Last week I published my Chromebook Pro review. It was a look at Samsung’s new high-end Chromebook that will launch in April and will be among the first laptops to support Android apps out of the box. The experience is still a bit buggy, but I’m confident Google and Samsung will work out the quirks before it launches. I think that machine is also a good example of why we don’t need new Android tablets. In that form factor, Chrome OS is the far better solution.
I bring this up because we’re almost certainly going to see new Android tablets at the end of this month. Samsung, for example, is expected to announce the Galaxy Tab S3, its new high-end Android slate. While it might offer a gorgeous display and additional features like an S Pen, Android tablets don’t really make any sense anymore. For one, Google hasn’t really talked much about the form factor at all over the past couple of years, instead focusing on what Android 7.0 is changing on smartphones. It has, however, pushed forward with Chrome OS.
What we need are ChromeOS slates that support Android apps, not pure Android tablets.
ChromeOS is a better operating system for larger screens. It’s easier to use, runs much smoother, and puts Google’s apps front and center. If you want other services, you can load them from the Google Play Store. Android tablets, on the other hand, often just feel like smartphones with larger displays. When a keyboard and mouse is added as optional accessories, the experience feels too clunky. Sure, they’re great for a quick game or watching movies, but I’ve never found them as good at doubling as work machines when I need to file a story. The iPad Pro and Chromebooks are much better for that kind of work. And, even better, Chromebooks often cost a fraction of high-end tablets.
Consider a Chromebook instead
When Samsung and, presumably, other companies unveil their new Android slates next month. Pay attention to see what sort of features are really distinguishing them from anything that has launched before. Android itself hasn’t made any real progress in the tablet space and my guess is that any new tablets really aren’t pushing the boundary much further than what we saw from slates launched last year, or even earlier.
Instead, look to the advancements these firms, including Samsung, are making with Chromebooks. They’re better machines than any Android tablet I’ve ever used. You might be surprised by how much more you like them, too.