Want to be able to annotate or draw on the screen, a graphics tablet with built-in display may be your answer but none as portable and offers the same level of flexibility and versatility as convertible 2-in-1 PC with stylus support.
What about Samsung Galaxy S4 or Apple iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro
Yes, you can get a detachable tablet or tablet with keyboard cover and stylus input. Both Samsung and Apple supports this with Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and iPad Pro respectively. But for those who desire more flexibility in their device, nothing offers more than a 2-in-1 convertible machine. Not only will you get a laptop, the 360-degree hinge lets you use the device in laptop, tablet, tent or presentation mode. That’s total flexibility in the way you interact with the device, especially with a stylus.
Bigger Display for More Sketching Real Estate
2-in-1 convertible PCs that support stylus also come with bigger displays starting from 13.3-inch going up to 15.6-inch. Compare this to Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s small 9.7-inch display, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s or iPad Pro’s slightly better 10.5-inch and 11-inch respectively and Surface Pro 6’s 12.3-inch display. The only tablet that comes close is the iPad Pro 12.9 with 12.9-inch display.
Carry Fewer Devices
With a 2-in-1 PC, you can leave your tablet at home (or save on a separate purchase). Modern 2-in-1 PCs are built lighter, sturdier and slimmer than ever before. They may still be heavier than your standard tablet, but when one can leave their tablet at home and only carry one device on their trip, that’s overall lighter luggage.
When you factor in the cost of getting a tablet and a laptop separately, it makes financial sense to go with a 2-in-1 device. The cost of acquiring and replacing one device is ultimately cheaper and more economical. Purchasing of a tablet that supports stylus input is an expensive affair. These are typically high-end premium tablets that can cost more than a 2-in-1 convertible PC on its own. Then, in order to complete the PC equivalent setup, one would need the optional keyboard and stylus costing a couple more hundred if not more.
Top 5 Best Convertible 2-in-1 PCs with Stylus Support
Here is a look at five of the best convertible 2-in-1 laptops in the market right now for tech giants like Microsoft, HP and Lenovo.
1. MICROSOFT Surface Book 2 13.5-inch and 15-inch
The Surface Book 2, available in two sizes, the 13.5-inch and 15-inch, may be late to the 2-in-1 convertible laptop game but excelled in so many ways. Microsoft started with the Surface back in 2012 tablet and Surface Pro tablet back in 2013. The Surface Book 2 together with Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6 are a culmination of the company’s experience with designing and manufacturing their own hardware. For the 13.5-inch device, it can be specified with either a 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-7300U dual-core processor, 3.5GHz Max Turbo or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U quad-core processor with 4.2GHz Max Turbo frequency. The 15-inch on the other is only available with the latter processor.
Notable features include the ability to detach the displays from the base or keyboard, turning it into a full size 13.5-inch or 15-inch tablet. The 13-inch Core i7 model comes with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 discrete GPU with 2GB graphics memory while the 15-inch Core i7 model comes with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU with a whooping 6GB of graphics memory. Both models are capable of supporting the optional Surface Pen stylus and Surface Dial (both on screen and off screen).
The 13.5-inch PixelSense display has a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels (267ppi). The 15-inch PixelSense display has an almost equally sharp resolution of 3240 x 2160 pixels (260ppi). Both displays have a more productivity friendly 3:2 ratio and a contrast ratio of 1600:1. These are wrapped in premium and lightweight materials with a solid construction and sleek design. Another feature that put other laptops in this category to shame is its super long up to 17 hours battery life with video playtime. Expect to spend up to double or more the base price when you start to spec it up.
2. HP Envy x360 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch 2-in-1
The HP Envy x360 convertible laptop with 13.3-inch or 15.6-inch display is the mid-range alternative to the premium HP Spectre x360 range also available with 13.3-inch or 15.6-inch display. What the HP Envy x360 15.6-inch has is the dual drive configuration marrying a fast 128GB Solid State Drive with a spacious 1TB Hard Disk Drive, giving its users both performance and storage. But if you prefer performance over space, there are the single 256GB or 512GB Solid State Drive options. The convertible laptop can be had with Intel Core i7 or Core i5 processors or the cheaper and more affordable AMD Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 5 processors. You can find a performance comparison table of the different processors below.
