Windows 8 doesn’t represent just a UI change, it represents tons of new options in the world of tablets. If you are looking to bridge a traditional laptop experience with the portability and touch-capabilities of a tablet, you have a few options now.

Let’s take a look at – and somewhat compare – three different styles that will likely become the defacto formats you see for devices that attempt to merge the PC and tablet world in a big way. What are these styles? Sliders, hybrids and convertibles.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is an example of a convertible laptop/tablet.

The Convertible

These are far from new in the Windows world. In fact, convertibles really started to show up long before tablets like the iPad. The problem was that these older convertibles had less-than-stellar touchscreens and were using Windows XP which really had no real touch-screen functionality worth talking about.

What are the pros for getting a convertible?

  • A full laptop experience. This doesn’t need any crazy process to make it a laptop, instead it swivels around to become a tablet.
  • No laptop dock accessory to keep track of.

What are some of the cons?

  • Often these are a bit on the heavy-side.
  • You are stuck dealing with the keyboard attached.

The Lenovo Yoga is a good example of this type of device.

Asus Vivo Tab is an example of a hybrid laptop/tablet device.


The Hybrid

The hybrid itself has two different types. One simply has a keyboard dock that makes it look and feel like a traditional laptop when attached together, such as the Asus Vivo Tab.

The second type is a tablet that has a keyboard attachment but it isn’t a real dock. It has no extra ports or batteries. It also doesn’t hold together like a laptop and often uses a kickstand instead. Really only one of these so far— Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

Let’s take a look at the pros of hybrids in general:

  • You get a real tablet experience that is lighter and more like what you’d find on Android or iPad
    With a simple attachment you also get a laptop experience with extra battery power and ports

What’s the negative? I personally think that a hybrid is the best choice, at least for someone like me. Still, they aren’t perfect. The biggest negative is that you have to keep track of a separate docking station to get the most out of the experience.

Sony Duo 11 is a slider-based convertible device.

The Slider

This is another unique category that is similar to a keyboard in that it includes a built-in keyboard. The key difference is that they slide to open instead of having a hinge that opens up in a manner similar to a regular laptop. This is sort of like a slider smartphone in a way. The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a prime example of this design type.

What are the pros?

  • It is easier to open and shut in tight spaces
  • It is sexy and unique looking compared to the more laptop-like design

As for the cons?

  • It often has a smaller keyboard or doesn’t include a touchpad in order to make more room for the design
  • They are also a bit on the heavy side compared to a hybrid design

There are certainly other variants of these designs, but that is pretty much what you can expect with Windows 8 tablet/laptop merging devices. Which type of style do you like the best?

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  • Jordan Frey

    I really like the idea of the hybrid, but it just isn’t there yet for me. I want more of a laptop that doubles as a tablet, not a tablet that doubles as a laptop. The laptop needs to be the priority for me when I go to class. I already have an iPad and love it, but the hybrid to bridge the gap and allow me to use it in a more productive way with my coursework could be a selling point for me.