5 Best 2-in-1 Laptops under $500 in 2021 – Top Rated Models

When it comes to laptops, no one wants to carry a big and bulky one with them. Today, the market is flooded with different kinds of laptops, from light usage models to high-end gaming machines. A new entry to the laptop market is of 2-in-1 laptops or also known as convertible laptops. These are the game-changer in the industry as they are more convenient than usual laptops, and more powerful than tablets. Altogether, providing an all-new user experience.

Finding machines that are worthy of being called ‘best’ under a tight budget of $500 might be tricky because all you will find are budget laptops which will undoubtedly give you an experience of a convertible laptop but at the cost of performance. If you can, then don’t be too parsimonious and lose up your wallet a little bit for better performance. But if you cannot go beyond 500$, here we are with a list of best 2-in-1 laptops. 

What is a 2-in-1 Laptop?

Manufacturing industries didn’t take time torealize that to make a laptop more convenient and handier they just need to remove the keyboard and give the customer a choice to use the keyboard or not. Simply put, a 2-in-1 laptop is a touch-optimized laptop or detachable tablet with both a touch screen and a physical keyboard of some type. When you need to use a fully-fledged laptop for extensive official work, you can use it with a keyboard. When you want to relax and chill out on Netflix, you can remove the keyboard with just a second’s effort.

The market of the 2-in-1 laptops is basically a competition between Google’s Chromebook and Microsoft’s Windows. In the future, MacOs may become part of this competition, but so far Apple has pointed folks who need a touch screen and tablet-laptop convertibility towards its iOS-equipped iPad and iPad Pro lines, paired with an optional keyboard. Due to the fear of jeopardising the iPad market, A 2-in-1 convertible from Apple won’t be coming any time soon.

Types of 2-in-1 Laptops

There are two types of 2-in-1 laptops.

Foldable/ Convertible laptops

The convertible laptop can transform from laptop to tablet and vice-versa. Most of such systems provide a hinge design so that it can rotate up to 360 degrees. This type of 2-in-1 is the best choice if you’re planning on using the keyboard a lot, as you’re guaranteed to always have it with you. It can be even more useful if you have to present something in a meeting or watch your favourite movie while laying down, by just making it keyboard work like a stand (popularly known as the tent position).

In this machine, the motherboard and battery are placed at the bottom of the keyboard as like traditional laptops, which make it stable and comfortable for typing as compared to detachable laptops. The only downside to this type of 2-in-1 laptop is the thickness due to the hinge mechanism’s space requirement and a bigger battery to power you through the day. 

Detachable laptops

A detachable-tablet is essentially a slate with a keyboard case or a keyboard dock. You can remove the keyboard portion of the tablet and leave it behind when you desire. Microsoft’s various Surface detachable (the Surface Book, Pro, and Go families) are the vanguard models of this kind.

Slate tablets/ detachable laptops tend to weigh less than 2 pounds on their own, and adding the keyboard case or dock can double the system’s total weight. A tablet with a well-designed keyboard dock attached is functionally indistinguishable from a hinged laptop, and some detachable docks contain extra battery cells that can greatly extend the amount of time you’re able to work off-plug.

Detachable-hybrid tablets, however, tend to be top-heavy, because all of the system’s components and batteries, and hence their weight is localized in the screen. You will also not find extra USB ports as the keyboard is way slimmer and detachable. But if you rarely use the keyboard and USBs then you can definitely choose this variety of laptops.

Best 2-in-1 Laptops Under $500 in 2021

We won’t be ranking the laptops as each one of them comes with its set of pros and cons. The best laptop would be the one that serves your purpose, so please clarify “Why do I need a convertible laptop?” beforehand.

1. Microsoft Surface Go 2

 

With the base variant starting from $399.99, Surface Go 2 comes in silver colour. It justifies the word portability as it has a dimension of 245x175x8.3mm and a weight of 544gms (1.2 pounds approx) which makes it lighter in weight and portable enough. Surface Go 2 has a screen size of 10.5 inches, which is slightly bigger than the previous generation but has a volume rocker, ports, and other buttons scattered all around the edges.

It comes with Windows 10 continuing the legacy of previous models. Surface Go 2 has 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and an Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y dual-core processor.

Although it’s a bit underpowered, you may get Surface Go 2 with more upgrades RAM and storage space up to 8GB and 128GB respectively. This machine doesn’t come up with the keyboard cover. To get one, you will have to shell out extra dollars making it cost slightly more than 500$.

There is a lack of ports, but the selection is decent enough as USB-C port provides multiple use cases. In terms of performance, you will not get blown away. However, if you only use lightweight apps from Microsoft Store, you won’t face any issues.

Battery life is brilliant, lasting over eight hours on a single charge in popular tests. With the light design, long-lasting battery life,  and low price tag it is ideal for students and home users.  

2. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

 

The Lenovo Duet Chromebook is one of the latest 2-in-1 laptop hybrid entry in the market at a price of $280. While other are trading off between software support and portability via heavy-duty hardware, the Duet offers the best of functionality, portability, and longevity. All of the goodness, at an affordable price.

