What Is an Example of a Hybrid Computer?

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The Dell XPS 12 is an example of a hybrid computer, or convertible laptop. But, though they combine tablet and laptop technology, hybrid systems are not yet equal mixtures of both.

In terms of aesthetics, hybrid computers typically favor one design over the other. The laptop-first devices have a touch screen in place of a traditional one and retain the clam-shell look. To use the computer as a tablet, the user pivots or flips the display and closes the laptop so that only the screen is exposed.

The tablet-first devices, on the other hand, house the primary processor in the touch screen unit. To use the computer as a laptop, the user inserts the display into a dock that contains the keyboard, battery and peripheral ports associated with a full laptop. It is these additional functions provided by the dock that separate proper hybrid systems from tablets with accessory keyboards. Of the two styles, this is the least common.

Unfortunately, though they combine the styling and function of both laptops and tablets, these devices are not yet able to perform equally well as both. The laptop-first systems are often heavier than traditional tablets, and are not practical for extended use. And, the tablet-first hybrids, like traditional tablets, often lack the computing power and speed of laptops.