IPad, Chromebook, Windows 8 Tablet long term family test

We've been conducting a long term "family" test on our coffee table for the past year or so.

Our test subjects include an IPad (2), an HP Chromebook 14' and a Windows 8 (Winbook) 10" tablet. The devices are primarily used for web surfing, news reading, basic word games, social media and research when people need to prove they are right as part of a discussion. Our previous coffee table device was a Macbook Air that has been appropriated for other uses.

Chromebook #1 Coffee Table

We've been surprised how much we like this device. A Chromebook takes some getting used to at first because you don't install any software on it and you don't have to do any patches.  Software hacks like me are initially completely lost when getting a new Chromebook.  You don't have to install software because you can't install software.  It is the closest thing to an appliance. 

This Wi-Fi and T-Mobile enabled Chromebook has become the house go-to device.  It has a large keyboard and trackpad and all evening battery life.  The classic clamshell design makes it good for lap and table use.  The Chromebook does support different user profiles through google logins. We each can have our own environment without any type of IT administration or configuration. This is the only device without a touchscreen. We wish it had one but wouldn't give up the packaging and keyboard for that feature.

The HP is an ugly color and the case stains easily.  They were looking to do something a little different than the standard metallic silver or black. 

IPad Air 2 Cellular: #1 Travel

I started this when we had an IPad 2.  Our newer IPad Air 2 has been a bit of a revelation. The 4G support makes the device useful anywhere without pairing with a phone or the need for a hotspot. Cellular IPads have GPS which has come in handy on long car trips.  We can sit down somewhere and look at a hardcover book sized map without having to muck with our phones..  The weight is great.  We've been using it without an external keyboard. This is our go-to travel device.  It is also a very nice reader when not in direct sun

IPad 2: #2 Travel and Basic Reader

We've had a Wi-Fi enabled IPad 2 for several years. The iPad 2 is surprisingly heavy even though it was a revolution when it came out..  The IPad 2 has been relegated to a color Kindle App reader or a travel when we don't want to risk losing more expensive device.  Recent iOS 8.x updates have made this device significantly slower.  

The IPad 2 has always been more popular than the Windows tablet device in our house.

Windows Tablet

This device has been a bit of a disappointment.  I thought it would be great because it could be a PC or a tablet/media device.  The funky keyboard and stand mean that it is a lousy laptop (PC).   The small graphics and PC modes for some apps means it is a lousy tablet.  The battery life in this particular device is horrible because of the power saving modes. There really aren't any decent Modern UI applications.  OneNote is confusing. I can't find some of the important features.

Windows 10 is somewhat of an improvement even though Tablet mode is probably actually worse.


We continue to use these devices and look at others.


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