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3 reasons you should buy a Chromebook tablet instead of Android

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook
Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

While there are some great Android tablets out there, I don't know why you'd buy one outside a disposable Fire HD for your kid. Yes, seriously. Samsung may be better about updating its tablets nowadays, but they still aren't supported the way Chrome OS devices are. I've yet to see a "Productivity mode" on any tablet that holds a candle to Chrome OS, either.

If you're in the market for a tablet and you want it to be something you could work off of for a few hours — or a few days while you wait on a replacement laptop or for your Macbook repairs to be done — you should be looking at Chromebook tablets like the HP Chromebook x2 11 and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. You'll save money, save headaches, and have a more versatile device.

Don't believe me? Keep reading.

Reason #1: 8 years of platform and security updates

Lenovo Chromebook Duet Laptop Mode 3

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Samsung is promising four years of security updates for most of its phones and tablets sold from 2019 onward, but not that those are security updates, not platform updates. And once you look beyond Samsung, tablet updates get even worse.

By contrast, Chromebooks get eight years of platform and security updates. The 2020 Lenovo Chromebook Duet will get updates until at least June 2028, and the Lenovo Duet 5 and HP x2 11 get them until at least June 2029. Show me an Android tablet with that support life ahead of it; I dare you.

Chrome OS tablets have twice the lifespan of Android.

The Google Chrome OS team supervises the update of all Chromebooks, too, so you're not waiting on multiple teams of developers for the update to pass through before it reaches your device. It's also easy to move from the stable channel to the beta or dev channels if you're bored and want to try out new features. Going back to stable requires a factory reset, but because Chromebooks are mostly automatically backed up — it'll automatically re-install your Android apps, Chrome extensions, and, of course, your bookmarks are always synced.

All this adds up to a tablet that sees new features added more regularly, bugs fixed more quickly, and updates coming for years longer than on Android.

Reason #2: Desktop Chrome browser with full keyboard shortcuts

HP Chromebook X2 11

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

I've used Dex mode, I've used Productivity mode, and none of them hold a candle to having full desktop mode on Chromebooks once you attach the keyboard. Chrome OS has a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that make it much easier to snap windows to one side and back to full, you can use text expanders and other extensions, and websites will load the desktop version rather than some oversized web view.

While most of us won't use a tablet as a primary computer, the HP x2 11 and especially the Lenovo Duet 5 are tablets that could serve as full-time machines. You get the convenience of desktop Chrome and the flexibility of Android apps through Google Play.

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Working on Android tablets is possible, yet the compatibility of apps in Dex mode/Productivity mode is so lackluster compared to a Chromebook that it simply feels incomplete. Not all apps are optimized for Chrome OS, but at least all apps can run in a phone-sized window rather than being some full-screen, bloated mess when it comes to non-supported apps on Android tablet work modes.

I've worked full-time from a Duet 5, I've worked full-time from an HP x2 11, and that simply wasn't possible when using Android tablets over the last two years.

Reason #3: Accessories included — with wider compatibility and faster speeds

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Then there's the added cost when you get the needed accessories for working on an Android tablet. Buying a keyboard and stand can easily add another $100-$150 to the already high price of a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. For other Android tablets, you might have to opt for Bluetooth or aftermarket solutions if the tablet wasn't designed for a POGO keyboard.

Chrome tablets, on the other hand, have learned from the mistakes of the Google Pixel Slate and now all come with keyboards and kickstands in the box. Even the $200 Lenovo Chromebook Duet comes with a kickstand and keyboard in the box because Chrome OS was (and still is) best when used with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Tablet mode on Chrome is now perfectly useable, but the keyboard's always handy to have around (plus it doubles as a screen protector when folded up in your bag).

HP Chromebook X2 11

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

And because Chrome OS tablets have the same driver and accessory support as regular Chromebooks, you can easily plug them into a good USB-C hub, and from there plug them into a second screen, a solid full-size keyboard, or even external hard drives.

Chrome tablets also have another handy accessory feature these days: faster charging speeds. While the Galaxy Tab S7 series may feature 45W PPS charging, the vast majority of Android tablets only charge at 18-30W, whereas on Chrome the opposite is true. The Lenovo Duet only does 18W charging, but the HP x2 11, Lenovo Duet 5, and others use standard PD 45W charging. This means that Chrome tablets will let you escape the shackles of the wall charger more quickly and get back to your games, work, or researching tablet sling bags to take your new tablet to the coffee shop, the park, or the office with you.

Bonus Reason: Perfect gateway into Chromebooks

Best of all, if you try out a Chrome tablet, you can familiarize yourself with Chrome OS. If your kids are issued Chromebooks for school, having a Chromebook tablet lets you figure out where things are and how to fix things when a setting gets changed or something messes up. It also lets you evaluate how useful the system is before potentially buying your kid their own Chromebook if the school-issued laptops are too slow.

