What is the Best Convertible Laptop?

A convertible laptop combines the versatility of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet. Or at least it should. Some convertible laptops work best as tablets. Others work best as laptops. There are very few options to work well as both a laptop and a tablet. It is easy to find a convertible laptop that excels in one and falters in the other. Those who own such products inevitably end up using it mostly in the way that it works best. For instance, if you have a convertible laptop that doesn’t have a very good touchscreen, you’ll probably end up using it laptop mode 95 percent of the time. Products that lack versatility often defeat the purpose of having convertible functionality. It is important to read reviews and carefully assess options when choosing a convertible laptop to ensure you find one that suits all your needs. Based on internet and marketplace reviews, there are two options that stand out above the rest. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and the Sony VAIO Duo both make a strong case for being the best convertible laptop on the market. This is because they each have found ways to excel at being both a laptop and a tablet.

There are multiple configuration options for both the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and the Sony VAIO Duo. Your personal needs and your budget will determine which is the best convertible laptop for you. There are also some key features that each brand offers that you should factor in to your decision.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Review

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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is a candidate for best convertible laptop based on—you guessed it—its superb flexibility. The screen of the Yoga can be positioned anywhere within the 360 degree turning radius. The Yoga has four official form modes: notebook mode, stand mode (theater mode), tablet mode, and watch mode (presentation mode). The notebook mode and tablet mode are what you would expect, and the Yoga delivers well in both categories. The stand mode pivots the lower case below and behind the display to act as a stand for viewing photos or movies. The watch mode pivots the lower case above and behind the screen and best utilized when making presentations to small groups. With so much flexibility, you might think things could get pretty confusing. However, the Yoga is also pretty clever and adapts to each position well, including automatically orienting the screen position. If you would rather take control, there is also a screen rotation lock to prevent the screen orientation from changing.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga includes all the features you would expect out of either a laptop or a tablet, including an integrated 720p camera and microphone for video communication, a 10-finger multi-touch display, LED backlighting, trackpad, Bluetooth 4.0, and wireless LAN. There are many input options, including HDMI, USB 3.0, 2-in-1 memory card reader (SD/MMC), and headphone inputs. The Yoga comes with Windows 8 installed, providing an immersive experience in every mode in which you choose to use it. The 1600x900 HD+IPS display ensures you will have crisp images at every viewing angle.

Another noteworthy feature of the Yoga is Lenovo Motion Control, which utilizes the built-in camera to allow hand gesture control of common functions. For example, you can easily flip the page of an ebook or document just with the flick of your hand. Hand gestures can also be used to rewind or fast-forward through music or movies, or to adjust the volume level.

The 13.3-inch Yoga comes in multiple configurations to suit your needs. All processor options are from the 3rd generation Intel Core lineup. The lower end options include 1.8 GHz Core i5 processors. The top of the line option includes a 2 GHz Core i7 processor, which is sure to be sufficient for all but the most demanding computing needs. All options include Intel HD 4000 graphics. Storage options range from 128 GB to 256 GB SSD, while memory ranges from 4 GB to 8 GB. The solid-state hard drive enables rapid response from sleep mode, waking up in just 10 seconds. The battery life provides 8 hours of continuous use. The dimensions of the Yoga break down to 13.1” x 8.9” x 0.67” and it weighs in at just 3.3 pounds. Lenovo also provides excellent customer support and includes a standard one-year warranty with the Yoga. The Yoga is available in Silver Gray and Clementine Orange colors. With all these features, it’s hard to argue with the Yoga being one of the best convertible laptops.

Specs & Configurations:

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Clementine Orange)
  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5-3337U ULV Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Silver Gray)
  • 1.9 GHz Intel Core i3-3227U ULV Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Silver Gray)
  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5-3337U ULV Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256 GB Solid-State Drive

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Silver Gray)
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7-3537U ULV Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256 GB Solid-State Drive


Sony VAIO Duo Review

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Sony VAIO Duo is more expensive than the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, but if your budget can afford it, it may very well be your best convertible laptop option. The VAIO Duo provides exceptional versatility. It includes both laptop and tablet modes, and even includes a stylus to write, draw, and tap with precision on the 13.3-inch display. The VAIO Duo includes all top-of-the-line features, such as a TRILUMINOS IPS touchscreen in full HD resolutions (1920x1080), and the body is made of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber body, which is the same stuff used in the bodies of race cars, provides the benefit of making the Duo very light weight yet very strong as well. It weighs just 2.93 pounds and measures in at 13.00” x 0.77” x 8.27”.

