There is little doubt that 2-in-1 devices have taken the PC world by storm. After all, who doesn’t want a laptop that can convert to a tablet and then back again. I even have one. Still, is it my only device? Certainly not. Many consumer believe these new devices are what they should be buying, but like any piece of technology, they are not for everyone. They are designed for specific types of uses. That means what you need your device to do may or may not be compatible with a 2-in-1.
Today, we will look at a controversial subject – why a laptop is better than a 2-in-1. That may not be a fair title, as I believe they both have their uses and fulfill a specific purpose. So much so that I own both a regular laptop and a convertible 2-in-1. Still, in many ways I believe a regular laptop is superior when it comes to everyday usage, and I wanted to highlight those here.
1. Larger Display
Many 2-in-1 machines today range in size from 10 inches to 13 inches. Sure you can find the occasional larger screened device, but they are few and far between. If you prefer a larger screen, such as the industry standard 15-inch or even a larger 17-inch screen, you will have to buy a full laptop and not one of the convertible devices.
Larger displays also mean more room for you to work, and often these screens feature HD or better resolutions so all your movies look amazing and any game you play will look impressive on the larger screens. Even if you just use it for work, spreadsheets will be easier to read and documents you compose in Word or whatever word processor you use will be easier for you to read, especially if your eyes have a hard time adjusting to tinier print.
2. Bigger Keyboards
With the larger screens comes larger cases with more room for all sorts of better features. One feature that is a must, is a good keyboard. Because you have more room, you often get a keyboard that is closer to “full-sized” than you will find on the smaller convertible laptops. Anyone who has ever used one of those smaller keyboards, will know how important a full-sized keyboard really is.
Now you may not think the size really matters, but you try typing on a cramped keyboard for any length of time. These small keyboards may be okay for the occasional email and text, but if you plan on doing any serious work on them or even using the keyboard for gaming, you won’t be happy. In no time you will be connecting an external keyboard to make things much more comfortable for you. But, if you get a regular laptop, you won’t have to worry about the keyboard being too small.
3. More Powerful Processor
The processors found in many 2-in-1 laptops today are what you would call energy efficient. These are designed to run fast but also not use a lot of power. That’s what makes the battery life in these devices so great. Now, these processors have come a long way in the last few years, with even i7 processors from Intel coming to the devices. However, not all i7 processors are created equally.
For those of you out there that need the fastest processors to run applications such as Photoshop or maybe even the latest Battlefield game, then you want to look at a regular laptop. These processors are often much faster and much more powerful. Sure, you take a battery life hit, but that’s always the trade off when you ask for more power.
4. Increased RAM
Most 2-in-1 devices come with somewhere in the neighborhood of 8GB of RAM these days. That’s about standard, really, and you will find that much in a lot of regular laptops as well. Still, if you want and/or need more than that, you will be disappointed with the hybrid devices. Many of these devices limit the expandability of their devices in order to save space. This allows them to make the devices thinner, lighter and smaller. Still, you may be able to upgrade it.
If you want access to even more RAM than that, say somewhere in the vicinity of 16GB, then you definitely want to give the laptops a second look. Most of these laptops today can easily be expanded to 16GB and even 32GB of RAM. This makes them especially attractive to gamers. If you use high end applications or play games and need more RAM, you need to ignore the 2-in-1’s and look instead at a regular old laptop. You will be glad you did.
5. More Storage Space
Hard drive space is always an issue on any computer you buy. Today, applications and games take up more space than they ever did before. However, on most 2-in-1 tablets, you will find small SSD drives. Sure these drives are fast and make a great user experience, but they can’t hold a lot. That’s okay if you use the cloud, but what if you have a lot of large applications and games to install? You won’t be able to do it, plain and simple.
A traditional laptop, on the other hand, often comes with a 1TB drive or better. Some even come with an SSD that is between 128GB and 512GB and then a 1TB drive along with it. This gives you plenty of room to install all your games and store all the files you will ever possibly need. If you don’t want to be stuck in the cloud and you have a lot of files, then a regular laptop is definitely the way to go.
6. Better Ports
Now this is one that is losing ground, as most 2-in-1 laptops are coming with more and more ports. However, many of these devices still limit the number of ports you have. This can include both USB ports as well as video ports.
A laptop, though, usually comes with many different ports. Many of the high end laptops today come with a variety of USB ports as well as display ports so you can connect a wide variety of devices to your system.
7. Games Run Better
If you’ve read the others on this list, you can probably guess why this one is true. If you are a gamer, a 2-in-1 just isn’t going to cut it for you. Sure, the hardware is getting more powerful, but it pales in comparison to the hardware you can find on many of the high end or even mid-range gaming machines.
Gamers want their games to look and sound great while still running very well. If you want this combo, then you are going to have to buy a laptop instead of a 2-in-1. Most convertibles use much slower and more power efficient hardware. Gaming laptops do not. For the very best in games, you want a fast hardware, lots of RAM, a power processor and a strong video card. Those specs are only to be found on a full fledged gaming laptop, and not on a 2-in-1.
As you can see, laptops can be far superior to 2-in-1 devices in many ways. While the craze may be focused on these hybrid laptops and tablets, if you are looking for real power, you still need to look at a regular laptop. I know that 2-in-1 laptops are improving every single day, and with each passing moment they are becoming more and more powerful. In fact, I would say that the traditional laptop’s days are numbered. But for now, that’s just not the case, and we still have years before this prediction comes true.
If you are looking for a laptop that has the power you need or the extra storage you require for all your files, then look no further than a regular laptop. In the end, it comes down to how you use it and why you are buying it as to which you should choose. If you choose power, then choose laptop. There is simply no contest here.
What do you think? Do you think laptops or 2-in-1 laptops are better? Sound off with your opinion in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.