Tech Innovation

How Do You Use Your 2 in 1 Computer?

Ken Kaplan Executive Editor, iQ by Intel

Study shows that 2 in 1 computer owners spend one-third of their time doing something they couldn’t do with traditional laptops.

Crazy desire for tablets brought a wave of new personal computing devices that look and function differently than computers from the past. These devices brought new designs and capabilities that are changing how people interact with personal computers.

Now people are tapping, twisting, flipping and detaching their computers to fit their needs and pleasures.

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The traditional tower and monitor desktop PC evolved rapidly into an All-in-One computer that has all of the computing components built into the back of the screen, eliminating wires and saving space. Sleek, portable models on the market today look more like giant tablets. They are changing the way people are using home PCs, allowing family members to use them all around the house or bringing together friends to play touchscreen tabletop board games.

New 2 in 1 computers also hit the market for the first time in 2013. These laptops fold, twist or detach from the keyboard to become a tablet. They fuse a laptop and tablet into one device.

“2 in 1 computers are really designed for versatility,” said Ben Young, senior manager of Intel’s 2 in 1 Program Office.

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These 2 in 1 devices can be used in laptop, tablet, reverse tablet and tent mode. Clamshell laptops have been around for decades, but these new 2 in 1 devices offer new ways to interact with a computer that are more comfortable and engaging, especially when using for reading, entertainment or gaming.

Curious to see how people were actually using 2 in 1s, Intel conducted a field study with new device purchasers in the U.S. Findings from the 2014 study revealed that laptop mode was used more than two-thirds of the time.

The study looked at a variety of 2 in 1 models from small to larger screened devices, as well as different types, including ones that detached from the keyboard and ones that folded to convert into a tablet.

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Results showed that laptop mode was used 67 to 73 percent of the time. Tablet mode was used between 11 and 31 percent. Reverse-laptop mode, where the keyboard becomes the base and the screen can be set at different viewing angles, was used 2 to 9 percent. Tent or easel mode was used the least, only 1 to 7 percent.

“We thought that people with detachable models would use laptop mode much less than people with convertible models,” said Young. “Yet the data showed laptop mode was used by detachable and convertible 2 in 1 owners almost the same­ amount of time. It was surprising to see that the difference was only 3 to 4 percent.”

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Young said the fact that laptop mode took up an average of 70 percent of the time across all models proved people find clamshell designs optimal for most needs.

“When thinking about convertible and detachable 2 in 1 devices with smaller screens, which range from 10 to 12 inches, I’d expect to see these smaller detachable models used more as tablets, which they were.”

This study showed that 2 in 1 computer owner spent one-third of their time doing something they couldn’t do with a traditional laptop.

“The study tells me that people rely on laptop mode most of the time but are spending a significant amount of time using their computer in new ways,” said Young.

Tent mode, which was used only 1 to 3 percent of the time, is something that really only one manufacture highlights, according to Jason Busta, a consumer insights manager at Intel. And that’s Lenovo with their Yoga line of 2 in 1 computers.

“Yoga’s are used 7 percent of the time in tent mode,” said Busta. “Where we talked to people that used Yogas, our research showed this was a ‘surprise and delight’ feature.” People liked to watch video in tent mode.

Young said that when he travels, he sees people using tent mode on airplanes to watch movies. It’s also good for reading recipes in the kitchen or playing a creative game like Minecraft.

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In February, Young said that 54 percent of actual 2 in 1 buyers were considering getting a tablet.

“This showed that 2 in 1s are winning over people who initially intended to buy a new tablet,” he said.

Even if there is a desire for tablet experiences, the 2 in 1 field research shows that people spend much more of their computing time in laptop mode.

“Maybe this will change over time as new interfaces like voice and gesture give people another way to control their device beyond touch, keyboard, trackpad and mouse,” said Young.

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Today, there are more than 70 different 2 in 1 computer designs, and Young sees a design trend shaping up.

“About 18 months ago, there were many different designs, from sliders, pivoting screen and the Ferris Wheel flipping Dell Inspiron Duo,” he said. “They were all experimenting with different ways of switching from laptop to tablet mode. Now most are designed with 360-degree hinges.”

The Lenovo Yoga line and the HP Spectre lines are a few of the more popular 2 in 1 designs that use a 360-degree hinge.

HP Spectre 2 in 1

“Early on we thought choice was good, but the hinge seems to be the most appealing,” said Young.

Fanless design is another new trend Young is watching. Since the release of Intel Core M processors late last year, 2 in 1 computer makers are releasing detachable devices with larger screens.

Young pointed out that newer 2 in 1 devices can provide more than 8 hours of battery life, which can be twice the battery life of a 4-year old PC.

Many consider the razor-thin Asus Transformer Book t300 Chi to be one of the most innovative 2 in 1 devices to date.

“It is the best for flexibility and affordability,” said analyst Helena Stone, editor-in-chief of Chip Chick, adding that it’s a much less expensive alternative to the MacBook Pro.

Stone said other 2 in 1s she would recommend include the HP Spectre x360 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.

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New 2 in 1 computers with Intel Core M processors are thinner, better performing and have longer battery life than earlier designs.

 

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