If you’re looking for a truly portable PC option, it’s likely you’ll first be looking towards convertible laptops or detachable PCs. These Laptop/Tablet 2 in 1 devices are the perfect option for those needing the versatile, easy use and portability of a tablet and the power and safety of a laptop.
We’re going to run throughout the advantages of detachable and convertible PCs as well as taking a look at the top 5 options on the market.
Detachable vs Convertible
First off let’s take a look at the difference between detachable and convertible laptops.
Detachable PCs give the user the best of both worlds without needing to sacrifice on performance or versatility.
As the name suggests, detachable PCs can be ‘detached’ from their on-board keyboard, this means you can effectively have a self-contained tablet or laptop PC at the flick of a switch.
Conversely, Convertible laptops have a keyboard permanently attached. Instead of the keyboard detaching from the device, it simply swings behind the screen (on a 360-degree hinge) to create a tablet out of the laptops.
Convertible laptops tend to look a little more like a traditional ‘laptop’, compared to a detachable device wich will often have a lighter frame and keyboard.
Why use a Detachable or Convertible device?
What makes these detachable PCs useful and why would you look to buy one?
Well, first all of, detachable computers are incredibly versatile. They can be used as a fully functioning laptop, with keyboard, adapters and connection ports or, if needed, can run as a simple lightweight tablet.
They are also the perfect companion for those who work on the go, or even travellers needing something more substantial than their smartphones.
The new Windows 10 operating lends itself particularly well to convertible and detachable computers as it is so adaptive over different devices. With features like Continuum, your Windows experience on a laptop doesn’t chance when you convert to tablet, instead the OS simply optimises for the new platform.
For those working on the go you could start a document on your laptop, quickly change to the tablet when you need a little more portability and the jump to your Windows phone and your documents and programmes will all flow across seamlessly.
What to buy
The new generation of detachable PCs cover a wide market from entry level devices under £200, to home office, and of course, premium laptop rivals.
So we’re going to run you through the top detachable devices currently on the market and what you need know before you buy.
Let’s start off with the first time buyer, or those looking to keep the cost down and the features high.
For those looking for a bargain the Acer Switch 10, is a great choice for an entry level detachable. At under £200, the Switch 10 is perfect for travel and light office work on the go. For the same price as a relatively mid-level smartphone, you’re getting a fully functioning tablet and laptop.
£200 gets you an Intel Atom Quad Core processor (1.33GHz), 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD and additional 32GB flash memory. The 10.1” FHD IPS Touchscreen is easily detached from the keyboard leaving a lightweight tablet with built-in Webcam, Bluetooth, WIFI and Windows 10 (upgradable from 8.1).
For a basic introduction to the market, the Acer is a cracking deal, to rival any standard netbook or laptop.
If the Acer isn’t your cup of tea, an extra few pounds will get you the next step on the ladder.
The modern HP Pavillion X2 comes in at around the £260 mark (depending on the specification you get). For that you’ll get an Intel Atom Z8300 (1.44GHz) Processor, 2GB RAM and a whopping 1TB HDD. You’ll also get 32GB of flash memory within the ‘tablet’ section as well as webcam, Bluetooth and of course, Windows 10.
With comparable spec to an entry-level PC, the HP gives the user great options when it comes to portability and power. Also, unlike many of the older generation convertibles, the HP X2, simple looks great with a lightweight detachable keyboard and full connectivity.
Looking to go more towards office use and want a little more power for your money? Well check out the ‘core’ range, these mid-range convertibles come with laptop-comparable specifications (processor, RAM and storage) but still have the convertible or detachable option.
The original Yoga Book range has been incredibly popular in the market due to its value and (no pun intended) flexibility.
The YOGA 500 is 14-inch ‘multimode laptop’ meaning this versatile convertible laptop features a 360° flip design, allowing you to rotate from laptop mode through to tablet in one simple swoop.
Lenovo have kitted the YOGA 500 out with a number of different components variation but the best value we’ve seen is the AMD A8 -7410 with a whopping 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD.
The 14-inch convertible, although not as lightweight as a tablet, certainly undercuts most of the fully laptops on the market when it comes to weight. At 1.8 kg and a height of only 21.5mm, makes the Yoga perfect for office tasks on the go, whilst still having enough power to sit well in any business.
Next step up is to the premium range. These are the convertibles and detachables to rival pro-grade laptops.
The original detachable and arguably the sector’s biggest success story. The Microsoft Surface has gone through a number of incarnations but the latest flagship offering from Microsoft is on the of their best.
The Surface Pro 4 might look like a glorified tablet, but Microsoft have packed in enough features to this 12” device to rival any business grade PC.
Like many of the premium brands, Microsoft give you a number of options when it comes to spec on the Surface Book, we particularly liked the Intel Core i5 version with 8GB RAM and 256GB Flash memory. You’ll get the 12.3″ PixelSense Display (2,736 x 1,824) with that and couple of cracking 8MP (Rear) and 5MP (Front) Cameras.
Being a Microsoft flagship device, you’ll get a menagerie of Windows-focused programmes and extras that helps make the Surface Book a market leader. Users will get Windows 10 Pro built-in, a sleek rollaway keyboard, handy stylus and Microsoft advanced technology like Cortana, facial recognition camera technology and, of course, the ultra-safe Windows Hello, to keep you device locked down and responsive to your profile only.
For more info on Windows 10 Pro check out our article here.
For those looking to the next step up, Microsoft also offer the Premium ‘Surface Pro‘, the Windows challenge to the markets top-dogs.
HPs premium detachable is the Spectre X2, a beautifully designed device designed to get the best of both worlds; tablet and PC.
Aesthetically one of the more pleasing detachables, the Spectre X2 is also one of the thinnest. At only 0.8cm it is a seriously fine-tuned piece of kit, truly ideal for working on the go.
The 12” HD detachable PC comes with a new range Intel Core M3-6Y30 processor, 4GB RAM and a tidy 256GB SSD for that guarantee of speed and performance.
If your working on the tablet alone, HP have made sure comfort is and design is key adding a tidy little kickstand so the device can stand upright alone, a classy touch, and the X2 comes with a stylus for extra accuracy.