Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles

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

April 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 Convertible Charts, Stand April 2014Notebookcheck Convertibles Chart as of April 2014

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUOSRAMDiskPrice/Buy
101/1484%Dell XPS 11-9P331.13 kg11.6" 2560x1440 glossyIntel Core i5 4210YWindows 8 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1000 Euro via Dell
-09/1384%HP EliteBook Revolve 8101.35 kg11.6" 1366x768 glossyIntel Core i5 3437UWindows 8 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1599 Euro

-01/1484%Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga1.6 kg12.5" 1920x1080 mattIntel Core i5 4200UWindows 8 Pro 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1249 Euro
209/1383%Dell XPS 12 ULT1.52 kg12.5" 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i7 4650UWindows 8 64 Bit8 GBSSDstarting at 1299 Euro


3new82%Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (Haswell)1.37 kg11.6" 1366x768 glossyIntel Core i5 4210YWindows 8 64 Bit8 GBSSDstarting at 799 Euro
401/1481%Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA1.7 kg11.6" 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i7 4500U / 
Intel Atom Z2560
Windows 8 64 Bit / Android 4.24 GBHDDstarting at 1099 Euro
-11/1381%Samsung ATIV Tab 3 XE300TZC-K01DE0.6 kg10.1" 1366x768 glossyIntel Atom Z2760Windows 8 64 Bit2 GBSSDstarting at 499 Euro
511/1380%HP Spectre 13-h205eg x21.52 kg13.3" 1920x1080 glossyIntel Core i5 4202YWindows 8.1 64 Bit4 GB SSDstarting at 1080 Euro

-12/1380%Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro1.4 kg13.3" 3200x1800 glossyIntel Core i5 4200UWindows 8 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 1299 Euro
-08/1380%Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX21.13 kg11.6" 1920x1080 mattIntel Core i5 3427UWindows 8 Pro 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 2099 Euro

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

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUOSRAMDiskPrice/Buy
new04/1475%HP Pavilion 11-h000sg1.6 kg11.6" 1366x768 glossyIntel Pentium N3510Windows 8 64 Bit4 GBSSDstarting at 579 Euro
new04/1469%Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14D1.88 kg14" 1366x768 glossyAMD E-Series E1-2100Windows 8.1 64 Bit4 GBHDDstarting at 399 Euro

Further tests of each month - current tests are listed first

Editors' Comments

Platz 1: Dell XPS 11-9P33
Platz 1: Dell XPS 11-9P33
Platz 1: HP EliteBook Revolve 810
Platz 1: HP EliteBook Revolve 810
Platz 1: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Platz 1: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Dell XPS 12 ULT
Dell XPS 12 ULT
Neu: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (Haswell)
Neu: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (Haswell)
Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2
Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2

The update of our rating system to version 4.0 brought some changes to our Top 10. Many familiar devices remain, since the best convertibles cannot suddenly become bad. We reevaluated the formerly best devices of this category with version 4. New thresholds and a better differentiation between sufficient and very good resulted in a lower rating for all devices.

Dell's XPS 11-9P33 is first. 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.

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.

Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga joins the EliteBook Revolve 810, which achieved the same rating in our test. With 12.5-inches, the ThinkPad Yoga is slightly bigger than the Revolve. 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 (almost) matte touchscreen, stable hardware and long battery life.

The Dell's XPS 12 ULT, a Haswell update review, 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).

Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 11S Haswell model is new in our Top 10. The upgrade brings significantly longer battery runtimes, but a performance gain is not noticeable. The device is still bulky and heavy in tablet 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).

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).

Samsung's ATIV Tab 3 XE300TZC-K01DE is still in our Top 10 because of its long battery runtimes, its very good display with S-Pen pen input and docking keyboard for prolific writers. In terms of technology, the 10-incher with Intel Atom Z2760 has long been surpassed by Bay Trail. As the successor SoC is signifcantly faster and mostly cheaper, we can only conditionally recommend the ATIV Tab 3.

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 plastics. 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.

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

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Convertibles
Author: Redaktion, 2014-03-14 (Update: 2014-04-24)