Laptop-tablet combos try to fuse best of both worlds

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Electronic companies are trying to take the features of laptops and tablets to offer consumers the best of both worlds. Consumer Reports tested some popular models. (KABC)

With the declining laptop market, tablets became one of the fastest growing consumer electronics. But now, tablet sales are leveling off too, making way for the next big thing that combines the best of both worlds.

Tablets are great when you're on the go. They're lightweight and easy to carry along. Laptops are great for getting the job done with more memory, storage and power than a tablet.

But several electronics companies are trying to give consumers the best of both - with detachables that convert from a laptop into a tablet. Consumer Reports has been testing several models.

Detachables work like a laptop when you need one and like a tablet - when that's what you need. But Consumer Reports says so far, its testers haven't been overly impressed with what's on the market.

"We test detachables as both laptops and tablets. The problem is they don't do particularly well as either. As a laptop, they're not as fast or as powerful as you would like. As a tablet, they tend to be a little bit heavy," said Richard Fisco with Consmer Reports.

There are other issues, too. On a Lenovo model, you can't adjust the viewing angle of the screen like you could on a standard laptop. And on a Asus model, you only get two gigs of memory. Most laptops come with at least four. The only detachable Consumer Reports recommends in both categories is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

"This model has a great display and great battery life. And at 12 inches, its screen is larger than most other tablets," Fisco said.

The Surface Pro 3 comes equipped with a surface pen, camera and memory card reader and starts at $800. The keyboard is sold separately for $130.

Because more and more detachables are coming on the market, Consumer Reports says it hopes to see lighter, more powerful models soon.

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