10 Brand Name Hybrid Notebooks Worth Checking Out

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-06-28
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Brand Name Hybrid Notebooks Worth Checking Out
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    10 Brand Name Hybrid Notebooks Worth Checking Out

    Hardware makers are trying to take advantage of one of the few bright spots in the slumping PC market: two-in-one hybrids. eWEEK picks out 10 of the most desirable hybrids.
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    Let's Kick Things Off With the HP Pavilion x360
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    Let's Kick Things Off With the HP Pavilion x360

    The HP Pavilion x360 Convertible Laptop is one of the more recognizable devices in this roundup. Like all the others, the device can be used in tablet and notebook modes. The Pavilion x360 comes in the customer's choice of screen size, runs on Windows 10 Home and offers the Intel Core i3 in its 15.6-inch model. HP tries to differentiate the device by delivering top-notch sound, thanks to its HP Audio Boost and custom-tuned speakers, courtesy of "experts" at B&O Play. Pricing on the x360 starts at $430, depending on the version customers buy.
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    Bring On the Brand-New Lenovo Yoga 900S
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    Bring On the Brand-New Lenovo Yoga 900S

    The Lenovo Yoga 900S isn't the most popular hybrid in this roundup, but it's a nice option for many consumers. The device runs on the Intel Core M processor and offers Windows 10 Home out of the box. Customers will also find up to 8GB of memory, and the device can support up to a 256GB solid-state drive. The 900S has a 12-inch, quad-HD screen and, in addition to touch inputs, also works with a stylus. One other tidbit: It lasts 10.5 hours on a single charge. Pricing starts at $1,099.
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    HP Offers Another Hybrid Option, the Spectre x360
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    HP Offers Another Hybrid Option, the Spectre x360

    HP is one of the more prolific hybrid-makers. In addition to the Pavilion x360, the company also sells the Spectre x360. That hybrid, which starts at $900, comes in the customer's choice of a 13.3- or 15.6-inch screen size. Customers will also find a "geared hinge" that allows for free movement from a notebook to a tablet, and like the Lenovo Yoga 900S, the device supports a stylus. Best of all, it offers up to 12.5 hours on a single battery charge and doesn't slouch on power. It can be configured with 16GB of RAM.
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    Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga Is Flexible
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    Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga Is Flexible

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is designed with corporate customers in mind. The 14-inch screen tops out at a 2K resolution and weighs just 2.8 pounds for enhanced portability. Customers can also configure the computer with an Intel Core i7 vPro processor, and Windows 10 Pro comes built-in. The ThinkPad X1 can hold its charge for 11 hours, and customers can get up to 16GB of onboard memory. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga starts at the rather odd price of exactly $1,394.10.
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    Microsoft Joins the Market With Surface Book
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    Microsoft Joins the Market With Surface Book

    Competing devices might be running on Microsoft's operating system, but that hasn't stopped the company from building its own hybrid. Known as the Surface Book, the Microsoft device weighs as little as 3.3 pounds, depending on its configuration, and can run up to an Intel Core i7 processor. The Surface Book offers 12 hours of battery life and support for a stylus, and, of course, runs Windows 10. The Surface Book is designed for both consumers and enterprise customers, which is likely why there is such a wide price variation: The computer starts at $1,500, and the highest-end version goes for $3,199.
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    Dell XPS 12 Comes With Detachable Screen
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    Dell XPS 12 Comes With Detachable Screen

    Dell has gotten into the mix with its XPS 12 two-in-one hybrid. Unlike some of the other options in this roundup, the XPS 12 doesn't come with a hinge for free-moving transitions from notebook to tablet modes. Instead, it has a detachable 12-inch, 4K screen. So, users can decide to either attach the screen to the keyboard or remove the display and use it as a tablet. Regardless, customers will find Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, sixth-generation Intel Core M processors, up to 256GB of solid-state memory and more. Prices start at $1,000.
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    Asus Transformer Book Chi Supports Touch, Stylus Inputs
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    Asus Transformer Book Chi Supports Touch, Stylus Inputs

    The Asus Transformer Book Chi is yet another hybrid that supports both touch and stylus input. The device is exceedingly thin at just 0.3 inches and weighs only 2.4 pounds if customers choose the T100 model (the T300 weighs 3.2 pounds). The Chi offers up to 10 hours of battery life and, like the Dell XPS 12, has a detachable keyboard. It should be noted that the Chi ships with Windows 8.1 out of the box, though it can be upgraded to Windows 10 once it's home. With a starting price of $259, the Chi is ideal for those who want an ultrathin, lightweight hybrid.
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    Dell Goes Big With Inspiron 17 7000
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    Dell Goes Big With Inspiron 17 7000

    As its name might suggest, the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 comes with a big, 17-inch screen. In addition, customers will find an option for a discrete graphics chip, up to 1TB of storage, the sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and much more. The Inspiron 17 7000, in other words, is one of the most powerful hybrids in this roundup and, unlike many of the others, is designed for resource-heavy tasks instead of portability. One might be surprised, though, that pricing starts at $899.
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    Acer Chromebook R 11 Shares in Chrome OS' Popularity
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    Acer Chromebook R 11 Shares in Chrome OS' Popularity

    Even Google's Chrome OS has benefited from hybrid popularity. Acer, for instance, sells the Chromebook R 11. The computer, which costs just $280, won't be a powerful option for customers, running on Intel's Celeron processor. However, with built-in virus protection, a lightweight design at under 3 pounds and Chrome OS out of the box, it's a standout in a market dominated by Microsoft and Windows.
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    Sony's Vaio Z Flip Is Thin and Lightweight
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    Sony's Vaio Z Flip Is Thin and Lightweight

    Sony has pitched the Vaio Z Flip as the stylish option customers would want in a hybrid. In fact, the device has been manufactured with a combination of aluminum and carbon to create one of the sleekest designs in this roundup. Customers will also find support for a stylus, Windows 10 Home, an Intel Iris Graphics chip and a 13.3-inch quad-HD display in the base model. The highest-end version runs on Windows 10 Pro and has an Intel Core i7, among other improvements. Regardless of the option customers choose, they'll be dishing out some serious cash. The base model starts at $1,800.
 

The PC market has been in decline over the past several years, due to plummeting demand for tablets, longer notebook and laptop refresh cycles, and a lack of enthusiasm for upgrading to new Windows versions. However, there has been one bright spot—two-in-one hybrids. Research firm IDC estimates that the devices, which can be used as notebooks or tablets, could see their year-over-year shipments rise 73 percent in 2016 and continue to surge through 2020. Along the way, hybrids will prop up the ailing PC market and become the most desirable computer type, according to analysts. Several features make hybrids appealing, including their light and compact designs, their versatility and their attractive value for the price. Unfortunately, in their attempt to grab an early advantage from the rising popularity of hybrids, some hardware makers tried to make a quick buck, but did so at the expense of delivering a quality product. So this slide show cherry-picks some of the more popular, higher quality hybrids available now to help prospective buyers separate the hybrid wheat from the chaff. Read on to learn more.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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