Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles

Redaktion (translated by Martina Osztovits), 03/14/2014

March 2014 update. Here you will find the best convertibles reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last few months. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchase decisions.

For the original German article, see here.

Convertibles, sometimes also called Two-In-One or Multimode-PCs, are not a recent invention. In the business sector, these hybrids of notebook and tablet have been known for a long time, but they eked out a niche existence until recently. With the advent of tablets, manufacturers rediscovered the potential advantages of such devices. It might be that the decreasing demand for conventional notebooks was also important for this development, as it forced manufacturers to develop "new products."

While the first convertibles were relatively heavy devices with severely limited mobility, current CPU and battery technology allows for slim and mobile devices with decent performance. So, they can handle nearly all everyday PC tasks and tablet mode enlarges their field of application. Windows 8 provides the necessary user interface with its tile surface and the known desktop environment for productive use.

Notebookcheck Convertibles Chart as of March 2014

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUOSRAMDrivePrice/Buy
101/1389%Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga1.6 kg12.5-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i5-4200UWindows 8 Pro 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1399 Euros
-07/1389%Sony Vaio Duo 131.33 kg13.3-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i5-4200UWindows 8 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1420 Euros
202/1388%Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA1.7 kg11.6-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i7-4500U / 
Intel Atom Z2560
Windows 8 64-bit / Android 4.24 GBHDDstarting at 949 Euros
-09/1388%HP EliteBook Revolve 8101.35 kg11.6-inch 1366x768 glossyIntel Core i5-3437UWindows 8 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1549 Euros
302/1387%Dell XPS 11-9P331.13 kg11.6-inch 2560x1440 glossyIntel Core i5-4210YWindows 8 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1000 Euros via Dell
-09/1387%Dell XPS 12 ULT1.52 kg12.5-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i7-4650UWindows 8 64-bit8 GBSSDstarting at 1399 Euros

-11/1387%HP Spectre 13-h205eg x21.52 kg13.3-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i5-4202YWindows 8.1 64-bit4 GB SSDstarting at 1080 Euros
412/1386%Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro1.4 kg13.3-inch 3200x1800 glossyIntel Core i5-4200UWindows 8 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1299 Euros
-08/1386%Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX21.13 kg11.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i5-3427UWindows 8 Pro 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 2099 Euros
-06/1386%Lenovo ThinkPad Helix1.67 kg11.6-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i5-3317UWindows 8 Pro 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1572 Euros

Top 10 of the previous 8 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed first

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUOSRAMDrivePrice/Buy
new02/1482%Sony Vaio Fit 11A multi-flip SV-F11N1L2E/S1.2 kg11.6-inch 1920x1080 glossyIntel Celeron N2920Windows 8.1 64-bit4 GBSSDstarting at 725 Euros
new02/1479%Sony Vaio Fit 15A multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B2.3 kg15.5-inch 2880x1620 glossyIntel Core i7-4500UWindows 8 64-bit12 GBHDDstarting at 1429 Euros

Further tests of each month - current tests are listed first

Editors' Comments

1st: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
1st: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
1st: Sony Vaio Duo 13
1st: Sony Vaio Duo 13
2nd: Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
2nd: Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
2nd: HP EliteBook Revolve 810
2nd: HP EliteBook Revolve 810
3rd: Dell XPS 11-9P33
3rd: Dell XPS 11-9P33
3rd: HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
3rd: HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
4th: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
4th: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga joins the Sony Vaio Duo 13, which achieved the same rating of 89% in our test. With 12.5-inches, the ThinkPad Yoga is slightly smaller than the Vaio, but it uses the same processor, a Core i5-4200U. The ThinkPad combines the 360 degrees solution of the consumer Yoga with the business qualities of a ThinkPad. The latter includes very good build quality and input devices. The Yoga ThinkPad features stable metal hinges and a concealable keyboard. The latter ensures that the underside is almost completely flat without disturbing key travel in tablet mode. The battery life of 7:35 hours is very long (i5 model). The very bright IPS panel with wide viewing angles is another advantage. The touchscreen has an FHD resolution and is slightly non-reflective. So, it is nearly perfect for outdoor use. The price depends on the configuration. The model with Core i5 and 256 GB SSD starts at 1249 Euros (~$1737, cheapest configuration). The only weakness is few interfaces (no Ethernet). But, Lenovo's power adapter docking solution can help here. We assigned our Editors' Choice award to the ThinkPad Yoga in January 2014, since it is a good bundle with matte touchscreen, stable hardware and long battery life.

