So you heard of 2-in-1 laptops and you’re wondering if it’s worth buying one. These are devices that are somewhere between a tablet and a laptop, usually with mid-range mobile components. But are they right for you?
What is a 2-in-1 Laptop?
A 2-in-1 laptop (also known as convertible or hybrid) looks much like a normal laptop but the screen is usually touchscreen and the hinges are reversible.
What that means is you can bend the screen back until it reaches the bottom of the laptop which essentially turns your laptop into a tablet.
When the screen is bent back, the operating system will automatically change into “tablet mode”. Whenever you need to use the keyboard, simply bend the screen back around, and you have a laptop to work with.
There are lots of 2-in-1 convertibles out there, the Chromebook 2-in-1s are cheaper, but I recommend Windows.
Are 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptops Worth It?
2-in-1 laptops are worth buying because they’re lightweight, have touchscreen displays, reversible hinges, and some include a stylus. If you need those additional features, then a 2-in-1 laptop is absolutely worth it. For tasks such as office work, browsing the internet, or watching movies, 2-in-1 laptops are perfect.
On the other hand, for tasks that require more resources such as video editing or gaming – a traditional laptop with a graphics card is recommended. Most 2-in-1 laptops only have mobile-grade performance.
After playing around with Chromebooks (are Chromebooks worth it?), I think Windows is still the superior operating system. I recommend looking for a 2-in-1 Windows laptop because they’re just more versatile, the only limitation is the hardware.
Budget-Friendly 2-in-1 Laptops:
If you browse through this category of laptops, you’ll probably be shocked by the prices. It’s not unusual to see 2-in-1s that cost over $2,000.
Well, as it turns out, you can find plenty of budget-friendly 2-in-1 laptops too. These are Windows 2-in-1 convertibles, I’m not such a fan of Chromebooks, but there are plenty of Chromebooks in the best-seller link above.
1. Lenovo Flex 5 (C340 – Our Favorite Choice, IN STOCK)
What we have here is the bestselling 2-in-1 laptop on Amazon, and for a good reason too.
- 16 GB DDR4 RAM
- 256 GB NVME
- Windows 10
- AMD Ryzen 4500U
- Radeon Vega 8 Graphics.
- Has decent mid-range specs
- A 360 hinge
- Light and portable (only weighs 3.52 lbs)
Pretty much everyone who has tried and reviewed this model highly recommends it, especially the AMD Ryzen version, which is hard to find in stores at the moment (possibly sold out).
Probably the coolest feature of this 2-in-1 is the 360 hinge which makes it easy to convert the laptop into a tablet, complete with a touchscreen.
Perfect for travelers. I think this would be perfect for long-haul flights.
2 – Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop (Stylus Included)
The Acer Spin 3 is a good mid-range 2-in-1 Windows 10 laptop. It’s specifically designed for artists because it includes a stylus pen with a quick charging dock on the side panel.
- i5 -1035G4 CPU (4-cores, 3.7 Ghz)
- 8 GB of DDR4
- 512 GB PCI NVMe SSD
- Stylus included with quick-charging dock
- 1 x Thunderbolt 3
More importantly, it’s a 2-in-1 laptop with a 360 hinge, much like the Flex 15, and you can use it in a number of positions. (tent, tablet, etc.) Acer generally makes great laptops, and this is definitely a good choice.
It only weighs 3.75 pounds and boasts a 12-hour battery life.
3 – New Microsoft Surface Go (Smallest, Lightest)
The new Microsoft Surface Go is one of the smallest 2-in-1 laptops on the market. It’s basically like a mini-tablet but with Windows. The screen size is only 10 inches!
- 8 GB Ram
- 1.6Ghz Intel Pentium CPU
- Weight 1.15 pounds
- Windows 10
- 128 GB
The specs aren’t that great but they’re enough to run most Windows apps. If you’re looking for something really small and light, this one is worth a look.
One of the coolest features is the keyboard is detachable, so you can use it in laptop or tablet mode, whenever you want. You can also remove the keyboard and use it as a tablet, or buy a custom keyboard. Very cool.
The main thing I don’t like is the size, the screen is a bit too small for me. I prefer screens that are at least 15.6 inches.
4 – Lenovo Yoga 710-15 15.6″ FHD Touch-Screen (Mid-range)
The Lenovo Yoga 710 is a really nice 2-in-1 Windows laptop. It’s got an I5-7200U 2.5GHZ processor, 8GB of RAM256GB SSD, Intel 620 Graphics, and Windows 10.
There’s not really much to say about this laptop besides it’s a good 2-in-1 option. One concern is that it only has two USB 2.0 ports. It also weighs about 4.3 pounds, so it’s a little heavier than the other models. Overall, it’s worth checking out.
And as is usual for convertible laptops, it has a 360 hinge with a 10-point touchscreen. Very cool.
5 – Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (Budget-Friendly, Dated)
The Dell Inspiron is another budget choice, but the specs are a bit dated. I would only recommend this one if you’re on a really tight budget and need something for school or simple tasks. While it’s a little old, it still has a touchscreen, and you can get a lot done with it.
Bear in mind, the specs aren’t anything special, it has 4 GB RAM, an i3 processor, and 128 GB an SSD.