Who knows, once you've used Chrome OS on a tablet, you might also consider a excellent Chromebook for your next laptop — or a Chromebox for the grandparents so that they can do their browsing but can't break anything and will automatically update for almost a decade. (They're also great for international travel because you can easily factory reset them before/after going through customs to avoid snooping.)

Having a Chromebook tablet also means you have a spare laptop for whoever in the house needs it, whether the kids need to share it for the summer between being issued Chromebooks by schools or if the wife needs it while her laptop is out for a repair for a coffee spill. That's definitely something you can't claim with any Android tablet on the market today.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

48 Comments
  • Now if only Android on Chrome actually worked as good as it does on actual Android devices like phones and tablets, then Chrome OS would make sense to serve Android tablet duty. Chrome OS is actually quite good for what it is, but Android is still very much an after thought and not well optimized on Chrome. But as it is, Google ditched their one and only Chrome OS tablet after less than a year, leaving Chrome OS laptops as the official form factor. So now Android has to contend with running on an OS that wasn't designed for it, on hardware that is the exact opposite of how Android operates (keyboard and mouse is still a laborious, unrefined, and awkward experience even in the parts where Google has total control). And, of course, Google still refuses to make tablet versions of their own apps while they low key blame developers not doing the same as a reason Android on tablets isn't a huge success. Only within the walls of Google does any of this make sense. Sorry, but no. If you are deep into Android apps and need them on a big screen, an Android tablet is a much, much better way to go. Most of them may be blown up phone apps, but at least they'll run correctly, interface with hardware like headsets seamlessly, and recognize your input the first time without weird screen artifacts or misplaced touch targets. Plus, on something like a Galaxy tablet, software like Dex is an option that makes windowed apps feel completely native, which was supposed to be one of the big selling points of Android on Chrome. There's a difference between Android running and working. In spite of Google's efforts, Android tablets are still better overall for Android on big screens.
  • Android on clamshells sucks. No doubt. Buying a computer around having access to those apps is a mistake for most people. Frankly for the couple of android apps I want access to once or twice a day Samsung’s link to windows support in your phone does an ok job. Not great mind you, but all in all I really only want access to an app on a laptop for at most 5 mins a day.
  • It doesn't suck if the Chromebook has an ARM chip.
  • Oh, I thought Android apps worked the same, lol.
    I tried to install ChromeOS on my laptop quite awhile ago, before WSA was available, but it didn't work as planned.
    So ChromeOS doesn't run Android apps as good as Windows 11 either?
  • I am sorry, I don't care what you say. You're annoying and that's the only reason I'm talking to you now. Just because you've tried to install some software doesn't mean you should get involved here for attention. Some Americans are annoying and they think they know a lot about technology but they don't. Like I said I don't care what you try to install a long time ago and you shouldn't say this here. You said "Lol" as if something is funny. Nothing is funny here and this is why this whole thread is annoying. Whether or not, some products can be made quickly and cheaply doesn't justify giving them a lot of attention and there is no big guarantee that they will last in perfect conditions. I don't care what product do you use and you're just annoying and this is why you should stop. And I am not bothered to talk to you because all you do is talk for no reason. First of all, you need to be careful when you speak. When something is bought, it doesn't mean it is the best thing ever and you need to stop looking for attention. I'm sick and tired of you and if you keep talking I will get mad. I will give your American but you need help if you need it but stop. Unless you belong Asylum, there's no need to behave the way you do.
  • Go away troll...
  • Android in Chrome OS and Windows 11 runs through emulation. It's not the same as a native Android tablet. As for Android in Windows 11, it's still pretty much a beta thing for now.
  • Thank you for posting this. You echo my sentiments exactly. Another thing to add is the sandboxing of the Android filesystem from the rest of Chrome OS. The Files app of Chrome OS can't "see" the Android file system. That means I have to install an Android file manage to work with files that are "on the Android side" and is separate from the Chrome OS side. Also, one cannot side-load an .apk without putting the chrome OS device into Dev mode. Almost forgot about stylus support. There is currently no USI stylus for Chrome OS that is as responsive as the S-Pen on Samsung Galaxy tablets. I'm a big fan of Chromebooks and Chrome OS but I have to acknowledge the reality of the situation... Android support on those devices continues to be an afterthought and not an integral part of the Chrome OS experience.
