Research Hub > What is a 2-in-1 Laptop?

September 19, 2022

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4 min

What is a 2-in-1 Laptop?

A 2-in-1 laptop combines the features and functionality of a traditional laptop and traditional tablet into one device. Does it make sense for your personal and professional needs?

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What's Inside

No matter your job, no matter whether you use it for business or pleasure, a 2-in-1 laptop can simplify your life, reduce the number of devices you carry around and optimize the time spent in front of a screen.

A 2-in-1 laptop (also called a "2-in-1 PC" or simply a "2-in-1") is a portable computer that includes features of both tablets and laptops. Just call it a "laplet" or a "tabtop" that includes a PC operating system, keyboard, touchscreen and other convenient features of both devices combined into one.

There are several different types of 2-in-1s. The most prominent feature is the keyboard, which allows an ergonomic typing experience similar to that of a traditional laptop.

Convertible laptop / 2-in-1 attached

This device features a built-in keyboard that cannot be completely disconnected, but it can be folded/rotated/slid out of the way.

Hybrid laptop / 2-in-1 detached

This device includes a keyboard that can be removed easily to allow the 2-in-1 to be used more like a tablet via the touchscreen.

The terms "convertible laptop," "touchscreen laptop" and "hybrid laptop" are often used interchangeably to refer to 2-in-1s.

Why Choose a 2-in-1 Laptop?

One of the main reasons to choose a 2-in-1 over a traditional laptop or tablet is because you want to reduce the number of technological devices you are using. You most likely have a smartphone that goes with you everywhere. You probably also have a traditional laptop that you use at the office and/or at home. You might still have a regular desktop PC. Perhaps there is a tablet that you use for surfing or playing games at night while you relax on the couch. It isn't out of the question that many people have three, four or more electronic devices that they use for the same tasks.

A touchscreen laptop makes it easy to pare down your devices to one or two. You will most likely always have a smartphone, but with a PC operating system, designated keyboard, larger memory, bigger hard drive and a touchscreen, you can use a convertible laptop easily for work as well as for vegging out without sacrificing the components that you need. 

How is a 2-in-1 Different from a Laptop or Tablet?

Laptops feature the traditional keyboard on the bottom and screen on top. They open and close. They feature different inputs/outputs, a CD/DVD player, larger memory and more. There is almost nothing a traditional laptop can do that a 2-in-1, at a similar price point, cannot do. Some hybrid laptops are actually as light as a tablet while offering the abilities of a laptop.  

Tablets feature a touchscreen, applications, light weight, charging port, headphone jack and limited storage. Tablets are often limited in the amount of real, actual work that you can do on them, and a lot of that stems from the fact that there is no designated, ergonomic keyboard for typing.

In a tablet vs a hybrid laptop debate, you will find that some hybrid laptops weigh more than traditional tablets. Hybrid laptops also operate on Windows and Chrome operating systems, meaning that you won't find the wide selection of apps that Android and Apple offer. You also won't be able to connect your smartphone and 2-in-1, unless you have a Windows or Google phone.

Pros vs. Traditional Laptop

Thinner shape than a traditional laptop

Touch pad and touchscreen allow you multiple ways to control the device

Cons vs. Traditional Laptop

Sometimes sketchy interface between screen and keyboard

Keyboard and screen are often smaller in size than those found on traditional laptops

Mobile GPUs are not the most advanced available

Pros vs. Traditional Tablet

Designated keyboard allows a more ergonomic typing experience

Full-featured desktop operating system provides quicker response time and ability to do more tasks

Input/output ports, such as USB and DisplayPort, allow you to easily attach peripherals.

Cons vs. Traditional Tablet

Heavier weight makes it less ideal to hold for long periods, if using as a tablet with touchscreen

Higher price point since the cost is similar to a laptop, not a tablet

Non-expandable storage space limits the amount of files you can save to the tablet

There are so many electronic devices available today that it isn't always easy to make a decision. The best you can do is research and prepare before making a purchase. A 2-in-1 laptop offers the best of both worlds between laptops and tablets, but that doesn't mean it's the right choice for you. You must weigh the pros and cons to decide whether you need the functionality of two devices in one.