As technology advances, devices such as laptops are becoming more compact than ever.
Now, 2-in-1 laptops are more powerful than ever and can handle some demanding tasks that were once only available to personal computers.
Even traditional laptops are getting lighter by the day, with manufacturers creating portable ones that can compete with lightweight tablets.
So, with the myriad of choices for your new portable computer, which is the best for your needs?
In this article, we will discuss the difference between 2-in1 vs. laptop, the advantages and the disadvantages of these devices, so you can choose which is perfect for your needs.
Page Contents (Click Icon To Open/Close)
2 In 1 Laptop (Overview + Pros & Cons)
Also known as hybrid or convertible laptops. 2-in-1 laptops have two major parts: the touchscreen and the physical keyboard.
Depending on your needs, you can either ditch the physical keyboard and use the touch keyboard instead or attach the keyboard to type more comfortably.
You can even alternate between the two if you did that more practical.
There are two types of 2-in1 laptops: convertible and detachable. Convertible laptops allow you to bend the screen back 360-degrees behind the keyboard to convert it to a tablet.
On the other hand, detachable laptops require removing the keyboard to convert the device into a tablet.
Most people find 2 in 1 laptops are worth it, but it all boils down to how you intend to use your laptop.
Regular Laptop (Overview & Pros & Cons)
Traditional laptops are available in different sizes and specs. Some are compact and easy to carry, like 2-in-1s, while others are bulky and take up a lot of space.
They also have a sturdy hinge like a 2-in-1 laptop, but they don’t bend or swivel.
Since they come in a variety of specs, there’s one that’s made for your needs.
You can find one that can run heavy programs with ease, a laptop made for gaming, or a portable one that can be easily brought anywhere.
Not all regular laptops are bulky. Some are ultra-lightweight and thin. The screen size also varies from 11 inches up to 21 inches, so you’re sure to find something for you.
2 In 1 Vs Traditional Laptop (Differences Compared)
Weight & Portability
At first glance, 2-in-1s are obviously the more portable option. Yes, this is true. But there are now ultraportable laptops that weigh almost the same as the 2-in-1s available now.
However, they might be more expensive than the average traditional laptops, but you’ll surely get the portability you need.
On average, traditional laptops weigh around 3lbs to 15lbs, depending on brand and model.
However, modern laptops can weigh less than a kilo, but the options for this weight are limited. On the other hand, 2-in-1s weigh around 2lbs or less, including the keyboard.
Devices with detachable keyboards weigh only about 1lb, making them the most portable choice.
If you travel a lot, it might be good to look into 2-in1s as they are undoubtedly the more portable choice.
You can choose to ditch the keyboard if you don’t plan on typing anything, allowing you to easily fit your computer into your bag.
Traditional laptops may be harder to carry around as they tend to be bulkier, and there's no option for you to remove the keyboard from the screen.
One thing you need to note with portable and lightweight devices is that they tend to be less powerful than heavier laptops.
This is because some powerful components still don't have lightweight options like dedicated GPUs.
So, although you can get a portable one with powerful specs, you might need to shed a lot of cash.
If you really value portability, be ready to sacrifice some components for your portable computer.
Performance & Power
When choosing a portable computer, one crucial factor that you need to consider is its performance.
However, no one should decide based on its portability alone. You don't want to end up with a computer that can't perform the tasks you need to do, right?
So, before purchasing one, you need to ask yourself, what do you want your laptop to do? Will you just use it for office tasks, or do you plan on running demanding programs?
This will help you decide which of the two is perfect for your needs.
In general, 2-in-1s don't run the most powerful processors and often rely on integrated graphics instead of a dedicated GPU.
This is because manufacturers concentrate on making these machines slim and portable as their priority.
So while some can run the latest Intel or Ryzen processor and have up to 16GB RAM, other essential components are lacking to make them perform better than traditional laptops.
So, if you need to run heavy applications like video and photo editing programs, it’s best to stick with a laptop with the right processor speed.
At the same time, 2-in-1s will find it challenging to run popular gaming titles because of the lack of the needed hardware.
Larger laptops are often a better choice if you need a high-performing computer as they have more space for powerful components and better cooling solutions to ensure that you won’t overheat your device.
Another factor you should check when choosing between 2-in-1 vs. laptop is their functionality. With traditional laptops, the functionality is pretty straightforward.
There’s really nothing else to discuss apart from them being able to run computer programs.
However, 2-in1s are rich in functionality that you can’t find in traditional portable computers.
Most 2-in-1 laptops allow you to run applications that only tablets or smartphones can. This gives you more flexibility. They are also versatile and much more than being a tablet and a computer.
For example, you can use these devices in tent mode, where you pitch it like a tent, allowing you to see the screen without any distraction like the keyboard.
You can also put it in stand mode, where the keyboard is folded under and acts as the base of the screen, perfect for giving presentations.
