Detachable laptops are the ideal devices for those who love to work on-the-go and are always traveling from one place to another. Being a convertible hybrid, they can be used as a laptop by attaching it to a docking station or as a tablet with top-notch features.
However, being quite unique and particular in their nature as well as functionality, not everyone knows how to shop for them right off the bat. If you’re unsure, keep reading to learn more about how to choose a detachable laptop.
Would a Detachable Laptop Serve You Well?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of choosing a detachable laptop, it’s important to ask yourself if you actually need one and whether it would suit the purposes you have in mind.
Keep in mind that detachable laptops, or 2-in-1 devices, do give you excellent functionality and portability. Still, if you don’t need the tablet functionality and the touchscreen, you’re better off getting a regular device with better viewing angles and battery life. If you need an overview, we have a related article explaining what is a 2-in-1 laptop, which may be come in helpful.
And while convertible devices are getting more affordable with advancements, a notebook would give you more value for your money if you don’t prioritize tablet mode.
This is especially true if you want to use your device for video editing, 3D modeling, or video gaming, which are demanding and consuming tasks that a detachable laptop probably wouldn’t suit very well.
Choosing the operating system on which your device runs depends on two things: the smoothness of the experience and the available apps you can find on their app store.
Generally speaking, the best operating system for a hybrid device is Windows 10. Although it doesn’t have as many apps like iOS or Android, for example, it provides the smoothest experience for both tablet mode and laptop mode. Not to mention, most hybrid devices come with authentic Windows 10 operating systems, obviously for a good reason.
If you’re well-read when it comes to components, you’ll know that Intel processors prevail in the market, be they 6th Gen Core M ones or Core i5 and i7 for more high-end options. This is because Intel processors pack a lot of power and capability to handle demanding tasks and complex processes.
And while pairing an ARM processor with iOS can arguably work as well as the Intel-Windows combination, the software won’t be as smooth in operation.
By all means, you should steer clear of Celeron processors and opt for Atom or Core processors with an operating system like Chrome on a more affordable detachable laptop.
A rule of thumb is that you should be looking to maximize the number of cores for better heat dissipation, power optimization, and extended battery life. However, if you’re looking for an option to run CAD or Illustrator, you’ll probably be paying a high price.
Screen Size and Resolution
As is the case when picking out any computer, the screen is an important factor to consider, and it’s divided into two correlated aspects: size and resolution.
Bigger is better, only if the resolution is higher, and that’s up to a certain degree as well. There’s a factor that’s usually overlooked, and that’s the pixel density. Pixel density (PPI, or Pixels per Inch) refers to the number of pixels per inch on your screen, and it’s a ratio between resolution and size. That’s why bigger screens are less sharp than smaller ones provided that the resolution is the same.
And because most detachable laptops or hybrid devices come with a screen of 10 to 12 inches in size, the ideal resolution would be between 1366 x 768p to 2736 x 1824p. Lower than that would be too shabby, and higher than that would be overkill.
The integrated graphics cards would dictate how enjoyable the streaming and video experience would be, so you want to opt for something reliable, but you can’t expect too much either. An Intel HD Graphics 520 card would be good enough for most purposes and provide you with the graphics processing that would optimize the experience you get with the aforementioned screen size and resolution.
The way your detachable laptop would work is by having hinges that you can use to completely detach the keyboard from the screen, thus, turning your “laptop” into a “tablet.” However, there’s another hinge mechanism that relies on 360-degree rotation, which brings your keyboard behind your screen, thereby converting the laptop into a tablet, but without completely detaching the keyboard.
Some hinges are made of flexing material that resembles that of a watch band. Others can be made of complex gear, tiny leprechauns, and pulleys.
What you want to keep in mind is how easy it is to control the hinges and how simple it is to turn your device from one mode to another. Make sure that the device is lightweight enough and comfortable to hold when in tablet mode, but don’t compromise on how solid it feels and performs when in laptop mode.
Naturally, budget is an important consideration, and you can’t expect to buy a reliable device that plays on both portability and powerful functionality if you want to keep it within means. However, if you’re willing to splurge, you’ll definitely be able to find one.
If you’re not looking for too much, you can get 2-in-1 devices at around $350. However, one with enough RAM, processing power, a good resolution, and a solid GPU would probably cost more than $700, and some very high-end models like the Microsoft 13.5-inch Surface Book can cost up to $1,500!
That’s why it’s crucial to consider just how much of the previous aspects you need to set a budget accordingly.
A lot of models on the market compromise the quality of their keyboard and the typing experience for “functionality.” In other words, they make the keyboard too small or too thin, making it too hard or inconvenient to type on.
Make sure there’s enough space between the letters and that the feedback of each letter feels satisfying when pressed. Otherwise, your experience with your detachable laptop will be ruined by the uselessness of the keyboard.
It’s very important to make sure that your detachable laptop comes with an adequate number of ports, according to your needs. For example, make sure it has a USB port for adding a mouse or charging your phone.
These priorities can change, so the ports to be on the lookout for vary from one person to another, but just try to avoid relying on adapters and dongles as they can easily be lost, and they reduce the portability of your setup as they add weight and responsibility for yet another item.
Once you realize how handy a detachable laptop is, you’d hardly want to use any other type of device. And once you know the most important aspects to consider, choosing your device would be a breeze. Hopefully, after reading this guide, you’ve made up your mind about the features you need on your detachable laptop.