, and larger units. Stepping up battery size is still the last word in extending battery life, and it has allowed the best 2-in-1s to leap forward from merely adequate endurance, to portability that’s as good as the best conventional laptops.
All of that makes it look like this holiday shopping season is a good time to buy a 2-in-1. But have they come far enough to consider buying one instead of a conventional laptop, and are there hidden problems to avoid? We’ll take a closer look in this week’s episode.
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