Go back six years and you’d find it hard to find a ChromeOS tablet or Hybrid Chromebook. Back then the only type of ChromeOS device widely available was a Chromebook or the Chromebox.
The launch of Android apps changed all that as it created the need of owning a device with a touchscreen. This is when Hybrid Chromebooks started to pop up all over the place. Very similar to a Chromebook with the ability for the display to be rotated 360 degrees, so you could use it as a tablet. Some of the popular choices were the Asus C434 and C302, and we’ve seen many more releases since then.
This was a much-welcomed addition to ChromeOS because most Android apps at the time didn’t work too well without a touchscreen. Not so much the case today, as many Android app developers have changed their apps, so most of them are just as easy to use with a keyboard and trackpad.
The Hybrid Chromebook
Although I’m not overly convinced everyone needs a Hybrid Chromebook. They are obviously something many people prefer, as the sales of Hybrid devices have rocketed. A Chromebook with a touchscreen display is just as capable as a Hybrid without the ability to rotate the display 360 degrees.
That being said, Hybrid Chromebooks are a much better option if you want to use a Stylus. Using a Stylus such as the Logitech Pen is much more natural when using a device in tablet mode. It’s the closest experience you get to drawing on paper.
The main issue I’ve found with larger Hybrids with a display above 13-inches is how big they are. Perfectly fine to use as a laptop, but feel and looks very bizarre when using them as a tablet. They are also a tad too heavy when used as a tablet. They are not easy to hold in tablet mode over a period of time due to their weight and bulky dimensions.
The ChromeOS detachable got off to a slow start
The ChromeOS tablet didn’t take off as quickly as the Hybrid. The first ChromeOS tablet that gained traction was the Pixel Slate. The Pixel Slate is a great ChromeOS tablet, but it failed to take off because ChromeOS wasn’t very good in tablet mode at the time. This and the price of the tablet meant it failed to be the success Google had hoped for.
It was Lenovo who took another shot at launching ChromeOS tablets with the launch of the original Lenovo Chromebook Duet. Thankfully, the Lenovo Duet was a huge success and still continues to sell well in 2022. Since then we’ve seen new additions to the original and you can now get a Lenovo ChromeOS tablet with an OLED display.
We definitely have Lenovo to thank for getting ChromeOS detachable tablets back in the news. Their success also meant other manufacturers such as HP and Asus started to design their own ChromeOS tablets. The HP x 2 is a great ChromeOS tablet.
The ChromeOS detachable tablet
ChromeOS tablets can be used as either a Chromebook or a tablet. Unlike the Hybrid, which comes with a display that rotates 360 degrees. ChromeOS tablets offer a true tablet experience, as the keyboard can be detached from the device.
This means you can take the tablet down the beach for the day without the keyboard. The ability to use it as a tablet without the extra weight and bulk of a keyboard has helped with its popularity. When you need to use the tablet as a ChromeOS laptop you simply attach the keyboard.
This offers a true 2-in-1 experience, which you simply cannot get with a Hybrid. The tablet without the keyboard attached is much easier to hold for long periods of time. Something that is pretty essential if you like reading books on your tablet. The only negative is that a ChromeOS detachable isn’t great for typing when it’s sitting on your lap, as you need a flat solid surface that a desk provides.
Both devices are great and the one you decide to buy will depend on what you’ll be using the device for. If you’re likely going to use it as a laptop more than a tablet, then you may prefer a Hybrid. It offers the exact same experience as a typical Chromebook laptop with the ability to rotate the display.
It’s much easier to use as a laptop in all situations including having the laptop on your lap. Something you may find frustrating to do with a tablet that uses a detachable keyboard.
If you’re looking for a tablet first experience then a ChromeOS tablet is a better option. Using a Hybrid as a tablet, especially if you’ll be holding it in your hands is hard work. They are far too heavy and bulky to use for long periods as a tablet.
Although ChromeOS tablets are becoming more popular. You will still find a wider selection of Hybrids to choose from. Also, you can get some really powerful Hybrid Chromebooks, which are perfect for multi-tasking and using Linux apps. ChromeOS tablets tend to offer less power, so this is something you’ll also need to consider. Take a look at my Top Ten ChromeOS devices in 2022.