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Tablet & Notebook: How expensive does a good convertible have to be?


Touch and keyboard, flaps and folds: Convertibles are practical companions for home offices & Co. TechStage shows how much money you have to take in hand to buy.

As a tablet for streaming, as a notebook for work: convertibles combine touch and keyboard in one device. They adapt to the respective situation via folding, folding or plug-in mechanisms. On a plane, for example, only tablet mode is used, and in the home office the full-fledged notebook with keyboard. We show the differences between four devices between 250 and 2500 euros.

In detail, the convertibles differ in terms of hardware equipment and range of functions. For example, some offer a full-fledged keyboard with number pad, others only a small, removable keyboard. In others, a pen is integrated in the housing to operate the touchscreen precisely or to control Powerpoint remotely, for example. Cheaper capacitive pens can usually not keep up as our contribution: pens for the iPad shows.

There are also differences in the Windows version. Windows 10 Home, Per or S are available here. If you are really just looking for a device for home work, Home or S is the right choice for you. The latter is a special security version of Windows 10 that only allows apps to be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. With two clicks in the settings one deactivates S and then has a full Windows 10 Home (Link to heise online entry “Windows 10 S – what is it?”).

If you want to charge your convertible with a power bank on the go, you have to make sure that you have a strong battery pack and suitable cables. The colleagues from heise + im have more information Contribution: Five power banks for notebooks in the test.

For our overview, we tested four convertibles from different price ranges. All models offer a special tablet mode. In contrast to the operation of notebooks with a touchscreen, this mode is actually made for touch input. For example, buttons are larger and a digital keyboard is available. We compare the following devices from 250 euros:

  • Trekstor Primetab S11b
  • Lenovo Yoga C940-15IRH
  • Acer Spin 5
  • Microsoft Surface Book 3

Our test devices at a glance. From top left: Lenovo Yoga C940-15IRH, Trekstor Surftab S11b, Acer Spin 5 and Microsoft Surface Book 3.

In the price range below 250 euros you can currently only find one convertible in the price comparison. The four-year-old Trekstor Surftab Duo W3 offers 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The latter can be expanded to 128 GB via a micro SD card slot. But you will hardly be happy with it in everyday life. Windows 10 Home runs on the device, but the meager 2 GB of RAM do not allow smooth work. In addition, 32 GB are simply not enough for Windows 10, even with a few installed programs you encounter space problems with larger updates. Such convertibles are only suitable for people who have a lot of time and patience on their computers. They fail as work tools or tablets for streaming.

Those looking for this price range should look at entry-level tablets for videos and surfing the web. In our article: How much tablet is really necessary, we show what is important. If, on the other hand, you are only looking for a notebook that is optically elegant, you will find an overview in our article: Notebooks with an aluminum housing from 300 euros.

Usable hardware for work on the go or in the home office starts at around 250 euros. 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage are standard here. The display size is between 10 and almost 12 inches – that’s just enough for working in Word or streaming comfortably. USB-A 3.0 and jack plugs can be found on all models. Sometimes there are differences, for example, with additional connections such as Displayport, Micro-HDMI, USB-C or Micro-USB.

The one we tested Trekstor Primetab S11b comes in the following equipment:

Trekstor Surftab S11b
Display

11.6 “, 1920×1080, 190dpi, multi-touch, IPS

CPU

Intel Celeron N3350, 2x 1.10GHz

R.A.M.

4GB

HDD

N / A

SSD

64GB Flash (eMMC)

graphic

Intel HD Graphics 500 (IGP)

connections

1x Mini HDMI, 2x USB-A 3.0, 1x jack

Wireless

WLAN 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.2

battery pack

Li-polymer, 4000mAh, 29.6Wh

Weight

1.1kg

operating system

Windows 10 Home 64bit

particularities

Aluminum unibody, convertible, fingerprint reader (touchpad)

brightness

188 cd (candela / m2)

In PCMark 10 (extended test), the Primetab scored a meager 731 points. For comparison: A classic office PC should score at least 2600 points. The Trekstor convertible is far from that. No wonder, an Intel Celeron N3350 is used as the processor and an Intel HD Graphics 500 as the GPU. Both models are from 2016 and are designed for low-end performance. In the individual subcategories, the Primetab is somewhat fast when opening software (2652 points) and when using Excel or Word (1720 points). Image editing (704 points) or even gaming (241 points) can be forgotten. In the battery mark, which measures the runtime of the battery, the Primetab reaches 4:40 hours in the “Modern Office” scenario. This is remarkable for a convertible in this price range and is probably enough for one or the other train journey. The benchmark tests the battery life by opening office applications, video chats and more.