It comes with a 10 inches screen and a keyboard. Running on Chrome OS, Lenovo Duet Chromebook is the best chrome book of the year.

As all Chromebooks have a battery life of 10+ hours a day, Lenovo Duet can manage your entire day of HD video watch time. It can last up to 20 hours approximately if used smartly. Linux virtual machine is the latest addition to the Chromebooks. The Beta version allows the users to use an actual terminal interface and complete catalogue of Linux software.

The base variant is of $280 with 64GB  but if you can spend $20 more you can get 128 GB of storage.

With all these massive pros it has some cons too. The hardware is a pain point in this, as the keyboard is not user-friendly. Normal keyboard users may take time to get used to it and the trackpad is unresponsive at times.

Our other issue with the Lenovo Duet is the how the magnetic kickstand cover and keyboard are attached to the tablet as these two rely solely on magnets to keep them in their place. That’s why, they may sometimes pull apart from each other. This could be a little irritating as it may disconnect when you least expect it. As the Lenovo Duet comes with only one USB-C port, you’ll need the included USB-C adapter to use your 3.5mm wired headphones. It refrains you from using the headphones while charging. This might be a deal breaker for some people. However, owing to the long battery life of the Duet, you will rarely face such a situation.

Well, due to these problems, chrome book cannot be recommended to everyone, but for a casual office user and students, it is the go-to device.

3. Acer Chromebook Spin 311

 

The Acer Chromebook spin 311 is a versatile device with satisfying usability. The design and the build-quality of Acer Chromebook spin 311 are sleek and subtle. Sticking to black makes it unobtrusive aesthetic. The diamond-shaped pattern detailing on the back of the screen is a nice touch too.

Although the keyboard may feel bit smaller like other Acer Chromebooks. The screen is pretty good but it has huge bezels which are like double-edged swords. The touch screen is durable and protected with Gorilla Glass, but because of the thick bezels, it seems small.

Despite having a modest component set under the hood, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 always handles whatever you throw at it. No matter how many Chrome tabs you open, or listen to music on Spotify, or do usual multi-tasking, it can bear it all. All thanks to the AMD hardware and 4GB of RAM. Underrated and understated in performance, it’s a consistent little workhorse of a Chromebook.

All over Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is a sleek, versatile, usable, and good value machine starting at $350 (approximately). If the screen size doesn’t bother you and you want a durable machine under $500, you should go for it.

4. Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 Chromebook

 

One more coming from the clan of Lenovo. Most of the Chromebooks aren’t as expensive as Flex 5, but you pay for something different and satisfactory. Starting from $400 it is the most expensive 2 in 1 laptop in our blog (without any accessories). The screen is slightly larger than 13.3 inch with minimum bezels make it look beautiful and the user experience while surfing on the internet or watching your favourite movie is wonderful. The only con in the screen is, it is dull for using outside. The colours and contrast are good, however, only matter is the dullness of the screen. This Chromebook has a better quality of camera than others. Adding another jewel to its crown is the embedded microphone with its amazing sound production.

The placement of buttons is also satisfactory. However, be mindful of the power button as it is prone to accidental presses. It has a USB-C port on both sides. The performance of the device is good, minimal sluggishness can be seen if you are working extensively. Now coming on to a major problem, you cannot extend the memory in this device as the RAM is soldered. The battery life is also average with a life of 7-8 hours, but in the end, it depends upon what you do.

If you want to use Chromebook as a primary device, Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 Chromebook is a great choice.

5. HP chromebook x360 12b

 

Here is a shapeshifter from HP, a student-friendly, laptop and a tablet. Starting from an amount same as the name ‘$360’, it is packed with an Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, an Intel UHD Graphics 600 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage The audio quality is impressive, the speakers produce quality output. The battery life is also good and can accompany you in your school hours. However, it may vary based on usage.

X360 12b comes with a screen size of 12-inches, and a squarish design, a bit longer than your usual laptop screen. This makes up for an immersive experience and will be fun if you accompany your laptop with the stylus by spending around $60. This will make the total to $420.

The ceramic-and-silver HP Chromebook x360 12b, with its 360-degree hinge, looks boldly awesome. HP has provided ports with their heart open, on the left side of the laptop, you’ll find a headphone/microphone jack, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port and a microSD card slot. On the right side, you’ll find another USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C port, as well as a Kensington security slot and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port.

As a bottom line, it’s a nice package of performance, display and usability. The only downside would be its average battery life.

Wrapping Up

Summing up everything here, there are many pros and cons in every 2-in-1 laptop presented above. You should take care that all these were the base variants and will cost you more if you equip them with some extra equipment. There are few more 2-in-1 laptops like Samsung Chromebook 4, Samsung Chromebook 3, and some models of Lenovo. It’s totally upon you what type of OS you want to use, and what are the specs you can compromise on. Always remember performance and battery life are the major aspects while choosing a tight budget device. There will always be a trade-off between performance and battery life.

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