Should You Get a Laplet?

Category: Laptops , Mobile

When it comes to computers, there are more choices than ever before: desktop PCs, laptops/notebooks, tablets, “phablets” which fall somewhere between a smartphone and tablet, and “laplets” – a cross between a laptop and a tablet. Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of laplets…

What is a Laplet?

A laplet combines the portability of a tablet with the processing power and productivity features of a laptop. The “guts” of the device reside in the display’s chassis; when you want to travel fast and light, just detach the display from the keyboard and take your tablet on the road. A tablet is great for movies, music, and Web browsing.

But when you need to sit down and work seriously for a while, you need that keyboard. When you need to plug in speakers, a printer, a wireless mouse, and other peripherals, you need the plethora of ports that a laptop provides. Then you just reunite a laplet’s display and keyboard, et voila’ – laptop mode!

A laplet is similar to an Ultrabook in terms of light weight, long battery life, and thinness. Laplets generally contain more powerful CPUs, such as an Intel Core i5, more RAM, and more storage space than tablets. Laplets come with touchscreens, like tablets, as well as keyboards.

What is a laplet?

Microsoft Windows 8.1 and 10 are the only operating systems pre-installed on laplets at this time. Apple’s OS X does not support touchscreen features, or the laplet concept. Some Linux distributions support touchscreens, but you won’t find them in the aisles of Best Buy.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is probably the best-known laplet. Introduced in May, 2014, it runs 64-bit Windows and features a 12-inch touch screen with 2160x1440 pixels; it also supports up to three external displays. Intel i3 dual-core CPU options range from 1.5 GHz to 3.3 GHz. RAM capacity is either 4 GB or 8 GB, and SSD storage ranges from 64 GB to 512 GB. Battery life is up to 9 hours. The Surface Pro tablet alone weighs only 1.76 pounds.

The price is a bit heavier. Surface Pro starts at about $800 and quickly soars to nearly $2,000 with maximum clock speed, RAM, and storage. Even at the high end, you still don’t have a keyboard. That costs an additional $130. A docking station that supports multiple video inputs, Ethernet, and five USB ports will run $100 to $150.

More Laplets to Consider

Apple CEO Tim Cook derisively likened the laplet to “crossing a toaster with a refrigerator.” But Apple CEOs aren't always right about what tech gadgets people want. When 7-inch tablets first arrived, Steve Jobs said “7-inch tablets are too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad... 7-inch tablets are going to be dead on arrival.” He also reportedly said that users would “have to sand down their fingers” to use such a small tablet properly. When 7-inch tablets proved to be popular, Apple came out with their own, the iPad Mini.

Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro upstages the Surface Pro in style, size, and price. But reviewers have been disappointed by the new Intel Core M processor’s performance. Starting at $950, the Yoga 3 Pro features a 13.3 inch screen and an ultrathin/ultralight design.

The ASUS Transformer Book is a lot more affordable – about $250 street price. But it has a dinky 10.1 inch screen and commensurately cramped keyboard, only 1 GB of RAM, and just 32 GB of storage. A year’s worth of ASUS WebStorage is included. The Intel Atom CPU runs at 1.83 GHz but is less powerful than the dual-core i3. Bluetooth 4.0 allows wireless connection of compatible peripherals.

Acer’s Aspire Switch 10 E laplet packs a bit more performance than the Transformer Book, with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The Switch also includes a 500 GB hard drive in the detachable keyboard-base. Refurbished units are going for about $200 at Newegg.

Laplets make sense for students, travelers, and other on-the-go users. As prices continue to fall, we should see more laplets replacing separate laptops and tablets. But there will always be trade-offs in a converged product; smaller keyboards and less versatility versus portability and battery life.

Is a laplet right for you? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Should You Get a Laplet?"

Posted by:

Deborah Olson
24 Aug 2015

I enjoyed you input on the Laplet. Until a few days ago I did not know they even existed till I saw them on QVC. Out of my price range for now. And all the other gizmos to buy. I will wait.

I had a Dell Insprone for a very short period. I paid 400.00 for that piece of crap. Started going haywire in 9 months. I won't get another dell. Best buy extra coverage. The geek squad said I spilled liquid in it. I had no fluids and food around that computer. They called it abuse and would not fix unless I paid. I demanded a refund of the other 2 year extra warranty I paid for. Then Best Buy charged me an extra 35.00 dollars for running the tests. What was the warranty crap for.

I bought an HP from Walmart. All I could afford on Social Security.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

As a MacBook Pro user, I've been waiting for a laplet for a long time. The closest thing I have to a tablet is an iPhone6+ and it doesn't do the trick.
Thanks for the review, Bob, and although I'm a Mac user at work, my pocketbook says I'll try an Acer Switch or wait a bit longer to dive in. It does feel that computing is going nowhere without some degree of miniaturization.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

Hi Bob,

I got the Lenovo YOGA 2 Pro Convertible Touchscreen Tablet 13.3" at the start of the year.

