The people have voted and their voice is resounding: there IS a difference between 2-in-1s and convertibles

Yesterday you all went to the polls to vote on one of the most important questions of our time: what's the difference between a 2-in-1 and a convertible, or is there a difference at all? It was a contentious vote that's pitted businesses against consumers and driven a wedge between friends and families. But it was a question that could go unresolved no longer.

Today, the votes are in and the answer is resounding: there is a stark difference between a 2-in-1 and a convertible.

Our poll asked you to identify what category of portable computer you would slot four distinctly different devices under. While the question was about the sort of laptop-style devices that turn into tablets and tablet-style devices that masquerade as laptops, we thought it best to bookend with easily defined devices: the touchscreen laptop Dell XPS 13 and the keyboard-free Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet.

With 1,482 ballots cast, here's how things shook out:

The full results, in case you're interested.

Unsurprisingly, the XPS 13 was identified by an overwhelming majority as a laptop: 85% (some 11% said it was a convertible and 3% a 2-in-1). Similarly, the Venue 8 Pro was pegged as a tablet by 99% of voters (with 16 total who branded it a as a 2-in-1, convertible, or a laptop).

But let's get to the meat of the debate: 2-in-1 or convertible.

The Lenovo Yoga 910, which is takes a traditional-style laptop and throws in a 360° hinge so the screen can fold all the way around into a tablet mode, was identified by 72% of voters as a convertible and only 17% as a 2-in-1.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, a slate-style device with a built-in kickstand and a removable keyboard cover, was pegged by 65% as a 2-in-1 device. 19% said it was a tablet and fewer still (13%) said it was a convertible.

So there you have it, according to this entirely non-scientific one-day poll of a contentious but ultimately semantical debate.

  • Convertible laptop: A notebook-style device with a stiff 360° hinge
  • 2-in-1 tablet: A slate-style device with a detachable keyboard

Let it be known far and wide that this is the mandate of the people.

