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Acer Chromebook Tab 10 review: stay in school

ChromeOS on tab: great for institutions, not so much for individuals

The fact that this tablet runs ChromeOS rather than Android is both

the main selling point and its most frustrating drawback
. ChromeOS may be great for school IT administrators, since they can manage the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 as easily as any of the other Chromeboxes and Chromebooks on campus. Aside from remote management with an Education License, it’s a great solution for a multi-user device, as each user can have their own account, the OS is auto-updated and secured regularly and Drive backup will keep everyone’s work safe.

All great for the original educational market, but as a personal computing solution? Not so much. In attempting to use this Chromebook Tab for writing work, I often found myself screaming internally for Android. ChromeOS isn’t optimized for touch input and it was often unresponsive, with my main pain point being that the keyboard was difficult to bring up quickly if I needed to write and edit a document. Something that should be pretty basic for student life, right?

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Flesh out Google software with what you want from the Play Store. / © AndroidPIT

The web browsing experience is basically the same as on a desktop, which can be great, especially if you have a Bluetooth keyboard. Then you can more or less divide your use into computing with Chrome and using the touchscreen for Android apps and games. But browsing like this on a tablet isn’t ideal. Everything is fullscreen all the time, there’s no option to shrink a window, or use apps-side by side. 

There’s no home button, so you can only get to your home screen by exciting the app that you’re currently using. No swipe or multi-swipe gesture control. If Acer had bundled in a keyboard dock, this wouldn’t be such a big deal but as it happens, this just serves to draw attention to the jagged stitching on this desktop/mobile Frankenstein’s monster.

An interesting tidbit. You can run Linux apps on the Chromebook Tab 10, if that’s your jam. Turn in the option in the settings and you can bring up the Terminal and install Linux apps such as LibreOffice or GIMP. The Linux apps run in a virtual machine and probably won’t interest many students or casual users, but its an option for developers power users.

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Developers could find this interesting, but most users won’t. / © AndroidPIT

The main advantage I can see in ChromeOS over Android for your tablet is the 5 years of updates and support from Google that you get, since manufacturers such as Samsung are notorious for dragging their feet when it comes to delivering the latest Android version. This is a good point for educational institutions but not enough to convince me if I would consider this for personal use.

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