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Choosing the best device for your needs isn’t always the easiest given the large range of devices available, from 2-in-1 and laptop-style Chromebooks to different kinds of tablets.
In light of the clear benefits and drawbacks of each device, choosing between a MacBook and an iPad is undoubtedly not an easy decision for Apple customers.
Although there is a lot of overlap, there are a lot of variations and good reasons to choose one over the other between the best Chromebooks and best tablets. You’ll be lured to one of the two based on how you want to use that device due to the distinct form factors and screen sizes, in addition to the various operating systems and apps.
To assist you understand what to anticipate and which option is ideal for your needs, we’ll examine not just the many design possibilities but also the feature set and performance.
Chromebooks vs Tablets: Design
The form factor of Chromebooks and tablets is where their differences are the most obvious. Chromebooks often come with a base that contains a keyboard and trackpad and can therefore be used as a regular laptop without the need to purchase any other accessories. Most of them—but not all—have the same appearance as every other laptop on the market.
Due to software and operating system restrictions, laptops and Chromebooks don’t quite have the same capabilities, but they do give a similar tactile feel in that you may use the keyboard and trackpad while setting them down on a desk or in your lap.
In contrast, tablets are exactly what they claim to be: portable screens with all the internals hidden behind the screen. Although you interact with them through a touchscreen, they are supposed to be held nearly like a book.
Of course, there is some overlap, as you can get Chromebooks with detachable keyboards that can be used similarly to a tablet or 2-in-1 devices that can fold in half similarly to a tablet.
The finest wireless keyboard and mouse may also be used with tablets to create a more laptop-like experience, and some of these external keyboards even double as stands to simulate the shape of a laptop.
Chromebooks vs Tablets: Screen and USB Ports
Chromebooks are typically larger than tablets, with screens ranging from seven to thirteen inches on average, with a few wacky large models defying the trend, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, starting at 11 inches and going up to 17 inches.
As a result, using a Chromebook as a tablet can be a little awkward while using a tablet as a laptop makes it difficult to produce reports or emails without squinting.
When it comes to ports, Chromebooks offer anything from the variety you would expect on a high-end laptop to two USB-C connections, one for charging and one for a peripheral or even a dongle. For instance, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE has 3.5mm combo ports for a headphone as well as two USB-C, one USB-A, Ethernet, and HDMI 2.0 ports.
Tablets, on the other hand, will only have one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and potentially a second micro-SD slot for memory expansion if you’re contemplating an Android or Chrome alternative.
Chromebooks vs Tablets: Camera and Software
Despite the fact that both devices have cameras, tablets have an advantage over Chromebooks since they often have two cameras—one front-facing and one rear-facing. Additionally, tablets typically include cameras of higher quality.
Almost all current iPads, including the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) and iPad Mini, as well as non-Apple devices like the aforementioned Samsung tablet, have 12-megapixel cameras.
When compared to one of the most expensive Chromebooks available, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, with its 8-megapixel front-facing camera, it is clear which is superior for tasks other than attending Zoom meetings.
And that’s before taking into account the fact that less expensive models frequently come with webcams with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Software, which includes both the operating system and the accessible apps, is another crucial aspect to keep in mind while making a decision. But let’s start with the operating system because that will affect how you use the gadget.
An altered version of Google Chrome serves as the basis for ChromeOS, the operating system that gives Chromebooks its name. Insofar as using the keyboard and mouse to explore websites like Netflix, social networking, and Google Docs is frequently preferred, using this operating system is akin to using Windows or MacOS. A menu bar will be used to access many of the apps, features, and operations that are hidden away in folders.
Meanwhile, tablet operating systems, such as the iPadOS 17 or a variant of Android OS, are designed to be used by directly interacting with a touchscreen. This implies that rather than choosing an app from a menu, you will be presented with screens of app icons to press.
You engage with apps in a similar way. The types of software where you interact directly with the screen are easier on tablets, whether you’re drawing or scrolling through reams of photos unless you invest in an external keyboard.
Which one fits you best?
The type of experience you seek from the device will ultimately determine whether you choose a tablet or a Chromebook. A Chromebook is going to be the better choice if you want to have the option of having a more traditional laptop experience with a focus on using a keyboard and trackpad, or at least the capacity to. Additionally, they provide larger screens and a little more software flexibility.
Tablets are better suited for a more portable experience, whether you’re browsing social media, watching Netflix, or drawing out an idea. Unless you want to spend money on an additional keyboard, which is more expensive, the touchscreen delivers a more tactile feel but is a little difficult for putting out thoughts.