The idea of a laptop tablet hybrid led to some rolling of eyes back in 2012 – Apple’s CEO notably compared the convertible devices to the melding of a “toaster and refrigerator“ – but sales have grown steadily since. Now, analysts at Gartner forecast that hardware vendors will flog 8.6 million next year as more consumers turn to the multi-purpose mobile PCs.
Here are five of the top hybrid devices for those who want the best of both worlds...
1. Surface Pro 3
The first iteration of Microsoft’s Surface Pro garnered much interest, but earned only lukewarm reviews. By its third attempt the Redmond-based firm appears to have cracked the design, with improved stand and keyboard and larger screen.
Starts at: £639
2. Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
With little change from a grand, Lenovo’s latest Yoga device is placed firmly at the higher end of the hybrid laptop market. The 13.3-inch convertible Ultrabook uses Intel’s new low-power Core M chips, providing long battery life that passes the 10-hour barrier. It is also one of the slimmest around: the 1.2kg foldable device is a mere 13.5 mm at its thinnest point.
Starts at: £999
3. Dell Venue 11 Pro
Dell’s Venue 11 Pro is principally a tablet to which accessories such as a keyboard can be attached. Dell even goes as far as to call it a “three-in-one” device, with the option to add on desktop docking ability (at extra cost). The most basic version contains an Intel Atom processor, with 64GB of flash storage.
Starts at: £439
4. Lenovo n20p
Not all hybrid devices rely on Windows – Lenovo’s N20p Chromebook uses Google browser-based operating system. Unlike most Chromebooks the 11.6-inch device has a 10-point, multi-touch display for use when flipped round into tablet mode.
Starts at: £199
5. Acer Aspire R13
The latest Aspire device from Acer is possibly the most flexible hybrid laptop around. Thanks to its Ezel Aero Hinge, the 13.3 inch screen can be orientated in six different usage modes – more than the four positions possible with Lenovo’s adaptable Yoga Pro.