The best 2-in-1 laptops are incredibly versatile, due to their unique form factor and touchscreen capability, which allows them to take different forms – a traditional laptop, a tablet, and a display for presentations and content.
These 2-in-1 laptops take on the job of several different devices in a single device, which not only allows you to save a bit of cash and minimize the number of devices you need, but also seamlessly switch from work mode to play or relaxation mode whenever you want.
Whether you're going back to school, college or university soon, the versatility of the best 2-in-1 laptops is unsurpassed. Even with the jaw-dropping performance from the likes of Apple's M2-powered MacBook (opens in new tab), there's no match to what these hybrid notebooks can offer when it comes to adaptability and usability.
What to look for in the best 2-in-1 laptops?
For creative professionals, the best 2-in-1 laptops will allow you to transition between editing with a stylus pen to sending out emails and typing up proposals to clients without ever having to switch devices or interrupting your workflow.
Not all 2-in-1 laptops work the same way, however. Apart from the differences in size and specs, the hybrid functionality differs from one device to another. Many 2-in-1s rely on their hinges to go from laptop mode to tablet mode while some come with a detachable keyboard and trackpad that allows them to feel much more like a traditional tablet. A handful, like the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, boast an easel-inspired design, which might be more conducive to design work.
Besides the design, it’s also important to consider the availability of ports and card slots, screen resolution and color support, and naturally, the innards. Bear in mind that most 2-in-1 laptops need to stay as thin as possible, sacrificing space that could have been used to put in a discrete graphics card, let alone a powerful one. So, if you’re looking to use your laptop to stitch together 10-minute 4K videos or edit 50 or more high-resolution images at once daily, save yourself a lot of time and hair-pulling frustration and get a laptop with heftier internals instead.
Otherwise, the best 2-in-1 laptops offer more than enough power and versatility for all your computing needs. Here are our top picks...
The best 2-in-1 laptops in 2022(opens in new tab)
It’s hard to fault the sleek and stunning Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, even if it is a tad expensive. This thin and lightweight notebook has inherited everything great about the XPS line, including that premium woven design and a whole lot of power for something that’s not much bigger than a tablet, while also offering something the others could not – that seamless hybrid design. And, it’s just as much a joy to use in tablet or tent form as it is in laptop form. We only wish Dell would upgrade its webcam to a 1080p one and add a couple more Thunderbolt or USB-C ports. Still, if you’re looking for the best 2-in-1 laptop out there, this here’s a clear winner.(opens in new tab)
Whether you need one for business or your creative projects, you might want to pick up an HP Elite Dragonfly G2. By paying just as much attention to its security and privacy features as it does to its design and power, HP has created an excellent tool for pros – one that is much more travel-friendly and versatile than other business laptops. There are a few other nice surprises in this hybrid notebook as well, like a gorgeous touchscreen and a battery life that lasts all day. You hardly see those on big and bulky business laptops. Of course, for all that, you’ll be expected to pay a premium, and it's a rather hefty one.(opens in new tab)
Acer’s Spin line feels like the underdogs in the laptop market because it does seem like they don’t get as much credit as the Dell and HP flagships. But, do not underestimate these 2-in-1 laptops as they do offer the best value in the business. Not that the Acer Spin 5 is any cheaper than its direct rivals, but has a feature-rich stylus pen already included, giving its tablet, tent, and presentation modes a bit more functionality, and a 3:2 HD IPS display that makes it ideal for note-taking when in tablet form. Plus, it’s got a great battery life and a surprising selection of ports for a 13-inch, including an HDMI 2.0 port.(opens in new tab)
Microsoft’s Surface laptops have always sat at a much higher price point than their rivals considering they offer just a bit less power. But, with the aptly named Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, you’re also getting a much more unique and versatile form factor – not to mention, the option to have a discrete graphics card inside. Especially if you’re a graphic designer or an illustrator, you will without a doubt make the most of that easel-like display that offers a more seamless creative workflow. And, upgrading to an RTX 3050 Ti configuration means you’re getting a much more powerful graphics card for photo and video editing. Just bear in mind that you’ll be paying a hefty sum, and without a stylus pen included.(opens in new tab)
The HP Spectre x360 line has, sadly, gotten more expensive over the last couple of years, but we could hardly blame HP. It makes sense for a premium laptop to have a premium price tag, and frankly, we’re surprised that HP didn’t raise the prices on these earlier. This 13-inch hybrid laptop deserves every penny you pay for it, considering the attention to detail that’s been put into its gem-cut design that you’ll want to show off to everyone. Of course, there’s just as much substance as there is style. There’s a lot of power here, enough to see you through your less demanding photo editing needs, and more than enough battery life to last you through a whole workday.(opens in new tab)
A 13-inch screen just not big enough for you? A 14-inch one might be the ticket, and for that, there’s the Lenovo Yoga 9i whose features – apart from a stunning 14-inch screen with up to 500 nits of brightness – include up to a whopping 15 hours of battery life, a garaged stylus pen you won’t have to pay extra for, and a pivoting soundbar so that the sound quality is consistent no matter the mode the laptop is in. There are a couple of reasons why this hasn’t scaled higher on this list – namely that you are sacrificing portability and a more traditional laptop screen ratio for that bigger display. However, there’s already a lot to love here that those flaws aren’t deal-breakers.
How we test laptops
When reviewing a laptop, we assess its internal hardware features, build quality, ergonomics, performance in a variety of usage scenarios, value for money, and its overall suitability for its target buyer. Although we'll evaluate a laptop with a typical user in mind, we will also pay particular attention to the perspective of photo and video enthusiasts, with special focus given to screen quality and color space coverage.
Where possible, a monitor calibrator will be used to measure a laptop's display performance to assess whether it matches a manufacturer's claims, and software benchmarks like GeekBench are used to measure a laptop's processor and graphics card capabilities.
Find out how we test and review on Digital Camera World (opens in new tab) if you want to know more.