Feature Article

January 25, 2022

Chromebooks and iPads: Which Device Is Best for You?

Many professionals have switched from traditional computers to devices like Chromebooks and iPads, which are often more affordable than traditional computers. Chromebook and iPad users enjoy mobility and the touch screens that make navigating apps easier than ever. Chromebooks and iPads both run mobile applications and have great keyboards (iPad keyboards can be purchased separately).

In the end, some users prefer Chromebooks over iPads and vice versa. You might choose a Chromebook or an iPad because you have used a device from the same OS system in the past, and you are not interested in learning a new system. It is worth your time to consider both devices if you are looking for a mobile, user-friendly device. Choose the device that best suits your needs.

Chromebook vs. iPad

When you wanted a mobile device, the choice used to be simple. If you wanted a computer that you could easily take with you on the go, you would choose a laptop. However, those lines are not as clear today, especially with Chromebooks and iPads competing in the same space. Both devices can be more affordable than a traditional laptop, but which one should you choose?

For many of us, the right hardware to work in the office or from home is crucial. Let's take a look at the benefits of Chromebooks and iPads so you can determine which one is right for you.

Apps: Chromebooks vs. iPads

Applications are what separates iPads and Chromebooks the very most. Chrome OS isn't always a comprehensive desktop operating system. Chromebooks are limited to web-based programs and some Android programs. Most of the apps that you would expect to run on a tablet can be used on the Chromebook. However, some apps on the Chrome Web Store might not be compatible with your specific Chromebook hardware.

iPads, on the other hand, run iPadOS and have access to a variety of programs and applications in the App Store. If applications are essential for you, the iPad may be your go-to device. If applications are not essential and you enjoy Android applications and the browser programs on Chrome OS, then the Chromebook may be the better choice.

Microsoft Office: Chromebook vs. iPad

Microsoft has made Office fairly universal in recent years.  Since 2017, Microsoft has offered its Office suite to Chromebook users via the Google Play store, but as of September 2021, Microsoft has discontinued its support for Office on Chromebook. However, Microsoft did not abandon Chromebook altogether. Users can access Microsoft Office by using the web instead. So, yes, you can run Microsoft Office on some Chromebooks.

The best option for running Microsoft Office on a Chromebook is via the Microsoft Office 365 web app suite. Microsoft Office can be used via the web to create, edit and collaborate on files. Since Chromebooks were built for cloud computing, this approach seems expected. One of the advantages of web apps is that you can save storage space on your device because you don't need to run anything.

Microsoft has updated its Office mobile app to work on Apple's iPad devices. The new app combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into a unified application. The app was originally launched for iOS as a beta version in 2019. Over the years, Microsoft has been making improvements to the app since then. The new update means Office is now a complete iPadOS app, with access to the entire Microsoft suite. The app also combines useful tools designed for mobility.

Key Factors to Consider When Making Your Decision

''There are quite a few factors to consider when deciding between a Chromebook and an iPad including intended use, durability, and cost. If you are looking for a machine that is more affordable with a traditional laptop feel, I suggest a Chromebook. They have a durable form factor and have a variety of options. I recommend it in certain schooling environments.

But, the iPad can accomplish all of the above with additional benefits. Apple's user experience is much better and you can access most apps that you utilize on a daily basis. Additionally, you can pair with a keyboard. I utilize my iPad in sidecar mode extension as my Macbook Air M1 and can do everything need to in my workday. If you are already happy in the Apple world, there is no reason to buy a Chromebook.''

-Holden Watne | IT Consultant, Generation IX | https://www.generationix.com/los-angeles-managed-it-services/

''The first thing to consider and acknowledge is that neither option is a replacement for an actual laptop or desktop computer.  The capabilities and use cases are different.  Both an iPad and Chromebook are ideal for basic tasks such as checking email, web browsing, and basic office tasks such as word processing.  You will quickly find many advanced features and capabilities found in a regular laptop are not available or limited at best on devices such as iPads or Chromebooks.

My preference is an iPad since they are heavily engineered and provide fewer options for the user to misconfigure.  Email and web browsing will just work and are generally easy and quick to set up for most users.  Also, most applications are designed with iOS in mind and you will find more options for the software.  Some folks who prefer to have a bit more control and flexibility over the system and how it works may prefer a Chromebook.  I prefer when things just work which is why my choice is an iPad.''

-Joe Cannata | Owner, Techsperts, LLC | https://www.techspertsllc.com

''Chromebooks are cost-savvy and good for those familiar with the Google world, very practical for students today. They are relatively inexpensive but impossible to upgrade.  The major benefit is the cost since the higher-end Chromebooks are still less expensive than most laptops or iPads. There is a choice of manufacturer vs the iPads. I recommend Chromebooks for people living primarily in the Google world.''

-Ilan Sredni | CEO & President, Palindrome Consulting | https://www.pciicp.com

Chromebooks are increasingly popular devices in workplaces and classrooms that are easy to use and can deliver reliable performances. Like the Chromebook, the iPad has also made its way into workplaces and classrooms due in large part to its versatility and portability. When deciding on whether to buy a Chromebook or iPad, keep in mind price, functionality, battery life, and how easy it is to use and manage. The device you select also needs to be fit for purpose.





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