What is a 2-in1 Laptop?

A lot of products are sold as 2-in-1, aka convertible laptops these days, which can be misleading for consumers not well versed in the latest tech jargon. Keeping in touch with the newest technology available for convertible computers in 2022, the following points should help all consumers make the best choice possible.

2-in-1 Laptop: Definition

If a laptop is being marketed as a 2-in-1 or convertible laptop, it should have the following characteristics:

  • Flexibility: The keyboard attachment should either be foldable or detachable to allow for flexibility of use.
  • Convertibility: It should be useable both as a laptop and a tablet, without having to buy external accessories.
  • Lightweight: If it’s too heavy and big, then flexibility will be of little use and portability will be hampered.

Some of the best devices that define the 2-in-1 laptop are the IdeaPad Flex 5, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.

If It’s a 2-in-1 Laptop, it Should be a Windows PC

Apple does not manufacture touchscreen MacBooks and the iPad Pro is not a genuine laptop. Since Windows is the only commercial desktop OS other than MacOS, it means any 2-in-1 laptop you find should be a Windows PC. PC is an officially registered term that’s only used to designate Windows devices, so it cannot mean anything else.

Companies may claim that their Android/iPadOS/ChromeOS devices are fully fledged 2-in-1 laptops, but that claim is based on a technicality. As a consumer, you should avoid any device that claims to be a laptop but does not run on macOS or Windows. It may change down the line, but that’s how things are right now.

Not All Tablet PCs are 2-in-1 laptops

We just learned that 2-in-1 laptops should ideally be running Windows, but that does not necessarily mean that every tablet PC is a 2-in-1 by default. Tablet PCs can be called 2-in-1 PCs only if they ship with the keyboard inside the box/package. Any Windows PC, irrespective of the form factor, can be connected to external keyboards and mice. Therefore, if the OEM is selling the keyboard + touchpad separately, it’s an accessory and the tablet is not a 2-in-1 PC.

All-In-One (AIO) vs. 2-in-1

Despite the similarities in their names, these are two completely different categories of computers. The AIO is a form factor exclusive to desktops, while 2-in-1 convertibles are always laptops. All-In-One desktops are single units where the cabinet is a part of the monitor itself. Apple Macs were the original AIO desktops, but everyone else has caught up since then. If we were to compare all-in-one PCs with 2-in-1 PCs though, the laptops would come out on top in every possible way.

First and foremost, AIOs are not really all-inclusive because they still need an external keyboard, a mouse, and other optional input devices to be useable. These don’t have a portable power supply either. AIOs are just office computers that look slick, but 2-in-1 convertibles are the real all-in-one computers. These laptops are lightweight and portable, and they come with their own rechargeable battery. Just like any other laptop, convertibles don’t need any external input devices to be functional either.

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