The Sony Vaio Duo 13 features a high-end Triluminos display. Thanks to its up to date Haswell processor technology, its performance is decent. In addition, its mobility is good with a weight of about 1.3 kg and a realistic battery life of above 7 hours. HP's EliteBook Revolve 810 comes in immediately below. The noble convertible made from magnesium is based on an ultrabook design like consumer devices. The tilt and turn hinge has a conventional design. The HP features many interfaces (docking port, Display port) and decent input devices. Thanks to a Gobi-based WWAN modem, the mobile connectivity is excellent. The IPS panel has very good colors and wide viewing angles. But, some users might have preferred FHD to HD. The steep price from 1800 to 2300 Euros (~$2504 to ~$3200), depending on the configuration, is striking.

The 11.6-inch Transformer Book Trio TX201LA combines "the best from both worlds": An Intel Atom runs Android 4.2 inside and a fast Core i7 works in the key dock for Windows 8. The units can be used separately: The small PC station can be used with an external TFT, while the tablet is used on the move. Asus incorporated a handy data interface between the operating systems. In addition, we liked the high-end aluminum case and the good keyboard (distinct feedback). The emissions are low and the connectivity including micro-HDMI and mini-DisplayPort is noteworthy. Windows is installed on a 500 GB hard drive, which unfortunately decreases the system performance. The Transformer Book Trio is the only convertible in our top list with an HDD (eMMC in the tablet).

Dell's XPS 11-9P33 is third. The light 11.6-incher (1.13 kg) has 360 degree hinges like the Yoga models from Lenovo. Dell is the first manufacturer to incorporate a touch keyboard into a conventional chassis. Not everybody will like the low feedback: The keys don't have any travel, but they are clearly palpable. The tester praised the versatility and the excellent build quality of the XPS 11. The sharp, bright display with wide viewing angles and a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels is impressive. The battery life ranges from six to ten hours. However, the processor already throttles at relatively uncritical temperatures. Thanks to a lightning fast SSD, standard users will not notice this, though.

Next is Dell's XPS 12 ULT, a Haswell update review that replaces the first Dell XPS 12, which already achieved a rating of 86% in October 2012 and which we found to be a good device. The FHD panel still looks good and the sturdy aluminum finish and the convenient tilt mechanism still appear high-end. The Haswell model achieves a better rating because of longer battery runtimes and lower waste heat. The rarely used HD Graphics 5000 (no Iris Pro) is a special feature. However, it performs hardly better than an HD 4400 (the Turbo is hardly used).

HP's Spectre 13-h205eg x2 with Windows 8.1 features a high-res and contrast-rich IPS display, a crisp keyboard, a fast WLAN adapter and a high-end SSD. It seems the manufacturer produced a balanced bundle. They also considered unremarkable things: The relatively heavy aluminum case comes without a fan! The Intel core is cooled passively, but 3D performance was limited for that. The build quality is decent and even prolific writers will like the crisp keyboard.

Another Yoga? The second generation of Lenovo's consumer Yoga, the Yoga 2 Pro, achieved 86%. The 13.3-incher with Core i5-4200U is very slim, but it is completely made from plastic. We liked the impressive IPS display with its QHD+ resolution of 3200x1800 pixels. But, programs need to get along with it. It works with a properly reconfigured Windows 8, but scaling problems occur in many applications and games. The comfortable weight and the decent system performance (128 GB SSD) continue to be pros. In terms of battery life the Yoga 2 Pro cannot keep up with its sister model, the ThinkPad Yoga (5:35 vs. 7:35 hours, WLAN test) and it does not support a dedicated docking station. Customers will get an ambitious convertible for 1300 Euros (~$1809), which they could make a good impression with.

