Digital Trends – Hybrid Laptops

Posted on Posted in Tech & Gadgets

Trends has been something that comes and goes in our lives. Sometimes they last long, most often not. And they come in different varieties and medium, from fashion to music, and even art.

Therefore, its no surprise that digital trends has also been set in today’s technologically progressive era. Smartphones, wearables, social media, games – there’s a lot going on in this digital age, and I’m here to showcase to you one of the latest technological trends this 2016 – hybrid laptops.

What are hybrid laptops?

Essentially they’re 2-in-1 laptops; one that can function as both tablet and laptop. Tablets were first popularized as a digital trend early on in 2010 – after the first introduction of the iPad. And the tablet industry has bloomed since then – with a lot of tablet devices being introduced over the years.

Steve Jobs
First gen. Apple iPad introduced by Steve Jobs in 2010

But the issue right now is this: Tablet devices as of the moment have some sort of identity crisis; they are neither portable enough to use as smartphones nor powerful enough to replace laptops. And with today’s popularity of phablet phones (iPhone 6s+ and the upcoming Galaxy Note 7, to give a few examples), there’s really no adherent benefit in getting a tablet for the average consumer today – since they basically offer the same functionality as smartphones – only larger (which everyone most likely have by now).

This is where hybrid laptops come in; These are essentially full-blown laptops (with both laptop grade specs as well as operating system). They outclass regular tablets in both performance as well as functionality – in a form factor that’s as portable as any regular tablet that you may have.

Early implementations of these kind of laptops were sort of hit-or-miss. Most of them were too-large or heavy to function as tablets, and/or lacked the proper software to fully take advantage of the tablet interface (cough Windows 8, cough).

However, with the introduction of the very first Surface Pro device by Microsoft, the compromise between tablet and laptop slowly began to fade. Running a full-blown Windows (8.1 at that time), the Surface Pro is essentially a laptop on a tablet form-factor, with its flip-cover doubling as a keyboard to better mimic laptop use.

Fast-forward to 2016, and the technology just kept getting better. With further refinement to both hardware as well as software – now having a separate tablet mode in Windows 10 (allowing users to switch between normal laptop as well as tablet operations unlike in 8/8.1), and also with the introduction of Chromebooks that can run Android applications, the future of these hybrid laptops looks bright – befitting as a digital trend this 2016.

To showcase to you some of the best hybrid laptops available (or upcoming) on the market today, here are some of my personal recommendations:

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 comes on top in my list of recommendations for hybrid laptops. With most of the issue that plagued it along with its brother device fixed (Surface Book), the Surface Pro 4 now definitely is a solid performer.

It has the specs, form-factor, and brand support for both your hardware and software concerns (more than anything the absence of any 3rd party bloat software). It’s not cheap; but its still far from being the most expensive laptop out there.

The Surface Pro 4 just checks everything that you may need in a laptop in a form factory that undeniably comes from a tablet. Just don’t go expecting to play heavy games on this device – as it only comes in with an integrated graphics processor.

The device comes with different configurations. Base spec includes: 12.3″ 2k display (2736 x 1824), 6th Gen Intel Core m3/i5/i7, 4/8/16GB RAM and 128/256/512GB or 1TB SSD storage. More info on link provided here.

2. Microsoft Surface Book

In second comes Microsoft’s powerhouse device – the Surface Book. Like the Surface Pro 4, the major issues that plagued the device has been fixed. Regardless of its shortcomings, the Surface Book is undoubtedly a beast of a device – coming in full-spec’d in its introduction, with an additional battery, full-backlit keyboard and graphics card in its keyboard compartment should the need arises. Both this and the Surface Pro 4 also comes with a free digitalizer.

One thing to keep in mind is that the device is downright expensive – rivaling it along with its direct competitor, the Macbook Pro.

The device comes with different configurations. Base spec includes: 13.5″ 2k display (3000 x 2000), 6th Gen Core i5/i7, 8/16GB RAM, 128/256/512GB or 1TB SSD storage and NVIDIA GeForce GPU with 1GB GDDR5 memory (when connected to keyboard dock). More info on link provided here.

3. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga

If Microsoft’s inexperience when it comes to manufacturing their own hardware concerns you, and prefer to have a device with a product line that can rival Apple’s own Macbooks, then look no further for the Thinkpad X1 Yoga from Lenovo.

Thinkpad devices have been known for their sleek-black professional looks and durable build quality. There’s no reason to think that the X1 Yoga is not the same. And with the continuous popularity of 2-in-1 devices, its no surprise that the Thinkpad also gets to have their own take on a hybrid device.

The Thinkpad X1 Yoga is a flip device, popularized by Lenovo’s own Yoga lineup (where the screen’s hinge can be rotated to 360 degrees). And unlike with Surface device, the keyboard is non-removable.

While this may seem like it will affect the device’s tablet functionality, it is worth noting that the Thinkpad X1 Yoga is ultimately a laptop-first device, being an ultrabook with 14″ display. Still, the X1 Yoga should provide its user with a decent tablet experience, especially when viewing media content – thanks to its OLED display.

The device comes with different configurations. Base spec includes: 14″ FHD or 2k display, 6th Gen Core i5/i7, 8/16GB RAM, 128/256 or 1TB SSD storage and Intel HD Graphics 520. More info on link provided here.

4. Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

If you’re really after the Surface form factor – but don’t want the Surface devices for some reason (expensive, OEM concerns), the next best option would have to be one of Samsung’s newest offerings in the hybrid laptop realm – the Galaxy TabPro S (could have been named better, honestly).

Coming from an indisputable brand, Samsung’s latest offering is undeniably attractive, and could possible be their next major hit after their Galaxy S and Note series.

What sets this apart from the Surface Pro 4 is that its both lighter (693g vs 766g/786g), thinner (6.3mm vs 8.45mm) and cheaper (approx $800 at Amazon vs $899 for Surface’s cheapest offering) – without any compromise to build quality.

Performance does take a toll on the TabPro S – coming with only a core M option, unlike in Surface Pro which comes with i5 or i7 offerings. Regardless, the TabPro S is definitely a solid contender in the hybrid realm.

Base spec includes: 12″ 2k sAMOLED display (2160 x 1440), Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB RAM and 128/256GB SSD storage. More info on link provided here.

5. Huawei Matebook

Huawei may not be known as a laptop manufacturer, but its latest offering with the Matebook may change that. The Huawei Matebook, like the Surface Pro 4 and more so the Samsung TabPro S, is a Windows 10 tablet that comes with an flip-cover that also acts as a keyboard/touchpad.

Starting at $699 for its cheapest offering, the Matebook could very well be the cheapest hybrid laptop you can get at the market once released this July 11 in the US. However, this is only for the tablet itself. The cover and digitalizer will cost the consumer $129 and $59 respectively, so overall a complete package will cost almost the same as the Samsung TabPro S (at least there’s the option to get each separately).

One advantage this device has over Samsung’s offering is that the Matebook comes with several configurations – ranging from $699 to a whooping $1599 for the highest offering. All offerings also comes with Intel’s new core M processors instead of more powerful I series, so keep that in mind.

Overall, despite Huawei being new in the laptop industry, the Matebook still gives consumers a solid offering as both a tablet and a laptop. And if you’re still unsure about Huawei’s overall capability as a manufacturer, just remember that these guys are the ones responsible for Google’s current flagship device, the Nexus 6P.

The device comes with different configurations. Base spec includes: 12″ TFT display (2160 x 1440), Intel Core m3/m5/m7 processor, 4/8GB RAM and 128/256/512GB SSD storage. More info on link provided here.

If more than anything else, the devices showcased above proves my point; that hybrid laptops is an ongoing  progressive trend – and they will only keep getting better. And for laptop OEM’s, this is definitely a trend they don’t want to miss.

Disclaimer:  All products showcased above are of my personal recommendations based on my reviews – and in no part will I claim any responsibility for any mischieving provided by any of the showcased devices above.

All YouTube video credit goes to CNET respectively. You can check out more on their content on the link provided here.

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