Is it right to call a 2 in 1 device a ‘laptop killer’? After all, the best 2 in 1 laptops use the clamshell form factor we’re all familiar with, but they add the ability to quickly convert into a lightweight, keyboard-less tablet. It’s the best of both worlds in a single, long-lasting and go-anywhere computer.
Good news if you’re thinking of upgrading an old machine, for the Computex 2016 show revealed several new devices that eclipse those 2 in 1s you might already have seen.
Including one with a very famous name.
Some devices are larger than ever before, like the Dell Inspiron 17 7000. On the one hand, it’s a desktop replacement-style laptop, powered by a 6th generation Intel Core processor. But flip the screen around on its 360-degree hinge and you can transform it into a glorious 17-inch Windows 10 tablet, the largest 2 in 1 currently available.
Speaking of transforming, ASUS used Computex 2016 to unveil the Transformer Mini, the Transformer 3 and the Transformer 3 Pro. The latter is designed to compete against the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, its top-end spec featuring an Intel Core i7 6500U processor, 1TB SSD and 16GB of 2133MHz RAM. The 12.6-inch display, with its resolution of 2880 x 1920 pixels, is pin-sharp and vibrant.
That’s not the best bit, however. Thanks to the fact that its USB Type-C connector supports Thunderbolt 3 (and data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps), the Transformer 3 Pro will also work with an external graphics card solution like the ROG XG Station 2. Add an Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU to the system and this ASUS 2 in 1 becomes a powerful, VR-ready PC.
Where the Pro 3 weighs 795g in tablet mode, the dinky Transformer Mini weighs only 535g — ASUS claims that it’s the “world’s lightest 2-in-1 PC.” Rather than an Intel Core processor, the Mini uses an Atom X5, boosting the battery life to around 11 hours. It comes with a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 pixel LED display as standard, up to 4GB of RAM and either 32, 64 or 128GB of flash storage. No USB-C, though. Just plain old USB 2.0.
There are also quad-core Intel Atom CPUs inside Acer’s newest 2 in 1s — the Acer Switch V 10 and the Switch One 10. Both are aimed at the budget end of the market, but the sub-$250 V 10 model still manages to include a fingerprint reader (for password-less Windows Hello logins), up to 64GB of flash storage and a USB Type-C port for speedy data transfer and fast charging.
Finally, Microsoft has revealed that Porsche Design and an as yet unnamed manufacturer have collaborated to develop an exciting and stylish 2-in-1 device.
“The device will support Windows 10 features like Windows Hello, Cortana and new Inking Features coming with the Windows Anniversary Update due later this summer,” said Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft OEM. “The device will come with a pen, a 13.3-inch screen, Intel processor, and hardware components. It will be available this Winter.”
So there you have it, five of the best 2 in 1 laptops from largest to lightest, cheapest to most Porsche-iest. With the flexibility to use these next-gen devices in laptop, tablet, tent or display modes, these devices aren’t really laptop killers, they are laptops reinvented.