The best 'hybrid' PCs - half laptop, half touchscreen

'Hybrid' machines such as Dell's XPS 12 offer a proper QWERTY keyboard as well as a touchscreen. (Image: PA)

Tablet computers have begun to eat away at the sales of traditional laptops - but a new breed of computer offers the best of both worlds.

'Ultrabook' convertibles are lightweight machines that can transform from a laptop into a tablet.

For people who want the mobility offered by tablets such as iPad, but need a hard keyboard for work, they're a good choice, running the work-friendly Windows 8, which offers apps such as Word and Powerpoint.

Most are on the pricey side, but powerful, offering large screens, top-end processors and start-up times measured in seconds.

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Lenovo ThinkPad Twist - £886.15 from
Designed to appeal to the business boffins, this convertible device is svelte with a screen that can rotate 180 degrees. With 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor, you'll be up and running in moments - it's a decent all-rounder.

Dell XPS 12 - £979 from
The slick flip-and-fold action of the screen takes it from a laptop to a tablet in one fluid motion - it looks great, and the 12.5 inch screen is Full HD. The backlit keyboard adds a touch of glamour to a typically businesslike machine from Dell.

Asus UX32A-R3021H Ultrabook - £792 from

This smart-looking computing system, with a 13.3in screen, boasts an impressive seven hours of battery life, which alone makes it worth every penny. The start-up time is admirable too. From power request to fully operational, it takes mere seconds. And that's what we want - no more waiting.

Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook 12.5in - £967.19 from

This is a perfect performer in the transformation stakes, moving from tablet to laptop in a rather swish sliding movement, but this hybrid's performance in the computing stakes shouldn't be forgotten too. It comes with pre-loaded software and packs a lot of storage to give you that PC experience while on the go.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 - £849 from
This beauty from Sony shows that the Japanese giant has not lost its world-beating expertise in laptops. It's a quick starter with a speedy Intel Core i7 processor and Windows 8, and it boasts a decent battery and full HD touchscreen, which is extremely responsive for all your games, apps and photo and video needs.

Asus Taichi - £999.99 from
Lightweight, sleek and chic-looking, this device is one of the best for speed, form and overall functionality. It's Windows 8 ready and thanks to Asus Simple Show, you're able to show off your photos, presentations and videos on the external screen while simultaneously controlling them on the internal display.