For creative tasks, there are plenty of scenarios where working on a conventional laptop or desktop PC can present some obstacles. Depending on your medium and your craft, illustrators and artists depend on accuracy and functionality, so it can be limiting to work with the standard setup of clamshell device, even with a mouse and keyboard.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 standout detachable and convertible laptops to help users find the best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing. These precision-engineered devices are designed for robust touch screen functionality and they represent a range of options when it comes to performance, design, and price.
- HP ENVY x360 15t touch laptop
- HP ProBook x360 440 G1 notebook PC
- HP Spectre x360 15t touch laptop
- HP ZBook x2 detachable workstation
- HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 mobile workstation
Before we get to our list of the best models available, let’s look at exactly what makes a 2-in-1 laptop so intriguing along with some of their advantages.
What is a 2-in-1 laptop?
A 2-in-1 laptop typically takes one of two forms. They’re either a convertible laptop or a detachable laptop, and they often come with a digital pen or stylus for touch screen use.
Convertibles have a strong adjustable hinge that allows the display to fold back against the keyboard. Thanks to touch functionality, artists can use their device as either a laptop or a tablet. At HP®, you can recognize convertible devices by the “x360” designation in their product title.
The detachable format offers similar functionality, just in a slightly different way. Instead of an adjustable hinge, these devices allow users to completely detach their keyboard from the display.
Compared to convertible 2-in-1 laptops, detachables can provide the extra boost of a lighter working device. When detached, their profile more seamlessly emulates a true tablet. You’ll recognize these by their “x2” designation.
Advantages for artists and creative workflows
If you’ve already had the opportunity to work on creative projects on a tablet, the advantages of a 2-in-1 may be obvious. Drawing by hand can be useful in some digital art applications, but it’s also more time-consuming. With the potential to add several additional steps to your routine, drawing digitally with a mouse or on paper then scanning it into your device doesn’t always make for a smooth workflow.
With a touch-enabled 2-in-1, you can input your ideas and creations directly into your device. That means no more scanning or relying on a digital sketchpad to help bring things to life. Also, unlike a typical tablet, you’ll have all your most critical software at your fingertips. You can work the way you want without sacrificing the deeper functionality that you expect from a laptop.
A 2-in-1 laptop offers you more choice when it comes to how you work. Both detachable and convertible models provide dual functionality from a single device. Unlike a conventional laptop or tablet, these devices let you work whichever way suits you most at any given moment.
The 5 best HP 2-in-1 laptops for drawing
Now that we know why a 2-in-1 laptop with pen for drawing is useful for artists in particular, let’s look at 5 of these devices that can change the way you create your next great work of art.
1. HP ENVY x360 15t touch laptop
Our list starts off with the popular and highly customizable HP ENVY x360 laptop - 15t touch
. Powered by an 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, you can go from 8GB of RAM up to 16GB of RAM along with up to 1TB of solid-state drive
(SSD) storage. On this list, it’s also one of the most affordable 2-in-1 laptops built for drawing.
Generous 15-inch touch screen display
If you like a big screen and a lot of surface area to work with, the HP ENVY x360’s 15.6-inch diagonal display is especially appealing. There is plenty of space for detailed projects, and you can add the optional Integrated Privacy Screen if you want extra discretion when you’re out and about. You’re well-equipped for audio, too, thanks to Bang & Olufsen-tuned double speakers.
Great performance and competitive pricing
The HP ENVY x360 is a true portable powerhouse that boasts up to 9 hours and 15 minutes of battery life and ENERGY STAR® certification. Plus, with a competitive starting price, great hardware options, and convertibility, this is a great candidate for the best budget 2-in-1 laptop for drawing. Whatever your needs, it’s hard to beat a standout touch screen convertible laptops priced this competitively.
2. HP ProBook x360 440 G1 notebook PC
The customizable HP ProBook x360 440 G1 notebook PC
offers a slightly smaller display and a lighter overall build. With this device, you get the benefit of easy convertibility, a great carrying weight, and tons of options to customize everything from your processor to security. It’s also on the affordable end of our list, beating out the top three contenders when it comes to price at checkout.
Customize to your heart’s content
Do you like covering every detail of your laptop’s hardware configuration? The HP ProBook x360 provides a lot of customization opportunities. Configure yours with up to a powerful Intel Core i7-8550U with Intel UHD graphics 620 and built-in Turbo Boost Technology. You’ll also choose from a range of efficient SSD storage options and up to 16GB of RAM.
Lightweight and portable
Weighing in at just 3.8 lbs, the HP ProBook x360 is the lightest model on our list. And to boost security and deter theft, you can even add an optional fingerprint reader.
It boasts a long battery life as well, so you’ll get up to 13 hours on a single charge. It has an efficient power profile, too, with certification from ENERGY STAR and a rare EPEAT® Gold rating.
