Do You Prefer a 2-in-1 Laptop or a Dedicated Tablet?

Discussion on which machine you prefer used to revolve around either a laptop or a desktop, but now with the advance of mobile devices, the question has evolved into whether you prefer a 2-in-1 laptop that does both traditional OS and mobile or whether you just prefer a tablet outright. And for some, that answer appears to be “neither.” We asked our writers, “Do you prefer a 2-in-1 laptop or a dedicated tablet?”

Our Opinion

Trevor explains that he actually paid extra to NOT have a 2-in-1 for his main laptop. He notes “the touchsceen is nice, but I’m not interested in having a laptop that’s better at yoga than I am,” although he does note that for his small Chromebook, “it’s handy.”

Damien agrees, as he, too, will take extra care to not get a 2-in-1. “The battery life sucks, and I have no use for a touchscreen.” Even for his most recent laptop, he opted for one with no touchscreen.

Miguel is in the same camp, referring to himself as an “old school traditionalist.” He is more drawn to Linux desktops and older laptops and wants something more powerful that is solely his. “Sleeker devices are often less modular, and i need something powerful I can modify and type very fast with,” and he doesn’t feel he can get that with a 2-in-1 or tablet.


For Alex, “the compromises that are inherently built into 2-in-1 machines make them unappealing” for him. He doesn’t “find the case compelling, especially since I’m a mechanical keyboard fan.” He’ll take a laptop with a solid keyboard any day.

Christopher fits into the “neither” category. Although he’s heard good things about hybrids, he explains, “My desktop serves me fine, and the only laptop I’ve used in recent memory is one I’ve dubbed ‘ol’ Melty’ “ because “it’s literally melting after a long life of being a ‘gaming’ laptop.”

Simon prefers the dedicated tablet. He likes using that as “a handheld device that I can cart around me when I’m away from my desktop.” Because of that, he wouldn’t benefit from the keyboard or other things a hybrid offers. He figures if he did receive a hybrid, “I’d probably just use it in tablet mode all the time” which seems like a waste to him.

I’m with Simon. As I’ve mentioned several times on here, after I started using an iPad, I stopped using my MacBook and eventually stopped using my desktop Mac as well. I attach a keyboard and just prefer touchscreen and iOS, so a 2-in-1 doesn’t interest me in the least.

Your Opinion

Our writers differ in opinion, but all seem to agree they don’t have much use for a 2-in-1. Do you agree? Or do you prefer a hybrid over a tablet? Do you still use a standalone laptop? Do you prefer a 2-in-1 laptop or a dedicated tablet? Join our conversation in the comment section below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. I think you need to be more specific as to what constitutes a 2-in-1. Surfaces and their clones are just tablets with flimsy add-ons. Please don’t pay attention to their marketing buzzwords. A real 2-in-1, imo, is something (ASUS) transformer-like: ie, with a real detachable keyboard.

    You also have the hybrids that flip 360 degrees but leaves you with a heavy tablet-like experience.

    I think a real 2-in-1, with detachable keyboard (ala Transformer) would be my top-choice. If that keyboard base had an additional battery, many extra ports… a dream machine (if the price is right).

    2nd place: a 360 degree hybrid (3:2 aspect ratio a must)
    3rd place: a traditional laptop (with a 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratio. 16:9 always sucks)
    4th place: standalone tablet (I’ll acquire my own desktop stand or keyboard base when needed)
    Last place belongs to the wannabes like the MS Surface and their clones, with it’s hinge design Also some Lenovo tablets with the fat bottom base and hinge also at the bottom.

    Note: The OS must be the privacy-respecting Linux and not a spyware-based Operating System.

  2. For my development work, a 2-in-1 really hits a sweet spot, but it’s one particular configuration that does it for me. It’s a 360 hybrid (Inspirion 17). For me (everyone has their own preference)….
    – Tent-mode allows me to set up a solid-feeling workspace at any table, leveraging a bluetooth keyboard/mouse (large hands, so full size keyboard is better for me). This is the “great” factor for me.
    – Laptop mode does the same, but I can sit on the couch while wife puzzles/watches Netflix. The typing part annoys me since it’s a laptop but feasible.
    – Touchscreen. Very minor but the little features are nice when they surface (swipe to previous in Edge, etc.). So not mandatory, but time with it really pans out to be a boost!
    – Tablet mode. While this is mostly a developer’s system, it is nice to occasionally switch to a view only to watch Netf…… videos. Since it’s a 17, it is not a great mobile gaming platform when, say, tilt is required.
    – Dedicated graphics card makes things much better, I think. And doesn’t kill battery life (though it /can/).

    So my humble opinion……

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