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Review: 2-in-1 devices

By October 27, 2017 14 Comments

The future is now and laptops are dead! Ok, that's a little too much. In all seriousness, a trend towards mobile first devices has been happening for a while now. I personally have been using an iPad Pro 12.9” for about two years. Like the iPad Pro, 2-in-1 devices are becoming more and more popular for professional use. I want to briefly go over what makes a 2-in-1 one so appealing to today’s modern office.

What is a 2-in-1?

A 2-in-1 device or hybrid PCs are mobile-first devices that take the performance of a laptop and combines it with the footprint of a tablet. They typically have touchscreens and are optimized for a stylus. The keyboard can be removed or placed out of the way for consuming video content or to use a touchscreen in a "tablet mode". It brings the best of both worlds to your mobile office. Examples of these devices would be the Microsoft Surface and Surface Book, the Google Pixelbook, and Lenovo Yoga.

Why use one?

When on the go trying to get work done I will always reach for a 2-in-1 device over a laptop or tablet. The tablet for most is too limiting. It functions more as a consumption device, rather than a productivity device. Multi-tasking between apps can be challenging and some tablets don’t even support multitasking apps. Productivity is further hindered by less robust apps and due to hardware, they settle for a lite version of the desktop counterpart. A 2-in-1 device is able to run more robust apps like a laptop would. Why not just use a laptop then?

A laptop is a great mobile device, but it cannot do some things that a tablet can. Visa Versa a tablet cannot do some things a laptop can. The trade-off is why the 2-in-1 device exists. By slimming down the design and adding tablet features you are able to get the best of both worlds. While it is not perfect, there are some major advantages to using a 2-in-1 over the competition.

The inherent design of 2-in-1 allows to take it anywhere without feeling weighed down. By using the "tablet mode" one can sign or mark up PDFs, take notes in a meeting, and then return to the office and use "laptop mode" to edit spreadsheets. While this can be done from some laptops, they are typically bulkier, aren't as personable in a meeting, and don't support a stylus for handwritten notes. As a traveling professional, I can create presentations, watch training videos, and sign important documents all outside of the office. A 2-in-1 can function as consumption or productivity device.  While not all 2-in-1s are created equal, many have these advantages.

Wrap up

While a 2-in-1 is not for everyone, it is a great tool for many mobile professionals. Some devices, like my iPad Pro, have a learning curve due to the lack of mouse or trackpad. I have overcome the trade-off by just using the stylus similar to how I would a mouse. I am able to do 90% of my work without using a traditional PC setup, including writing this post. Other issues exist with lower quality 2-in-1 touchscreens which may suffer from latency issues that may frustrate some users. Be sure to consult your IT champion for the best hardware for your workflow. Comment below if you think you would consider using a 2-in-1 device for your workflow. Also feel free to contact us here at Nexxtep for all your business technology questions.

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