Sick of Windows’ bloat and security issues, I’ve been rooting mightily for the Chrome platform to take off. I love the speedy Asus Chromebox I’m using as my main desktop.

But how do Chromebook tablets and convertible laptops—able to function as tablets, too—work out for reading e-books?

I lack enough firsthand experience to generalize, but based on my frustrations with a 9.7-inch Acer Chromebook tablet and an 11.6-inch Lenovo C330 laptop, I’m not exactly a booster.

Given the stakes here for K-12 students and others using Chromebooks—in some cases at schools without paper-based libraries—I’m not the only one with an interest in these matters.

I’d welcome some perspective from other TeleRead community members.

A major problem with the Acer tablet was that it could not run the usual Kindle reading app in Android—just the Web-based version, which is not as responsive and doesn’t have as many features. Also, the 9.7 inch screen seemed a little too small for the Chrome interface.

The 11.6-inch Lenovo laptop was worse, in that I found it too heavy at 2.6 pounds to use comfortably as a tablet.

What’s more, the Lenovo didn’t work well with my favorite ebook app, Moon+ Reader Pro; the touch screen was not very responsive to my taps. On top of that, the Lenovo could not automatically change its screen orientation from landscape to portrait when I went into the tablet mode by way of the hinge. I called Lenovo tech-support. No solution. So I returned the Lenovo as well as the Acer.

On the plus side, Google is constantly upgrading the Chromebooks’ operating systems and apparently is supporting them for a good five years or so. Updates arrive automatically, and you can almost instantly install them.

Furthermore, with the cloud-based approach, it’s a snap to switch to a different machine.

Now—if only Google and partners can refine the related software and hardware! Already the voice recognition is more accurate than Apple’s (see my iPad Pro review).

A greater and better selection of ebook apps for Chrome would also help. Same for higher screen resolution for most low-end Chromebooks (even though the Acer tablet itself was fine at 2048 x 1536.)

Google and Amazon have been feuding in various ways, but providing a really good Kindle app for the Chromebook OS would really help.

So what are your own thoughts on Chromebooks, and do you have any suggestions to share with others–either about picking the right one, or about using Chromebooks for ebooking?

What I didn’t test on the Chromebooks: I should have tried out OverDrive’s Libby library software. Anyone care to try it?

Two other Chromebook tablets: Asus and CTL models.

Note: The image is of the 2019 New Lenovo C330, slightly more recent than the C330 that I checked out. It shows how the hinge works to turn a laptop into a tablet. Hmm. I wonder how the very latest model would do with Moon+ Reader Pro, and whether it can now automatically change the screen orientation.