Convertibles, hybrids or 2-in-1s are one of the fastest growing products in the PC industry. They all mean the same thing in essence – a device which is trying to be both a laptop and a tablet.
But there are some big differences between a convertible laptop and a convertible tablet:
- A convertible laptop comes in various different styles but is likely to have a screen which flips or folds to transform it into a tablet. In general, they are less powerful than comparably-sized laptops, as they use mobile processors that are designed more for cool, quiet operation than they are for speed.
- A convertible tablet is more like a regular tablet with a removable keyboard. The keyboard either attaches magnetically or via a case which creates a laptop-like experience. The keyboard may connect over Bluetooth in some cases.
Which one is right for you depends hugely on what you want to do with it. Do you want a laptop on which to do regular work but that can also shapeshift into a tablet for the odd task? Or do you want a tablet which you can also do a bit of typing on when the need arises?
- A convertible laptop is likely to be bigger and heavier but is likely to offer longer battery life (there’s more space for a bigger battery). Since it is a laptop first, it will also provide a better typing experience and there’s normally room for things like more physical ports, should connectivity be an issue.
Although a convertible tablet might not have many physical ports, they are smaller and lighter than a convertible laptop, making them great for travelling around. As the device is a tablet first with a keyboard dock/case, using it like a laptop is often fiddly and awkward.
When choosing a brand of tablet or laptop you may also want to bear in mind the operating system that runs it. The operating systems are owned by three companies which all feature in this report – Apple, Google and Microsoft.
- Apple iOS – all Apple products
- Google Android – most non-Apple tablets.
- Google Chrome – Chromebook laptops.
- Microsoft Windows – most laptops and hybrids
You can also use an open source operating system such as Linux. Beginner’s guide to open source.
Score table highlights
None of the companies on the table above were rated best for their toxic chemicals policies – most of them got a middle rating. Four companies – Archos, ASUS, Fujitsu and Microsoft – got a worst rating.
Only Archos got our best rating for ‘likely use of tax avoidance strategies’. Everyone else got a worst rating.
None of the hybrid companies were rated in any of our three Animals categories.
Hybrids and conflict minerals
It has long been known that the extraction of minerals has become entangled with human conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Known as conflict minerals or 3TGs, tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold mined in the DRC have been linked to the funding of armed groups, and have helped to fuel a war for over twenty years. Worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year, the minerals provide a valuable source of income to rebel groups, militias, and criminal gangs. Some of the minerals are smuggled out of the country, along with the industry’s profits, leaving the DRC’s population of 77 million struggling to survive. The minerals go on to be used in electronic products such as laptops, e-readers and mobile phones.
Hybrids are the second worst sector covered in these guides – after e-readers – regarding reporting on conflict minerals. Five of the eleven companies scored worst. Of the six best rated companies, only two were obliged to submit reports to SEC under the Dodd Frank Act – HP and Microsoft.
Conflict minerals ratings:
- Worst Rating: Archos, Huawei, Samsung, Fijitsu, Asustech
- Best Rating: Dell, HP, Acer, Microsoft, Toshiba, Lenovo