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How about a convertible or a hybrid laptop?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Feb 25,2016 - Last updated at Feb 25,2016

If you’re torn between buying a laptop computer or a tablet, perhaps one of these new beauties that work as both/either can make you happy and help solve the dilemma. That is if you have cash to spare.

Laptops that convert into tablets are the trend. Some refer to them as hybrids, others more sportily as convertibles, conjuring up the image of a fancy car. Others like to call them 2-in-1. Sometime hybrid would refer to units where the screen can be detached from the main unit, to be then handled as a tablet, whereas convertible would imply that the screen cannot be physically detached but folds back 360 per cent behind the keyboard to make the whole set look and behave like a tablet. There’s no definite terminology yet, but it does not really matter, we all know what these portable computers do.

Lenovo (ex-IBM) for one, make an attractive model they wittily call Yoga. Indeed, the machine can take various positions when in use, and folds — or unfolds for that matter — to make a V stand for the tablet in it.

Because hybrid and convertible laptops are meant to function as tablets as well, the screen usually has its limits when it comes to size. Whereas dedicated laptops often sport screens that are 16” or even 17”, hybrids keep it down to a small but reasonable 13” or so. Lenovo’s Yoga 900 has a 13.3” monitor. Weighing a mere 1.3kg and featuring a battery that keeps it working for up to 10 hours, the machine is a real winner.

At around JD950 it is on the expensive side, but it is still cheaper that to buy a laptop and a tablet separately. Besides, high-end smartphones are almost as expensive today. Toshiba’s Portege Z20 is in the same league and cost about the same. In comparison, dedicated top-notch tablets such as Microsoft’s Surface or Samsung Tab 3 Pro 12” cost as much but provide superior tablet performance.

Some manufacturers, like Dell for instance, also propose budget units alongside their high-performance models, and that remain in the affordable JD400-500 price range. However, most reviews seems to indicate that the actual performance is not what one would expect, overall, or at least is not on a par with the upper end units, those close to JD1,000.

Perhaps what one should really look for in this trendy category is more the operating system than the actual hardware technical specifications. Indeed, if you are shopping in the Windows area (i.e. outside the Mac area…), a wise choice would be to go for a hybrid or a convertible that runs Windows 10 and not Windows 8.

Less than a year after it has been made available Win10 has managed to convince the most sceptical, despite some minor details here and there, and that are quickly ironed out by the company. When it comes to touch screens, an essential attribute in tablets, the system works like a charm. Moreover, with each week that passes, users discover more advantages and benefits to Win10. Recently they have “unearthed” a precious tool, deeply buried in the menus and functions, and that lets you know how much Internet-ADSL bandwidth you have used up, in total, and how much each application or programme exactly did use, this over the past 30 days. For hybrids and convertibles such functionality can be a precious one.

 

Windows 10 on a powerful hybrid or convertible laptop, it’s a definitely winning formula for practical, efficient mobile computing.

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