Being the mid-range device, you are going to miss out on 4K display and premium rose gold accent but the laptop is far from being a slouch. The chart topping spec comes with Intel® Core™ i7-8550U (1.8 GHz base frequency, up to 4 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores), 16GB memory and the dual drive arrangement (1TB HDD and 128GB SSD). That’s not all, it also comes with NVIDIA GeForce MX150 discrete graphics with 4GB graphics memory, dual Bang & Olufsen tuned speakers, fingerprint reader, Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel display, Fast Charger, Backlit keyboard and Active Stylus included. Even with all that power, the laptop still manages up to 12.45 hours of battery life.
The Core i5 and i7 models are available in sandblasted tinted anodised finish in silver while the AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 models are also available in sandblasted tinted anodised finish but in dark ash silver. We veer towards the dark ash finish for that mysterious and stylish look, see gallery below.
The Core i5-8250U (1.6 GHz base frequency, up to 3.4 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 6 MB cache, 4 cores) with 15.6-inch display is our favourite with 8GB memory and 256GB SSD storage, offering a balance of price to performance. The model is also equipped with NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 (4 GB GDDR5) and Active Stylus making it the perfect all round machine. If you are looking to save some money with near equal performance, choose the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U model with 13.3-inch or 15.6-inch display. Processor performance is just as good as the Core i5 model based on the PassMark CPU performance benchmark (see chart).
3. LENOVO Yoga 730 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch 2-in-1s
The Lenovo Yoga 730 is another mid-range laptop with a stylish design, 360 degree hinge and comes with Lenovo Active Pen 2, the all important stylus that offers pen on paper experience with 4096 levels of sensitivity for more accuracy. The 2-in-1 laptops offer the same Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processor options. The 13.3-inch version we looked at comes with Intel Core™ i5-8250U Processor while the bigger 15.6-inch version comes with the faster Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Processor.
The bigger 15.6-inch model we considered also comes with 16GB memory, 256GB Solid State Drive and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics with 4GB dedicated graphics memory. What we did not get is the model with 4K resolution touch screen but one with Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Still, device packs plenty of punch and offers up to 9 hours of use per charge and weighs only 1.89kg. The laptop is available in platinum or iron grey finish.
The 13.3-inch model with Core i5 processor is no less impressive. Weighing only 1.19kg, the device lasts up to 11.5 hours per charge and comes with Rapid Charge to quickly top up. The 8GB memory is paired with a generous 256GB SSD storage. What it lacks however, is the discrete graphics relying instead on Intel Integrated Graphics to power the 13.3-inch Full HD IPS touch screen. But it makes up for this with Dolby Atmos support via headphones, a pair of JBL speakers, fingerprint reader for quick log in and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. Again, while a 13.3-inch 4K display option is available, we could only get our hands on the Full HD variety. Still, the Active Pen 2 scores plenty of points on performance and accuracy.
4. HP Spectre x360 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch Convertible Laptop
Everything about the laptop screens look at me. Definitely a head turner, the premium HP Spectre laptop has all the hall marks of high end designs with its dark ash silver aluminium finish, gold accent and gold hinge. The laptop highest of the range is powered by Intel Core i7 8750G processor, the 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor clocking in at 3.10GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.10GHz and 8MB of cache. That’s not all, the Kaby Lake G chip has another secret weapon in its arsenal, an embedded discrete AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL chip and memory on top of its own Intel Integrated graphics. All this on a multi-die unit held together by Intel’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge.
HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch is the first to feature the Kaby Lake G chip using Intel® Core™ i7-8705G with Radeon™ RX Vega M GL Graphics (3.1 GHz base frequency, up to 4.1 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores). The AMD’s custom GPU, Radeon RX Vega M graphic comes ready with 4GB of its own graphics memory also on the same multi-die package. The pair of CPU and GPU powers a 15.6-inch 4K IPS micro-edge BrightView WLED backlit touch screen fronted and protected wit Corning Gorilla Glass. For memory and storage, it comes as no surprise that these too have been maxed out with 16GB of memory and ultra fast 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD storage.