In practice, the Primetab can be used. Opening Office applications such as Word or Powerpoint takes between three and four seconds. Operation by touch is pleasant and thanks to the very compact design you can easily reach the remote corners of the screen with your hands on the keyboard. However, this is a little too dark for us and the picture looks cloudy. The screen brightness of the S11b is 188 candelas. For comparison: an Acer Spin 5 for around 1000 euros comes up to more than double, namely 391 candela. A brighter screen is particularly important in direct sunlight, especially since all convertibles tested have a mirrored display.


The processing of the Primetab S11b was very successful. The tablet part with a screen is encased in a stable aluminum housing – nothing creaks or wobbles here. The integrated stand is stable and can be moved continuously. The keyboard is covered with a rubberized textile. Visually, it reminds us of the keyboards of the first Microsoft Surface generation. In terms of quality, it performs worse than the case. The key travel is pleasant, but the keys themselves are shaky. Unfortunately there is no backlight. The touchpad clicks very hollow during operation – there was a clear saving. This may be enough for the fixed email on the go, but not for the annual report or the like. Only the additional operation of the touchscreen or an external keyboard via Bluetooth or USB helps here. This usually saves most of the touchpad operations. Anyone who opens windows or clicks buttons on the screen has almost nothing to complain about with the Trekstor convertible. However, and this is also due to the price, the execution of the touch input is delayed by a few milliseconds. One waits briefly until the Windows start menu opens. If you don’t mind, at least you have a good tablet. Ultimately, the Trekstor Primetab S11b is just that; a good tablet. Because for eight hours of work in the home office, it is only suitable with accessories. Then you should definitely get an external mouse, keyboard and screen. In the article: Second monitors from 130 euros we present corresponding monitors. In the article: Keyboards, mice & Co. for the home office we show other accessories.

If you need more performance in everyday work, you should plan more budget. The convertibles show this from 800 euros.

The middle class starts at 800 euros. Here you will find numerous models from manufacturers such as Lenovo or Acer. We have that as a reference model Acer Spin 5 tested. This is equipped with 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB of memory. An Intel i5 is used as the processor and an Intel Iris Plus as the graphics unit, which is enough for occasional gaming in the overall setup.

Acer Spin 5
Display

13.3 “, 2256×1504, 204dpi, 60Hz, multi-touch, glare, IPS

CPU

Intel Core i5-1035G4, 4x 1.10GHz

R.A.M.

8GB LPDDR4 (8GB soldered, not expandable)

HDD

N / A

SSD

1TB M.2 PCIe

graphic

Intel Iris Plus Graphics (IGP)

connections

1x HDMI, 2x USB-A 3.0, 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x jack

Wireless

WLAN 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax, Bluetooth 5.0

battery pack

1x battery permanently installed, 14h runtime

Weight

1.20kg

operating system

Windows 10 Home 64bit

particularities

Aluminum unibody, convertible, fingerprint reader (touchpad)

brightness

391 cd (candela / m2)

In the benchmark, the Spin 5 manages a good 3000 points. The everyday performance in the areas of essentials (7914 points) and productivity (5204 points) is particularly impressive. There are drawbacks in video and image processing (3342 points) and gaming (1640 points). A tool is not designed for this – especially not when the thickness is 15 millimeters folded. Spin 5 manages 6:40 hours in the BatteryMark. That should be enough for wireless work on the train.

Spin 5 is fun in everyday work. This is partly due to the processing. The entire housing is made of aluminum and is stable. The display can be lifted off the keyboard with one finger – as you might otherwise only know from Apple. Two large storage areas for the heel of the hand to the left and right of the touchpad ensure comfortable typing, the keyboard itself has a sufficient width for men’s hands. Only the key stroke could be a bit more noticeable for our taste.