Still, it’s very light and perfect for watching movies or getting quick writing work done. To be fair, it’s one of the lightest models, weighing only 2.9 lbs.
6 – Acer CP713-2W Chromebook (Good Chromebook Option)
A notable mention is the Acer CP713 2-in-1 Chromebook. It’s a nice portable 13.5″ model that has decent mid-range specs. There are a couple of notable features.
For one, it’s got a touchscreen and the usual 360-degree hinges. But it also has a 2256×1504 display resolution which is a little unusual because of the stretched aspect ratio (the screen is wider) but it’s still quite clear.
As for specs, it has an i3 10th Gen CPU (i3-10110U 2 Cores, 2.10 GHz), 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The Acer CP713 is a newer model, so there aren’t many reviews about it, but so far, it seems like a great deal.
Pros and Cons of 2-in-1 Laptops:
While hybrid touchscreen laptops can be quite handy, you should know about the pros and cons of 2-in-1 touchscreen laptops:
- Touchscreen (recommended to find a 1080P 2-in-1)
- 360 hinge, tablet mode.
- Extra features not usually found on tablets (USB, HDMI, Fingerprint scanner, etc)
- Laptop keyboard
- Great for browsing the internet, working on documents, watching movies, and taking notes.
- Pricey (especially Windows 10 laptops, Chromebooks are a bit cheaper)
- Mobile-grade performance.
- Flimsy hinges and build.
- The touchscreen can be awkward to use.
- Not for games, they rarely have dedicated GPUS.
- Can have smaller hard drives with no room for expansion.
While some of these 2-in-1 laptops do have powerful specs (CPU, Graphics Card, etc) the models with powerful specs are usually out of most people’s budget, often a few thousand dollars or more.
In short, a regular laptop will probably out-perform a two-in-one, but the two-in-one offers more features (touchscreen, tablet mode, etc) that you can benefit from. Most of the ones you’ll find on the market today are in the low to mid-range performance level.
Another pointer to keep in mind is even though the idea of using a 2-in-1 in tablet mode on propped against your knees seems practical, in reality, the weight can be a bit bothersome for regular users. 2-in-1 touchscreen laptops are much heavier than tablets, so that’s one thing to keep in mind.
Need Something for Netflix?
Some models have very flimsy hinges that can break easily when in tablet or tent mode. I recommend taking a look at the hinges or at least researching the build quality, usually, the metal ones are the best.
The last thing that you want is for the hinge to break! These convertible laptops rely heavily on those hinges, so it’s important that they’re sturdy and durable.
2-in-1 Laptops are Perfect For…
I think 2-in-1 laptops are great for people who need to take handwritten notes, artists, regular travelers, and other tasks that require a touchscreen.
They’re usually super-slim, light, and you can easily work on simple tasks with them. I would recommend them more as companion devices, for example, an add-on to your main PC or something to take on trips.
College students can also benefit a lot from these devices. They’re not really designed as workstations, more like ultra-thin laptops with a touchscreen. As mentioned earlier, if you really use the extra features that come with 2-in-1s, then 2-in-1 laptops are absolutely worth it.
To summarize, 2-in-1 laptops are great for…
- Web Designers
- Casual Gamers
Notable 2-in-1 Alternative:
Do you like the concept of 2-in-1 laptops? One thing that you can do is buy a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for your phone, attach the phone to a portable monitor, enable Samsung Dex, and voila – a portable laptop! Or you could use a tablet mounted on a tray with a Bluetooth keyboard.
It seems like Apple is determined not to make a 2-in-1 because they believe an Ipad with a keyboard is better. It’s definitely a cheaper option, but you don’t get the advantages of a Windows operating system. To each his own, but it’s worth trying out.
For more information, see these articles:
What About Chromebooks?
Chromebooks are good for web browsing and other simple tasks, but I much prefer Windows laptops because they can run more programs.
Some Chromebooks don’t even support Android apps yet. And you pretty much always need an internet connection to get tasks done with a Chromebook.
I think it’s much better to invest a little more money into a proper Windows laptop so you don’t need to worry about being unable to run certain programs.
Having said that, some people like Chromebooks. For office work, like writing articles, replying to emails, spreadsheets, and other tasks, Chromebooks can work great. It’s a matter of preference, really.
While there are ways to play games on a Chromebook, most aren’t designed for games, so you’ll be better off with a Windows machine.
What About Traditional Laptops?
I admit I’m kind of obsessed with 2-in-1 laptops because I like the 360 hinge and touchscreen features. But logically, traditional laptops are the better deal because they have better hardware, even if they don’t have the features mentioned earlier.
Traditional laptops are lightweight and portable too, there are plenty of decent ultra-thin models out there. And the money that would go to the touchscreen goes into the specs, so you get more bang for your buck with traditional laptops.
Personally, if you need the extra power for tasks like video editing or gaming and whatnot, then I would go with a traditional laptop.
The Bottom Line:
To wrap it up, I think 2-in-1 laptops are worth buying but only if you’re going to use the features. There’s really no point to buy one if you’re never going to use the tablet mode. Think a little a bit about how you plan to use the laptop, and if you think it’s a good fit, then go ahead and grab one.
Thanks for taking the time to read this quick article. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them below