The Toughbook CF-AX2 is a business device with a steep price of above 2000 Euros (~$2783). It stands out from the crowd of thick business notebooks with a very low weight. Purebred business devices usually come with Windows 7 and Panasonic also offers a Windows 7 downgrade for its business customers. Lenovo's Helix is similarly designed as HP's Spectre 13-h205eg x2. In addition, you can also use it in presentation mode (display backwards of the base unit). Digitizer pen and Windows 8 Pro should attract business customers.

These did not make it into our Top 10

Missed our Top 10: Vaio Fit 11A multi-flip
Missed our Top 10: Vaio Fit 11A multi-flip
Missed our Top 10: Vaio Fit 15A multi-flip
Missed our Top 10: Vaio Fit 15A multi-flip

The two newcomers of February do not stand a chance in entering our Top 10 because of their rating. This does not mean that the Sony Vaio Fit 11A and Fit 15A would be bad devices. Although Sony withdrew from laptop business, it probably left one of the most interesting solutions for turning a notebook into a tablet with its flip notebooks. The 15-incher Fit 15A could eke out a niche existence since it could hardly be used as typical mobile tablet when folded with its weight of 2.3 kg. With a Core i7-4500U, extremely high-res display (2880x1620 pixels), stylus (included), excellent display (colors, contrast), and good sound, the 15-incher is a real option for computer workers. Its disadvantages are due to its construction: high weight, partly unstable base unit, heavily reflective display, below-average keyboard and loud, often active fan. Although these aspects are details, the Vaio Fit 15A did not enter our Top 10 because of them.

The 11.6-inch Vaio Fit 11A features the same fold mechanism as the Fit 15A multi-flip. It only weighs 1.2 kg and uses the frugal Intel Celeron N2920 (Baytrail). The price of 600 Euros (~$834) is justified because of the very good FHD IPS touchscreen and a real 128 GB SSD from Samsung (not a slow eMMC). Unfortunately, the stability of the case is only passable, the drop in brightness on battery makes using the laptop in the sun more difficult and the weak battery only allows just under 5 hours of mobile use (WLAN test). Those looking for a small convertible which supports a digitizer pen (optional) and remains quiet during everyday tasks should take a closer look at the Fit 11A.

Awards of the previous months in this category


Editors Choice November 2013: not a hero in our Top-10, but a balanced solution, which can replace a subnotebook
Microsoft Surface Pro: Best Value Award Oktober 2013 - cheap since a successor is available
Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR: Best Value Award in December 2013
Editor's Choice award for the good bundle: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Best Value Award for the Medion Akoya P2211T in February 2014

Updated Daily, automated top list


» Show the complete list of all reviewed convertibles (sorted by rating)

of the last 8 month
1
84% v4
Review Dell XPS 11-9P33 Convertible
Dell XPS 11
Review Dell XPS 11-9P33 Convertible
Intel Core i5 4210Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, 01/20/2014
2
84% v4
Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Convertible
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Convertible
Intel Core i5 4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 12/28/2013
3
84% v4
Review HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Convertible
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
Review HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Convertible
Intel Core i5 3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 09/18/2013
4
82% v4
Review Update Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Convertible
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (Haswell)
Review Update Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Convertible
Intel Core i5 4210Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, 03/25/2014
5
81% v4
Review Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA Convertible
Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
Review Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA Convertible
Intel Core i7 4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 02/03/2014
6
80% v4
Review Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Convertible
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Review Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Convertible
Intel Core i5 4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 12/18/2013
7
80% v4
Review HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 Convertible
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
Review HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 Convertible
Intel Core i5 4202Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, 11/18/2013
8
80% v4
Review Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2 Convertible
Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2
Review Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2 Convertible
Intel Core i5 3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 09/05/2013
9
77% v4
Review Gigabyte Padbook S1185 Convertible
Gigabyte S1185
Review Gigabyte Padbook S1185 Convertible
Intel Core i5 3337U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 11/01/2013
10
75% v4
Review HP Pavilion 11-h000sg Convertible
HP Pavilion 11-h000sg
Review HP Pavilion 11-h000sg Convertible
Intel Pentium N3510, Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), 04/10/2014

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles
Author: Redaktion, 2014-03-14 (Update: 2014-04-19)