The 10 Coolest 2-in-1 Laptops And Tablets Of 2019 (So Far)

Major 2-in-1 announcements from the first half of the year included Apple's iPad Air 3, Dell's new XPS 13 2-in-1 and several HP EliteBook x360 models.

Flexible Productivity

While PCs and tablets are not seeing the same level of demand they enjoyed in the past, the 2-in-1 convertible segment is an exception in the market. Judging by the large number of new 2-in-1 devices hitting the market, vendors continue to see strong interest for 2-in-1s, which include touch screen laptops and keyboard-ready tablets—which can be used in multiple different modes thanks to a 360-degree hinge or detachable capabilities. Device makers with notable 2-in-1 convertible announcements so far this year have included Apple, with the recently launched iPad Air 3, along with Dell, HP Inc., Lenovo and Microsoft.

What follows is our roundup of the 10 coolest 2-in-1 laptops and tablets of 2019 so far.

Apple iPad Air 3

With the refresh to the iPad Air during the first half of the year, Apple brought in a feature that was previously only available on the iPad Pro: the ability to connect to a keyboard. That makes the iPad Air a full-fledged 2-in-1 device for the first time. Specifically, the iPad Air works with Apple's Smart Keyboard, while other key updates include the addition of support for the Apple Pencil stylus. The iPad Air 3 also gets a 70-percent performance boost and double the graphics power from the inclusion of the A12 Bionic processor. The tablet features a 10.5-inch Retina display—which is 20 percent larger than in the past—with 2,224 x 1,668 resolution and up to 500 nits of brightness. And, staying true to its "air" branding, the tablet weighs just a pound and measures just a quarter of an inch thick. The latest iPad Air promises up to 10 hours of battery life per charge, as well.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

For the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, Dell swaps out the usual black carbon-fiber body for brushed aluminum. The screen on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has narrow bezels on all four sides for a nearly "edge to edge" display. That slim-bezel design goes a long way toward helping to reduce the overall size of the notebook, which Dell is touting as the smallest 14-inch 2-in-1 on the market by volume. Dell's other biggest accolade for the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is its battery life, which can reach up to 24 hours on a charge (with base-level specs and a 78 WHr battery). That gives the notebook the longest battery life for a 14-inch 2-in-1 right now, according to Dell.

Meanwhile, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 offers an option for LTE connectivity, with speedy mobile broadband that the leverages the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE-A modem. The notebook also comes with a new feature called "ExpressSign-In," which detects when users are near and automatically wakes up the PC.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Dell says its forthcoming update to the XPS 13 2-in-1 more than doubles the performance in a thinner form factor and provides up to 16 hours of battery life, thanks in part to Intel's new tenth-generation Core processors. The new XPS 13 2-in-1 will be available with all three of Intel's tenth-generation Core processors, up to the Core i7-1065 G7 (with four cores and up to 3.9 GHz).

Dell said the XPS 13 2-in-1 continues to be the smallest convertible notebook available on the market, thanks in part to the small-bezel "InfinityEdge" display. The screen also comes with Dell's EyeSafe display technology for reducing blue light. At the top of the display is Dell's smallest laptop camera yet, measuring at 2.25 mm.

The convertible measures just 0.51 of an inch thick, making it 8 percent thinner than the previous XPS 13 2-in-1—a feat that is enabled by the new tenth-generation Intel Core processors and an advanced thermal design that includes new venting, dual fans and vapor air chamber. The 2-in-1's starting weight is 2.9 pounds, meanwhile.

HP Chromebook x360 14

In January, HP Inc. debuted its first Chromebook x360 model aimed at business users, with the Chromebook x360 14. The Chrome OS notebook offers premium design elements and stronger performance than the typical Chromebook, and ultimately is targeting enterprise customers that rely on G Suite apps. Security and manageability capabilities for businesses are provided for the notebook via Google's Chrome Enterprise offering.

The Chromebook x360 14 features a 14-inch FHD display with up to 220 nits of brightness, and includes an aluminum cover and keyboard deck as well as a diamond-cut trackpad. Notably, the laptop is HP's first Chromebook to offer an Intel Core i7 processor, with options up to the Core i7-8650U (up to 4.2 GHz). The HP Chromebook x360 14 also provides strong battery life of up to 13 hours on a charge, a backlit keyboard and a thin form factor of 0.63 of an inch thick. For connectivity, the notebook offers two USB-C ports and one USB-A port.

