What is a 2 in 1 laptop and why is it good for students?

We´ll explain the basics about these devices and look at what´s available out there. We also explain the benefits of getting a 2 in 1 over buying a laptop or tablet.

2 in 1 laptops - built for Windows 10

At first glance a 2 in 1 looks like a regular laptop, but look closer and you’ll see it can be switched into a touchscreen tablet mode too.

Some models can be detatched from the keyboard, whilst others have a keyboard that folds 360 degrees around the device and sits at the back of the screen.

2 in 1s are ideal for Windows 10, which is built for touchscreen as well as the mouse and keyboard.

10 things to know about Windows 10

Why do you need a laptop and a tablet at uni?

Laptops are great for: Writing essays, preparing presentations, creating spreadsheets and taking notes during lectures.

Tablets are great for: Watching catch-up TV, researching essays, giving presentations, online shopping, reading news articles and Facebooking.


5 things to think about when buying a 2 in 1 for uni

1) Get the right design

Hinged: Looks and feels like a premium laptop. You switch from laptop to tablet by swivelling the screen backwards on a hinge until it lays flat against the back of the keyboard. The screen and keyboard always remain as 1 device.

Key points:

  • Larger screen, 13 to 15 inches  
  • Is great for giving presentations
  • Full range of ports when using as tablet
  • Powerful Intel Core processor

Examples: Lenovo Yoga 3, HP Spectre x360

Detachable: Made up of 2 separate pieces. You detach the screen from the keyboard to have a touchscreen tablet and reattach it to have a laptop.

Key points:

  • Gives you a completely separate tablet
  • Lighter to carry around in tablet mode
  • Smaller screen, 8 to 12 inches
  • Cheaper models have less powerful processors

Examples: Asus Transformer Book, Acer Aspire Switch, Microsoft Surface 3

2) Will you be using it around campus?

Taking it to lectures and then to lunch? You’ll need a long battery life and a slim and lightweight design.

Hinged: You’ll get more than 12 hours’ battery life with the HP Spectre x360. It’s also finished in polished aluminium which makes it light to carry around campus – and it looks pretty slick too.  Check out the Spectre x360

Detachable: Lift the tablet from the keyboard and the 11-inch Asus Transformer Book T200 becomes the perfect tablet for slipping in your bag for lectures. It has 10 hours’ battery life too. Check out the Transformer Book T200

3) Will you be using it to give presentations?

Giving presentations as part of your degree? A 2 in 1 laptop can be a great tool.

Perfect presenting: Flip the screen on your HP Spectre x360 backwards to transform your laptop into a table-top PowerPoint presenting tool. The keyboard is on your side while the display faces towards your crowd, perfect for discreetly reading notes and clicking through slides.

4) How much power do you need?

What type of work will you be doing on your laptop / tablet? This is important – because the power of these 2 in 1s can be very different. The most important thing here is the processor – which acts as your computer’s brain.

If you’re going to be doing lots of work on your laptop - editing photos, working in Microsoft Office and streaming Spotify and running webpages all at the same time – look at something with an Intel Core processor. What’s the difference between Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors?

The HP Spectre x360, Lenovo Yoga and Microsoft Surface Pro all have Intel Core processors.

Some of the cheaper detachable 2 in 1s use the lower powered Atom processors. Still great for surfing the web and writing essays, but you may struggle with more demanding tasks such as video and photo editing.

5) Movies and TV – are you planning Netflix binges?

Watching movies and TV shows on your laptop is great - but clicking the mouse and using the keyboard can kill the mood. Swiping and tapping the screen is much smoother. Sit your hinged 2 in 1 on your coffee table with the screen facing towards you and the keyboard out of view. Separate your detachable 2 in1 and take the tablet to bed to binge on Netflix.

Don’t skimp on screen quality: If you’re watching lots of movies and TV, make screen resolution a priority. Look at devices with Full HD displays for a crisp, colourful picture. 

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