Chromebook vs Tablet – What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?

chromebook vs tablet

You may have seen a Chromebook and not realized that’s what it was. After all, it looks like a traditional laptop in its design, but the key difference is the way they’ve been developed to make connecting online easier to do. Not only that, but they are also highly portable as they are incredibly lightweight, and they’re inexpensive, too.

Instead of a traditional Windows operating system, it also runs the Chrome OS that was designed by Google. There’s a lot to be said about the Chromebook, and as a result of its usability, there is often a debate of Chromebook vs tablet. Which one is better for you?

Weight & Size

tablet and laptop

Chromebooks are designed to look like laptops, so guess what? They’re similar in size to traditional laptops with a weight being at least a few pounds. That may not sound like much up front, but if you’ve ever had to cart your laptop all day long, you know just how tiring it can be. Tablets tend to weigh less and be smaller than Chromebooks, so they are more portable when you compare the two. When it comes to portability, tablets are the clear winner here.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Familiar in size and weight

Cons

  • Heavier than a tablet

Tablet

Pros

  • Lighter and smaller

Cons

  • none

Display Screens

tablet and laptop

When you’re looking at Chromebooks, the screens are considerably larger than tablets. The resolution is usually 1366x768 as that is the standard. The only real exception to this display pixelation is the Chromebook Pixel, but it is pretty pricey comparatively speaking. Tablets have a much better screen, but it is due to the type of technology that is used today. The panels that are used on tablets are better, and a tablet has a 1080p resolution or better in most cases. Depending on your personal preferences, this could go either way. Chromebook vs tablet equals a tie on this one.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Larger screen

Cons

  • Mediocre picture quality

Tablet

Pros

  • High-resolution screens and better panels

Cons

  • Smaller screens

Battery Life

tablet and laptop

Chromebooks have been designed to be incredibly efficient considering the smaller size of battery that it uses compared to traditional laptops. Battery life will typically last approximately 8 hours when running video playback constantly. Even the latest Chromebooks only last up to about 10.5 hours. Tablets have also been designed to run efficiently on small batteries, but the lifespan of a charged battery can be considerably longer. There are tablets that will run for 8 hours, but there are also tablets that will give you video playback for up to 14 hours. Given the superiority of the length of time your battery will keep on going, you’d have to agree that tablets may just win here more often than the Chromebook will depend on the tablet.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Small yet efficient battery, 8 hours of battery life

Cons

  • Consistent battery life among Chromebooks

Tablet

Pros

  • Small yet efficient battery, 8-14 hours battery life

Cons

  • none

Methods for Input

tablet and laptop

If you see a Chromebook, you know they look just like traditional laptops. With that in mind, you can probably guess that the typical input method is the classic keyboard along with a trackpad. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a touchscreen in the bunch because some models have that availability. Tablets are markedly different because they were designed to be touch-friendly and intuitive to that end. That makes tablets easy to use if you’re playing a game like Candy Crush or watching a video, but not so much if you need to type. On the other hand, there are options to add things like a Bluetooth keyboard to your device, but then that becomes a hassle. Not only do you need to carry extra items, but it also increases the overall cost for what you need. Since you can have everything you need in one convenient package with a Chromebook, you may well agree that a Chromebook is your best option here if that’s what you need.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Classic keyboard, easy input via typing

Cons

  • Not too many touch-screen options, but more are coming

Tablet

Pros

  • Touchscreen all the way

Cons

  • You need extras to do any lengthy input

Capacity for Storage

tablet and laptop

Have you heard of a solid-state drive? It’s a type of hard drive that will give you fast performance, but it isn’t usually made to hold a lot of data. Chromebooks rely on solid-state drives and are typically found in 16GB and 32GB configurations. This is because Chromebooks are designed for you to take advantage of cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, or One Drive. This is very convenient, so you can access your information anywhere and everywhere so long as you have a wireless data connection. If you need to keep your data with you, all you need to do is connect an external USB hard drive, and you’re good to go. Tablets are also dependent on solid-state drives, but you’ll find plenty of them with storage capacity
upwards of 128GB, giving you tons of data space. You can sometimes access cloud storage, but it depends on your service provider, the model, and your operating system. You also may or may not be able to add extra memory by way of a microSD slot, so there is a possible lack of flexibility there. If storage capacity is important to you, but you need the functionality of a laptop, then the Chromebook is the way to go for sure. If you don’t care as much about the way it works and you just want something you can click on with your finger, then the tablet is the choice for you.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Easy to add extra storage, designed for cloud storage

Cons

  • Bulkier than a tablet, smaller solid-state drive

Tablet

Pros

  • Larger solid-state drive

Cons

  • Limited by ISP, model, OS, and may not be able to add storage space

Accessing the Web

tablet and laptop

You’ll need to think about how important it is for you to access a normal, full-size browser when you’re searching for something. A Chromebook will display a full interface for your web browsing. That means you’ll get the whole picture and full web capability from any site you visit instead of the mobile sites that you often see on tablets. In some cases, this is extremely useful because you won’t be limited in your browsing capacity. Tablets are entirely limited to mobile-optimized websites. You may have some instances where you can choose to view the full site, but in others, you’ll be stuck with the less than stellar mobile interface. If that doesn’t bother you, great. If it does, steer clear of a tablet. Anyone who has been stuck on a mobile-optimized website knows the headache of wishing it would transform into the full site. Because of web functionality alone, the Chromebook is apparently the better choice between the two.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Full web browsing capability

