Modern Workplace Apr 27, 2021

Mobile and agile working – How to get the most out of a Convertible.

Practical, compact and flexible. The perfect definition of 2-in-1 notebooks aka Convertibles and Detachables. Half notebook, half tablet, these devices can be adapted to the user’s needs. And being portable, they combine the convenience and light weight of a tablet with the performance of a notebook and are becoming more popular as a result. But what are the advantages of these 2-in-1 devices and what should you look out for when shopping?

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Patricia Reichel
Marketing

2-in-1, Convertible, Detachable – Which is it?

Just as in many other areas of IT, the terms 2-in-1, Convertible and Detachable are often used interchangeably. So what are the differences?

2-in-1. Umbrella term for notebooks with a removable display or one which rotates and also for notebooks with Tablet Mode meaning they can be converted and purely used as a tablet.

Convertible. Full-featured notebooks with rotating displays that cover the keyboard allowing the device to be used as a tablet. Examples include the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga and the HP Elite Chromebook. The clear benefit of such a device is that no additional technology, such as a battery, needs to be built into the display. This tends to makes Convertibles very lightweight and slim, but they still deliver enough power for the working day.

Detachable. Detachable devices have screens and keyboards which can be completely separated from each other. The keyboard normally has its own battery built in and also has additional memory and computing power. Detachables therefore provide the necessary flexibility for agile working in the office and on the road. These devices are particularly beneficial when they are also used as tablets because they are often a bit thicker than Convertibles. Microsoft offers such a device in its Surface Book 3.

For the sake of simplicity, this blog refers only to Convertibles, but everything written applies equally to Detachables and similar devices.

Versatile.

There are many 2-in-1 device models on the market, but they all have one thing in common—they are versatile and can adapt to the user’s needs wherever they are. Having a keyboard, Convertibles are a fully featured alternative to notebooks that can be used to answer e-mails and work on Excel documents even while on the road. And thanks to the high performance these devices deliver these days, there are nearly no disadvantages to using one over a notebook. Convertibles are particularly sought after and ideal for external sales.

In addition, all 2-in-1 devices come with a touch screen for use in Tablet Mode. Users can quickly jot down notes, create illustrations or work with graphics programs all with a simple touch of the finger. This also makes Convertibles the perfect choice for graphics and marketing employees as well as those taking part in training courses. The majority of manufacturers also offer the possibility to use styluses.

Making the right choice – Features, pros and cons.

A 2-in-1 device perfectly closes the gap between a notebook and a tablet. Depending on working situation and personal preference, either a classic keyboard or the touch screen can be used—with or without stylus.

So, what should you be looking out for when buying one of these devices? What are the pros and cons of each? Nearly all of the all-known manufacturers now offer 2-in-1s and they certainly have right to part of the portfolio. Alongside personal preference, when making a decision there are other aspects you should consider before making a purchase.

  • Size and weight. Most Convertibles measure up to 14". For people who are on the road a lot, working on trains or in cafés, a 12" device is the ideal size and weight. For longer hours working at home or in the office, you should go for a 14" screen diagonal to make allow for better working. These are a little heavier, but are still flexible and portable. If the device is to be connected to an external monitor, its screen size of course doesn’t play much of a role.
  • Battery life. When working away from a desk, battery life is an essential factor to consider when choosing a device. Convertibles usually have a battery life of a least six or seven hours, but there are some then last up to 14.
  • Processor and memory. Processing power is important for fast data processing and these lightweight devices have no problem keeping up with standard notebooks. The same can’t be said about internal memory as Convertibles don’t tend to offer more than 32 or 64 GB. This will be an issue if large files have to be stored on the device, which tends to be the case with work notebooks. In this instance, some manufacturers offer 2-in-1 devices with SSDs, which boosts memory to 128 GB, but these have a hefty price tag.
  • LTE. Convertibles are particularly flexible and portable because the latest generations mostly support LTE which means WLAN isn’t absolutely necessary any more. By using a SIM card, you have the possibility to use a mobile network, which gives you more freedom and much moire flexibility.

To sum up, these devices offer a wealth of benefits:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Maximum mobility and flexibility
  • Both keyboard and touch input possible
  • Optional use of a stylus
  • Notebook-grade processor power
  • Memory can be scaled up using an SSD
  • Normally LTE-compatible (depending on the model).

There are, of course, some disadvantages that need to be thought about depending on use and budget:

  • Normally thicker than a tablet when folded (depending on model)
  • More expensive than classic notebooks (depending on manufacturer and features)
  • Normally only up to max. 14" screen diagonal
  • Small internal memory.

It’s really important to think about what you need a notebook for, which features you can’t live without and what your price range is.