The 2-in-1 dilemma for buyers and sellers

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Surface 3

The 2-in-1, also called hybrid, has added much-needed variety to the laptop space. No longer is the simple clamshell all you have available, now you can opt for a laptop that can also work as a tablet. Or as some will see it, a tablet that can also serve as a laptop.

Having that additional form factor as a choice complicates things for both OEMs and prospective buyers. Does a particular model work best as a tablet or laptop? Rarely do they do both equally.

Before you set out to buy a hybrid you have to decide if you will use it most as a tablet or laptop. Most folks will end up using one or the other primarily, occasionally using it in the other form.

That’s the dilemma facing those on both sides of the sales table. It’s definitely food for thought for me as I consider both the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro.

Image credit: Microsoft
Image credit: Microsoft

Everything I’ve seen about them has me thinking that they’d be a good fit for my work. With the keyboard covers strapped on I believe either one would be a good laptop for my writing work.

But it doesn’t end there, I am a tablet guy after all. I use all of my tablets a lot, easily as much as I use them in laptop mode. The same goes for my Surface 3, which is a decent size for a tablet.

Image credit: Apple
Image credit: Apple

I’m not sure that’s the case for the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4. Once a tablet gets over the 10-inch display size, and I’ve tried a few, the tablet use is less than ideal. Using large tablets can be unwieldy in the hands, and quickly become uncomfortable.

It’s a delicate balance for a hybrid to hit the mark in both form factors, and the larger the screen the more imbalanced it can become.

That’s why the purchase decision is more complicated for the 2-in-1, and may affect iPad Pro sales. Surface Pro 4 buyers probably won’t be as conflicted as I believe most will want to use them primarily as laptops. I’m not sure that’s the case for iPad buyers, even a big one aimed at workers.

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