iView: iPad, Chromebook, & Surface Pro Compared
Portable Computing 2016: iPad, Chromebook, & Microsoft Surface Pro
Our company started in 1985 with the publication of a newsletter about the first PC-compatible laptop. The rugged, $2,995 Hewlett-Packard 110 laptop computer came with solid storage, a battery that lasted several days, a modem, a suite of apps, spreadsheet, word processor, database manager, and the ability to install third-party apps. Using that laptop at the airport brought strange stares.
Fast-forward 30 years, and I now own an iPhone 6 Plus, an iPad Mini 4, an ASUS Chromebook Flip, and a Microsoft Surface Pro 4—all for less than what I paid for the HP Portable. Although my collection admittedly seems like overkill, I enjoy the different flavors of today's portable computing.
Most Used: iPad Mini 4
Without a pressing need, I couldn't justify the expense of the iPad Pro. However, wanting the latest, I replaced my currently unused, original iPad mini with a mini 4 for its faster processor, better display, and split-screen multitasking.
Although disappointed by the lack of 3D Touch and the Mini's poor speaker quality (the iPhone 6 Plus speakers are actually much louder), I love its lightness and portability. I use it all the time, particularly for email, surfing the web, reading e-books, and playing games. I'm surprised by how little I miss the larger iPad Air display and how much I prefer the mini's screen size to that of the iPhone 6 Plus.
Best Value: ASUS Chromebook
For $239, I purchased the ASUS Chromebook Flip at Amazon. Its 10.1-inch display, built-in keyboard and touchpad, touchscreen display, and 360-degree hinge allow the Flip to easily act as a laptop or tablet. Slim and lightweight, the Flip features excellent perfor- mance, impressive battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB 2.0 ports, a headset jack, a micro-HDMI port, and a microSD card slot.
Rather than iOS or Windows, the Chromebook uses the Google Chrome web browser as its operating system. With the ability to add extensions and work offline, Chromebooks are sufficient for many users' needs. I turn to mine often for simple tasks requiring a keyboard, such as sending emails or getting on social media.
Full-Featured: Surface Pro 4
After reading glowing CNET and PC Mag reviews, and coming from the legacy of MS-DOS and Windows, I purchased the new Surface Pro 4. I loved its thin, lightweight design, as well as its 12.3-inch highresolution display and detachable keyboard and cover, which allows the Surface to successfully function as a Windows tablet or laptop. With a multi-function pen and built-in stand, the Surface Pro takes on shapes that work for me at any given time. The Surface starts at $899 and has thus far exceeded my expectations.
Which One Is My Favorite?
I use the uber-portable iPad Mini the most—mostly for entertainment and communication. Meanwhile, I use the Chromebook for simple tasks requiring a keyboard and the Surface Pro when I need a true desktop PC substitute. However, if I could only have one device to accompany my iPhone, it would be the full-featured Surface Pro.
Hal, along with his wife Rita, founded iPhone Life’s original publishing company, Thaddeus Computing, in 1985. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Hal's new book at meditatingentrepreneur.com.