Those who work a lot with Microsoft Office will like the convertible. It doesn’t even take a second to cold start Word, Powerpoint or Excel. The seamless operation of touch and keyboard works very well due to the compact design. If you are at the level of the ESC key with your little finger, you almost touch the lower side of the touchscreen – mind you without lifting the palm of your hand.

The Acer convertible folds along the display hinge. Here it goes smoothly into tablet mode. Then the keyboard is switched off. Detaching the screen and keyboard is not possible with the Acer Spin 5. If you want that, you can find the Tablet 10 in the same price segment at Lenovo. Even with a keyboard & Co., the Spin 5 only weighs 1.1 kilos. There is also a stylus in the housing, which holds stably and is not lost on the way. With two buttons, the pen also serves as a presentation device for PowerPoint presentations. The highlights of the connections include a full HDMI-In and a USB-C connection. If you want to charge the convertible on the go, you can find the relevant power banks in the heise article Five power banks for notebooks in the test.

We like the fingerprint sensor less. It turns out to be so small that it is almost a miracle if it recognizes a finger right away. The keyboard’s backlight should also have been a bit brighter. It’s just barely visible.

For a convertible close to the 1000 euro mark, the Spin 5 is definitely worth a look in our opinion. Other models such as the Lenovo Tablet 10 or Microsoft Surface Pro X play with similar features in the same price range.

Top performance for office convertibles starts at 1500 euros. We have that in this category Lenovo Yoga C940-15IRH and Microsoft Surface Book 3 viewed. The devices offer at least i7 or even i9 processors, the RAM is between 16 and 32 GB, the internal memory between 500 GB and 1 TB.

The Lenovo Yoga you get in the smallest configuration with i7 for a good 1900 euros, in the best for a good 2600 euros. Our test device is around 2300 euros, the difference in price here is mainly due to the installed Windows. For us it is Windows 10 Home. This is enough for working in the home office. Functions such as group policies or drive encryption, for example, are only supported by Windows 10 Pro (more about this on heise online).

Lenovo Yoga C940-15IRH
Display

15.6 “, 3840×2160, 282dpi, 60Hz, multi-touch, glare, IPS, digitizer, 500cd / m², DisplayHDR 400

CPU

Intel Core i9-9880H, 8x 2.30GHz

R.A.M.

16GB DDR4-2666 (16GB soldered, not expandable)

HDD

N / A

SSD

1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (2280)

graphic

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q (Mobile), 4GB GDDR5

connections

1x USB-A 3.0, 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x jack

Wireless

WLAN 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax (2×2), Bluetooth 5.0

battery pack

1x battery permanently installed (Li-Ion, 69Wh), 9h runtime

Weight

2.00kg

operating system

Windows 10 Home 64bit

particularities

Convertible, aluminum unibody, fingerprint reader, acceleration sensor

brightness

370 cd (candela / m2)

In PCMark 10 (extended test) there are a total of 4964 points. In the subcategories, the convertible achieves its highest performance in the Essentials (9164 points), Productivity (6935 points) and Gaming (6204 points). The creative work – i.e. video editing – is a bit behind with 4165 points. The device managed almost 4 hours in the battery test at full capacity. This is a bit thin, but is still enough for a train journey. Speaking of which: Anyone planning the yoga convertible for mobile use should definitely go to the gym beforehand. With a proud two kilos, the work is only fun at the desk. And that’s probably what the device is designed for. It has the largest display with 15.6 inches, a full-fledged keyboard with number pad and a good speaker with Dolby Atmos – for Netflix & Chill after work it goes without saying. With 391 candelas, the Spin 5 has the brightest display. Thus, the work works despite the reflecting screen even in sunlight.

