LAPTOP AND TABLET hybrid devices were all the rage at the IT expos in 2012, such as IFA and Computex, where the likes of Sony, Lenovo and Asus unveiled shiny new convertible devices.
As a result, we're almost certain that hybrid devices will be big in 2013 as consumers look to save money by buying one device that is both a laptop and tablet in one, giving them one less device to carry around.
Here's the rundown of the top 10 convertibles launched during the past year, which we think will be major players in 2013.
10. Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX2
Panasonic's CF-AX2 convertible ultrabook is a new contender to the laptop market. But we don't think it's this reason alone that makes it at the bottom of our Windows 8 hybrid rundown. Announced in the last month of 2012, the Toughbook CF-AX2 doesn't tout anything new on the convertible side of things, and looks pretty average design-wise with a silver finish.
Similar to the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga, the Panasonic Toughbook allows for viewing from a range of angles due to its 360 degree flip-over hinge design, so the device can be used in laptop, stand or tablet modes.
The base configuration for the 11.6in CF-AX2 will include an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB RAM and a 128GB solid state hard drive.
The best thing about the Panasonic Toughbook is that it's the only rugged hybrid device in our top 10 running Windows 8 Pro. Built for more durability, it has been aimed more towards a business market due to its rugged features and swappable, long life replaceable battery.
However, we feel that it will take businesses some time to catch on to the advantages of hybrid devices while the market gains trust in them, and consumers are likely to go for devices that are more stylish looking than Panasonic's offering, which are also more fun to use.
9. Toshiba Satellite U920T
Toshiba announced the Satellite U920T at IFA back in August. Using a mechanism similar to that seen on the Sony Vaio Duo 11, the 1366x768 12.5in Gorilla Glass display slides up to cover the full size keyboard.
That might sound fun, but converting it from one to the other can be a little awkward for first time users and will take some getting used to. Being less fluid and not as easy to transform as the likes of the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga, we can't see the Toshiba Satellite being as successful as its rivals.
On the inside, it's also pretty average compared to its competitors, coming with a choice of the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors with HD 4000 built-in graphics. It also features 6GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD drive and a 1TB hard disk for short boot times.
But weighing a fairly hefty 1.8kg, the U920T is perhaps a little too heavy for a portable device, especially when using it as a tablet, and we think this will put off customers. Not to mention the price tag, which will set you back at least £899. With an unimpressive low-resolution screen and awkward transforming method with lower-end specs, the price is likely to deter a large portion of the market.
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