Should I Get a Laptop/Tablet Hybrid?

I’m going a little off topic today, but that’s why this is a Wednesday post. I thought I’d get some feedback from those of you who might have opinions here. I have an ultrabook now, but I’ve been thinking about one of these new-fangled laptop/tablet hybrids. So when Lenovo loaned me a Yoga for a week, I decided it would be worth playing with.

Lenova Yoga

There were some things that I loved. This was my first chance to play with Windows 8, and I thought it was great. I think part of the reason I loved it was because the Yoga has a touchscreen. It really does make a computer operate like a mobile phone. But when you don’t want that, you have the keyboard to use it the traditional way. The flexibility is great.

And the keyboard itself was really good – easy to click and the keys were all where you want them. (My current ultrabook still frustrates me with the Page Up/Page Down keys.)

There were also some downsides. It is a touchscreen but the screen smudges easily. I guess it’s not an issue when the screen is on, but it is still a little annoying. And yes, this thing is really bulky as a tablet. That’s why it’s really a laptop with tablet functionality and not a replacement for a true tablet.

I also got nervous that I was going to break the thing. When you use it as a tablet, the keyboard is open for abuse on the back. Apparently this thing can survive heavy use, but it still made me uncomfortable.

Of course, Lenovo is far from the only one doing this kind of hybrid. I think pretty much every manufacturer is making one of these including Microsoft itself with its Surface.

So do you guys have any experience with these? Any suggestions? I suppose I’m leaning toward just keeping my ultrabook for now, but I am still tempted…

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49 Comments on "Should I Get a Laptop/Tablet Hybrid?"

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Todd in IAD
Guest

…and I thought today’s post would be about Virgin Atlanta….;)

David SF eastbay
Member

Todd in IAD – Since it’s rare to have a Wednesday post, I’m sure Brett will mention VS/DL soon when people know it’s a normal posting day. I never used to come here on Wednesday until one day I got my days mixed up and found a rare Wednesday post and not check just to see if I find one, like today.

jboekhoud
Member

That’s why I subscribed. I get a nice email notice whenever he posts.

Erik J
Member

Have you seen the Lenovo Twist? It’s similar to the Yoga but does not have the issue where the keyboard is on the outside during tablet mode. I’ve been debating between one of those and the Microsoft Surface Pro when it comes out…

maxe
Guest

Don’t bother with all things Microsoft. Including Windows 8. If you travel a lot, get a Mac in any form or shape. You will not regret it.

Bobber
Guest

Indeed. Enough said:)

XJT DX
Guest

Mac vs PC has been and will always be a matter of preference and familiarization. One is no better than the other except at an extreme novice and hardcore professional level (and even then it’s not always Mac>PC).

Case in point: I’ve been using my wife’s mac since I lost my laptop back in march and it is far more tedious to use on a daily basis. The menu structure, lack of control, and always-missed 2nd mouse button has me missing windows more than I care to admit.

Alex Hill
Member

It’s been years since Apple shipped a computer without a second mouse button and even more years since the Mac OS started fully supporting third party two button mice. Check System Preferences > Mouse. On a trackpad, clicking with two fingers is right-clicking, or here are several other user-configurable ways to right-click. The two-fingered click is more natural to me than having separate physical buttons.

Tom
Guest

I have both logitech and microsoft mice and they work great with my Macs. 2 buttons, scroll wheel you name it. Plus I never have to worry about viruses or malware on my macs… my PC friends computers are always screwed up.

Southeasterner
Guest

I have a Mac and PC for work.

I use the PC for Excel, E-Views and SPSS.

Everything else is on the Mac, even the Mac version of Word seems to be more stable.

For personal use it’s a toss up. Mac is still eons behind in the gaming world but great for just about everything else.

jboekhoud
Member
Unless you’re a gamer or run some specialized high-end software, any modern system will handle your needs just fine regardless of manufacturer or OS. Choosing a computer today is like buying shoes – it’s about marketing hype and brand identification rather than actual function. Style over substance. As a cheap b*tch, I’ve never been able to justify the extra cost to purchase a Mac over a comparable PC (though I’m not quite cheap enough to go to Linux). The only Apple product I own is an iPad 2 that work bought me a couple years ago. I love it, but… Read more »
Hovig
Guest

For what it’s worth, I’m an Apple. Purely for curiosity sake, do the programs you use for your job prevent you from using an Apple?

Happy Holidays!

