Device of all trades, master of none?
August 22, 2014 5:40 PM   Subscribe

In the next month or so, I'm going to need a new laptop. Windows 8 scares me, but I'm willing to try. In the spirit of being game, and because I like the idea of tablets but can't currently live with a tablet as my primary device, I'm considering a 2-in-1 device. Reviews are mixed. I can't tell if I should just get a normal laptop and wait a couple of generations for 2-in-1s to work some bugs out. Does anyone have experience/recommendations?

I've had my current laptop for 5 years and haven't really been paying much attention to technology changes in the mean time. If there are other options, I'm also open.

This is what I need:
1. Screen stands up on it's own on it's own and you can work with your hands flat (not angled awkwardly up onto the device) 2. physical keyboard 4. Can have multiple windows visible at a time (so thus I'd also like a bit of a bigger screen, which, I think, is what makes tablet with keyboard not viable)
Bonus: something I can install Linux on if windows 8 drives me batty

Also note budget wise, I'd be looking at something cheaper than buying a laptop and tablet separately.
posted by platypus of the universe to Technology (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a semi-tablet-esque laptop, a Lenovo Flex, which is a step lower from the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. I think the Yoga 2 fits the bill on pretty much everything you want it to do. It's really a laptop that pretends it's also a tablet.
posted by astapasta24 at 6:35 PM on August 22, 2014

I have a Surface 3. It's quite nice save for a pet peeve I have re the quality of the cameras (they suck for anything other than video conferencing/Skype).
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:55 PM on August 22, 2014

I've played with a Surface 3 and a Yoga 2 Pro, and these are my first recommendations as well. I don't know the Flex. Unfortunately(?) I have no real need of either device, as I have a work laptop. The Surface 3 is definitely a tablet that could replace the laptop, while the Yoga 2 is a fine little lappy that can fit the bill when a tablet is needed.
Windows 8 can be made to resemble Windows 7, which is, UI-wise, evolutionary from the familiar windows desktops you've probably used before.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:44 AM on August 23, 2014

I have the Yoga 2 Pro and love it, though I rarely use it as a tablet as I've also got a Nexus 7.
posted by Xany at 1:00 AM on August 23, 2014

Is there a msft store near where you live? You can go play with them there. Or a big consumer electronics store.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:47 AM on August 23, 2014

An extremely techy friend has a Surface Pro 3 and says it is the best (he also has a relatively recent Apple laptop so I don't think he is being biased). I'm probably going to get one myself.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:11 AM on August 23, 2014

No laptop/combo here, but I've been using Windows 8 for almost a year. It was easy enough to get used to as soon as I realized the Start screen is just the regular Windows Start menu writ large.
posted by Work to Live at 1:55 PM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd second the recommendation to go to a Microsoft store, or at least a major electronics retailer like Best Buy or Fry's and try to get some hands on time with one before you buy. My experience has been that convertible laptops are much better at being laptops than they are at being tablets, especially in the area of weight and size.
posted by Aleyn at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2014

I have a Surface Pro 2, and for me it's the best laptop I've ever had. I just wish I'd bought it sooner - I put it off for so long that I ended up getting it just before the Surface Pro 3 came out. I would definitely recommend the Surface Pro 3.

I don't use it very much as a tablet, but it does work very well as both laptop and tablet. Don't worry too much about Windows 8 - you can easily switch from the tiled "Metro" display to a more-or-less bog-standard Windows 7 style desktop with a simple, free Start Menu replacement app. I use something called "Classic Shell" for this.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2014

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