Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 09/19/2014

September 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.

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 Convertible Charts as of September 2014

Pos. RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionFinish
186%07/14
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Intel Core i5-4300U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD
- from $950 at Amazon
0.81 kg9 mm12.02160x1440glossy
284%07/14HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2
Intel Core i5-4300U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD
- from $1825 at Amazon
1.30 kg22 mm11.61366x768matte
384%01/14Dell XPS 11
Intel Core i5-4210Y
Intel HD Graphics 4200
4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
- from $1099 at Amazon
1.13 kg15 mm11.62560x1440glossy
483%

01/14

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga
Intel Core i5-4200U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD
- from $1049 at Amazon
1.58 kg19 mm12.51920x1080matte
582%04/14Fujitsu Lifebook T904
Intel Core i7-4600U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
- from $1900 at Amazon
1.60 kg19 mm13.32560x1440glossy
682%12/13Sony Vaio Tap 11
Intel Core i5-4210Y
Intel HD Graphics 4200
4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
- from $649 at Amazon
1.05 kg10 mm11.61920x1080glossy
781%03/14

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S
Intel Core i5-4210Y
Intel HD Graphics 4200
4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD
- from $789 at Amazon

1.37 kg18 mm11.61366x768glossy
880%01/14Asus Transformer Book Trio
Intel Core i7-4500U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, 500+16 GB HDD+SSD
- from $964 at Amazon
1.70 kg23 mm11.61920x1080glossy
980%05/14Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
Intel Pentium N3520
Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $485 at Amazon

1.3 kg15 mm11.61366x768glossy
1080%07/14Asus Transformer Book T300LA
Intel Core i5-4200U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, SSD
- from $1299 at Amazon
1.90 kg23 mm13.31920x1080glossy

Top 10 of the previous 10 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed
Link: all reviewed convertibles ordered by total rating

Editors' Comments

New in first place: Microsoft Surface Pro 3
New in first place: Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Business professional: HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2
Business professional: HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2
Innovative keyboard solution: Dell XPS 11
Innovative keyboard solution: Dell XPS 11
Folding specialist: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Folding specialist: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
When notebook and tablet fuse: Fujitsu Lifebook T904
When notebook and tablet fuse: Fujitsu Lifebook T904
Discontinued: Sony Vaio Tap 11
Discontinued: Sony Vaio Tap 11
Android + Windows: Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
Android + Windows: Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
Entry-level Bay Trail: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
Entry-level Bay Trail: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
With keyboard dock: Asus Transformer Book T300LA
With keyboard dock: Asus Transformer Book T300LA

1st

As with its predecessors, there was a lot of hype before the launch of the latest representative of the Surface series, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. With an Intel Core CPU and a high-res IPS display it follows the previous Pro models and tries to perfectly bridge the gap between notebook and tablet again. It is primarily up to the beholder how well this has been achieved.

In our first test of a US model, we found a robust and stylish magnesium case. Alike the predecessors', it includes a stand, which can be fixed into different positions. The Type Cover is optionally available for a steep $130, but it should not miss in productive use, although it cannot keep up with a good notebook keyboard. In contrast, an active pen is included.

While the display was throughout convincing in our test, thermal restrictions limit the performance under load. If demanding applications are usual, you'll also have to accept increased surface temperatures and a loud system noise. The subjective performance was still very good. The expected battery life is also good. 8-9 hours is to be expected during web browsing via Wi-Fi. Depending on the configuration, the price of this bundle is about $1000. 

2nd

Second place is the HP's EliteBook Revolve 810 G2 that focuses on professional use and uses a familiar convertible solution with a central turn and tilt hinge. In our review, we liked the case, the input devices, and the matte display, although the screen real estate would profit from a higher resolution.

Depending on the configuration, the device also has performance reserves for complex office applications. Unfortunately, the price also increases with the configuration and quickly reaches 2000 Euros (~$2682) and so non-business customers will quickly lose interest. Thanks to a more spacious case compared to many other convertibles, the Revolve 810 G2 does not have problems with prolonged load and always remains at a pleasant temperature and quiet.

