Published May 12, 2016
Not everyone needs a tablet. Sure, they’re great for swiping through photos or watching movies, but a touchscreen without a keyboard is, well, kind of a drawback when you have to get real work done. For that, you want something more versatile. Something with at least one USB port. Something like, say, a touchscreen laptop.
So here's a list with some of the best touchscreen laptops in our Ratings. All have enough features to perform a solid day's work, and also satisfy any user's passion for fingerpainting.
Who It's For: The Artistic Type
This 2-in-1—complete with detachable keyboard—is ideal for those who want a tablet for creative work, plus laptop functionality for conventional tasks such as word processing and juggling spreadsheets. The package includes Microsoft's Surface Pen, which turns the device into an idea-sketching, note-taking machine.
With a 2736 x 1824 resolution and adjustable screen angle, thanks to the kickstand, the display is well-suited for 1080p movie viewing and photo editing. The device also includes Windows 10, nine hours of battery life, and an Intel Core m3 processor, but with only 4GB of RAM, it's not the best choice for tab-heavy web browsing. The 128GB solid state drive is fast, but slim, so you're better off streaming content instead of storing it.
If you'd prefer the extra oomph of an Intel Core i5 processor, check out this Surface Pro 3, which retails for about $830.
Who It's For: The Multitasker
With this device, you get the ease of a tablet with the utility of a powerful PC. The 13.5-inch touchscreen delivers crisp movies and photos in 3000 x 2000 resolution, with ample real estate for surfing the web and working on spreadsheets. The model is compatible with Microsoft’s Surface Pen, too.
The Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of memory give you the performance to multitask with apps while also leaving open a smorgasbord of browser tabs. The full-size keyboard is backlit (a feature we like) and comfortable to use, and it comes with an optional graphics card for handling processor-heavy tasks such as gaming or photo editing. And the 15-hour battery life is a boon for anyone who is frequently on the go.
As far as connectivity goes, the Surface Book has two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and a mini DisplayPort for hitching the laptop to an external monitor.
Who It's For: Big Screen Lovers
Thanks to a 360-degree hinge, this formidable notebook shifts from computer to tablet with ease. And the sweeping, 15.6-inch, 1080p touchscreen display—coupled with four built-in Bang & Olufsen speakers—makes it a movie lover’s dream.
In fact, given the 14-hour battery life, why not just schedule a movie marathon?
Just be prepared to shoulder a four-pound machine, though. Need a little more incentive? Consider the SD card slot, USB-C port, three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, and mini DisplayPort. We also like the Spectre x360's ability to charge devices while in sleep mode. That comes in really handy when you're far from home and the crowd at Starbucks has commandeered all the outlets.
Who It's For: Those Who Like to Go First-Class
Produced by Japan Industrial Partners, which bought the Vaio name, this high-end laptop packs a slew of deluxe features into a small, stylish package.
The 13-inch display has a 2560 x 1440 resolution, which is more than enough for viewing high-definition movies in 1080p. The 256GB solid state drive can store large image files (skip the video files and use streaming services). And, thanks to the Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and Intel Iris integrated graphics capabilities, the Flip Z can deftly handle popular video games.
The model features its own digital stylus and offers 14 hours of battery life, more than enough for browsing the web or watching movies on the longest flights. The 2.9-pound weight is easy on the back, too.
Connections include 2 USB ports (that support USB sleep and charge for powering connected devices), a single HDMI port, an SD card slot, and a VGA adapter for linking the device to a television or old-school monitor.
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