Tablet Hybrids: 4 of the best
Welcome to the world of the laptop/tablet hybrid
Ever since Apple revolutionized tablets with the iPad, the market has been inundated with rival tablets for most budgets and tastes, so long as your budget and taste runs to "like the iPad, but worse, and more expensive". Business users were largely ignored in the first wave, but the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook and the Asus Eee Pad Slider are changing perceptions. Its tablet dimensions are more portable than a laptop, but the slide-out QWERTY keyboard makes it more than just a pretty-looking, tactile tool for creatives.
Samsung's design is similar to Asus's, with a sliding mechanism that unveils the hidden QWERTY keyboard while offering the 10.1-inch screen up towards you like a gift. The TX100 uses a touch-optimised version of Windows 7 and comes with 31 built-in apps, all with big, thumb-friendly icons. Storage options are 32GB or 64GB. Its Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of RAM don't suggest the mightiest computing experience ever and at 1kg it's not exactly the lightest thing in history either. Still, it's pleasingly solid. Price: £599
Now pay attention: this laptop with pull-out tablet was first spotted in 2009 as the U1 Hybrid. It's now launched in China under the oddly Gallic name "LePad". In the UK it'll be called the Skylight, but that's not to be confused with Lenovo's original Skylight concept, announced in 2010. Got that? Good. It'll bear Core i and SnapDragon processors, running Windows 7 when working as a laptop and Android
ACER ICONIA TAB W500
Remember the dual-touchscreened Acer Iconia? Well this is its more traditional sibling. Detach the 10.1-inch screen from its full-QWERTY keyboard docking station with a built-in ethernet port and you get a fully functioning tablet that runs Windows 7 on a dedicated 1GHz dualcore AMD C-50 processor and includes the "Acer Ring" for a slick touch-controlled interface. Interesting, but with the keyboard attached is the W500 really any more portable than a regular netbook?
DELL INSPIRON DUO
The review of the Inspiron Duo in T3 188 was anything but inspiring: it garnered just two stars. The blame for that can be squarely placed on its poor Stage software and tired 1.5GHz Intel Atom processor. The hardware is impressive though, with a comfortable and well-spaced keyboard, and a screen that feels satisfyingly sturdy when it clunks into place, despite looking like it has all the durability of an Airfix model in an actual war.