Since it’s a tablet, you can take advantage of its touchscreen and use the stylus for note-taking or doodling (if you’re into that).
This means you can jot down notes during lectures and save them in digital form.
Display Size & Resolution
Your device’s display size is an important detail to consider when choosing between 2-in-1 laptops vs. regular laptops. The screen size can help shape the comfort level of the device.
The resolution also plays an integral role, especially if you need to work with intricate details of graphics, photos, or videos.
Many convertible laptops now go up to around 12 to 15-inches in screen size.
But because of its limited hardware capacity, even if the screen size is large enough, the resolution won’t be as high as traditional laptops.
On the other hand, traditional laptops can offer superb display size and resolution, with some even capable of outputting Ultra HD.
However, this isn’t common with traditional laptops, and those that can support 4K resolution often come with an expensive price tag.
So, if you value the display size and want to have better resolution, a regular laptop is an ideal choice.
This is the most underrated detail of any computer, but it is a critical part.
While it may not be as exciting as talking about the performance or size of a laptop, it can affect the convenience of using a device.
For example, the slow transition of Apple away from the headphone jack has pushed many of its users to switch to wireless headphones, which, of course, is an additional expense.
So, if you’re okay with having to bring dongles around, 2-in-1s can be good. Yes, they have limited ports, but you can still make the most out of this device with a dongle.
However, if you need a lot of ports for your computer, you’re still better off with a laptop.
By design, they can house more ports, even if they’re all USB-C, which will soon become the case.
While you’ll still get some USB ports on your 2-in-1 device, it may not be enough if you’re using a lot of accessories.
Traditional laptops don’t have many hardware restrictions since they're available in various sizes.
Generally, restrictions on components only happen when there's limited space for them.
That's why between the two, 2-in-1s are the ones experiencing this type of limitation because of their size.
This means a smaller battery, no dedicated GPU, limited screen size choices, fewer ports, and more.
But as we discover newer technologies, it won't be a surprise if there will be no more hardware restrictions on 2-in-1 laptops.
When it comes to storage, there’s not much difference between the two. Both come with an SSD variety, which allows you to boot your computer fast.
The only advantage of traditional laptops over 2-in-1s is their capacity to handle two types of storage--both SSD and HDD.
But we don’t really see this as a disadvantage for a 2-in-1 laptop since you can buy an external hard drive if you need more storage.
Some 2-in-1s come with an embedded Multimedia Card (eMMC), which is also fast like an SSD, but often works better with smaller-sized files.
Related: 500GB Vs 1TB Laptops Comparison
Ease of Use
Both traditional laptops and 2-in-1s are easy to use. However, there might be a learning curve with 2-in-1 laptops, especially with changing modes--from tablet to laptop or vice versa.
In some cases, your computer will still be stuck in tablet mode even after attaching the keyboard. This can be frustrating when it happens.
But apart from this minor issue, both of these laptops can be easy to navigate, even if you’re not a technical person.
Average Life Span
The life span of your device depends on the type, with gaming laptops having a long lifespan because of the high quality parts that they're made with.
How you handle and care for them also matters. The hardware of both devices can last the same time, since they often use similar components.
However, 2-in-1s may get a bit more stress on their hinges.
But they’re also more durable compared to traditional laptops since manufacturers expect users to put more strain on the hinges.
Because of this, they tend to be more reliable than a regular laptop’s hinges, primarily if primarily used in the regular clamshell mode.
The only factor that may affect the lifespan of a 2-in-1 is when used as a tablet. Since they are heavier than regular tablets, you’re more likely to drop them.
But apart from that, both can last for up to 10 years if you maintain them properly. Just remember that maintenance isn’t only external.
You also need to take care of it internally by removing the junk file, deleting unused apps, and making sure that your system is up-to-date.
So, which is more suitable for work, school, or gaming between 2-in-1 and traditional laptops? Below are some usage examples so you can find out which is best for your needs.
2-in-1 and traditional laptops have similar price tags. There are budget ones that won't have much to offer, specs-wise, but are perfect for simple computing tasks.
There are also mid-range ones that can perform and run some heavy programs but won't break your bank.
And of course, high-end ones offer top-of-the-line features made for specific tasks, like gaming and design.
This means that there will always be something for your budget, no matter how small or big it is.
Frequently Asked 2 In 1 Vs Laptop Questions
Do 2-in-1 laptops have USB ports?
Yes, they do have USB ports but are often limited.
Are all 2-in-1 laptops touch screens?
Yes, all 2-in-1 laptops are touchscreen.
What are the best rated brands of 2-in-1 laptops?
HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Acer are among the top-rated 2-in-1 laptops.
If you need a powerful portable computer, traditional laptops are ideal. They don’t have hardware restrictions, so you can easily find the best one for your needs.
However, if you value portability more, a 2-in-1 laptop is for you.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.