The downside is that it runs android and has limited performance. Not to mention needing a converter for USB connection...

BUT, and it's a big but, the screen size is great. For reading ebooks and actually being able to see maps, diagrams and displays at a visible size it is the dogs doodahs....

The Asus Transformer Book Chi T300 deserves a look as well but at over £700 is more than a 'little' pricey for it's spec, especially with a bluetooth screen - bit odd that?

Are they the way things are going? Yes. Do we actually need such things? Not really.

What I'm waiting for is the change to an accurate input with a touchscreen pen on a real display, built in to a Laplet.. a bit like the Huion GT-220 21.5" (OK a bit smaller) with an i5 or even i7 and SSD built in. That would be something!

Thanks for getting me thinking yet again!


P.S. Yes I am working up to my birthday and dropping hints as herself now is subscribing to Bob as well.... ;o)

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

Thanks Bob for another great article. Mike

Posted by:

Bill Dickcens
24 Aug 2015

I have a Surface Pro III and love it. Those who haven't experienced SSD storage will be amazed at how quickly any disk constrained task will run when compared with a machine with a standard hard drive. Windows 8 boots in seconds on my Surface. No need to turn it on and go away while the machine goes through its start-up. I also do some fairly big data analysis work on my machine. Even though the processor is slower on my Surface than my desktop it finishes the job in half the time because it can read and write to disk so much faster.

Posted by:

Doris Bishop
24 Aug 2015

Very good information. I have a laptop, and I like it very much. Don't do a lot of work on my P.C. So, I think I need anything more. Thanks for the good info.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

NO I do not want one as they have win 10 and I do not like win 10 as MS wants to much control over your PC and what it does or can do, I have win 8.1 and do have it running my way not MS and am tired or MS trying to install win 10 on it without me telling win update it can

Posted by:

Naresh Chadha
24 Aug 2015

I bought my Lenovo Edge few months back and checked I had no crapware

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

I bought a bluetooth keyboard case (with a touchpad) to connect to my 9" NOOK. Last time I checked, the NOOK HD+s (the 9") were selling for about $80, and my case was about $35 - I don't know how the specs compare with a "real laplet", but for the price, it is my substitute for a new laptop. I would never pay what they're asking for these devices, though - in my opinion, at least one of the elements (laptop or tablet) suffers - if I really needed both, I would buy a dedicated one for each function.

Posted by:

Diane Otto
24 Aug 2015

Maybe soon Apple with "surface" with a laplet. I will not give up my OS X for anything Microsoft has to offer. I have been a Mac user since 1984 and I'm not about to change now. My little MacBook Pro is pretty light and easy to port if I have to.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

Still confused as what to do. HP Pavilion HD crashed.
Have an Apple IPad and luv it. Have Apple iPhone, luv it.
iPad does a lot, but I just need the power, peripherals and versatility that a hard drive provides. I think the all-in-one
pcs is best for me. Absolutely so happy I found your

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
24 Aug 2015

Thanks, Bob. I've crossed Lenovo off my list, after their recent spate of anti-consumer shenanigans.

Are you aware of how the various keyboards perform for us touch typists? In my opinion, nothing has yet beat the sensation of typing on the IBM Selectric typewriter, although several computer keyboards have come close.

If you're a touch typist, Bob, please include your subjective thoughts on this in future keyboard-related articles. And if you're not a touch typist, please have all manufacturers send evaluation hardware to ME. I'll then give you MY subjective thoughts. ... Only if I get to keep the hardware.


Posted by:

Darcetha Manning
24 Aug 2015

Great article! I thought about getting a MS Surface 3. However, if I have to pay extra for more power and a keyboard, I will stick with my laptop.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2015

Asus and Toshiba both make some good 'convertibles' - not really laplet's as they do not come apart. However, the touch screen folds all the way around and becomes a somewhat thick tablet. What's nice is one can get a fairly powerfully laptop (mine has a 15.6" screen, Core i7 CPU and 256GB SSD) and a admittedly heavy (but big!) touch tablet. Windows 10 works great on it, switching back and forth from tablet to laptop mode seamlessly.

Posted by:

26 Aug 2015

Yes, great for business. Need a keyboard and can kickback with a tablet.

Posted by:

19 Mar 2016

I had to replace my laptop recently so took the leap to a Surface Pro 3 for under $600. It is fantastic. I got the i3 with 128 gigs of memory and it's plenty fast for surfing and streaming. I got the latest keyboard made for the Surface Pro 4 because it's better than the one built for the Pro 3. The keyboard has chiclet keys with a backlit board and I can sail on that thing. I type over 100 wpm so keyboards are extremely important to me. The keys can't be too crowded. The Surface has worked very well for me and I can recommend it to anyone. I also bought a Samsung Galaxy Pro as I like Android's OS as well. I like them both equally as well. It took a couple of months but I now do everything on the Surface I could do on my laptop. There are plenty of ports to attach more memory or peripherals. I'll never go back to a heavy laptop. This little machine is light enough to carry in my tote bag.

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