Best Laptops for Business: Why the Two-in-One Is Taking Over

By: Jeff Bertolucci| - Leave a comment

There’s been a lot of news lately about declining interest in tablet devices, but the story is different for two-in-one models that double as a laptop computer and a touchscreen slate. IDC forecasts that shipments of standard tablets will sink nearly 7 percent from 2016 to 2021, while shipments of detachable tablets with removable keyboards and convertible tablets with a display that spins and folds back will soar 16.4 percent in that period.

Indeed, data suggests that organizations increasingly see two-in-ones as the best laptops for business. According to a recent Forrester Research study, the number of consumer tablets should decline about 3.3 percent annually by 2022, while the number of business slates — including two-in-one devices — should grow at an annual rate of 6.9 percent, reports ITworld.

The Two-in-One Boom

The benefits of detachables and convertibles are evident to many organizations, particularly those that need laptop and tablet hybridization for office, industrial and remote use.

Business travelers, for instance, can benefit from having a standard office laptop that easily converts to tablet operation while on the road. Even better, a two-in-one design means one less device to carry around.

Perhaps that explains why two-in-ones are increasingly popular in the enterprise. IDC’s Worldwide 2017 Personal Computing Device Tracker recently forecasted that detachable tablets’ share of the global personal computing device market will rise from 4.9 percent in 2016 to 13.4 percent in 2021.

On the downside, two-in-ones are typically heavier and pricier than standard slates, and their multiple moving and detachable parts may make them less durable than conventional laptops and tablets in the long run. Then again, you get what you pay for. As Tech Advisor points out, two-in-one devices come in a wide range of prices with a myriad of design options ranging from basic to rugged.

What’s Old Is New Again

The rise of the two-in-one illustrates the cyclical nature of computing trends, as compact, portable, enterprise-connected devices hearken back to the dumb terminal days of the 1960s — albeit with considerably more flexibility, capability and power.

Interestingly, today’s data center-linked mobile phones and tablets operate somewhat similarly to the deskbound terminals of decades past, often delivering a limited set of features that connect securely to corporate mainframes.

More Innovation for the Best Laptops

The latest two-in-ones offer the flexibility and design options required by today’s mobile workforce, notes Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, in a Dell press release.

“Commercial PCs are seeing a real renaissance in design, with form-factors like the two-in-one that we could only dream about just a few years ago now becoming reality,” O’Donnell stated.

What features should two-in-one buyers look for? A smart and durable design, long battery life, a usable keyboard and a trackpad are all good starting points, notes Tech Advisor.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.