It’s back-to-school time, and that means it’s time to look for a laptop that’s both productive and convenient for school. Just like fashion, technology also has its seasonal changes and the latest trend for mobile tech are devices that act as a hybrid laptop and tablet called a convertible notebook. These devices combine the touch-screen, lightweight architecture of a tablet, but they also offer the convenience of a latched keyboard like a laptop. With Windows 8.1 coming out soon, students can also take advantage of the latest operating system that’s desktop, laptop, and tablet-friendly. Here’s a rundown of 5 convertible notebooks we can recommend for back to school buyers in 2013.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Lenovo is a brand known to build laptops that can take a beating. For this reason Lenovo premium laptops can be a good choice for students who tend to be be a little too rougher on their gadgets. The IdeaPad Yoga comes with a full, 360-degree 13” flip screen and the display is touch-screen. What’s neat about this device is its integrated webcam with motion control. The student can flip to hands-free control and use the webcam to fast-forward or rewind music, flip through pages and change the volume.
Other standard additions are 8GB of DDR3 memory, two USB ports, an SD/MMC card reader, headphone and microphone ports, and an HDMI-out port to connect the tablet to a monitor or TV. The IdeaPad Yoga also comes with the standard Wi-Fi, keyboard, touchpad and Bluetooth technology.
Where to Buy: Lenovo.com for $899
HP ENVY x2
The HP ENVY x2 has a sleek, aluminum finish with an 11.6” screen size that’s great for students needing portability. It comes with a battery for the keyboard and the tablet for a full day of power, so students don’t need to carry around extra batteries.
The HP ENVY x2 comes with NFC technology. NFC connects tablets and notebooks together using airwaves, so students can swap images and notes just from being in close proximity with each other. Place two NFC-capable devices together, and NFC transfers the data from one device to the other.
The HP ENVY x2 also comes with a 128GB solid state drive, Beats Audio dual speakers, an 8.0MP camera, and starts at 2GB of DDR2 RAM. It includes two USB ports, an HDMI-out port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, an audio jack, and an SD Card slot.
Where to Buy: HP.com for $699.99
Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook
The Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook offers a durable architecture with a sleek design and vibrant screen. To protect the 12.6” touch-screen, the Ultrabook has a frame connected to the tablet, so students can flip the screen without accidentally dropping it.
This convertible device includes Intel’s Smart Connect. Intel has some of the most innovative and powerful technology for laptop portability. Intel Smart Connect updates email, social networking pages and contacts even when the device is in sleep mode.
The Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook also includes Wi-Fi, a 256GB solid state hard drive, two USB ports, headphone and microphone ports, and a choice of 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 memory.
Where to Buy: Dell.com for $1,099
Asus is often on the cutting edge of technology innovation and isn’t afraid to take risks, and the Asus Taichi is no exception. What’s unique about this device is its dual-sided screen. No need to flip the 11.6” touch-screen, but it’s still an option. It’s extremely light, and the dual-sided screen lets students switch between laptop and tablet mode with one finger. It also offers the power of Intel’s i7 CPU chipset.
The Asus Taichi comes with a mini-VGA port, HDMI-out, audio ports and a 5M camera. Full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included, and the device has 4GB DDR3 RAM.
Where to Buy: Asus Taichi for $999 at Amazon.com
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
Lenovo makes it twice on the list for its ThinkPad Helix. This device has several modes as opposed to only two. The ThinkPad Helix can transform into a laptop, tablet, standing mode, and a tablet plus mode that offers additional power and ports. The 11.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) touch-screen has 10-finger, precise control.
The ThinkPad Helix comes with pen support, dual cameras and Dolby Home Theater sound. For protection, it has advanced encryption and lockout support.
Also included are three USB ports, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a choice of 128GB, 180GB or 256GB hard drive and Wi-Fi support.
Where to Buy: Lenovo.com for $1,511.10
These five portable devices are more expensive than laptop and tablet counterparts, but given their flexibility as both a laptop and tablet they can be a student’s best resource for notes, storing documents and sharing pictures with friends.