With the impending arrival of Android Apps on Chrome OS, we’ve uncovered the first few of many devices sure to come along in the coming months. As apps become a mainstay of the Chrome OS experience, it only makes sense that OEMs will begin throwing their hats into the ring in attempts to get a piece of this new customer base.
Up to just a few months ago, my hope and dream was a proper Chrome OS tablet. This hope only exacerbated with the announcement of Android Apps coming in September. The dream device I’ve wanted for a long time seemed to be getting closer. A tablet that could truly replace my laptop.
I was ready.
In the past few months, however, my thoughts on this have changed. Using the ASUS Chromebook Flip for the past few months has made a believer out of me when it comes to 360-degree, convertible devices.
Why the change?
Mainly, I found that, functionally speaking, the convertible form-factor is better in a lot of ways.
First, lap-use is better with a convertible. Using tablet, detachable, Surface-type devices in your lap sucks for the most part. Let’s all just admit it. They wobble, they are unsteady, and they are a compromise in this regard. If it’s a tablet only, extended keyboard use is a bonus.
For a device meant to be your laptop, that’s frustrating.
Also, all the flexibility a folding keyboard gives is pretty useful.
On the couch with the display rotated back about 300-degrees is a perfect way to use the touchscreen hands-free. As a second monitor, this exact setup provides a stand for your device and works well on a laptop stand as well.
Another win is from an engineering standpoint. There is significant advantage when it comes to processor heat dispersion. One challenge of tablet design is the proximity of the processor to the screen. When the two components that put off the most heat are forced to be very close to one another, heat dispersion becomes a real challenge.
Detachables and tablets have this very issue. And when things get too hot, the processor is forced to throttle its performance. This is never a good situation.
The only real downside is ‘tablet mode’ for convertibles. If you are after a tablet-only experience, it isn’t the best. The keys on the back of the display feel a bit odd to say the least. And the thickness that comes along with a keyboard/screen sandwich can feel a bit unwieldy for tablet purists.
Overall, though, the positives outweigh the negatives for me. The usefulness of the lid positions and the usability in my lap are way more important to me in a device that I am looking to be my go-to, daily driver.
I’ve yet to find one that really does it all well, but my hopes are very high for the devices coming soon, and I can’t wait to review them all for you!
What are your thoughts? Tablet or convertible? What works best for you?