A second game ready laptop with 15.6-inch display powered by Intel® Core™ i7-8750H (2.2 GHz base frequency, up to 4.1 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 9 MB cache, 6 cores), a hex core processor paired with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of graphics memory is also available. The cheaper 15.6-inch convertible comes with only a Full HD IPS display but enjoys 8GB memory and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. Just on the CPUs alone, here is a quick look at how the two processors Intel Core i7-8750G quad core and Core i7-8750H hexa-core compares.
Our favourite 13.3-inch model comes with Intel® Core™ i7-8565U (1.8 GHz base frequency, up to 4.6 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores). This is specified with 8GB of memory and a huge and super fast 512GB GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. It has a more moderate price tag as it only comes with a Full HD display. A 4K UHD mode is available with double the memory at 16GB and double the storage at 1TB SSD. Here is how the three Intel Core i7 processors compare on Average CPU Mark benchmarks.
Note that the CPU Mark benchmark above does not take into account the 3D or graphics performance. The marriages of Intel Core i7 processors with AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti will definitely give the laptop an edge over ones that rely on Intel integrated graphics alone.
But, what we truly look for in our review is not the fast charger support, fingerprint reader, powerful processor and graphics unit, up to 12.5 hours battery life or even the 4K display. It is the ability to use the convertible laptop with the included digital pen. The included Active Pen tilts and shades to precision on the scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and it is simply a joy to use especially on the 4K UHD display. Allowing one to stretch their creativity to the limit.
5. LENOVO YOGA 530 14-inch 2 in 1
The only 14-inch 2-in-1 convertible laptop on our list is another entry from Lenovo. This time, the Yoga 530. The Yoga 530 is a low (Yoga 300 series) to mid-range (Yoga 700 series) model. The highest in the Yoga range is the 900 series. Unlike the 700 series featured on the top of this list, the low to mid-range Yoga 530 is available with processors from Intel or AMD. On the Intel side, there is the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, Intel Core i3-8130U or Intel Core i5-8250U processor. On the AMD side, there is a choice of AMD Ryzen 3 3300U, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U or AMD Ryzen 7 2700U processor. For memory and storage, The Yoga 530 is available with memory up to 8GB and fast storage up to 256GB.
While the laptop supports pen and ink input, the Lenovo Active Pen is an optional purchase. Still, the device offers pin-point accuracy support with palm rejection tech. Just remember to factor in the cost of the option pen when considering the Yoga 530 compared to Yoga 730 above. Still, the convertible weighs only 1.6kg and measure 17.6mm thin with battery life up to 10 hours (depending on the chosen processor) and comes with 14-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel display. Being at the budget end, the Lenovo 530 is a clear favourite for those looking to get their hands on a convertible that supports stylus input.
Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the same processor that powers smartphones, the slimline tablet with folio style keyboard cover stylus and 4G connectivity is perfect for executives on the move. The tablet comes with up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. The 12.3-inch Full HD+ device is seen as a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch. It does have the added advantages of including with the purchase, the HP Digital Pen and keyboard cover. The tablet is also offered with 24GB of 4G date and has IR enhanced front facing camera for Windows Hello facial recognition log in. One a full charge, the tablet can last up to 22 hours.
A premium convertible laptop with an energy efficient Intel Core i7 the Intel® Core™ i7-8500Y (1.5 GHz base frequency, up to 4.2 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 4 MB cache, 2 cores) the convertible 2-in-1 device is wrapped in a genuine leather cover. Brown Cognac Leather to be precise. The ultra portable while compact has a reasonably large 13.3-inch Full HD display protected by scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It doesn’t stop there. The compact folio styled device includes 8GB RAM memory and 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. Elsewhere, it pushes up to 19 hours of battery life, comes with HP Fast Charger, 4G LTE connectivity and webcam that supports Windows Hello login. But, what is even more important is the included Tilt Pen.