HP EliteBook x360 830 G1

After several years of offering EliteBook x360 convertible notebooks for its premium business segment, HP Inc. has expanded the x360 concept to EliteBook models used by mainstream corporate workers for the first time. In January, HP unveiled the EliteBook x360 830, the first-ever convertible model in the EliteBook 800 series. Along with the ability to use the 13.3-inch display in multiple modes, key features include an option for HP's Sure View integrated privacy screen; a built-in webcam cover (the HP Privacy Camera); and an optional high-brightness display (up to 1,000 nits, compared to a maximum of 700 nits previously). That makes it the brightest EliteBook x360 so far, HP said.

Looking at the specs, the notebook offers FHD (1,920 x 1,080) display resolution, eighth-gen Intel Core U series processors and up to 32 GB of RAM. The convertible is also highly portable at about 3 pounds and 0.66 of an inch thick, and features both USB-C and USB-A ports along with HDMI and nano-SIM. For biometric authentication, the EliteBook x360 830 offers an IR webcam for facial recognition and can be configured with a fingerprint sensor (sold separately).

HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6

HP Inc. continues to bring enhancements to its premium EliteBook x360 1000 line, as well. For the forthcoming 14-inch model, the EliteBook x360 1040 G6, HP has expanded potential battery life to up to 24 hours on a charge. The convertible notebook is also highly portable with a weight of less than 3 pounds, according to HP. Meanwhile, HP is touting an advanced display for the latest EliteBook x360 1040, with the "world’s only outdoor viewable display in a 14-inch diagonal business convertible," as well as a new option for a 4K HDR display, the company said. Additionally, the notebook is "the world's only 14-inch business convertible to support 32 GB system memory," HP said.

HP Elite x2 G4

In the 2-in-1 tablet realm, HP Inc. is bringing updates to its HP Elite x2 device. With the forthcoming Elite x2 G4, HP is making improvements such as enabling more precise handwriting with the optional HP Rechargeable Active Pen G3. The improved writing experience is made possible "by engineering the lowest starting pressure ever in a PC active pen," HP said. The Elite x2 G4 will be offered in two display sizes, 13 inches or 12.3 inches, with an optional Sure View integrated privacy screen on the 13-inch model. Other key features include an integrated webcam shutter, optional "gigabit class" 4G LTE, eighth-gen Intel Core processors (quad-core) and an optional genuine leather keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, 4th Gen

For its fourth-generation update, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertible has also gotten an option for UHD resolution on its 14-inch display with 500 nits of brightness. For improved privacy and security, the 2-in-1 notebook will offer the built-in webcam cover and an option for the ePrivacy integrated privacy screen. Lenovo has focused on reducing the size of the X1 Yoga with the fourth-gen update, which has a 17 percent smaller footprint overall than the previous model thanks to reduced bezels around the display and a thinner form factor. The latest X1 Yoga measures 0.59 of an inch thick, making it 11 percent thinner than the third-gen model. Like the latest X1 Carbon, the updated ThinkPad X1 Yoga gets improved performance by moving to Intel's "Whiskey Lake" eighth-gen Core i processors, and gets enhanced audio from a Dolby Atmos four-speaker sound system. The latest X1 Yoga offers long battery life of up to 15 hours on a charge and is being offered in a new "iron grey" color, as well.

ThinkPad X390 Yoga

In February, Lenovo announced the launch of the ThinkPad X390 Yoga convertible. The notebook features a 13.3-inch FHD touch display with up to 300 nits of brightness. The X390 Yoga also has a more-portable form factor than predecessor models, with a 16-percent thinner bezel and a starting weight of 2.85 pounds. Other key features include the ThinkShutter webcam cover; a hybrid HD/IR camera; an integrated ThinkPad Pen Pro; up to 14.5 hours of battery life; and quad-core, eighth-gen Intel Core processors, up to the Core i7-8665U (clock speed of up to 4.80 GHz).

Microsoft Surface Book 2, 15-inch

The Surface Book 2 is Microsoft's powerful, well-designed notebook that features a detachable display. At the CRN Test Center, we've been impressed with the 15-inch model of the Surface Book 2 in the past. However, in the past, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 has featured top-of-the-line specs and an eye-popping starting price of $2,499. So in June, Microsoft unveiled a new base configuration with a lower starting price point—of $1,999—and reduced specs such as an Intel Core i5 processor. But the base-level processor is an eighth-gen Core i5, meaning it still comes with four cores. And the notebook is still outfitted with 16 GB of RAM and a decent amount of storage at 256 GB, as well.