Like the Acer Spin 5, the case is made of aluminum, the display can also be lifted off the keyboard with just one finger. Thankfully, it finally has really useful backlighting and a very pleasant key stroke with enough resistance that you can feel what you’re pressing. The fingerprint sensor works quickly and almost error-free. The touchpad, however, surprises us negatively for two reasons: First, it clicks purely by ear like the cheap version of Trekstor. That simply cannot be the case with a convertible for 2000 euros. Secondly, the touchpad is staggered so that the right palm would have enough space next to a coke can, but the left palm would only find half the space. After all: The touchpad recognizes the ball of the hand and ignores it if you accidentally slide over it.


As with the Acer convertible, the Yoga also has a touch pen with two buttons, which is embedded in the housing. Not only can you use it to draw, you can also control PowerPoint presentations remotely, for example. There is also a small but fine detail for privacy lovers: The Yoga webcam has a mechanical clasp. If you don’t want to be filmed unnoticed, you cover up the camera. Lenovo does not learn how to position the microphone; it is installed directly in front of the fan. If it is loud, the other person hardly hears you anymore. This is particularly annoying when it comes to video conferences via Microsoft Teams.

In terms of operating and opening office programs, the Lenovo device is similar to the Acer, which is a good 1000 euros cheaper. Here you really have to ask yourself what you want. A racing car with a huge display, keyboard with number pad and decent speaker or a handy tool with corresponding drawbacks for a good half less.

Our second test device in this class comes from Microsoft. The Surface Book 3 is a proud 2600 euros with i7 processor, 32 GB RAM and 512 GB storage. If 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage are enough, you pay a good 2000 euros.

Microsoft Surface Book 3
Display

15 “, 3240×2160, 260dpi, multi-touch, IPS, digitizer

CPU

Intel Core i7-1065G7, 4x 1.30GHz

R.A.M.

N / A

HDD

32GB LPDDR4x

SSD

512GB SSD (M.2 PCIe (2280 / M-Key))

graphic

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q (Mobile), 6GB GDDR6

connections

1x USB-C ™, 2x USB-A, SD card reader, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 2 Surface Connect ports

Wireless

WLAN 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC

battery pack

Li-polymer, 17h running time

Weight

1.6kg

operating system

Windows 10 Pro 64bit

particularities

Proximity sensor, fan, light sensor, acceleration sensor, position sensor, Hall sensor, 2x docking connector (SurfaceConnect), TPM 2.0, dock (illuminated QWERTZ keyboard, touchpad)

brightness

329 cd (candela / m2)

So much money has to be achieved – one might think. But it doesn’t. At least not in a direct comparison to the Yoga convertible, where the more powerful i9 processor is noticeable here. Because in PCMark 10, the Surface achieves 4377 points. In detail, this is 7693 points for the essentials, 6892 points for the productivity and 5502 points for the gaming. When it comes to image and video editing, the Surface Book does worse with 3401 points. The battery test shows 8:40 hours. This is remarkable and sufficient for an entire working day.

At 1.6 kilos, the Surface is just handy enough to carry with you on trips. Compared to Yoga, the Surface Book is more compact, but the display is still quite large at 15 inches.


We prefer the processing of the Surface Book 3 by far. It is not necessarily higher quality than the Acer or Lenovo, but looks optically from a single source. And that, although the keyboard and screen of the Microsoft convertible can be completely separated. The display – or tablet – sits firmly in the base via a mechanical latch. If you press the button on the keyboard, the tablet is loose. Then you use it completely independently. Even a rear camera is built in. What do you need them for? We don’t know, but it’s there. Microsoft has not integrated a mechanical clasp for the webcam, but has two microphones right next to it for better voice quality. One of the highlights of the connections is an SD card slot.

For everyday life, devices are enough from 250 euros, as long as you bring a little patience and external accessories such as a mouse, keyboard and monitor. If you are looking for a reasonable device for (work) everyday life, you should look in the device class from 800 euros. Should the convertible do demanding work and deliver brisk performance over the long term? Then at least 1500 euros must be in the home office cash register.

If, on the other hand, you are only looking for a notebook that is optically elegant, you will find an overview in our article: Notebooks with an aluminum housing from 300 euros. Do you prefer accessories for home work? In the article: Second monitors from 130 euros we present mobile displays. And in the article: Keyboards, mice & Co. for the home office we show other accessories.

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