Why buy both a laptop and a tablet when a 2 in 1 laptop can give you both devices in one lightweight model?
There are good reasons why these portable and versatile models are popular laptop alternatives. But are 2 in 1 laptops worth it? Does a 2 in 1 offer a better experience vs a traditional laptop?
What Exactly Is A 2 in 1 Laptop? (Convertible Laptops Explained)
2 in 1 laptops are pretty self-explanatory. They are able to take on the role of both a laptop and a tablet in one handy little piece of technology. There are two variations - either they have a flexible 360° hinge that allows the screen to rotate all the way around. The second variation has a keyboard that detaches, allowing you to use the screen exactly like a tablet.
Both variations are popular with people who regularly use both devices and benefit from having them combined. Due to their light and slim builds, 2 in 1 laptops are great for travel and excellent options for students.
The touchscreen can be operated with a stylus, making them very useful for artists and anyone needing to take notes.
While they are referred to as 2 in 1 laptops, both versions actually have up to four possible modes. However, models with detachable keyboards may not be able to perform the display mode if their hinges are not fully able to rotate.
In this mode, the laptop is positioned exactly like a standard laptop, with the keyboard accessible and the screen viewable. This is a good mode for writing documents, checking emails, surfing the internet, etc.
This mode is great for watching films and other pursuits that don't require the use of the keyboard. Instead, the keyboard is rotated back to act as a stand for the screen, offering support while keeping the action visible.
Tent mode sees the laptop resting on both the keyboard and the screen’s edges, so it looks exactly like a tent. This is a great mode if you are watching the screen but have limited space available.
It can also be handy for presentations as it displays the screen well to your audience. It's also the most fun out of all the modes - we don't usually see laptops used in this way, after all!
Tablet mode means you take the laptop's screen and use it exactly like a tablet. It may detach from the keyboard or flip around to rest on the back of the keyboard. Tablet mode allows you to draw or write notes with a stylus, play games designed for tables, or use it as an e-reader.
What Are The Benefits Of 2 In 1 Hybrid Laptops?
A Cost-Efficient Option
By buying a 2 in 1 laptop, you are eliminating the need for a second device. High-end tablets can be as expensive as some laptops, leaving you paying double. With a 2 in 1 laptop, you get exactly what its title promises - two devices and one price tag.
2 in 1 laptops range in price, from around $500 to $2,000. This means there’s an option for every budget, and they could be a reasonable consideration for students and those with limited budgets.
Meets Work As well As Leisure Needs
2 in 1 laptops allow you to catch up with your friends just as well as they allow you to catch up on your work. They can handle video calls, movie streaming, online searching, and so much more.
Flexible & Portable
The handy flexible hinge or detachable keyboard gives you so many options for usage. And as 2 in 1 laptops are designed to mimic tablets, they are usually designed to be as light, thin, and portable as possible. They are ideal for those who travel a lot or who don't have the time to be switching between two devices.
Sleek & Attractive Design
2 in 1 laptops look great. They need to be as thin and light as possible to allow them to be used as tablets, and for many models, the thought put into their designs shows.
More Connectivity Than Regular Tablets
Due to their hybrid nature, buying a 2 in 1 as an alternative to a tablet means your ‘tablet’ will have more port types available than normal, including HDMI ports, USB, and even Thunderbolt 3 for some models.
All 2 in 1 Laptops Have a Touchscreen
Touchscreen laptops are so very cool, and due to their needed flexibility, all 2 in 1 laptops will have touchscreens, which could aid your productivity and get the job done faster and easier.
What Are The Drawbacks Of 2 In 1 Laptops?
Slimness Over Performance
Due to their design, 2 in 1 laptops are not compatible with top performance components. This prevents them from being used for gaming, especially if the games require high-definition graphics. This may also not be ideal for video editors or used for other applications that push your laptops to peak performance.
Slim builds also prevent decent fans from being included, making it difficult to keep cool while gaming.
It also means less storage space, with many models capable of up to 256 GB, with a few reaching 1 TB. And upgrading the storage capabilities is likely to be unsuccessful.
Hinge Is Easily Breakable
The rotating or detachable hinge adds one big fault risk to your laptop. Unfortunately, it will be expensive to repair and easy to damage, so care will need to be taken.
Bulkier Than A Tablet
If the laptop is one with a fully rotating hinge, as the keyboard is still attached, the tablet mode will leave you with a bulkier than average tablet. This may make it harder to handle than a traditional tablet, and, therefore, not ideal for all users. 2 in 1 laptops are also likely to be smaller to add to their portability, which may mean not all users will be able to type with ease.
2 in 1 laptops may not have features like biometric security that uses fingerprint and face identification. You may also find locking slots and hardware-based security chips missing. If this kind of security is essential for your job, you may not benefit from a hybrid model.
Are 2 in 1 Laptops Worth It? (Explained For Different Activities)
Plenty of people have and continue to enjoy the flexibility and multitasking a hybrid laptop can bring, but this does not mean they are a suitable laptop replacement for everyone.
This could be a good choice for a work laptop, depending on your job. It's easy and light to transport from the office to your home and can also be used during the commute. It's an excellent option for writers and artists alike.
As it is two devices in one, this is a great money-saving option for college students, or even high school students! There are some very affordable options out there, so many students may find it worth it to invest in a 2 in 1 laptop.
2 in 1 computers are not the ideal laptop for gamers. Due to their smaller size, they cannot accommodate the components capable of handling demanding graphics and streaming online games. There may also be issues with overheating, which can be a common problem with laptop gaming.
Some programming apps may require a beefier model than a 2 in 1 laptop is able to offer. A programmer may not find a 2 in 1 laptop a worthwhile investment.
Drawing on a 2 in 1 laptop couldn’t be easier. The screen is compatible with a stylus, and many models even have one included with the device. With one simple flip, your laptop is now a drawing tablet! For artists, 2 in 1 laptops are definitely worth it.
2 In 1 Laptop FAQs
What is the difference between a touch screen laptop and 2 in 1 laptop?
While a touch screen laptop will allow you to interact with the screen as you might do on a tablet, it will not be able to rotate at the hinge and be used in four different modes, as a 2 in 1 laptop will.
Do 2-in-1 laptops have USB ports?
2 in 1 laptops do have USB ports and other ports that allow more connectivity than a tablet alone would offer.
Can you use apps on 2-in-1 laptops?
Currently, most 2 in 1 laptops run Windows, so iOS apps will not be compatible, but Android apps can be used.
While not for everyone, 2 in 1 laptops can provide the portability of a tablet along with the functionality of a laptop. For the right user, they really can be the best of both worlds if you're willing to sacrifice performance for portability.
Jake Redman is a UK-born-digital nomad & founder of Ultimate Quality Content, a collective of high-end copywriters formed to provide detailed insight into everything technology-related. Jake is the definition of a man-nerd. He gets excited over things like processor architecture, ray-tracing, & is an avid E-Sports fan, specifically League of Legends. When he isn’t writing detailed tech-related articles, Jake can be found performing fire-breathing shows & wields a dragon staff, or on the sofa playing Mario Kart.