VL
Guest
During a recent trip to Taiwan I bought an Asus Transformer Prime, an Android-based tablet with a plug-in keyboard which acts also as a docking/charging station. It works well with or without the keyboard, it’s a nice shiny toy (some will like it for that), lighter than an iPad, when ones detaches the keyboard. It does not have the downsides you have encountered with the Lenovo device you tested, but it has its own, as one might expect… photo editing requires several apps, for instance: one for resizing (I use PicSay), one for effects (I am happy with Vignette, but… Read more »
Tom
Guest

Does the Asus Prime support cellular? I use a iPad 3 which has a much better display and it supports wfi and cellular. Plus Verizons LTE is super fast, sometimes it faster then wifi. The Prime is sweet but Apple has tons of apps just for the iPad, Android has very few pad apps. Plus does Asus allow you to upgrade to Android 4.2?

jvm
Guest

I came here to mention that the Asus transformer infinity got much better reviews than the Lenovo.

Jason H
Guest
For me it is always about battery life, footprint, and applications. I’m usually flying coach and I want something that will be usable in the small space and give me enough useful time to last most of a long flight. For both of those aspects it doesn’t matter if it is OSX or Win 7/8, but it does cut down the number of options out there. When it comes to applications I end up firmly in the Win 7/8 camp since I have to connect to a corporate network using software that doesn’t run on a mac. Anyway, I checked… Read more »
XJT DX
Guest
I love getting into technology but personal gear I steer more towards older (read: 6mo’s-1yr) tech, which by then has been proven and is much cheaper since there’s always something new on the horizon. As for YOUR needs CF, well it depends what they are. If this will be your only computer (no desktop) or you use it for work/productivity, go with a small full-featured laptop. if you have a primary PC and this will be just for casual web surfing, movies, etc… Then an iPad or a Nexus with a bluetooth keyboard case may be what you’re looking for.… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

So far no one has said what or who is Lenovo. I watched a TV show once and learned they are second to HP in personal computers and are growning bigger everyday. Just about everyone in Chiina has one, so while your testing product might be new, doesn’t mean there is not good quality inside it.

Don’t get caught up in what it can do, think about what you want/need to do. Didn’t Yoda say “Chose wisely” :-)

DAB
Guest

Lenovo bought the old IBM laptop (and pc such as it was, I think?) lines several years ago when Big Blue got sick of making anything smaller than AS/400… I think Lenovo was previously an important Chinese player, but that turned them into a global player.

My electrical engineering contractors carry around Lenovo ThinkPads, and while it looks strange to me for a ThinkPad not to be IBM, they do look like competent machines.

Fred
Guest

I have an old Lenovo tablet from about 5 years ago (around when they took over from IBM) and it’s still going strong. Of course it’s not fast compared to other computers today, but I just put Linux on it as my personal preference and it still works well. Very durable machines.

I would say wait another few months or a year or so before getting something with Windows 8. Prices will drop a bit, and most of the bugs associated with early adopters such as software compatibility will be worked out.

TimH
Member
My biggest complaint (relevant to this post) on the Surface is that with a keyboard, it only works in one position because it uses a built-in stand, rather than the keyboard, to support the device upright. I think this means that it would be mighty hard to use the device on a tray table with a keyboard- so if you just plan on reading/reviewing/watching while on the plane, it’s ok, but if you want to do writing, the Surface would be nearly impossible to use (unless you revert to the onscreen keyboard). I’m in the market for a new laptop… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member

I would advise you to consider whether you want Windows 8 or RT as there is a functionality difference.

I too am deciding if I should get the Yoga. It has had great reviews, but will the Asus transformer be better? The zenbook touch? The dell xps with flip screen?

gobluetwo
Guest

I don’t know how good it is, and I’ve not used Win8, but the Samsung ATIV 500T looks pretty sweet as a hybrid tablet/PC.

john
Guest

I see lots of “reports” on how Windows 8 is so great – but all I have seen is the “tile” home page, isnt it just regular olde windows when you use Excel, Word, etc?

Sure – Snappy Keyboard and tiles are cool — but did the underlying Windows platform get better?

Tom
Guest

Yes John… when you touch a tile it launches regular old windows desktop mode. Their are a few touchscreen only apps but most of the apps will switch you to the desktop mode. Rumor is Microsoft is going to go back to the all desktop mode because the touchscreens aren’t selling.

