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The best 2-in-1 laptops for creatives in 2021

best 2-in-1 laptops 2021
(Image credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com / Unsplash)

The best 2-in-1 laptops make the perfect tool for so many digital creatives. Also known as convertible laptops, these systems combine the best qualities of a laptop and a tablet in one convenient, portable package. You'll get the power and set up of a laptop that can run full-fat versions of software such as Photoshop. Plus, with their detachable keyboards, 2-in-1 laptops are as portable as tablets, with responsive touchscreens and thin, light designs

Since these best 2-in-1 laptops use the latest tech, they will come at a price – but that doesn't mean there are no bargains to be had. That's exactly where we come in with a list of noteworthy hybrid laptops at their best current prices. 

The best 2-in-1 laptops allow you to switch between laptop and tablet modes, and pick which setup is best for the creative task at hand. Sat at a desk needing to write emails? It may feel more comfortable when the 2-in-1 is in laptop mode. Watching a film, or doing some digital doodling on a train journey? That might be better suited to the tablet mode. Either way, we've put together a list of the best 2-in-1 laptops available right now with a range of models to suit your needs and budget. 

If you're looking for a more traditional laptop, check out our round-up of the best laptops for graphic design.

The best 2-in-1 laptops for creatives

best 2-in-1 laptops 2021: Asus Chromebook Flip

(Image credit: Asus)

01. 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
All at an affordable price
No out-of-box Android support

The Asus Chromebook Flip is our pick for the best budget 2-in-1 laptop in 2021, We've put it right at the top for the features it packs and the affordable price point - which is considerably lower than other models on this list. It uses Chrome OS, rather than Windows 10, which means not all digital art programmes are available. However, since you can run Android apps on Chromebooks now, you still have a huge selection of apps for drawing, photo editing and more. The price is hard to beat, and it has an impressively long battery life as well. If you want an affordable 2-in-1 laptop, this is the one to get.

best 2-in-1 laptops 2021 HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

02. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

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

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 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

Last 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. This upgraded version keeps that gorgeous look that HP introduced with the 2019 model, along with advanced security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. It's also been overhauled under the hood with 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 laptops Dell XPS 15 2-in-1CB endorsed

(Image credit: Dell)

03. 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 - 16GB | Screen: 15-inch (1920 x 1080) FHD | Storage: 128GB - 512GB PCIe SSD

 Impressive power 
 Ultra-thin design 
AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics
 Kind of expensive 

If you're looking for the best high-end 2-in-1 laptop, then the powerful Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is the one to get. While it may be expensive, Dell has packed it with some serious horse power, including a discrete AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card. It 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. If you're keen on something slightly more compact but still quite powerful, opt for the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1's 13-inch screen.

HP Elite Dragonfly best 2-in-1 laptops 2021

(Image credit: HP)

04. 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-inch diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display | Storage: 256 GB SSD

Impeccable design
Excellent battery life
Stunning 4K display
Heavy price tag

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. Its 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, the HP Elite Dragonfly hard to beat.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 best 2-in-1 laptops

(Image credit: Microsoft)

05. Microsoft Surface Book 3

The best 2-in-1 laptop 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
Vibrant screen for drawing
Weak U-series processor

We've picked the Microsoft Surface Book 3 as the best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing because it offers plenty of graphics power to do your doodling justice. Its vibrant display 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 can easily 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 laptops

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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 graphics card
Can opt for 1TB of storage
No Surface Pen included

The 13-inch version of Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is our pick for the best 2-in-1 laptop 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. Meanwhile, its 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense display gives you a gorgeous screen to view 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.

Best 2-in-1 laptops: Which is the for you?

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.)

Other 2-in-1 laptops feature 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 models with 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 or presentations. 

Many of the best 2-in-1 laptops also come with styluses that can be used with the touchscreen. This turns them into excellent digital drawing pads – again, making them ideal devices for digital creatives. (Should your desired convertible laptop not include a drawing apparatus, you can save some money by learning how to make a stylus using household items - seriously!)

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