3. HP Spectre x360 15t touch laptop
The HP Spectre x360 15t touch laptop
is another popular and powerful mid-range option with boosted features and a distinctive, high-quality physical build. Choose your hardware and your exterior appearance (dark ash silver or Poseidon blue) with a matching backlit keyboard.
4K display with robust hardware options
If you want the best possible visual output, high-resolution 4K can be a big advantage. The HP Spectre x360 is one of three 4K options on our list
and one of two that ships with this feature standard. Thanks to a 15.6-inch diagonal display and 4K, you’ll have plenty of clarity and space to bring your wildest artistic dreams to life.
Premium build with ample battery life
With a luxurious build and your choice of color finish, the HP Spectre x360 stands out because of its looks alone. You’ll love carrying it around with you, because this highly portable laptop is a mere 0.76 inches thick and has a long-lasting battery life of up to 12 hours and 30 minutes.
It also features a built-in fingerprint reader and webcam kill switch for extra security, two features that come standard.
4. HP ZBook x2 detachable workstation
With its 14-inch diagonal Ultra High Definition (UHD) display and easy 2-in-1 features, the customizable HP ZBook x2 detachable workstation
is one of the most powerful detachable laptops available. The first of two entries from the HP ZBook line, this device is optimized for design and demanding professional routines. It’s a fantastic option if you need a next-level laptop to manage complex artistic tasks.
Powerful hardware in a slim package
Measuring just 14.35 x 8.94 x 0.53 inches in tablet mode, the HP ZBook x2 packs a lot of performance into a relatively small package. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, but you can up the graphical ante by adding a discrete NVIDIA® Quadro® M620 graphics card.
Plus, you can configure yours with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage to power through even the biggest projects.
ENERGY STAR-certified with excellent battery life
Despite its high-powered hardware, the HP ZBook x2 is very energy efficient with both ENERGY STAR-certification and several EPEAT compliant configurations available. That means it can offer solid battery life as well, with estimates up to 10 hours on a single charge. It even features an advanced dual-fan active cooling system to help keep things cool when you’re pushing your hardware to its limits.
5. HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 mobile workstation
At the top of our list is the customizable HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 mobile workstation
. This laptop has a seriously high ceiling for hardware and a full slate of other premium features to consider. Everything on our list offers above-average specs for most users, but the HP ZBook Studio x360 is on another level in its top configurations. Like the HP ZBook x2, this device is designed to support complex visual tasks and the most demanding work routines.
Customization is a big part of the HP ZBook Studio x360, starting with your processor. You’ll have tons of the latest options to choose from including the most powerful Intel Xeon processors and NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards. With up to 64GB of RAM and a maximum SSD storage configuration of 4TB, you’ll also have plenty of local support.
Loaded with premium features
The HP ZBook Studio x360 definitely tops our list for core features, with high-resolution 4K display options and quad-speakers with tuning by Bang & Olufsen. Even with all that power, it still boasts ENERGY STAR-certification in many configurations and can have a massive battery life estimate of up to 16 hours.
You can choose to include an HP ZBook pen with your purchase if you prefer as well, and there’s the option for a fingerprint reader so you can fully secure your device.
Pairing your device with the right accessories
Convertible and detachable laptops offer a lot of new features but, otherwise, they work in the same way as a conventional notebook. If you need more screen space or prefer a different style of input device, you still have the same options to flesh out your laptop with accessories in whichever way you need.
For example, many 2-in-1 laptop designs are optimized for touch screen use, which means that they may ship with a digital pen or stylus included. These give you varying levels of pressure and can even emulate the feel of pencil on paper.
More efficient and ergonomic than just working by hand, a digital pen like the pressure-sensitive HP rechargeable active pen
is a great tool to help you get the most out of your new format.
However, you need to make sure any pen or stylus you purchase is compatible with your laptop of choice, so be sure to check the specs tab on the product page.
As we saw with the HP ZBook Studio x360, you’ll have some options to upgrade your accessories during checkout. But if you want to see your full range of options, you can find everything you need from the main HP Display & Accessories hub
Which 2-in-1 laptop is right for you?
The options we’ve covered today provide a true variety of configurations and price points to consider, but each still offers a similar basic foundation: a great 2-in-1 laptop for drawing. That means each model can provide big advantages for artists, who can enjoy the freedom to choose how they work based on their needs and situation.
Ultimately, which device you choose will probably come down to a balance of performance and price. The HP ENVY x360 and HP ProBook x360 are affordable entries into the format with strong baselines for hardware, while the HP Spectre x360 packs on more style choices and upgrades for a modest price increase.
But for the best possible day-to-day performance, the HP ZBook x2 and the HP ZBook Studio x360 are the elite options with the most premium features.
Your options don’t end there. If you’re not sure you have found the best 2-in-1 laptop for your creative needs, remember that you can always check out HP’s full line of convertible laptops
and make your own list of favorites. While we’ve covered 5 of the most popular and high-performing options, there are plenty of other possibilities you can consider.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.