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A 2-in-1 laptop.

Best 2-in-1 Laptops

These versatile computers could make you forget all about needing a dedicated tablet

Why shop for two devices when one will do the job?

That's the allure of the 2-in-1 laptop, a clever innovation that's one part traditional notebook and one part touch-screen tablet. With a device like that, you can put the finishing touches on an Excel spreadsheet at your kitchen table, then, moments later, be lying in bed watching the latest Conan O’Brien video on YouTube.

“The primary appeal of a 2-in-1 is the flexibility,” says Antonette Asedillo, who oversees computer testing for Consumer Reports. “If you don't need the keyboard, you can tuck it away, change the configuration so it functions as a stand, or possibly detach it altogether.”

As Asedillo points out, there are two approaches to 2-in-1 design. In the case of "detachables," such as the HP Spectre x2, Microsoft Surface Pro, and upcoming Surface Go, the keyboard can be completely disconnected from the display. In the case of "convertibles"—which include certain variants of the Dell XPS and Lenovo Yoga lines—the keyboard swings 360 degrees on hinges and folds flat against the back of the display.

The ideal option depends to a large degree on your specific needs.

“Detachables are good when you want to be more mobile, maybe to play a game or browse the web using just the screen,” says Asedillo. “Convertibles are good for presentations, times when you need to quickly show videos and slideshows. It gets the keyboard out of the way and holds the display upright.”

The touch screen, Asedillo notes, comes in really handy here, allowing you to pause a movie or scroll through slides with simple hand gestures.

Of the 148 laptops currently in our ratings, roughly half are of the 2-in-1 variety, which shows how much consumers (and therefore laptop makers like Dell and HP) have warmed to the idea of these hybrids. For a list of recommended models, organized by screen size, continue reading below.