As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently working on vetting out device options for a brand new 1:1 program. The iPad and the Chromebook were two of the early forerunners, so I figured the best way to work out which one was a better choice was to dive into the key differences between the two. Here’s what I came up with:ipadvschromebookWe are certainly not done with our decision process, as there are still other options to choose from. Hopefully though, this chart is helpful for anyone else out there trying to make a similar decision!

Happy tech, y’all!


24 thoughts on “iPad vs. Chromebook: A Comparison of Key Features

  1. This is a very neat, clear comparison that will undoubtedly help many!

    I would also submit that comparing these devices on specs alone is a difficult way to choose one over the other. Because the devices are used so differently, the specs don’t tell the whole story. My advice is to determine what curricular or learning objectives your school is trying to accomplish (replace textbooks with digital texts? Help students improve their writing? Help students build collaborative skills? Focus on creativity and creation?) and then pick the device that supports those goals.

    1. I second what John says. I would add also to look at the apps available in the stores. Also find out about their bulk pricing and how they download if the school is buying the apps. We have iPads and there is a discount on bulk app purchases. The apple store has many free apps that cover my basic needs for the students.

  2. The biggest thing that swung us against Chromebooks, I believe, was that you had to commit to essentially moving your whole educational program to the Internet and the cloud, and we did not think that was the best way to go at this time. That and the iPad presents a completely different way of interacting and using a computing device with advantages over the netbook concept. As the previous commenter noted, your chart, although perhaps useful, does not capture these differences.

  3. Good information on the chart, but be careful when looking strictly at specs. These tools are very different when in use.

  4. I have laptop windows 7 samsung but it’s heavy to take anywhere like school.. And also I have an ipad and iphone but is it worth it for me and is the chromebook good?

  5. Good point by John. It is like comparing apples and oranges as they can be used in very different ways for learning. Some elementary schools are considering a hybrid model of ipads and chromebooks. One thing we have discovered with the chromebooks is we are unable to mirror the chromebook models we have for presentations. Rather it is an extended display.

  6. I have one of each that I use for different purposes. I will say that I use the iPad sparingly – I need it for one app in particular, and otherwise I might not use it at all. Typing on it is a bear. I’m on the chromebook all the time. Great screen, great keyboard, instant startup is amazing, and it’s great to have it customized to my account (if someone else wants to use it I log out and let them log in with their own gmail account and my stuff is not disrupted in any way). I love it.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with the commenters who have pointed out the importance of determining what you want students to be able to do before embarking on the device decision process, and that a side-by-side comparison isn’t that useful. (For example, where do you account for the value of putting a complete video production and publishing toolkit in the hands of every student?)

    In your Management section, you are describing Apple’s restrictions for personal use via the iTunes App Store. In reality, a school district purchases apps using a different “store” called the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) which in addition to allowing purchase of as many individual copies of an app as necessary, also allows developers to discount their app(s) by 50% for quantities of 20 or more. The VPP also allows schools to purchase using POs and avoid paying sales tax.

    In addition to the VPP, another tool Apple provides to make large-scale deployment and management easier is Apple Configurator. In conjunction with a Mobile Device Management system, which is a cloud-based system for managing settings, we had a high school kid prep 500 student iPads for our 1-1 in a couple of weeks last summer. During the school year, we could push out config changes over the air. (Because our students were under 13, at least at the start of the year, we didn’t have them install apps and updates, but that was our choice. It is entirely possible to give them that ability.)

    So while it is accurate to say that an iPad is designed for use as a personal device, the reality is that, in my experience, difficulty is in the eye of the beholder. The more willing a district is to let go of control, both to students AND teachers, the easier iPads are to manage. And I would argue that if student empowerment isn’t a large part of the rationale for a 1-1, then it really doesn’t matter what device is chosen.

  8. Hi everyone, thank you so much for your feedback and advice. I want to clarify my post -I never meant this to be an end-all, be-all comparison of the two devices. Instead, I merely meant it for what it is – an opening to the conversation about what device is best. As Tim and John state, it is vital to decide WHAT the devices will be used for to best make a decision about which device will be most suitable.

  9. Good start, but this post can be (is) very deceiving. There’s no mention about the most important question everyone is searching for- “How will it impact learning for student?”. Are the tech specs that important? What are the pitfalls of the learning environment? What are the benefits in learning? I hope this helps!

  10. I am a high school teacher and the school is just now introducing Chromebooks. I am currently trying to decide whether to purchase an iPad or a Chromebook for myself. Any suggestions for individual use?

    1. For individual use, I actually prefer an iPad as a secondary device. It truly depends on your plans for this device. What are you planning on using it for?

  11. I am a high school teacher whose school is just starting to purchase chromebooks for a few of the departments to experiment with – English and Social Studies (24 each). I am looking to replace my District-provided Dell laptop with either a Chromebook for personal use or an iPad. Any suggestions?

    1. It depends largely on what your plans are with this new device. What would you use it for?

  12. I will prefer Samsung Chromebook. Because it is cheap and best and good for learning as well as a professional laptop. Thanks for the information.

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