There is something to be said for the best small tablets with detachable keyboards. They are easier to transport than full-size tablets and at the same time larger than smartphones, making them perfect for web browsing and media consumption. You can even do real work on them. Apple’s iPad set the standard, but what if you don’t like the iPad’s operating system? That’s where Chrome OS and Windows come in.
Microsoft’s Surface Go 3 is the best miniature Windows 11 tablet you can buy, while Chrome OS finally has a competitor in the HP Chromebook x2 11. They both have their charms, but which is the best detachable small tablet?
|HP Chromebook x2 11||Microsoft Surface Go 3|
|Dimensions||9.94 inches x 6.96 inches x 0.3 inches||9.65 inches x 6.9 inches x 0.33 inches|
|Weight||1.23 pounds (tablet)||1.2 pounds (tablet)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c||Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y
Intel Core i3-10100Y
|Graphics||Qualcomm Adreno 618||Intel UHD 615|
|Monitor||11-inch 3: 2 IPS 2.1K (2160 x 1440) 236 dpi||10.5-inch 3: 2 IPS (1920 x 1280) 220 dpi|
|Storage||128GB EMMC||64GB EMMC
128GB PCIe Solid State Drive (SSD)
|Ports||2 x USB-C
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
|1 x USB-C
1 x surface connection
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5
Optional 4G LTE WWAN
|Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0|
8 MB rear-facing
8 MB rear-facing
|OS||Chrome operating system||Windows 11|
|Battery||32 watt-hours||28 watt-hours|
|Classification||3.5 out of 5 stars||3.5 out of 5 stars|
The Chromebook x2 11 is made of CNC-machined aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It’s a solid device that won’t bend, bend, or twist. Surface Go 3 is made from CNC-machined magnesium and Gorilla Glass 3, and it’s solid, too. Frankly, there is little difference in build quality between these two tablets – they are as good as any tablet on the market and better than most.
Aesthetically, they are also similar. The Chromebook x2 11 is silver, while the Surface Go 3 is what Microsoft calls Platinum, a matte silver gray compared to HP’s brighter color. They both have rounded corners, while the Chromebook x2 11 has sharper edges than the rounded edges of the Surface Go 3. It’s not impossible to tell them apart up close, but they look pretty similar from the front and from a distance.
The Chromebook x2 11 has smaller bezels, allowing you to fit a larger 11-inch screen into a chassis that’s about the same size as the Surface Go 3 with its 10.5-inch screen. The HP is slightly thinner at 0.3 inches versus 0.33 inches and slightly heavier at 1.23 pounds versus 1.2 pounds, even though it uses aluminum rather than lighter magnesium. However, the kickstand on the Surface Go 3 easily accounts for the thickness and weight, which is built-in and performs exceptionally well. It is pulled out from the center and extended at a wide angle, allowing the Surface Go 3 to lay almost flat on a surface. The Chromebook x2 11 kickstand is an awkward snap that magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet. It works just as well as the Surface Go 3 kickstand once docked, but it’s not nearly as convenient.
Both tablets have snap-on detachable keyboards that connect via pogo pins and can be angled for more comfortable typing. They look a lot alike, but they couldn’t be more different in performance. Both keyboards have minimal space and small keys, but the toggle mechanism on the Surface Go 3’s Type Cover is well above those on the Chromebook x2 11 keyboard. The Surface Go 3’s keys have a light, snappy feel that It’s accurate and consistent, while the Chromebook x2 11’s keys are loose, lack precision, and have a loud, noisy sound when typing at full speed. The keyboard is included with the Chromebook x2 11. At the same time, there are two additional options for the Surface Go 3, the $ 100 Type Cover and the $ 130 Signature Type Cover with very comfortable and colorful Alcantara fabric.
The touchpads on each detachable keyboard were very good and of a similar size. Both provided precise control over the multi-touch gestures provided by their operating systems and silent but one-click buttons. Both tablets also support active pens, and one of the Chromebook x2 11 configurations includes the pen, while the Microsoft Surface Pen is a $ 100 add-on. The inking is more robust on Windows 11, but the pens performed well on both platforms.
Connectivity is light on both tablets. The Chromebook x2 11 has two USB-C ports (one of which is used for charging), a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader, while the Surface Go 3 has a USB-C port, a port Surface Connect that charges the tablet, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader. Surface Go 3 has updated Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, while Chromebook x2 11 is a step back with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5. However, HP offers optional 4G LTE connectivity to always stay connected to the Internet.