Cons

  • None

Tablet

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Limitations to mobile-optimized sites

Overall Performance

tablet and laptop

Comparing performance between Chromebooks and tablets is not like comparing apples to apples. There is a vast range of differences between the hardware used in both that make some of them worlds apart from the other. Chromebooks use different processors that vary from laptop to laptop, so truly, you would need to compare the specs to each one. You may find one processor in one and another processor in a different one. As an example, the Chromebook from Acer has an Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core Processor inside while a Chromebook from HP has an Intel Core m3 processor. Tablets are similar in their performance assessment because they also come from a wide array of manufacturers and therefore have a range of different specifications, too. As just one example, the some of the Samsung tablets use a QUALCOMM processor, and a tablet from Asus uses a MediaTek hexa-core processor. Because this is tough to compare, you might say that they’ve reached a tie in performance assessment. After all, the only real way to compare then adequately is going to be to compare each one with its competing counterpart. In other words, if you’re undecided between an Acer Chromebook and a Samsung Tablet, look at the specs of each one to decide which one fits you better.

Chromebook

Pros

  • A variety of processing power

Cons

  • You’ll need to compare each one directly to each other or to each tablet

Tablet

Pros

  • A variety of processing power

Cons

  • You’ll need to compare the tablets directly against each other or the Chromebook specs

Available Software

tablet and laptop

The availability of software is growing on the Google platform, but there are still a limited number of apps that function efficiently inside of your Chromebook. The main reason for this is because of the operating system design – it was built around Chrome’s proprietary browser. Tablets, on the other hand, have a variety of apps available to them on the Android platform as well as the iOS platform. If you were to take a look at the app store on your tablet and compare it to the app store on your laptop, you would notice a significant difference in available choices.

Software is a touchy subject for some, especially since in the latest rendition of Chromebook, they’ve added an Android container that is supposed to mimic Android functionality. According to Google, your Chromebook can open almost any app, but you may find that what is friendly on a tablet screen may not work quite as well on a Chromebook. You might say that tablets have the upper hand on this one.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Feels and moves like a traditional laptop

Cons

  • Limited number of apps available on the Chrome OS platform

Tablet

Pros

  • Vast array of apps regardless of which app store you’re looking in

Cons

  • Can be limited by your OS (i.e. iOS compared to Android)

Expected Cost

tablet and laptop

The cost of a Chromebook and a tablet are remarkably similar with differences like technical specs making the price go up or down. Chromebooks can be found for under $200 and over $1200 depending on what you’re interested in. On the lower end, you’ll find Chromebooks with smaller solid-state drives and more inferior displays. On the higher end, you’ll find larger solid-state drives, better processors, and possibly more RAM depending on the model. Tablets cover quite a range, too. You can find inexpensive tablets like the 7” Kindle Fire for less than $ on one end of the spectrum and an Apple iPad Pro with a 12.9” display on the other end starting at $ and going up from there. Budget is always one of the biggest deal makers or breakers when you’re looking at a new electronic gadget or gizmo, and Chromebooks and tablets fall into that category. Before you start searching for your next device, set your budget and compare what lies within that dollar amount to make the best choice.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Generally affordable

Cons

  • Same basic configurations, differences lie in processor power and drive storage

Tablet

Pros

  • Range from affordable to those with larger budgets

Cons

  • You have to compare them individually based on features and tech specs

Overall Usability

tablet and laptop

When you compare Chromebook vs tablet, you’ll see that both of them have a lot of positives and negatives all the way around. They both fill different needs that people have. Some are more versatile than others, too.

As an example, the Chromebooks that are coming out more recently are made to be convertible, meaning they can fold in to become like a tablet as opposed to just having a touch screen. It’s a great innovation, but it still suffers from the same issues as before – larger screens, lower resolution, etc. Tablets, on the other hand, are always undergoing new functionalities that make them even more user- friendly. One look at the latest Apple iPad is just one example of how that’s working out as Apple has incorporated the use of Apple Pencil as an option. The overall usability of each of them is going to feel very different. This is one of those situations where you may be best suited to go into a store and actually hold one before making a choice so you know if you’ll be comfortable with your final decision.

Chromebook

Pros

  • Newer Chromebooks are very versatile

Cons

  • Still have lower resolutions than tablets, limited on apps, larger than tablets

Tablet

Pros

  • Always improving existing designs

Cons

  • Input methods like typing, the expense is suitable for features but not always usability

A Few Last Words

The experience is going to be different on both devices, so when you start to compare the Chromebook vs tablet, you’re going to get a variety of reactions. The Chromebook is superior in some ways, but tablets are at the top of their game in other ways. Really, it’s going to be about how you intend to use either one. Do you want to be able to hold onto the tablet or would you rather have an easy input method? You’ll also need to know how much you have to spend. If you have a larger budget, you may be better off going with a tablet if you intend to use it for viewing movies for extended periods of time. Alternatively, you’ll be better off with a Chromebook if you need to be able to have cloud access at all times. As you decide, remember to compare the individual devices to each other to arrive at an educated choice. If you do your homework, you’ll be happy with your decision.

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