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The best 2-in-1 laptops for creatives in 2020

best 2-in-1 laptops
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best 2-in-1 laptops make excellent tools for digital creatives. They combine some of the best things about laptops and tablets into one convenient and highly-portable package. This means you get the power of a laptop that can run full versions of creative software such as Photoshop, while also being as easily portable as the best tablets, with responsive touchscreens and thin and light designs. 

What's more, by being able to switch between laptop and tablet modes, with the best 2-in-1 laptops you can pick which setup is best for the task at hand. So, writing emails and creating documents may feel more comfortable when the 2-in-1 is in laptop mode. However, watching media, or doing some digital doodling, is better suited to the tablet mode.

The best 2-in-1 laptop: Which is right for you?

But, what type of 2-in-1 laptop is best for you? There are 2-in-1 laptops that turn from a laptop into a tablet by physically removing the keyboard. These are usually much thinner and lighter devices when used in tablet mode, but it does mean you need to store the keyboard carefully when it's not being used. 

Some 2-in-1 laptops with detachable keyboards have two batteries – one behind the screen and another in the keyboard. This offers longer battery life when in laptop mode. (If battery life is a particular worry of yours, you may want to check our list of the best power banks.)

The other popular form for 2-in-1 laptops features a hinge that can flip the keyboard 360 degrees so that it is behind the screen. As the keyboard remains attached, these 2-in-1 laptops are usually a bit thicker and heavier than 2-in-1 laptops that have removable keyboards.

However, you don't have to worry about stashing an unused keyboard anywhere, and the hinge allows you to use the laptop in a variety of different ways. For example, you can flip the keyboard 90 degrees, and use it as a stand, which makes it useful for watching media on, or for presentations. The best 2-in-1 laptops also come with styluses which can be used with the touchscreen. This turns them into excellent digital drawing pads – again, making them ideal devices for digital creatives.

If you're looking for a more traditional design, don't miss our round up of the best laptops for graphic design.

The best 2-in-1 laptops available now

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

01. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

HP’s flagship 2-in-1 gets a 2020 refresh

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Stylish and high-quality finish
Great all-around performance
Built-in security features are useful
Battery life takes a hit
Can run hot at times

This year's model of the HP Spectre x360 13-inch is our pick for the best overall 2-in-1 laptop money can buy right now. The latest model for 2020 keeps that gorgeous look that HP introduced with the 2019 model, along with advanced security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. It's also given the laptop a bit of an overhaul on the inside as well the latest 10th-generation Intel Core processors, which also feature Intel Iris Plus graphics. This means even though it doesn't have a discrete graphics card, it can still cope with demanding creative applications. This combo of looks and performance means it's easily the best 2-in-1 laptop money can buy right now.

best 2-in-1 laptop 2019: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

02. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

The best high-end 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

 Impressive power 
 Ultra-thin design 
 Kind of expensive 

If you're looking for the best high-end 2-in-1 laptop, then Dell's powerful XPS 15 2-in-1 is the one to get. While this is an expensive device, Dell has packed it with some serious horse power, including a discrete AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card. This offers excellent performance with graphically intensive tasks, such as creating complex digital art, editing photos and rendering animations and videos, all while offering a fantastically versatile 2-in-1 design.

HP Elite Dragonfly

The HP Elite Dragonfly tops our list with its combination of portability and power. (Image credit: HP)

03. HP Elite Dragonfly

The best 2-in-1 laptop for professionals

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13.3" diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display | Storage: 256 GB SSD

Impeccable design
Excellent battery life
Pretty expensive

HP has done it again with the HP Elite Dragonfly, a superbly thin and light 2-in-1 laptop that packs impressively powerful speakers and a bright and vibrant 4K display that really needs to be seen to be believed. It's keyboard is also one of the best we've used on a laptop, making it ideal for people who need a portable 2-in-1 device to work on. Battery life is also fantastic, and performance is very good. It's one of the more expensive 2-in-1 laptops around these days, but for sheer quality, it's hard to beat.

best 2-in-1 laptop 2019: Asus Chromebook Flip

04. Asus Chromebook Flip

The best budget 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Intel Pentium – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 510 – 515 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare display | Storage: 32GB – 128GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Gorgeous, vivid screen
No out-of-box Android support
Middling speakers

The Asus Chromebook Flip is our pick for the best budget 2-in-1 laptop in 2019. It uses Chrome OS, rather than Windows 10, which means not all digital art programmes are available, but now that you can run Android apps on Chromebooks, you still have a huge selection of apps for drawing, photo editing and more. The price is hard to beat, and it also has an impressively long battery life as well. If you want a cheap 2-in-1 laptop, this is the one to get.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

05. Microsoft Surface Book 3

The best 2-in-1 from Microsoft

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 – i7-1065G7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design | RAM: 8GB – 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x | Screen: 13.5-inch 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) – 15-inch 3240 x 2160 (260 PPI) PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD

Beautiful design
Comfortable keyboard
Weak U-series processor
Tiny trackpad

When looking for the best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing, then you want something that has a nice big screen, along with plenty of graphics power to do your doodling justice, which is why we've picked the Microsoft Surface Book 3. Its large and vibrant screen gives you a great canvas to get drawing on (especially if you go for the 15-inch model), and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card means it is easily powerful enough to cope keep up with any brushstroke. You'll want to use Microsoft's excellent Surface Pen with this for the ultimate drawing experience, but annoyingly, it's not included with the laptop, so you'll need to factor it into your budget when buying this 2-in-1.

best 2-in-1 laptop 2019: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13-inch)

06. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13-inch)

The best 2-in-1 laptop for video editing

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB - 1TB

Very good battery life
Powerful
Very expensive
No Surface Pen included

The 13-inch version of Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is our pick for the best 2-in-1 for video editing. This is because you can configure it to have a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, which can easily cope with video editing, while its 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense display gives you a gorgeous screen to see your movies as you edit. It can come with a 1TB hard drive, which is useful for storing large video files, and the 13.5-inch size means you can easily and conveniently carry it around with you if you like to work on the road. While its successor, the Surface Book 3, is now out (see above), the Surface Book 2 13-inch model is still a great choice for a 2-in-1, especially as it has dropped in price.

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