The Chromebook x2 11 is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c system on chip (SoC), which includes an 8-core ARM-based processor and a Qualcomm Adreno 618 GPU. HP is the first to use the SoC in a Chrome OS detachable tablet, and it promises good, if not great, performance. Along with Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system that is faster than Windows and Mac OS, the Snapdragon 7c was fast enough for web browsing, productivity tasks, and media consumption. Thanks to the 8GB of RAM in our review unit, it could handle some multitasking, which goes much further with Chrome OS than with the competition.
Surface Go 3 can be configured with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y, a dual-core CPU that provides entry-level performance, or a first-generation Intel Core i3-10100Y CPU, also a dual-core processor but promising much better. presentation. In our tests of the latter option, along with 8GB of RAM, the Surface Go 3 was also fast enough for light productivity tasks, web browsing, and media consumption.
Neither tablet scores well, to the extent that we can run tests on Chrome OS, but both provided solid performance in the real world. Neither tablet has a distinctive performance advantage, although it should be recognized that the Surface Go 3 performs just as well as it runs a full-featured operating system on Windows 11.
Also, no tablet is a gaming machine. They both have low-end integrated graphics that are best for casual gaming.
The Chromebook x2 11’s 11-inch IPS display is very sharp at 236 pixels per inch (ppi) with a 2160 x 1440 resolution, and the Surface Go 3’s 10.5-inch display runs at a 1920 x 1280 resolution or 221 ppi. They both have a productivity-friendly 3: 2 aspect ratio that’s taller than old-school 16: 9 displays and performs well in portrait mode. It’s an excellent aspect ratio for inking, given its dimensions similar to a physical sheet of paper.
Both screens were also bright and colorful, with a lot of contrast. We couldn’t use our colorimeter to test the Chromebook x2 11’s target performance, so we won’t bother to quote the Surface Go 3’s results here. Suffice it to say that both displays are great for productivity and media consumption tasks, though perhaps they suffer from colors that are a bit too narrow for creative applications.
It’s impressive to see such quality displays on tablets that they cost much less than other premium offerings. There are laptops that cost hundreds more with weaker displays, and both HP and Microsoft are to be commended for building their tablets around such excellent panels.
Both tablets are thin, light, and small, even with their attached keyboards and, in the case of the Chromebook x2 11, its docking plug. Neither will take up much space in a backpack and you’ll hardly know they’re there.
However, the battery life is mixed when comparing these laptops. The Chromebook x2 11 with its 32-watt-hour battery lasted 12.7 hours in our web browsing test running on a number of popular (and complex) websites, compared to the Surface Go 3 with its 28-watt battery. -time that he only did at 5.4 hours. In our video test that plays a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the Surface Go 3 lasted slightly longer at 11.7 hours compared to the Chromebook x2 11 at 11 hours.
The Chromebook x2 11 is much more likely to get you through a full day of work (and play), while the Surface Go 3 will be reaching for its charger long before the day is out. The Chrome OS tablet is more durable where it counts most.
The HP Chromebook x2 11 starts at $ 570 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. That’s not cheap for a Chromebook. It maxes out at $ 680 for 8GB of RAM and a 128GB PCIe SSD, which is well worth the extra money. HP includes the kickstand accessory and detachable keyboard with all configurations. The $ 60 Active Pen is included only with the intermediate configuration with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage.
The Microsoft Surface Go 3 costs $ 400 with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and you can spend up to $ 630 with an Intel Core i3-10100Y CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD. That is the model you want if you can afford it. While the Surface Go 3 starts out less expensive than the Chromebook x2 11, you’ll have to spend another $ 100 for the Type Cover or $ 130 for the Signature Type Cover and $ 100 for the Surface Pen, which makes the Surface Go 3 the most expensive machine when equally configured.
Both tablets work roughly the same and both are well built, but the Surface Go 3 feels like the more refined device. Its built-in kickstand is much more convenient than the companion version of the Chromebook x2 11, and the Microsoft Type Cover is significantly more comfortable for longer typing sessions. Surface Go 3 wins this battle, although the Chromebook x2 11 is a solid alternative to Chrome OS.
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