Andrew
Guest

If all you need is Office and long battery life, Microsoft’s own Surface tablet should be considered. The version with Windows RT can’t run old desktop applications, but it comes with Office for free. I would suggest getting the optional Type Cover since you do a lot of typing though (it’s 10 bucks more expansive than the Touch Cover).

c7edwards
Member

Can anyone taller than 5’8 really type on any size laptop when sitting in coach without getting neck and shoulder pain way before the battery dies? I am 6’0 so when I fly I can only read on my cell or iPad.

yo
Guest

I have an Asus Infinity, it is great, detachable 10 inch tablet with keyboard, usb, sd and mini sd. It is Android, however, Asus has one that is the exact same hardware, but runs Windows 8.

rharris711
Member

I’m going to wait at least 6 months before considering any tables, I want to see how the market shakes out. For any real computer user the Surface is a toy,

flightsandfrustrations
Member

I always travel with a netbook, wouldn’t have it any other way. Whilst I’m tempted by a tablet they tend to cost more and you can do much less.

My netbook is light, fully functional and compact enough to fit in my luggage without being a burden.

sonny184
Member
If you decide on a Hybrid, you should wait until after the first of the year. Newer & better CPU’s will become available then. The Surface runs Windows RT (not Windows 8) and its not the same. Also Microsoft will introduce three new Surface’s after the first of the year too, all running Windows 8 not Windows RT. More apps will be available on Windows 8 than Windows RT. Lenovo Yoga is a good Hybrid, but you have already experience its weakness with construction and how it will last under normal use? I expect Lenovo to make corrections to the… Read more »
Kathy
Guest

I work for HP, and I’m buying the Envy X2 in January when my employee discount kicks in again. Can’t wait!

Tom
Guest

I’m retired so all need is a MacBook Air or my iPad. I travel tons and I love watching all the business guys/gals lugging around all that heavy computer crap. Does using Word or Excel need that much of a computer?

Tom
Guest

Also have you tried Win 8 on a touchscreen laptop? When you touch the Word tile it launches Word in “Desktop” mode. This makes trying to touch the menu bars really hard because they are so tiny. So then you have to go back to using the mouse/trackpad. So why bother with the touchscreen mode?

rich
Guest

Really depends on what you use it for. I love my ipad for travel since I just want movies, games, email, web browsing. serious work requires something more. The small Apple laptops are amazing in their size, but have an equally amazingly high price.

Except at work I’ve avoid Windows stuff for the last 4+ yrs.Either Apple (and I’m no fanboy of them) or Linux for me.

Sorry for any typos. Broke my wrist and typing is worse than normal.

kelty
Member

It takes about a week to get used to working with the Mac OS, but it’s worth it. MacBook Air is probably more useful for business when traveling, but the iPad is very functional.

swish71
Member

Hi Cranky:

Have you considered the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1? The stylus pen would help you keep your screen clean. There’s a rumor that Samsung is coming out with a 7 inch Note at CES. Alot of choices out there!

Jeremy
Guest
Cranky, I have a Surface RT and its awesome. As an IT Pro (and extreme windows geek) for the first time I have something I can take with me and leave the laptop at home. That says a TON. But, its not for everyone. The Apps are still weak, and you cant install SABRE on it. If you can use one for a week, you might fall in love with it as I did, but I honestly think you have to give it a week, and you have to USE it. Leave the LT at home and force yourself to… Read more »
A
Guest
Late to the discussion here but my employer has loaner iPads and now Surface tablets for when we travel. Most of us used them for email use and for that the Surface wins hands down. Keyboard FTW. The iPad seems more like a toy for media consumption. I also carry 2 phones; an iPhone and a Windows phone (I know, I know). Personally I find the Win phone much easier to use, which is very similar to Windows 8. Not sure if it’s just that I use Windows at work (which it flawlessly syncs with MS Office) but I really… Read more »
swish71
Member

Hi Cranky:

You might try the Samsung 10 inch Galaxy Note. The Stylus pen will keep your screen clean. Rumor has it a 7 inch version will come out at CES.

Axelsarkiss
Member
My school runs a one-to-one tablet PC program. We are outfitted with Lenovo X220 and 230s. (Disclaimer: I’m a die-hard life-long Mac loyalist.) The tablet bit is good for a classroom environment, but frankly, I find it to be a gimmick and I rarely use the tablet functions, preferring to remain in laptop mode. Some kid dual-booted Windows 8 on one of them and I got to play with it for a bit; I find Metro to be somewhat annoying and only useful if one has a touchscreen. I’d stay with 7 for now. Surface is a nice device; I… Read more »
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