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in this issue ASA BUTTERFIELD BY MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK

Gadget: Laptop-Tablet Combos

A SPECIAL ROUNDUP – COMBINATION CONTRAPTIONS. If two is better than one, then these laptop-tablet combos are sure winners

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1. MAKEOVER TO THE CORE

No company has embraced the hybrid concept as ardently as Asus, and it shows. Speaking of which, the Transformer Book TX300 is quite a showy hybrid, with its brushed aluminum casing and sleek finish that would even give the MacBook air a run for its money. It does, however, feels a bit heavy for a hybrid laptop. Performance is rather sluggish in comparison to its contemporaries—although it does boast an i7 core, so the TX300 is actually more than capable of handling any kind of daily computing tasks. Of course, it also has a price tag to match its performance.

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2. THE POSE OF PERFECTION

The Yoga line was a major trendsetter in mobile PC design and this tradition continues with Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro with its new hinge concept. Another breakthrough comes with the use of Intel’s new Core M CPU. In fact, the Yoga 3 Pro is the first consumer PC powered by this chip. On the flip side, this also means that there’s a long list of early growing pains tripping up the Yoga 3 Pro’s performance, especially in terms of battery life. Actually, using this spiffy 2-in-1 laptop is a breeze. The form factor is an absolute gem, making it easy to carry around and folded into various configurations to suit your every need.

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3. SWITCHING GEARS

Most 2-in-1 laptops use fold-back or button-clasp hinges. The Acer Aspire Switch 10, however, uses a magnetic connection that allows for four distinct modes: Like a conventional laptop; in a more traditional clamshell mode; with the screen replaced to face outwards and then flipped to form a table tent; or as a standalone tablet. Alas, this versatility is somewhat undermined by limited hardware capabilities—which is actually quite understandable given its size. So, as far as 10-inch hybrids go, the pint-sized Switch 10 is still a serious contender.

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4. THE ARCHETYPE OF HYBRIDS

While it’s not without its drawbacks, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is still the most convincing poster child for the hybrid family. For one thing, the Surface Pro 3 packs more computing power than most comparably priced laptops and tablets. With its 3:2 aspect ratio, the hybrid’s 12-inch screen can supposedly display more content than the average 13-inch laptop or tablet. Still, the Surface Pro 3’s best new feature would arguably be the updated Type Cover and the improved Surface Pen. While the former makes it easy to do some serious typing on just about any surface, the latter makes casual writing and commenting feel much more natural.

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