3rd

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 throttles at relatively uncritical temperatures. Thanks to a lightning-fast SSD, standard users will not notice this, though.

4th

The 12.5-inch Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 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 (~$1675, cheapest configuration). The only weakness is the 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 (almost) matte touchscreen, stable hardware and long battery life.

5th

Similar to the ThinkPad Yoga, Fujitsu targets well-funded business customers with its Lifebook T904. Instead of a 360-degrees hinge you get a classic single hinge in the center. The expectations are pretty high for 1800 Euros (~$2413). Fujitsu equips its T904 with a Core i7, large SSD, IGZO panel (2560x1440) and Sierra Wireless AirPrime. The mobile CEO gets good input devices, but they cannot quite keep up with the perfect feedback from the EliteBooks or the ThinkPad T-series devices. The panel with very high contrast and razor-sharp details is not perfect: The brightness could be higher (outdoor use) and the viewing angles could be wider.

6th

Sony's Vaio Tap 11 achieved the same total rating of 82% as the T904 in our review. While it features a good display and a slim shape, the battery life of about 5 hours is relatively low, the fan is loud under load and the performance is limited (no CPU Turbo). 

7th

The Haswell upgrade of Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 11S brings significantly longer battery runtimes, but a performance gain is not noticeable. The device is still bulky and heavy in tablet mode, and the keyboard only features a weak feedback. But, the hinge design is clever, the build quality is stable, and the display has wide viewing angles (IPS).

8th

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 one of only two convertibles in our top list with an HDD (eMMC in the tablet).

9th 

Lenovo tries to offer a compact convertible for a small price. The result is the IdeaPad Yoga 2 11, an 11.6-inch device with the frugal and inexpensive Bay Trail platform, hard drive (ultra-thin) and IPS panel with the standard HD resolution. Similar to all Yoga devices you can open the display by 360 degrees, so the keys are facing downwards when you use it as a tablet, which slightly affects the haptic impression. The automatic lowering of the keyboard that we know from the ThinkPad Yoga is not available in this price range. Massive metal hinges, sturdy case and bright IPS display with a good contrast, we like those aspects. Lenovo also uses a conventional HDD instead of an SSD to keep the price down, which affects the system performance. Another positive aspect is the passive cooling solution. So the perfect Windows tablet for the road and your home? Not quite, the bouncy keyboard and the limited port selection may affect the handling quite a bit.

10th

Many pros make the Asus Transformer Book T300LA interesting: high-end metal chassis, good system performance, very long battery runtimes of more than 10 hours in realistic scenarios, and the good display, which, however, is too dark.

You have to do without many features, which the predecessor included: supplement battery and additional hard drive in the keyboard dock. However, the price was slightly decreased, to about 850 Euros (~$1139) now.

Runners-up

Noble: HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
Noble: HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
Huge display: Akoya S6213T MD98716
Huge display: Akoya S6213T MD98716
12.5 inches: Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
12.5 inches: Fujitsu Stylistic Q704

HP is now a manufacturer of convertibles as well. Its Split x2 13-m210eg is a pretty big and heavy device with 13.3-inches and a Core i5-4210Y at 2.2 kilograms (tablet + dock). The tablet can be attached to the dock, which results in a laptop with very decent input devices. The tablet mostly has standard-sized ports, but the tablet does not even have a micro USB port. The high-contrast IPS panel as well as the good battery runtimes are going to please the potential buyer for a very fair price of 850 Euros. You also get a lot of storage thanks to the HDD inside the dock. The Split x2 13 is very quiet, despite its fan, which is hardly audible. The criticism for the Split x2 13 focuses around the ports and the comparatively high weight (tablet 1,000 grams). The Split x2 13 is also not the fastest device, so it loses other points in the final rating.

HP offers a huge convertible with the Envy 15-u001ng x360. The mobility might be an issue for a 15-inch device with a 360 degrees hinge, metal case and a glossy touch panel. The Full HD resolution is up to date, but the same cannot be said about the low contrast and the limited viewing angles of the TN panel, which suffers from the familiar blue cast as well. Still: HP's 15-inch convertible is pretty unique in terms of quality impression (case), performance (Core i5) and the powerful speakers. Drawbacks of the Envy 15-u001ng x360 are the weak feedback during typing, the blue cast, the constantly clattering hard drive as well as the missing maintainability.

