I wanted a new Android tablet, but ended up with this Chromebook model

I wanted a new Android tablet, but ended up with this Chromebook model

Tech Highlights:

  • After taking a look at all of the deals on the best Android tablets, I narrowed my search down to devices from Lenovo or Nokia as I wanted the closest experience to stock Android. On the budget end I considered the Nokia T20 as I liked that I could expand its internal storage with a microSD card while the Lenovo Tab P11 and the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 were my mid-range picks. Being able to use the Yoga Tab 13 as a portable monitor was a big draw but its shape was a turnoff which led me to consider the Tab P11 instead.

  • I switched from Android to Chrome OS for just this one reason. I’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 as my primary Android tablet for the past five years. Even though Xiaomi’s significantly modified MIUI Android ROM left me wanting more, it served me well. I could no longer officially run Google Chrome even though my Mi Pad 3 still has a battery and even functions reasonably well. This is because it is no longer receiving Android upgrades. This was a deal breaker for me because I use Chrome frequently, which is why over Memorial Day weekend I set out to get a new Android tablet. But I found something surprising in my hunt.

After leaving multiple devices in my shopping cart and almost hitting ‘proceed to checkout’ on several occasions, it wasn’t until I saw an ad for the Chromebook Duet 3 that purchasing a Chromebook instead of an Android tablet crossed my mind. Making the switch from Android to Chrome OS. I have to admit this wasn’t the first time I considered opting for a Chrome OS tablet over an Android one. Late last year, the Lenovo 10e Chromebook tablet was on sale for just $99 and I almost pulled the trigger. However, its MediaTek processor, glossy display and bulky size held me back and I’m glad I waited.

Although I plan on using the Chromebook Duet 3 mainly as a tablet, the detachable keyboard is still a nice thing to have especially when entering passwords or working on Google Docs. Likewise, the magnetic case with built-in stand makes it easy to prop up the device when streaming shows online or watching YouTube videos. While the Duet 3 has an MSRP of $359, I was able to pick it up for $281 after taxes on Memorial Day. Even though Lenovo’s Memorial Day sale has come and gone, it’s still available at the discounted price of $294 at the time of writing.

The Lenovo Duet Chromebook was one of the best selling devices during the pandemic and for good reason. With 4GB of RAM, a 10.1 touchscreen and a bundled keyboard and case that acts as a stand, it was the perfect work from home device for many users. This year though, Lenovo released the Chromebook Duet 3, which is a worthy upgrade to its predecessor with a higher resolution display, a taller 5:3 aspect ratio and a second-gen fanless Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor.

If you’re wondering why I decided to pick up a Chromebook to use as a tablet instead of opting for one of the best tablets, updates and convenience were the two most important factors in my decision which I’ll go into detail about below. Unlike with Chromebooks, device manufacturers are responsible for delivering updates to your Android tablet. This way, new versions of Android are completely compatible with a manufacturer’s own software and everything works as it should. However, this also means that you’ll have to wait for updates if you receive them at all. For instance, my old Xiaomi tablet didn’t receive a single update in the entire time I owned it.

Of the Android tablet makers out there, Samsung is currently leading the charge when it comes to updates. Back in February, the Korean hardware giant announced in a press release(opens in new tab) that its new tablets will get four years of Android platform updates and five years of security patches. Meanwhile, Nokia has promised that its T20 tablet will get two years of Android updates and three years of monthly security updates. When Chromebooks first hit the scene in 2011, you were limited to using Google Chrome, as their name implies. However, in the years since, Google added support for the Play Store and has even made it easier to run Linux distros and Linux applications.

As a result, you now have a much wider range of software to choose from and opting for a Chromebook over an Android tablet isn’t as hard of a decision as it once was. Keep in mind though that not every app may work on your Chromebook just like on your Android smartphone.

It can be frustrating when you have multiple versions of the same app installed. For instance, my Duet 3 came with the Google News web app installed but I also went ahead and installed the Android version. This led to a bit of confusion as it took me a while to differentiate between the two. Eventually though, I deleted the web app and kept the Android app installed. This wasn’t a perfect solution, as each news story I read opened in a new tab and I did have to delve into the settings to have articles open in the app instead of in Chrome.

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