  • Some services support for some products continue to be an afterthought if there is a reason for this. What you said is just your opinions and you can't prove anything. Unless you're a silly coward, email me at johnsmasher123@gmail.com. If you don't do that, it just means you're not worth anyone's time. I can't believe you spoke yet some products of continuing to be effective depends on how much effective they are. "And not an integral part of the Chrome OS experience," again that's your opinion. I'd love to see you or some people even live hundreds of years ago and you'd probably die back then without any technology unlike today. Whether or not, some technology services don't do enough things and some thing is not part of the Chrome OS experience doesn't mean what you said was true. There are different experiences for different things. Your mother should be ashamed of you, you're not going to win against me. You're here talking about technology and I don't like that. You need to stop otherwise you'll suffer from your ignorance, I'm warning you. You've been warned by me.
  • You’re missing the point entirely. Most people don’t need Android apps on a ChromeBook and most of what you would do with an Android app can be done with a web app or PWA.
  • Chrome isn't ChromeOS. And it does if you get a Chromebook with an ARM chip.
  • I have the Asus flip and it's a tablet when I want and a laptop when I need it. And this is what I use for my personal computer I do have a window laptop but I use that for work
  • I don't care what you tend to use for work. You are talking about some technology which is not always important these days even if you use it for work. You can't make a lot of money just by working your way. You're American and this is the worst part about you. To talk about technologies one thing, but it's very surprising how some people bring up the subject of technology. I don't care about technology because it doesn't matter in every way all the time. I just don't want some people to keep talking about everything, yet it is absolutely annoying how people like you are alive. Maby try to look at things differently, you are not a good person. You're good at telling lies so there's no point trying to convince me of anything. If you don't know anything about some products, there's no point talking about them. I am Irish and I'm trying to live my life. It's not my fault you spoke here and you distracted me. I will distract you.
  • Still at the pub?
  • The points the article makes are all valid, and I'd love to see Chrome tablets with more capable hardware, because as someone who's owned and used Android, Chrome, and Apple tablets, I can say that I prefer using Chrome OS, but the delays and app freezes on my Chromebook Duet when I have more than one app open are just abominable.
  • What to expect from the midrange-tier Helio P60T (now known as Kompanio 500) chipset.
  • point #3 is categorically false. what was the author thinking? not all of them come with a keyboard. i would argue that only the expensive ones do
  • Dude, there have only been like 3 or 4 chromeOS tablets and they all come with keyboards and kickstands. How is #3 false?
  • Except for Google's own offering, didn't.
  • Except you are wrong and you should take back your words. Your empty opinions don't mean anything. You're very strange talking like that, talk normally. I don't want to see you in my life, so make sure you remember what I say and any of my warnings I've given you. It's one thing to be having a good product to use anytime, accept that Google's own offerings don't contribute too much success all the time. Google can make offerings anytime, except that some people like you should never talk about it and Google don't always need to make offerings. What Google does is very strange, if all they do is make products more than managing their own smaller limiting services. You are annoying now, except that talking to you is very strange. It's very strange that some people talk about products, just like it's very strange that some products are released and some people know little or nothing about them. It's very strange that some products are released for the sake of being talked about more than being used.
  • Which I referenced. "Chrome tablets, on the other hand, have learned from the mistakes of the Google Pixel Slate and now all come with keyboards and kickstands in the box." The Pixel Slate is discontinued. The only Chrome OS tablet to not come with everything bundled is the Lenovo 10e tablet, which has a keyboard/kickstand bundle option and is an education edition device aimed at education reseller channels, not consumers.
  • AND TWO REASONS WHY NOT?
    1) CHROME APPS SUCK, most require always online to work, few don't but in the store it's hard to delineate between both.
    2) Android and INTEL don't mix. No matter what, Android emulation on CHROMEBOOKS is TERRIBLE on INTEL chips, all the good note taking apps are on Android, don't even think there are any in the Chrome store. YET ALMOST all of the ones on ANDROID save for Squid have AMAZING amount of lag, and that was on a core i7 Galaxy Chromebook, but SQUID on CHROME OS is terrible and turns your handwriting into a squiggly mess. Conclusion: BRING OUT FUCHSIA ALREADY, you've been teasing that for ages now. The perfect CHROME OS ANDROID HYBRID. Also, ARM CHROMEBOOKS have INFINITELY BETTER ANDROID APP PERFORMANCE AS WELL. Chromebooks are the new NetBooks and just as function and useless as that niche was.
  • User Dcoke has a ranty too-many caps comment. Coke indeed.
  • I have a couple Chromebook tablets and I use the as tablets. I agree with the writer. My only issue with tablet mode is the onscreen keyboard is a wreck. Autocaps doesn't work and it's laggy as hell. If Google could fix that one particular thing, it would be great. Gestures work really well and the platform has been steadily improved. Thanks Ara!