The Sony VAIO Duo scores well in terms of processing power with the included 4th generation Intel Core processors. The base model includes a 1.6 GHz i5 processor that increases to 2.6 GHz with Turbo Boost technology. The higher end models include 1.7 and 1.8 GHz i7 processors, maxing out at 3.0 and 3.3 GHz, respectively, with Turbo Boost enabled. Hard drive space ranges from 128 GB to 512 GB SSD, while memory ranges from 4 GB to 8 GB. Graphics are powered by Intel HD 4000 graphics in the lower models and HD 5000 graphics in the higher end models. Audio is supported by Intel High Definition Audio with ClearAudio+. Combined with the impressive 1920x1080 LED-backlit, TRILUMINOS IPS display, the Duo becomes one of the best options for portable movie viewing.

The VAIO Duo includes many other features including a front HD camera and a rear 8.0MP camera, as well as internal dual microphones. HDMI and headphone outputs are included, along with UBS 3.0 and a Memory Stick PRO Duo media slot and SD memory card slot. It includes a full-sized keyboard with LED-backlit keys and a gesture-supported trackpad. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are standard, and AT&T Wireless 4G LTE mobile broadband support is optionally included on some models. You’ll also have all-day battery life, with the 10-hr lithium ion battery. Windows 8 is pre-installed, and the VAIO Duo comes with a full one-year warrant from Sony. The VAIO Duo is available in White or Carbon Black.

Specs & Configurations:

Sony VAIO Duo SVD13213CXB 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black)
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive

Sony VAIO Duo SVD13213CXW 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (White)
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive

Sony VAIO Duo SVD13215PXB 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black)
  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-4500U
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256 GB Solid-State Drive

Sony VAIO Duo SVD13215PXW 13.3-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Ultrabook (White)
  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-4500U
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256 GB Solid-State Drive


Comparison

Both the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and the Sony VAIO Duo are excellent options, but which is the best convertible laptop? The answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. Use the comparison list below to find out which is the best convertible laptop for you:

Display

IdeaPad Yoga: 13.3-inch, 1600 x 900 resolution, IPS, LED-backlit
VAIO Duo: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution, IPS, LED-backlit

Verdict: If resolution is very important to you, the VAIO Duo is your best option. The IdeaPad Yoga, however, provides better viewing angles.

Performance

IdeaPad Yoga: Up to 2 GHz Core i7 processor (3rd generation)
VAIO Duo: Up to 1.8 GHz Core i7 processor (4th generation)

Verdict: The newer processors in the VAIO Duo provide improved performance and better battery life. The IdeaPad Yoga still provides ample performance for everyday tasks.

Battery Life

IdeaPad Yoga: Up to 8 hours
VAIO Duo: Up to 10 hours

Verdict: Both provide good battery life, but the VAIO Duo is the clear winner in this category.

Price

IdeaPad Yoga: Up to $1,399 MSRP
VAIO Duo: Up to $1,899 MSRP

Verdict: The IdeaPad Yoga is the most budget-friendly option. The lowest cost VAIO Duo model is about the same price as the highest cost IdeaPad Yoga model.

Laptop Use

Verdict: The IdeaPad Yoga provides the closest experience to using an actual laptop. The VAIO Duo is limited in this regard by a lack of screen adjustment in laptop mode and a small trackpad.

Tablet Use

Verdict: The VAIO Duo provides more features you’d expect in a tablet, such as front and rear camera and optional 4G support. The IdeaPad Yoga functions well as a tablet but without these added features.

Flexibility

Verdict: The IdeaPad Yoga provides the most overall flexibility, functioning well as both a laptop and a tablet, as well as offering two additional modes. The VAIO Duo provides additionally flexibility with the included stylus.


Conclusions

Both the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and the Sony VAIO Duo are excellent candidates for best convertible laptop. Each offers unique features that should be considered to determine which one will work best for you. If price and flexibility are most important, the
IdeaPad Yoga is likely your best choice. If you need top-of-the-line features and plan to primarily use tablet mode, the VAIO Duo may be the best convertible laptop for you.