Medion offers a huge tablet as well, the Akoya S6213T MD98716. The 15-inch device can also be opened by 360 degrees, but neither the case nor the quality impression can keep up with the HP Envy 15-u001ng x360. Medion focuses on frugal components and manages battery runtimes of more than 10 hours (WLAN test). However, the Intel Pentium N3530 is pretty slow in return. Much better is the Full HD resolution (1920x1080) of the IPS panel with good viewing angles. The contrast is also excellent at 1,535:1, so watching pictures or movies is a real joy. This is just the panel that the Envy 15-u001ng x360 should have. However, the use on the road is limited by the high weight (3.29 kg) and the tricky Connect-X module.

Dell's Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme is a special solution for business customers and therefore an outsider. Its concept is completely based on outdoor capabilities, stability and a high resistance against sun, dust, temperatures as well as humidity. It works pretty well in these scenarios, but only manages a low spot in our consumer-oriented ranking.

The Fujitsu Stylistic Q704 is the successor of the Stylistic Q702, which was launched in the end of 2013 and also used a keyboard dock with an attachable tablet. The formerly slightly boxy design is now replaced by a more delicate case made of different plastics and a weight of just 1,000 grams. The 12.5-inch device is designed for business customers and gets the full hardware from a subnotebook: Intel Core i5-4300U, Samsung SSD. The Haswell hardware requires an active cooling solution, Fujitsu throttles the CPU in the Eco setting to 800 MHz to reduce the noise development. The input devices are usable, but don't offer the good feedback we usually expect from business devices. A positive aspect is the comprehensive list of features with LTE/GPS and a stylus pen. The very bright IPS display (1920x1080) with accurate colors is a real eye-catcher, but Fujitsu unfortunately did not manage to equip the touch panel with an anti-reflective coating.

Recent Convertible Awards

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

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HP Elitebook Revolve 810 G2
Dell XPS 11
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga
Fujitsu Lifebook T904
Sony Vaio Tap 11
Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11s
Asus Transformer Book Trio
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
Asus Transformer Book T300LA
Screen
Brightness Center355.3406404259407329360340229
Black Level *.330.280.520.160.490.410.50.450.27
Contrast107714507771619831802720756848
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *4.728.844.278.856.413.354.24.5
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *6.538.244.328.16.34.612.965.52
Gamma *2.174.7722.673.152.542.372.352.42
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)59.37674060616062.59
Noise
Idle Minimum *30.128.029.629.629.629.63030.628.2
Idle Average *30.228.029.629.629.629.63030.731.928.2
Idle Maximum *30.434.429.629.629.629.630.232.229.3
Load Average *31.932.932.232.240.236.635.939.431.932.7
Load Maximum *44.434.734.537.140.436.636.140.631.932.7
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *45.242.63643.239.13539.640.442.339.9
Maximum Bottom *46.440.239.746.134.142.152.540.84040.6
Idle Upper Side *35.230.430.927.726.327.128.630.131.532.2
Idle Bottom *34.431.833.228.125.730.331.131.738.729.4
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle10966181055446625450502863
Load124118120124135116185146
WiFi504362378372411313387291290653
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *2.13.132.743.363.83.3
Idle Average *4.47.4767.177.77.05.6
Idle Maximum *4.67.47.96.27.18.37.97.27.8
Load Average *24.717.228.92416.422.833.714.621.8
Load Maximum *31.119292416.623.430.116.228.1

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HP Elitebook Revolve 810 G2
Dell XPS 11
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga
Fujitsu Lifebook T904
Sony Vaio Tap 11
Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11s
Asus Transformer Book Trio
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
Asus Transformer Book T300LA
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance877744525790747264703
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score2922931564192863545020149385262045026490
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score483473253273636132439
PCMark 7
Score5066413140095162483736613694290618514357
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2239414191918
Work Score Accelerated v2371113942348

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

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-09-19 (Update: 2014-09-19)