Should Your Next Device Be a Laptop, Chromebook or Tablet?

They all connect to the web. And most run apps.

Henry Phillips

Remember the days when a phone was just a phone and a computer was just a computer? We don’t either. Now that our smartphones are our primary devices, everything else — tablet, laptop, Chromebook, desktop, e-reader or smart TV — is fighting to grab hold of whatever attention we have left. Because of that, purchasing a new device is complicated; they all seem to do the same things. So how are three of the most appealing devices — tablets, Chromebooks and laptops — different, and which one do you really need? Read on.

Buy a Tablet If…

You need a touchscreen, want to run apps, and don’t plan on spending too much time with your fingers on a keyboard. Tablets are the most portable option of the trifecta and generally have higher-resolution displays than Chromebooks (especially high-end tablets, like the iPad Pro). They are best for consuming or engaging with content — playing iOS- or Android-based games, checking social media feedds, watching videos and reading articles. Since keyboards tend to be absent — or much less robust than those found on laptops — tablets aren’t the best for extensive typing. (Unless you want to carry a Bluetooth keyboard around.)

Buy a Chromebook If…

You’re looking for an affordable laptop, you rely on the G Suite, and your primary web browser is Google Chrome. Chromebooks generally cost less than laptops and tablets, with pricing ranging from around $150 to $550. But with the lower price comes lower production quality; they tend to feel cheap. The newest Chromebooks, like Samsung’s new Chromebook Pro, can run Android apps too, meaning you can play games like Asphalt 8 or Alto’s Adventure. Since Chromebooks don’t have much RAM or built-in storage and are primarily web browsers, much of their functionality depends on wi-fi. They’re simple and easy for multiple people to use; anybody with a Gmail login can access. Also, note that some Chromebooks have touchscreens, but not all.

Buy a Laptop If…

You plan on working remotely and want the functionality of a desktop OS (Windows, OS X, Linux). The biggest difference is that laptops, like the 2016 MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Book and Lenovo Yoga 910, are made with sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing materials and generally have better processors, higher-resolution displays and more internal storage. They also, naturally, cost the most.

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