  • Autocaps used to work, but I've reported the problem many times -- I think it's better now, but spell check is flakey, now???
  • My last adventure into Chrome OS was the pixel slate never again! I will stick to my Samsung Tab S7 Plus thanks.
  • The issue with the Pixel Slate was hardware not software. If you prefer Android tablets that's fine but the points in the article are valid. Chrome on Android is very very cut down.
  • You may be right but I had the top end version of the Pixel Slate and it was horrific to say the least, I'm sure it's alot better now.
  • Then, that makes a double whammy in awful department because the OS and HW was made by same Google.
  • I agree completely! I 'wanted' an Apple iPro 12.9" for reading sheet music. An Acer R13 [used] was available for about $200 instead of $1500 or so for a new iPro, so I thought I'd try it. That was 3 years ago any I'm very happy with my Acer still. [Nits are less than the iPro, and I do wish Google would do better regression testing on new versions, though.]
  • um no, some companies block their android apps from being installed on Chrome os. minecraft anyone?
  • A few yes, most no. Most apps aren't blocked.
  • ChromeOS tablets are so much better than Android tablets and get one with an ARM chip and it'll run Android apps as well as an Android tablet. Proper Chrome is a major advantage.
  • Biggest reason not to get it: Its a GOOGLE OS made from the most untrustworthy evil company on the planet.
  • Dude you're on a website called Android Central 🙄
  • Duh, not chrome os central!!
  • That is a response for the ages.... I cracked a rib.
  • I use Edge (which I use on Windows 11) on my S7 running Android 12 and together with dex it's a very good supplementary device... Love using the pen with my tablet to make notes taken while using my phone... The Samsung eco system is also very good, I use the tablet with my phone and the 'continue on' function is very useful...
  • Sure but CromeOS is a load better than Dex. Dex is good though. I use Edge on my PC and Phone too. The only nuisance is bookmarks don't sync between these devices and my Chromebook but I don't add new bookmarks much any more.
  • "I've yet to see a "Productivity mode" on any tablet that holds a candle to Chrome OS, either." So true. The people who say Dex is good haven't used ChromeOS for a decent amount of time.
  • Dude, people who uses Dex already have a MB pro or a XPS, why would they need another laptop?
    There are things I just don't understand. Besides of school, I don't get why people in first world countries buy Chromebooks. With a Chromebook you can do the same that with a smartphone with an eDisplay and a wireless keyboard (and probably even better 'cuz mobile SOCs are amazing nowadays).
  • I have, and Chrome OS is not that great. With Samsung keeps on updating DeX with new features like the ability to use more than five apps and QHD resolution regardless of monitor types, I see less appeal to use Chrome OS now.
  • If your Tablet use is center around Browser, PWA and not the highest Android app compatibility then Chrome Tablet is the right choice for you.
    But if you have the delusion ChromeOS can run every Android app just like native Android then your are mistaken, specially if you are Android gamer. Many games won't even cross the loading screen.
    Also because Android runs on a VM in ChromeOS it doesn't have any proper DRM certification. So, if you install Netflix then it won't play more than 480P (use the Chrome Browser instead in such case).
    Also to be noted ChromeOS 8 years update support don't include 8 years of Android update, you may get only 2 Android update which is same as any good OEM skin. From 2016 ChromeOS only got 2 Android update, one in Android 7 to 9 and later 9 to 11.
  • Bingo, I'm still upset that I spent $600 on a Chromebook expecting Android apps to work. Only a handful of apps I've ever wanted have worked, and I've been waiting FOREVER for Android 11 to be released for my model for new features. As far as I'm concerned it was a complete waste of money. I would have been better off buying a Windows notebook. Don't even get me started about Linux apps and how they have no hardware access, no USB access, etc. Completely useless. I can't use PlayStation remote play, or use it for 3D printing. The 2 main applications I wanted it for.
  • I definitely can attest to your statement about Android app. I tried to install all of my favourite Android games and NOT ONE can be installed.
  • Keep in mind that some android apps won't run in native res as they run on a VM (netlfix's max playback res is 720p I think). I think chromebooks are only good for schools and really poor communities, here in my country for example.
    Plus, why would you need more than 5 years of software support? If you only browse the web, watch videos, write things and use google sheets, you don't necessarily need cutting edge security updates. Also, the hardware will sooner or later will be left behind in future software versions of programs and web apps.
    And finally Ive never seen an uglier screen than in the low-mid range Chrome books, Id say that wasting $300+ to get a better display on a android tablet is totally worth it.
  • Security patches is still important even after the device is no longer receiving major OS update. Just look at Windows - even the long-unsupported XP can still get security issues of today.
  • From my experience using Chrome OS, Play Store support is actually not that different than a typical Android tablet. I much prefer to have Android Desktop Mode in general as I can install and use any Play Store apps in a desktop-like environment. While I definitely love the idea of Chrome OS tablet, it won't be my primary daily driver.