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

75 Comments
  • Just like I said yesterday
  • Democracy in action again.
  • Great! Just how I voted. Now take this survey and give it to all of the company websites and search engines for their filters. 
  • Interesting results though
  • This was better than the United States Presidential Election 2016!!! I'm glad that we didn't have an impressive, tech industry shaking, historical upset where the Dell Venue 8 Pro somehow wins as a laptop....
  • That would bring the Tech War 3 if Dell Venue 8 wins as a laptop ;D
  • The sad part is, this may have been more interesting than the Battle of the Douchebags we had yesterday.
  • How is this even up for debate? 
  • Preferences and PCs. You gotta throw your own opinions.
  • common sense for the win
  • USA just lost.
  • ^^This. I am embarrassed by what this country has done and shown to the world. I feel like Deja vu from 16 years ago, but worse.
  • I completely agree.
  • Funny. I thought the same thing the last 2 elections.
  • There is nothing wrong with you thinking that for the last 2 elections.
    Everyone is at a different point in their life, may have different views, situations and needs and issues affect each person differently.
  • Wise words. This site should be about other topics. Like only 1.9% of USA choosing Windows Phone, which makes them far from common sense again ;)
  • Yep! We be stuped!
  • In some ways, I do agree with that too. At least then the "choice" you had was a bit better, either was qualified. This was just full on retardation and showed just about all the flaws with the system.
  • I'm not American or from the US but clearly democracy has worked which is a beautiful thing in itself and the people have spoken.
    Time to deal with it and become part of the solution and not part of the problem.
  • Thank you Capitan obvious. Part of the freedom we have in this country is to disagree with the system or peoples choices in leaders. Either way, as was already stated, this isn't the right time or place to discuss such maters.
  • From the other side of the world, all I see is anger from the losing side.
    Just saying.
    Regards
    Captain Obvoius
  • You are exactly correct sir. Anger is always from the losing side. There has been plenty of it for the last 8 years from the other side. I'm not angry at a side here, I'm angry at both. I'm angry at the whole broken system that everyone acknowledges, but no one has the balls to fix, that allowed two idiots who shouldn't even be given a guest pass to the white house much less the keys. It's absurd and embarrassing when this is what how we show ourselves to people like yourself. I apologize for hijacking the thread to those that don't care.
  • Nice assessment, I agree wholeheartedly with it.
  • Didn't Clinton win the peoples vote though?
  • Which, in the actual election or primaries? I think Trump actually won that too (at least he was leading by a couple million when I stopped watching).
  • No, in the finals. Hillary won with 180.000 votes.
  • You are right... Just saw today she is up over 400k. Now I am really pissed at this broken system.
  • The Simpsons did predict this happened 16 years ago!
  • I still disagree with the premise. I still think Laptops and tablets are products and 2 in 1 and convertibles are ideas. Do minorities get represented in Windows Central comments? ;)
  • You typically get a writer to come berate and insult you here.
  • Lol
  • :D
  • Just don't be stupid and they wont. :)
  • Not true at all. It doesn't take much more than lengthy questioning to get snark around here. Heck, a few days ago, I made a lengthy post about (among other things) the way we're constantly pushing back the expected progress on W10M, and how we need to just stop overpromising and speculating people into disappointment. The author then came and said that if I don't like it, I should stop using my phone. I didn't do anything stupid, simply said we need to start managing expectatins after 5+ years of "it's coming!"
  • I have been here for four or five years and never been berated or harassed.
  • I never said you get harrassed, and "berated" was probably a strong term, but there is a not-uncommon theme, at least with some writers, where they don't seem to prefer being cordial if you disagree too much. That you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it doesn't happen, nor does victim blaming by saying "if someone insulted you, it's because you're being stupid" make unprofessional arguing with commenters OK. For the most part, the staff can be totally fine, and some people can be well above that. Jason Ward, I've openly disagreed with mass amounts of what he's said, and he will comment constructively back and be incredibly professional and engaging. Others (and I don't like naming names on this side) will be rude and inconsiderate and unwilling to have thoughtful discussion. No, I don't expect thhte writers to skip their paid writing to discuss things with commenters, but I'd rather they be totally silent in the comments than try to shut down dissention with mean-spirited insults and derision, which regrettably isn't all that rare.
  • Im moving to Canada.
  • Agreed... More snow and maple syrup wins everyday for me :-)
  • Throw in some bacon and I'll drive us there!
  • Canadian Bacon.  MMMMMMMMM
  • YAY!! Bacon for everyone!!!! I, of sound mind, elect president bacon of...blah blah....blah blah blah.....lol
  • LOL
  • Next year Canada will build a wall at its South border against all these illegal immigrants from USA lol
  • As a U.S. citizen, I fully support this. There is nothing wrong with trying to protect your citizens and national identity.
  • Sure. People have different opinions of what you need to try to protect your citizens of.
  • As a non US citizen I whole heartedly agree
  • If only you didn't make it so hard to move to your country! =P
  • Already have an interview with Ubisoft Toronto. Canada, here I come!
  • It's obvious you should.
  • So the Surface Pro 4, "the tablet that can replace your laptop" is actually judged to 69% as a 2-in-1 and to 13% as a convertible. Interesting.
