What is a convertible laptop?
A convertible laptop is one that has both laptop and tablet functionality. Manufacturers build convertible laptops for users who want the most desirable capabilities of each system:
- For laptop users: A touch screen and other tablet-style conveniences
- For tablet users: A PC operating system, keyboard, and other features of a laptop
Convertibles -- also called 2-in-1s or, somewhat mistakenly, hybrid laptops (see below) -- are more powerful than tablets yet have more portable functionality than traditional laptops. As a tablet, they offer the same innovative touch screen capabilities users of those devices have come to love. As a laptop, they provide the processing power, keyboard and other features of a more advanced PC.
Is a convertible laptop the same as a 2-in-1?
Yes, a convertible laptop is also a 2-in-1 laptop, which is the broader term most manufacturers now use to describe the combination laptop-tablet category. Refer to "What is a 2-in-1 laptop?"
The terms "convertible laptop" and "2-in-1" are often used interchangeably. However, as new types of 2-in-1s have emerged, "convertible" has come to refer mostly to so-called 2-in-1 Attached systems, the original type of laptop-tablet combo in which the keyboard and display remain connected at all times, even as the touch screen flips around or otherwise converts for tablet use. [The other type is the 2-in-1 Detachable, which allows the touch screen portion to be unplugged and used independently as a standalone tablet.]
Advantages of a convertible laptop
As a 2-in-1, a convertible laptop offers several advantages compared to laptops or tablets alone:
- Standard PC operating systems and faster, laptop-grade processors make 2-in-1 convertible laptops better for multi-tasking than typical tablets, making them ideal for home/office use in addition to their tablet capabilities.
- The touch screen-tablet functionality adds a new dimension for traditional laptop users, who can now draw up ideas in brainstorming sessions, do data entry on the shop floor, and so on.
- 2-in-1 convertible laptops give you less to pack when traveling, especially for users who already carry smartphones and end up debating whether to take both a laptop and a tablet on trips.
Are today's 2-in-1s different than yesterday's convertibles?
Some early laptops with tablet-style touch screens debuted in the mid-2000s, well before today's modern, standalone tablets became wildly popular portable devices. Those early models pioneered the super-wide angle hinges that allowed a laptop's screen to be flipped all the way around to sit flat for tablet-style use. But the systems were thicker than standard laptops and many considered them too heavy to continuous use in tablet form.
The popular acceptance of standalone tablet-only PCs -- they became everyday consumer devices around 2011 -- ignited new interest in the tablet concept. By then, new shell materials and touch screen technology enabled designs that were much thinner and lighter than before, and a new breed of combination laptop-tablet PCs -- now called 2-in-1s -- found their way to desktops and dorm rooms everywhere.
Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.