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What Is a 2-in-1 Laptop?

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By Matt Smith

If you’re into the portability of a tablet and the functionality of a laptop, you’ll love the fact that a detachable laptop combines both. Keep on reading to learn the ins and outs of using a detachable laptop and whether a 2-in-1 laptop suits you or not.

What Is a Detachable 2-in-1 Laptop?

A detachable laptop is a kind of device that is basically a tablet with an extension to which you can attach a keyboard to turn it into a laptop. Most of the time, they come with processing power comparable to conventional laptops, which definitely trumps the processing power of a tablet.

What to Bear in Mind When Considering 2-in-1 Laptops

understanding 2 in 1 laptops

Touchscreen Type

There are two types of touchscreen displays: capacitive and resistive. The former is more luxurious and relies on electrical impulses found in a human’s body, typically the fingertips. They don’t require any force or pressure on the screen, and that’s why they’re not built for use with gloved hands or stylus pens.

The latter, on the contrary, require the user to apply pressure, but they’re not as sensitive and responsive as capacitive touchscreens. Moreover, they’re likely to suffer from deterioration of visual clarity with time.


Sometimes, Intel-operated devices use the energy-efficient Y-series processors as opposed to the U-series ones, which may be helpful if you’re not concerned with insane processing powers.

Some detachable devices come with stylus pens that you can use to interact with the touchscreen instead of using your fingers. If you’re into sketching or like to take a lot of notes, you should look into a device that provides this.

Not to mention, styluses come with different levels of sensitivity to pressure, so you might want to research different ones and opt for a detachable device with a versatile stylus.

Size of the Screen

While you may be compelled to opt for the largest screen you can find, that’s not always the wisest choice. Tablets are meant to be compact and should enable you to hold the device in one hand while navigating it with the other.

So, if you opt for a screen that is larger than 12 inches, you would be compromising some comfort in tablet mode. Not to mention, it would be tough to balance or position the device on your lap as their steadiness isn’t as reliable as regular laptops.

However, if you’re going to use your device on a desk most of the time, you could opt for the larger ones that measure 15 or 17 inches.


Since portability is the major advantage you get with a detachable laptop, you should never settle for anything that weighs more than 2 or 3 pounds. Now, you can, of course, go for 5-pound models with stronger processing capabilities, better touchscreens, or longer battery lives, but that would simply defy the point of getting a detachable laptop in the first place.

If you’re willing to get a device that’s heftier than 3 pounds, you should look into convertibles or regular laptops with docking stations.

Keyboard Quality

It’s no secret that the typing experience and keyboards on detachable laptops aren’t the best, but you should still try to get one with reasonable qualities. For example, steer away from devices with keyboards that are too small or too thin, which would make typing an impossible task. You might opt for the touchscreen most of the time, but having a reliable keyboard that you can use when needed is still convenient and could extend the lifespan of your screen, too.

Check if there’s enough space between the keys and whether the feedback you get when clicking on each key is clear and distinct enough to actually make the keyboard useful.

Pros and Cons of a 2-in-1 Laptop

pros cons


  • Extremely lightweight and portable
  • Can be used as a standalone tablet
  • More affordable than a full-fledged laptop
  • More functional than a tablet


  • The keyboard is usually too small for comfortable typing
  • A little awkward to place on your lap when in laptop mode
  • Processing power isn’t its strongest suit

What Is the Difference Between a 2 in 1 Laptop and a Convertible?

While both devices are 2-in-1 innovations, they don’t work in the same manner. A detachable laptop, as we’ve said, is based on the idea that you can detach the screen from the keyboard to use it as a tablet.

On the other hand, to use a convertible as a tablet, you’ll simply bend the screen back until it’s stuck to the back of the keyboard. This is feasible thanks to the 360-degree hinges that bind the keyboard to the screen. Such a design allows the user to use the device in tent mode, which is something that plenty of people commend when it comes to convertible laptops as opposed to detachable ones.

This means that, while both devices are typically more portable than regular laptops, detachable ones are the most portable of the bunch. This is because you can leave the keyboard behind completely and work using just the screen, which is the part with all the components like the CPU and battery.

Is a Detachable 2-in-1 Laptop Right for You?

It’s important to ask yourself whether a detachable laptop would be right for you in the first place, as these devices serve a specific purpose of prioritizing portability.

If you can work with less portability and without a touchscreen, you would probably be better off with a regular device that offers a longer battery life and superior viewing angles.

Also, if tablet mode isn’t a necessity for you, you might look into getting a notebook to get more value for your money, especially if you’re a person who uses demanding software like 3D modeling apps or if you like to play some video games every now and then.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know everything you need to learn about a detachable laptop, we hope you’ve managed to decide whether this is the kind of device that suits you or not; our sister article details how to choose between a 2-in-1 and standard laptop. It definitely is if portability is a huge concern for you. But if you don’t want to compromise on processing power, you might look for something else, or consider a laptop with a docking station!