In the eternal battle against aging hardware, you have to keep an eye out for new, more efficient options. You could find a replacement laptop and a replacement tablet when it comes time to upgrade, or you could change things up and go for the combined alternative: the 2 in 1 laptop. Here’s a brief overview, and a few options to help your decision-making process.

What is a 2 in 1 laptop?

A 2 in 1 laptop is designed to offer both the traditional keyboard and mouse interaction of a laptop, and the touchscreen capabilities of a tablet. The technical specifications of the 2 in 1 are more robust than most tablets, but usually less powerful than a dedicated laptop. Converting from tablet to laptop and back is simple, but the specifics depend on the particular manufacturer. Some models have durable hinges that allow the screen to fold back completely in both directions, allowing the keyboard to be covered by the back of the screen when in tablet mode. The other conversion approach is to make the keyboard fully detachable. Essentially, the keyboard acts like a dock for the tablet component.

Why use a 2 in 1 for school?

Choosing a 2 in 1 convertible laptop for school is a decision based on 2 things: flexibility and convenience. Your backpack is already going to be overloaded with textbooks and the various necessities of surviving academic life. Reducing the number of gadgets and accessories that you’re toting around will lighten the load and make it easier to keep track of everything. With a quick flip, you can adapt to whatever the space around you allows. On the bus? Change from laptop to tablet. Watching a movie when you suddenly realize that you have a paper due tomorrow? Transform it back to a laptop and get to work right away. We’re a touchscreen society now, and it is incredibly convenient to have a laptop that uses the same interface technology.

Option 1: Asus ZenBook UX360


The Asus ZenBook UX360 is a good mid-level 2 in 1 laptop. It uses the hinged approach to converting from laptop to tablet and back. ASUS prides itself on the durability of the Zenbook, referring to the hinges with the slightly unsettling label “torture tested”. It can certainly stand up to the hardships of daily use.  For a detailed review, head on over to (in English) or this post (in French).

Option 2: Microsoft Surface Book


This is the heavy hitter of the convertible laptop category. The Microsoft Surface Book screen display completely detaches from the keyboard when it converts into a tablet. Microsoft has designed it to be as feature-rich and robust of a laptop as is possible, while offering the full tablet freedom. Of course, that power comes at a premium price, so this may not be the best option for the budget-conscious. On the other hand, if you really need to maximize versatile working conditions and adaptation, the surface book will keep you at peak performance no matter where you find yourself. It also comes with (and works seamlessly) with an Active Pen. The pen lets you write notes directly on the screen and capture them for use later.

Option 3: Acer Chromebook


The Acer Chromebook is your choice if budget is your primary concern. It uses Google’s own operating system Chrome OS, so expect to have some challenges when trying to use software built for Windows/Mac. The cost point and usefulness of the chromebook make it a very attractive option for the first laptop you send to school with your child.

image from microsoft.com

Chris Loblaw
Chris is a novelist, avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and proud dad of a 13-year-old video game master.