  • The Surface Pro 4 election was rigged! Lock up Crooked Keyboard!!! Poor judgment in handling those mouse clicks will lead to more of the same. The media is biased against tablets, they're the worst, the media, worst ever. Bad people. Believe me! It's a disaster! You walk outside, you get Windows, you stay in your home, you get Windows, your battery life is poor, your schools use Windows, updates are at an all time high, what do you have to lose???!!! Believe me!
  • Hahaha
  • Lmao. Oh my god. I ******* hate trump so much
  • I second that motion!
  • So, uh... You commented on the SP4 just to convey your disdain of a person?
  • @Deaconclgi. Lmao
  • And some voted SP4 as a laptop, while it's really indeed 2-in-1 (I voted all because it fitted all the category :D)
  • #NotMyConvertable #StrongerDetached
  • lol
  • Exactly how my votes were. 
  • Interesting, though the Surface Book should have been included in the poll due to its unqiue situation of being able to detach the screen from its laptop-like keyboard.
  • It's indeed 2-in-1 device, much like Surface Pro, but with discreet GPU, larger trackpad, and additional battery on the base.
  • Not sure why this is even a question. People simply need to realize that there's already conventional definitions out there. Smartphone ( http://sck.pm/vSQ ), Tablet ( http://sck.pm/3EK ), Laptop ( http://sck.pm/Txe ), and Desktop ( http://sck.pm/k2o ) are all just form-factors of PC (Personal Computer, http://sck.pm/tS0 ). A 2-in-1/3-in-1/4-in-1 is simply a PC that can physically and practically convert between a combination of the form-factors, and thus, is a convertible by conventional definition ( http://bfy.tw/8fzt ). If you consider Digitizer Drawing boards ( http://sck.pm/y1o ) as another aspect, devices like the Surface Pro/Book are practically 4-in-1s; Tablet/Digitizer Drawing Board (without Keyboard) + Laptop (with Keyboard) + Desktop (with Docking Station).
  • To me there's no such thing as a "convertible". The Yoga is a laptop. It may have a fancy hinge but it's still a laptop. If it does have a detachable keyboard, it's a 2-in-1. If it's just a screen, it's a tablet. Everything else is just trying to nitpick and it's honestly unnecessary.
  • Agreed. Convertible as a third category is redundant and confusing. I'm a little stricter with my 2-in-1 definiton, though. If the device is mainly a tablet with a detachable keyboard that serves little purpose besides its typical function then it's a 2-in-1. Everything else (à la Surface Book) is a high-end/niche/specialized laptop.
  • "Tablet" form factor was originally used to describe a device with a keyboard, and definitions have evolved as needed as keyboard-less devices have emerged.
    The Thinkpad X1 running WinXP was the iconic "Tablet PC". Notebook with touchscreen (resistive, I think) that rotated 180deg and then folded flat for use with a stylus. I think Samsung had the earliest keyboard-free form factor with a WinXP device they labeled a UMPC, for ultra-mobile and had a competitor or few in that space.
    Was only consumer popularity of iPad that changed recognition of what "tablet" meant.
    That said, educational poll; I had thought the results would be very different. Also I cringed at the use of "laptop" as that still means a barely-portable device from the Win3.1 era to me, vs "notebook" or "ultrabook", but I recognize I'm in the minority there too, probably.
  • If it does have a detachable keyboard, it's a 2-in-1
    Not that I'm disagreeing with you (I actually agree) but would that make the iPad Pro a 2-in-1 or a tablet?  Apple sells a detachable keyboard and, if we want to nitpick, 3rd party companies have sold detachable keyboards for 6 years (even Apple sold a keyboard for the first generation iPad).  I only bring up the iPad as many people here classify it as strictly being a tablet.
  • Lol the conviction of verbiage is absolutely superb
  • I disagree and I have reasons, apart from the fact that I voted a bit differently. There is no doubt about first and last which are typical.
    as for Yoga and Surface Pro, I believe the reason is how the companies position it and how us readers read about those. I am sure a surfacebook would have been classified as convertible, because it too can svivel all the way back. But rather than debating about 2-in-1 vs convertible, only debate really is what is it more of: laptop or tablet? Both Yoga and surface book are more laptops
  • The votes are in. 81% felt the new Macbook Pro was a 0-in-1
    34% oddly classified the Miata as a laptop
    ​93% noted that after converting the device, that "it seems faster"
    18% got distracted by clickbait and downloaded ransomeware to their computer
    107% wanted to know where they could download that background
    23% found that the above rules did not apply if the device was white
    ​4% got into an argument with Dan Rubino, claiming "Windows Phone is dead...Is too!" (Is not!)
    13% of Floridians voted for G.W. Bush
    0.3% wrote in that the 1020 is "the best camera phone ever"
    0.07% wrote in Bernie Sanders for Microsoft CEO  
  • These are just the results of the popular vote, where are the results of the Windows Central electoral college?
  • @Derek Kessler, I like your articles. I was a big fan of everything you wrote for we WebOS users (I still think about your aspirational piece on sitting down with Whitman over a glass of Scotch and discussing the future -- beautiful). But for this poll... I happen to agree with your original position and voted with the majorities for all 4 listed devices. However, I think you would agree that it was very much a leading poll. :-) You provided 4 devices and 4 options. In the human brain that pretty much translates to: select the device that most closely matches each term on a one-to-one basis. So of course the results came out as they did. Hey, in the spirit of the recent election, parties and candidates (and the media) use leading questions all the time to get poll results they want to fit with and help drive their narrative, so from that perspective, well done.
  • Wait. I'm confused. If the surface is suppose to be a 2in1. What exactly are those 2 things?
  • Was this pole a matter of function or design? You will get didn't results if so.
  • Can I buy now?  Now that is settled already?