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AIO vs 2-in-1 vs Tablet

When you think about it, Desktop PCs are a miracle of the modern age, each one connecting us in ways we thought impossible mere decades ago. Today, however, the computer climate has changed, people want efficiency, portability, and a sleek form factor. After all, the average American spends 23.6 hours a week online, and up to 11 hours a day of general screen-time, and if we are going to spend that much time staring at our devices, we at least want them to look good!

Many people are now choosing to forego the tower all together, instead opting for more modern designs such as the All-in-One (AIO), the 2-in-1, and the ever-popular Tablet computer. When the time finally does come to recycle that old, noisy tower, and move on to something new, knowing your way around the different form factors and jargon can help empower you to make an informed purchase that is perfect for your individual computing needs.

All-in-Ones (AIOs)

These devices can strike a balance between performance, workflow, and portability.

  • AIOs are larger and less portable than the 2-in-1 or Tablet design

  • Offer a performance that is significantly closer to that of a standard desktop PC.

  • Able to make use of desktop grade hardware such as full sized hard drives, desktop grade RAM, and even desktop grade processors, making these machines a force to be reckoned with.

  • Fewer cords to plug in because of its design.

The popularity of the AIO form factor is not hard to see. With the computer and display being enclosed in one unit, you can wave goodbye to those messy video cables draped elegantly across the desk, and when you pair your AIO with a wireless keyboard and mouse, you truly have yourself a one-plug solution. While these devices are not the most portable, they are still significantly easier to disassemble and take with you than a tower-style desktop PC. Simply unplug it, throw the keyboard and mouse in your bag, and take the unit with you (most also come with a handle of some kind, making carrying them even easier). Overall, what this form factor lacks in general portability, it more than makes up for in performance.


The “middle ground” option between a tablet and a traditional laptop form factor.

The defining feature of the 2-in-1 is the ability to put the computer in “Tablet Mode” by folding back the display, making the unit look and feel more like a tablet.

Makes use of a responsive and convenient touch screen

Also features a built in keyboard and trackpad, just like a traditional laptop.

This highly portable style of computer is ideal for travelers, business professionals, students, content creators, digital nomads, and anyone who desires a more complete computing experience, but still desires high mobility. The performance of these devices is certainly less than that of an AIO with similar specifications for example, but what it lacks in horse power it more than makes up for in being a convenient mobile computing experience that truly takes advantage of all that Windows 10 has to offer.


Tablet computers may be familiar to many of you as the devices that resemble over-sized smartphones, and function very similarly. These devices are usually:

Fully self-contained,

Ultra-light and ultra-portable,

Fully touch screen

The main three species of tablet you’re likely to see out in the wild are Microsoft’s Surface line, Apple’s iPad line, and Google’s Android installed a number of third-party tablet devices. Whether you are always on the go or always on the job, the tablet is the computer of choice for those who need a lightweight, fast way to connect to the internet, fire off a quick email, or check the latest updates on social media. A huge benefit of the tablet for many is the ease of use, as even a novice computer user can pick up a tablet and begin computing with ease.

Computers connect us in ways we never thought possible before, and I hope we have connected you with the knowledge that you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

Are you ready to recycle the tower? What would you choose between an AIO, Tablet, and 2-in-1? Let us know in the comments below!

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