2-in-1 or laptop-mainWhen it comes to portable computers today, you’ll find there are almost too many options out there. In the past, if you wanted to check your email, surf the web, stream a movie or do some work on the go, you either had to have a laptop, or try making do with a tablet. And that was the problem with tablets at the time; they just couldn’t deliver the productivity of a laptop. Unless you have some sort of add-on keyboard, typing on those things gives you major wrist cramps or incredibly muscled thumbs.

However, today we are graced with the additional option of a 2-in-1 Tablet PC that is a fraction of the size of a laptop, plus it has feature of having a high-resolution display, an Intel CPU, so you can run Windows (unlike with tablets that required a mobile version), a built-in stand, and a cover that turns into a keyboard. Bam! Now, you’ve got choices. So, how do you choose between a 2-in-1 and a laptop? Well, the only way to make an informed decision is to be more informed. So, let me fill you in on the ins and outs of each.

2-in-1 or Laptop When You Are On The Go

2-in-1 or laptop optionsSure, laptops are meant to be portable. Many, are wafer-thin and offer decent battery life, too, not to mention sheer power. But, when it comes to portability, a 2-in-1 definitely has the advantage. These hybrid computers are surprisingly lightweight, ultra-thin, and vastly easier to whip out and use in a flash.

While a laptop user is still plugging in a large power brick, you’ve got your 2-in-1 out of your bag, screen flipped around, and showing that hilarious video of the guy getting hit in the groin with a football. Or was it a cute kitten? Either way, you got to it first. And speaking of power bricks; you know the laptop’s cord is also going to be bigger and bulkier to lug around, as is the laptop itself.

Plus, all a laptop can do is open. A 2-in-1, on the other hand, is infinitely more versatile. These convertible computers offer the touchscreen of a tablet, plus there are units with displays that swivel, twist, and spin around their full-sized keyboards. So, when it comes to portability and versatility, the 2-in-1 wins pretty much hands-down.

Best Option For Computing Power


Today’s 2-in-1’s are getting more and more powerful than ever, and are geared up with top-of-the-line Intel processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage. They also offer dazzling and generous 12-inch displays. And let’s not forget stuff like Bluetooth, built-in Wi-Fi, a couple of USB ports, and memory card slots. Still—and you may find varying arguments here—a laptop was designed to offer an edge in speed and graphics power. Then there is battery life, which in my experience sides mostly with laptops in terms of longevity, and display. Sure, 12-plus inches is fine for Facebook or maybe watching a movie on Netflix, however if you plan on doing anything really graphically intensive, a 17-inch laptop is going to be your device of choice.

Then there is the issue of keyboards. I put my keyboards through a lot, because I am a both a gamer who uses a keyboard, and a writer who pounds away all day on keys for a living. So, I like a good, solid keyboard that isn’t squishy, and I find 2-in-1s tend to have less solid-feeling keyboards than laptops. It’s a preference, but you have to consider how and how often you will use something to determine what’s best for your needs. And for some models of 2-in-1, the keyboard cover is an option you have to pay extra for the upgrade. So, for power and complete computing, I’d have to say the laptop has a slightly better edge.


Can a 2-in-1 Replace a Laptop?

surface-proThe big question at the heart of this thing is whether you 2-in-1s are powerful and versatile enough to completely supplant a laptop.

And the short answer is, yes, a product like the Surface Pro (with the keyboard cover) is flexible and powerful enough to do almost everything your laptop can do, plus some screen acrobatics that allow for viewing and use at different angles. The addition of a touchscreen is simply superb. That feature is what users want from their devices now, thanks to the iPhone and its iterations. But, a longer answer would re-emphasize the larger display of a laptop, superior (for the moment) computing and graphical power, not to mention larger storage space, more ports and a studier interface. There is also the issue of upgrades. A laptop can usually be upgraded, either with more RAM or sometimes even a more powerful graphics processor later in its lifespan, however 2-in-1s are usually sealed, so there is no way to bump up their power over time.

But, in the end, and as always, it depends on what you are using the device for, and your own preferences. If you plan on using a lot of Photoshop, or anything graphically intensive, then maybe a larger laptop is the right choice for your computing needs. However, if, say, you only plan on using the device to check emails, look at a YouTube video or two, edit a work document, and maybe pen that novel at long last, a 2-in-1 will be your portable pal, and an unobtrusive and lightweight tool you will wonder how you lived without. Alternatively, you could also check out Brad Moon’s blog covering the subject of whether a 2-in-1 could ever replace a laptop, or take a trip into a Best Buy store and run your fingers over a few demos on display and decide for yourself what feels right, fits your budget, and your digital needs.

Let me know which you would prefer, and why in the comment section below. I’d be curious to know what people think would be the ultimate portable computing device.

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Steven Hill
I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.