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Good­ness, aren’t phones ex­pen­sive? Yes they are. And pro­gres­sively more so. Not all of them—there’s a con­stant bleed of fresh brands from China that seem to be push­ing the bound­aries with­out push­ing their luck on your wal­let—but, in gen­eral, phones are far more ex­pen­sive than they should be be­cause they’re sta­tus ob­jects first and func­tional sec­ond. We’re al­most not an­gry about it, ei­ther; that cash fu­els a drive for in­no­va­tion that is push­ing tech­nol­ogy for­ward.

The real con­tenders here are the other pair, and we need to make a judg­ment call. Tablets can be had very, very cheap, but Chrome­books come in at as­ton­ish­ing prices, given that they’re es­sen­tially proper com­put­ers, at least if you ig­nore the ham­strung OS. Those de­vices that do hit that bot­tom line aren’t al­ways the best, but as we’d be far more likely to rec­om­mend an 11-inch Chrome­book over a rick­ety 8-inch An­droid tablet, there’s only one sen­si­ble choice. Do note, though, that shop­ping around at the right time can bag you full-bore Win­dows lap­tops for the same price as a low-end Chrome­book—and that’s a li­cense to do more.

Win­ner: Chrome­book

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