Just the other day I tried relentlessly to convince my mother than a PC with tablet capabilities would significantly improve her work flow. She brought up the usual restrictions associated with tablet use, “does it have enough power to accomplish what I need?”. Most iPads and tablets just can’t compare to the power behind a PC or laptop. Doing research can be a pain, as it isn’t always easy to switch between applications on a tablet device. Multitasking for the work day is exponentially better on a machine that can allow multiple applications to be open and running so that the user can easily shift gears without creating a giant mess. However, tablets have their perks, the machine is much lighter and easier to carry and the hands on capabilities are great. The riddle here is finding a machine that can take from both a PC and a tablet and combine efforts to create a better machine.
Windows 2-in-1 systems combine power, ease, and the Windows operating system, to create better raw usability. Apple iOS and Android can’t compare to the usability of Microsoft Windows even with continuous improvement. With a 2-in-1 system you can run full applications, several of them, side-by-side, switching without problem. The Windows platform was designed for this. I love Apple products and I own quite a few myself, but I know needs and Apple products cannot match the needs of the consumer that wishes to work from a tablet. I know this from experience as I tried to brave my first year of college on only an iPad. I lost a lot of sleep that year.
A Windows 10 powered 2-in-1 PC is not only less expensive, but easier to use for ‘real’ work. Here are a few guidelines to help you make a 2-in-1 purchase.
Choose your Size – 2-in-1 devices range in size from 10 inch models that are ideal for those that are always on the go and need something light that travels well, to 11 and 13 inch models such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Lenovo Yoga 900. If you are simply not impressed with 13 inches, the HP 15 inch Spectre x360 should do the trick.
Detachable or Rotating Hinge? – Typically you can opt for bendable or detachable. If you prefer the touch-based experience similar to using a tablet but again with better power and management, choose a detachable model. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, HP Spectre x2 and the Dell XPS 12 are all great detachable models with tablet bodies and magnetic keyboards. In comparison, if you write a significant amount for your job then a bendable 2-in-1 is a better match for you. The Lenovo Yoga 900 and HP Spectre x360 have hinges that bend 360 degrees, and also offer tent and presentation positions.
Processor Specs – The highest power systems will feature an Intel Core i7 or m7 chip. Midrange models will have Core i3, i5 and m5 CPUs, which will support productivity as a good middle range between price and performance. Those on a budget are going to find Intel Celeron and Atom CPUs in their hybrids. If you want a device for browsing the web, answering emails, and watching Netflix a lower budget spec should work just fine.
Storage– The standard for 2-in-1 machines is 4GB of RAM, but 8GB is better if you can afford the increase. I would not advise 16GB of RAM unless you are going to be answering some serious work demands. For most people the extra memory and performance is not needed, not to mention it is more expensive.
Screen Resolution– Screen resolution is very important! A higher resolution screen makes a huge difference throughout the day. Affordable 2-in-1 models have 13366 x 768 pixel displays, but if you can you should look for a sharper 1920 x 1080 full-HD screen. Better image quality and side by side window viewing. The higher end resolutions are so beautiful it is hard not to pay the price for higher resolution. But these can suck up a lot of power, so be mindful of what is really important.
Budget – You can spend anywhere from $150 to $3,000 on a 2-in-1 device. Prices escalate as you increase size, specs, storage, and resolution. Look to our next post to find the perfect 2-in-1 for you!