Apple’s iPad has proven to be a revolutionary and ubiquitous product in the (relatively) short span of three years. It’s kick started what Apple has called the post PC era. This describes an environment where your PC takes a backseat while your iPad (or possibly android tablet) becomes your dedicated computing device.
I believe that this idea is fundamentally flawed. While tablets are superior to laptops for content consumption (especially reading) they pail in comparison to laptops when it comes to productivity. Because of this, I am a firm believer in Chromebooks. I believe they represent the best secondary computing device currently on the market. However, this is a controversial statement due to the infamopus downside of Chromebooks.
When you lose your internet connection, Chromebooks become basically useless.
Many people might view that last sentence and scoff at the fact that I could recommend this product to anyone. However, if any device were to lose it’s internet connection, it would become basically useless. Popular apps like Gmail, Netflix, Steam, Google Maps, and the wealth of information available on the internet would be rendered inaccessible. Due to this, a Chromebook’s requirement of an always on internet connection isn’t quite as important as it might seem.
Chromebook’s also have several advantages over tablets like the iPad. The first is multi-tasking. Tabbed browsing allows for true, manageable, multi-tasking in a way that is just impossible on an iPad. As I write this, I am listening to a song that is playing on in a separate tab. If I wish to interact with that song in any way, it’s just one click away. Attempting to the same action on an iPad would require maneuvering through separate apps. While the latter action might not sound difficult, it takes significantly more time then it does on a Chromebook.
Another benefit of using a Chromebook is the fact that it comes with a full keyboard and track pad. Because of this, a Chromebook is infinitely more productive then a tablet. Using Google docs with a full keyboard is far more useful then touch typing on a glass iPad screen.
Many people attempt to account for a tablet’s shortcomings by buying a separate Bluetooth keyboard. This isn’t a great solution because:
It requires you to buy a separate device, with a separate battery to be charged.
Because the iOS isn’t designed to work with a mouse and keyboard, using one is still a relatively janky experience compared to the smoothness of a Chromebook.
Finally, Chromebook’s have one more advantage over tablets. Pricing. A quality Chromebook costs $250. That’s half the price of an entry level iPad and almost $100 cheaper then an iPad Mini.
When you couple all of these factors together, the superiority of Chromebooks becomes obvious. If more people were to opt for these machines over tablets, they would find themselves with more capable devices for half the price