Best laptop tablet combos – hybrid tablet laptops compared

The line between laptop and tablet is becoming increasingly blurred, whether it’s tablets with keyboards or laptops aping tablets. The launch of Windows 8 / Windows RT, Microsoft’s new operating systems designed for touch input, has only accelerated this trend – read our in-depth guide to Windows 8 for more details.

Below we’ve rounded-up five of the best laptop tablet combos we’ve seen thus far, including ones we’ve reviewed and others we’ll be testing soon.

And if you’re looking for a new laptop or tablet, don’t forget to read out our free guide to how to buy the best laptop buyers guide and the free tablet buyers’ guide to help you choose the right one for you.

Microsoft Surface RT with keyboard cover


Microsoft’s first tablet comes with the stripped back version of Windows, called Windows RT. This means you are restricted to using apps available through Microsoft’s app store, but it has Microsoft Office pre-installed so you can edit Word docs, create presentations in PowerPoint and work on Excel spreadsheets just like on your PC or laptop.

Two optional keyboard covers – £99.99 for the Touch cover and £109.99 for the Type cover (pictured) – make it easier to  do this and give the Surface RT its laptop tablet hybrid credentials.

Is the Surface RT right for you? Try Which? for £1 to find out how it performed in our rigorous lab tests, including how its battery life and screen compare to the iPad, in our full Microsoft Surface RT review.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Another tablet with an attachable keyboard, the Transformer Prime is the follow up to the original Asus Transformer. This dock provides a proper keyboard so typing should be easy, as well as an additional battery so it will last longer, though does double the weight to over 1kg in the process.

Running on the Android operating system, it might not have the same access to professional software and the Surface RT, but Android has more apps than Windows at present so there’s probably an app for what you need somewhere.

Sony Vaio Duo 11

Sony Vaio Duo 11

An ultrabook that can convert into a tablet, the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is much more powerful than most tablets and is a serious product with a serious £1,000 price tag to match. It uses the slider method of swapping between laptop and tablet and comes running the Windows 8 operating system.

We first got to grips with this laptop tablet combo back at IFA 2012l. For more information and to watch our video review, head over to our Sony Vaio Duo 11 first look.

Dell XPS Duo 12

Dell XPS Duo 12

The Dell XPS Duo 12 might share a bit of its name with the Sony laptop/tablet combo above, but it’s a very different product. Dell has gone for a flipping screen style of hybrid that looks impressive, although our lab has yet to to see how it performs in real life.

Find out more in our Dell XPS Duo 12 first look from IFA 2012.

Toshiba Satellite U920T

Toshiba Satellite U920T

Like the Sony above, the U920T uses the slider method for swapping between tablet and laptop, although unlike some of its rivals this movement feels robust, which is a nice change. The Toshiba also impresses when it comes to specifications, with the latest Intel processors and a solid state drive for fast access to your files.

We saw the laptop tablet combo back at IFA 2012, read our Toshiba Satellite U920T first look for our impressions of the product.

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Categories: Laptops, Tablets

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4 replies

  1. I’m intrigued by your suggestion that because the Asus runs on Android it might ‘not have access to professional software’. What on earth is that supposed to mean? That only Microsoft Office is somehow ‘professional’.
    The Asus is the truly wonderful star in this bunch, £399 – quad core processor, 32Gig memory out of the box and with slots for memory cards mine now has 224Gig of memory. Two batteries. Use as a true tablet or a laptop.

    1. Hi Peter,

      What we mean by professional is access to the same software commonly used in workplaces. There are lots apps that can perform similar functions and can save documents in the same file formats, but many people feel more comfortable using the same software they have at work.

  2. @ Tim
    That is not the normal meaning of ‘professional’ – ‘might not have access to professional software’ implies that potentially only amateur software is available. There is a lot of ‘professional software’ that is not business software. If you mean ‘common business software’ then say so, but please don’t imply that all other software is non-professional! The text of the item needs correction.

  3. The Asus Transformer Prime is a year old. In making these comparisons you should base them on the Transformer Infinity with its full HD screen and more reliable GPS/WiFI.

    On the question of ‘professional software’, the version of Office supplied with the Surface RT is NOT the same as that on Windows 8, but a lookalike version that works on the ARM chip that powers the Surface. Among many differences it does not support automation through Macro/VBA programs or addins, which may be a deal breaker for ‘professional’ users. FURTHERMORE the licence for Office RT on the Surface is a ‘Home and Student’ licence that specifically FORBIDS Business use. Really big businesses will be OK if they have a company wide Enterprise licence for Office, but smaller ones will be breaking the law if they use this without buying another Office licence.

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