We only started seeing Hybrid Chromebooks a couple of years ago. The main reason why these devices started to get popular was due to Android apps being launched on Chrome OS.
When Android apps were originally launched on Chrome OS. There weren’t many devices that were compatible with them. Back then nearly all Android apps were made for mobile phones and tablets and the developers assumed you’d be using a touchscreen.
This meant many Android apps simply didn’t work too well on many Chromebooks. This is why we started to see manufacturers bring out Hybrid Chromebooks. It’s fair to say many people love Hybrid devices, but I’m not convinced they work too well in tablet mode.
Using a Hybrid in tablet mode
There are of course some Chromebooks that work pretty well in tablet mode. My Asus C302 was a Hybrid and because it was a compact laptop, you could use it in tablet mode without too many issues. This was because the display was only 12.5-inches, and therefore, it didn’t look too silly and wasn’t impractical to use as a tablet.
When we start to get to a display size of 14-inches or more the idea that these display sizes are suitable to be used as a tablet is questionable. I just can’t see how anyone would be using such a large tablet and feeling it was practical at the same time.
This is why I’m not a huge fan of Hybrids, but I do understand why some people may prefer them. I do like to use Android apps or at least have the ability to use them when I’m in the mood. To take advantage of all the apps in the app store a touchscreen is more important than making sure you have a hybrid device.
Hybrids make sense if you’re using a stylus
The only reason why I’d be making sure I was buying a Hybrid Chromebook was if it had stylus support. Owning a Hybrid if it supports a stylus makes a lot more sense.
Although you could use a Stylus on a touchscreen laptop only device. It wouldn’t feel very natural if you wanted to spend a lot of time doing some artwork. It’s a lot more natural to draw on a flat surface, which is why a Hybrid device is a lot more practical. Take a look at my review of the Logi pen.
If you’re looking for a new Chrome OS device and stylus support is important. Then I’d suggest this is the only time where you should try to make sure you buy a Hybrid. For everything else, they are not necessary.
Android apps have been adapted for Chrome OS
There is also an argument that Hybrids are no longer necessary to use Android apps. Yes, they made sense a few years ago when Android first came to Chrome OS. Since then, Android app developers have spent a lot of time making many of their apps compatible with mouse and keyboard commands.
This means you can use a lot of Android apps on a Chromebook without needing to touch the screen. This isn’t true for all apps, and there are many reasons why you’d want a display you can interact with other than to use Android apps.
This is why I try to ensure when I’m buying a new Chromebook that it has a touchscreen display. This is a lot more important than whether it’s a Hybrid device.
If you’re on the lookout for a new Chromebook. Take a look at my Top Ten Chromebooks in 2022.