If you’re trying to decide between buying a tablet like the iPad 2 or buying one of the new Chromebooks, here’s a short list of reasons we think you might find a Chromebook far more useful.
1. Chromebooks support Flash. – iPads don’t. Besides the whole universe of Flash games out there (by the way, this includes games on Facebook) , many sites use Flash to show videos. The iPad 2 can’t handle any kind of Flash video or animation, something a Chromebook handles very well.
2. Being able to run apps simultaneously. - If you want to run two third-party apps at the same time on an iPad tablet, you’re out of luck (for example, listen to Pandora while you play a game or use a paint program). The Chrome OS supports multiple open tabs of apps that you can switch between at any time.
3. The Cloud. – All your apps, documents, and preferences are stored in the cloud, so you can essentially use any Chromebook as your Chromebook and get to work or play right anyway.
4. You already have a cool phone. – A Chromebook fills a different niche than a smartphone — that of an ultra-mobile computer. In many ways, an iPad 2 is basically a sized-up iPhone with access to the same kind of apps you can already run on your phone. In addition, many of these apps that were originally intended for a 3 inch screen are reported to look less-than-spectacular on the larger iPad screen.
5. Keys. – Thinking about getting a tablet? Don’t discount the value of being able to type on keys you can actually feel — rather than using the iPad 2′s often-laggy screen keyboard (that also takes up half of the available screen real estate).
6. Security. – Chromebooks employ deeper layers of protection, including “sandboxing” and data encryption (called “defense in depth”) to protect your privacy — something no tablet, let alone the iPad 2, has.
7. Better Resolution, More workspace. – The tablet’s surprisingly low 1024 x 768 resolution can’t play 720p HD videos in full resolution. The Acer’s screen has a significantly wider1366 x 768 workspace, and the Samsung has a resolution of 1280 x 800, both of which are more than capable of playing videos in 720p.
8. Speed, speed, speed. – The iPad 2 has a 1.0 Ghz dual-core processor (in 2011). Both the Acer and Samsung Chromebook models come with a 1.66 Ghz dual-core processor.
9. The Price. – iPads start at $499 for the cheapest, wi-fi only model — as much as the most expensive Chromebook with WiFi and 3G capability. For an iPad with these capabilities, you’ll pay between $629 to $829, not counting the fact that Apple charges sales tax, tacking on an extra $50-60 to the already high price. For the same price as the cheapest iPad model with WiFi only (no 3G capability), you can get the premium Samsung Series 5 Chromebook with WiFi and 3G capability.
Also see our Chromebook vs netbook article.