Did you know that the first-ever digital, programmable computer weighed 27 tons? It covered an area of approximately 1,800 square feet. It was also worth $500,000 back then, which, in 2020 dollars, converted to $7.2 million.
That’s none other than ENIAC, which stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer.
Computers have gone a long way since then, getting smaller and lighter every passing year. One particular type even combines two devices into one: the 2-in-1 laptop.
So, what is a 2-in-1 laptop exactly, and what does the 2 in its name stand for? What makes it different from traditional laptops, and why would you even want to snag one of these?
We’ll address all those questions in this guide, so be sure to keep reading!
What Is a 2-In-1 Laptop?
A 2-in-1 laptop is a computer combining the functionalities of a notebook and a tablet. Most of these devices have specs very similar to those of traditional laptops. However, they also feature a tablet-like touchscreen interface, giving them extra versatility.
What Distinguishing Features Do 2-in-1s Have?
A 2-in-1 features the same components as a laptop, such as a battery, storage drive, CPU, and external ports or slots. However, the main distinguishing features of a 2-in-1 are its touchscreen and keyboard.
A laptop can only be a 2-in-1 if it has a touchscreen display. After all, this is the component that gives it its tablet-like functions.
The keyboard of 2-in-1 determines if it’s a convertible laptop or a hybrid laptop.
A convertible laptop, also known as a 2-in-1-attached laptop, has a built-in keyboard. So, that means you can’t disconnect the keyboard entirely from the device. However, you can slide out the keyboard in some, while others let you rotate or fold the display.
A hybrid laptop, also known as a 2-in-1 detachable laptop, comes with a detachable keyboard. That gives you the option to use the device’s screen as a stand-alone tablet.
Which Operating Systems Do 2-in-1s Run?
Most 2-in-1 laptops run Microsoft Windows, considering that they are still laptops. That allows them to run regular computer software programs and mobile-style apps.
Other 2-in-1s feature the Google Chrome operating system, though. It’s a relatively new OS, with Google introducing it on May 11, 2011. It’s more web-oriented, but devices that run on it cost less and can access thousands of no-cost apps.
How Do 2-in-1s Fare Against Laptops?
Compared to traditional clamshell laptops, 2-in-1s often have slimmer builds. That makes them more compact, and thus, easier to pack.
Another advantage of 2-in-1s over traditional laptops is their multi-mode interface. You can use the touchscreen and touchpad of the 2-in-1 to operate it. You can even connect a mouse for even more ways to control it.
However, 2-in-1 laptops can sometimes develop a sketchy screen-to-keyboard interface. That’s more common with the detachable ones; interference can occur between the two.
Moreover, many 2-in-1 laptops have keyboards and screens smaller than traditional laptops. That’s because they had to compromise on size to maintain a more compact design.
What About 2-in-1s vs. Tablets?
Compared to tablets, 2-in-1 laptops have a bigger keyboard that may prove to be more ergonomic. That may be especially helpful if you rely on your tablet a lot for school or work. After all, overuse of small electronic devices may increase the risk of hand and wrist pain.
Another advantage of 2-in-1s over tablets is they have a quicker response time. That’s because, unlike tablets, 2-in-1 laptops have full-featured desktop operating systems. That gives them more computing power, so they can also do more tasks simultaneously.
2-in-1 laptops also have more input and output ports, such as USB, audio, and card readers. Those allow you to connect various peripherals, such as storage media or speakers.
However, all those features also make 2-in-1 laptops heavier than stand-alone tablets. Even the detachable screens of 2-in-1s often weigh more than traditional tablets. That makes them less ideal as handheld devices.
You can also expect 2-in-1 laptops to cost more than tablets, as they’re both laptops and tablets.
Should You Buy a 2-In-1?
2-in-1s offer more functionality and versatility than stand-alone laptops or tablets. However, they don’t float everyone’s boat, especially those who need more computing power.
Still, there are several good reasons why you may consider getting a 2-in-1 as your next laptop. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Fewer Gadgets to Manage and Maintain
According to experts, the average US household now owns 25 connected devices. That includes laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, and gaming consoles, to name a few.
Now, it’s great to have many sources of entertainment and information. However, the more devices you own, the more challenging their maintenance. In addition, it can be a hassle to manage all of them, especially ensuring their OSs remain up-to-date.
So, if you’d rather have one fewer device to worry about, a 2-in-1 may be a wise choice. That way, you’d have a laptop and a tablet, but only a single OS to update.
One Less Cybersecurity Risk
Experts say that ransomware attacks alone rose by 150% between April 2020 and July 2021. Unfortunately, they also believe that such an upward trend will continue this 2022.
Ransomware is undoubtedly terrifying, but don’t forget about viruses, spyware, and Trojans. Some experts even say developers create at least 560,000 new malware types each day.
In any case, those malicious programs can find their way into insecure devices. From there, they can wreak havoc on the system, cause it to lag, and impair its performance. Worse, hackers can use the malware to steal data that they can sell or use for crimes like fraud.
With that said, the more connected devices you own, the more risks you face. You can always protect your data and devices, though, by ensuring you keep their OS and apps up-to-date.
Still, there’s no denying that it can be tedious to keep all your devices up-to-date. So, if you want one less cybersecurity risk (and liability) to worry about, consider a 2-in-1 laptop. That way, you can cut the number of gadgets you need to secure.
The prices of 2-in-1s are now lower than ever, so that’s one reason they’re worth investigating.
For example, if you check out Dell or HP, you’ll find 2-in-1s that cost less than $800 or even under $500. Lenovo also has products offered at similar price ranges on their site.
Don’t forget that manufacturers, like the three cited above, offer year-round discounts. For example, they have special pricing for students, healthcare workers, and military personnel. You can even get a discount for something as simple as joining their newsletter.
Aside from lower prices, a 2-in-1 can also save you money since you won’t have to buy two separate devices. Moreover, you won’t have to purchase different accessories and peripherals.
On the other hand, buying a stand-alone laptop and a separate tablet can cost more.
For instance, consider that most decent budget laptops cost at least $500. Then, if you also buy a traditional tablet, you can expect to shell out another $100 to $200 for a good-quality one.
However, your costs won’t end there, especially not if you want to get protective gear. Since you have two stand-alone devices, you’d likely buy a case and a screen protector for each.
On top of those are the different charging cables, bricks, and connector cords you may also have to buy. You’d have to purchase one of each for a laptop and a tablet if you break them or they stop working.
Don’t forget the energy costs of plugging in and charging two different devices. Now, it’s true that laptops and tablets don’t consume much electricity. However, having both can still add more to your energy bills than a single 2-in-1 can.
Fewer Gadgets, Fewer E-Waste
Experts say humans could’ve generated at least 57.4 million tons of electronic waste in 2021. According to them, that’s way heavier than the Great Wall of China.
That’s unsurprising, considering the plethora of electronic devices owned by consumers.
Unfortunately, that mountain of e-waste isn’t only polluting the environment. It’s also leaching out chemicals that can cause diseases in humans, animals, and plants. Examples include toxic metals, persistent organic pollutants, and flame retardants.
With that said, you might want to go for a 2-in-1 laptop to reduce the number of gadgets you’d throw in the future. In a way, that also helps you curb your footprint.
Just make sure to follow proper recycling methods when disposing of your electronics.
2-in-1 Laptops Offer Flexibility and Savings
There you have it, the comprehensive guide answering your question, what is a 2-in-1 laptop? Now you know that it’s a laptop with tablet functionality and that it lets you enjoy some of the top features of both. More than that, it can save you money while also allowing you to trim your e-waste.
Despite that, it still doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy, so be sure to compare it with other models first.
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