Global shipments of 2-in-1 laptops (also known as convertible notebooks) are expected to grow 11.6 percent through 2021, according to IDC, the only device category looking so healthy.
For small and medium-sized businesses thinking of refreshing their device portfolio with 2-in-1s, their are numerous factors to consider. A major one is the design of the device.
One clear option is the convertible-hybrid laptop. This is a folding or clamshell design that involves swiveling the keyboard out of the way to use the device in tablet mode. The other main style is the detachable-hybrid tablet: This is a slate tablet that you can connect to a keyboard dock. When attached to the dock, it is indistinguishable from the convertible-hybrid laptop.
However, beyond the overall design of the 2-in-1 laptop, there are several features IT decision makers should scrutinize when determining the best fit.
1. Find an Operating System that Fits Your Computing Needs
The choice of operating systems is a big consideration. “If all your apps are in the cloud, why do you need anything else beyond Chrome? But it can only do so much,” says Justin Kring, HP Sr. Brand Manager at CDW. “If you need to run Office or some high-end, memory-intensive software, you need something else.”
2. Make Sure Your 2-in-1 Won't Weigh You Down
Weight is another important consideration — especially for the business traveler. “Detachables allow you to ditch some of the weight, which is valuable in certain situations,” explains Damien D’Amore, a Dell CSG Solution Specialist at CDW. “But with the clamshell, you’re stuck at two or three pounds for the device. They’re a little bit heavier. And screen size is still an important factor — again, touching on the question of weight.”
3. Get Enough Battery Life to Stay Productive
This is high on the list of features important to users. Improvements to Intel’s Core i-series CPUs along with industry-wide improvements to power and heat management design on devices have extended the battery life of 2-in-1 notebooks ever further. Top devices are now averaging nine to 13 hours of battery life. Once viewed as a hinderance to wider adoption of 2-in-1’s, these devices are now very competitive with standard laptops when it comes to battery life.
4. Touchscreens Help Bring Content to Life
This capability is growing in importance as a standout feature on these devices. If there is one feature that sets the 2-in-1 notebook apart from other devices, the ability to shift between manual keyboard and mouse interaction and touchscreen is it. As consumers have grown more comfortable with touchscreens, manufacturers have been working to design it into more and more devices, especially Microsoft. “Touchscreen is a big consideration, especially with Windows 10,” says Kelly Etter, Intel Brand Manager at CDW. “And several of the Chromebooks are utilizing touch as well.”
“Everything is going touchscreen,” agrees Andre Sinclair, partner specialist at CDW. “This feature is very popular and is now the norm in this space. Some of this popularity is tied to the release of Windows 10. Touch works very well with this OS, especially when compared to the Windows 8 experience, which was not as good.”
5. Look for Layers of Defense in Security Features
This is another big consideration with 2-in-1s. There are many security features being implemented by different manufacturers that focus on securing access to the device: biometrics, smartcard readers and fingerprint scanners. Others are baking in security at the firmware and hardware level, securing the BIOS from tampering. Security features are often tiered by manufacturers, including more add-ons the higher up the product line you go.
With 2-in-1 notebooks being the target area for growth among laptop devices in the coming years, you can expect manufacturers to be focusing their development efforts in this market. And with refresh cycles coming around shortly, this is a market primed for innovation — and good deals for consumers. Knowing a little bit about how to assess these devices, you can now find the right fit for you.
CDW offers 2-in-1 devices from several partners. See which one has the best fit for your needs.