Laptops vs Chromebook – Which One You Should You Buy?

Compared to Mac and Windows laptops, Chromebooks are a unique proposition. On paper, it doesn’t really sell itself, especially for budding professionals and growing businesses that need powerful tools. Limited storage, limited programs, and it can’t do half what you expect from a Windows laptop. For those in need of a powerful laptop, this is a dealbreaker, especially when hybrid work is becoming the norm during the pandemic, and home appliances are must-have specs to handle a large project.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, are generally much cheaper, have amazing battery life that last all day, start up quickly and are easy to use, which can be perfect for those looking to break the bank without breaking the bank. Want to improve the situation at home with your work. , Plus, as a business, these are some of the most secure tools on the market, so preventing a security breach can be a serious benefit.

  • If you primarily want to browse the web, stream email and video, and want to spend very little, get a Chromebook.
  • Get a Windows laptop if you need to run dedicated programs and work with other Windows users.
  • If you want a powerful, user-friendly laptop with a premium screen then get the MacBook.

 

In this guide, we compare Chromebooks to Windows laptops and MacBooks, and tell you when to get a Chromebook, and when to get a more traditional laptop.

Should you buy a Chromebook or a laptop?

Picking up a laptop used to be fairly straightforward. It was a choice between a Windows laptop or a MacBook, with each with a well-established tribal loyalty. Today, the two are arguably much closer than they were before, and a new challenger has entered the ring — the Chromebook.

With their bargain prices and simple outlook, Chromebooks are becoming a better option than “regular” laptops. In fact, unless you have to run a certain program that’s only available on Windows (or Mac), we’d argue that Chromebooks are the best buy. They’re also fairly secure, which will help guarantee that you don’t fall victim to a security breach.

These days more computing happens online, not on your computer. your email account? Synced via cloud. your documents? Backup to Google Drive or Dropbox. Your music and videos? Streamed, not downloaded. Chromebooks are perfect for this “always-online” approach, and they’re much cheaper than Mac or Windows alternatives.

Chromebooks, MacBooks, and Windows laptops all have their advantages and disadvantages, and there are tasks each can do better than the others. Though at their core, they are all essentially laptops, and can browse the web, stream videos, and handle documents.

We’ve analyzed what to expect in general from each operating system in the table below:

Key Specs Explained

Let us understand some of the distinctive differences between Chromebook, Windows Laptop and MacBook

Operating System

main point of difference. Chromebooks run ChromeOS, an operating system developed by Google. If you’ve ever used the Google Chrome browser, it will feel instantly familiar. Essentially, all your day-to-day computing happens through this browser. Chromebooks run “web apps” instead of programs that require you to install them. Windows 10 is a huge operating system – it’s a blessing and a curse. This means you have a lot of flexibility to run programs or perform complex tasks; But, it is running heavy, and tends to be slow to load and needs regular updates. MacOS is almost the best of the two – fast and reliable, but also capable of running most programs.

software on chromebook

As we mentioned above, Chromebooks don’t actually run software; They use web apps. However, this doesn’t specifically limit you. Want to type a document? You can use Google Docs, which backs up all your work to the cloud online. It feels exactly like using Microsoft Word, but it doesn’t require a paid-for license. There are Chromebook web apps for all kinds of tasks, like creating spreadsheets, running a calendar or inbox, or streaming video. However, this can be a deal-breaker if you need to use this tool for work, as it can prevent you from using the more specialized software needed for your job. For example, if you need a specific email marketing software for your job, and it wasn’t available on a Chromebook, there’s no alternative way you can get it – you’d be better off getting one. Choose a different product.

chromebook processor

On paper, Chromebooks have terrible processors. is use? You would never know. The ChromeOS operating system is so lightweight, that you can run it with a native processor. Chromebooks still start up fast and run smoothly, but such processes

chromebook storage

Here’s a big one to get used to: Chromebooks have virtually no built-in storage. You are not expected to keep files on the device. Instead, you back them up online to Google Drive. It is actually far more secure. If your laptop was damaged or stolen, all your files will be safe and sound. You can still plug in an external hard drive to access other backups.

screen quality

This can vary greatly between a super-cheap Chromebook and a top-end (Google-made) Pixelbook. But, the same is true of Windows laptops. Apple is the only brand with excellent screen quality in its entire laptop range. And you pay a premium for those displays.

chromebook battery life

Chromebooks last and last: 10 or 12 hours of battery life is typical. You would normally have to pay MAC prices for such staying power. Windows laptops can last anywhere from 5 hours to 10 hours, depending on what you spend. Again, it all comes back to the low-impact Chrome operating system, as well as the fact that there’s no battery-hungry internal hard drive on Chromebooks.

chromebook security

Chromebooks are certainly more secure than their MacBook and Windows laptop counterparts, as security is baked directly into the design. Chromebooks can’t be set up to store virtually anything on the device, and one company Google Drive will keep it safe, so suffice it to say, you can feel safe using this device no matter what. . And with the increase in working from home, with potentially sensitive data or information on our devices, the importance of security cannot be overstated.

Chromebook vs Windows Laptop

If you’re working on a tight budget for your next laptop—say, under $400—then it’s worth deciding between an entry-level Windows laptop or a Chromebook.

The important thing to know about Chromebooks is that they are not as versatile as Windows laptops. A laptop can handle multiple uses, and is capable of downloading software and running applications from any number of sources. The Chromebook system is like a walled garden.

google app store

All your apps must come from the Google Play store or the Google Web Apps store. Since you can’t install regular programs or software, Chromebooks don’t do as well as a traditional laptop.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t do the essentials. You can still browse the web, email, stream videos, and edit spreadsheets or documents. But if you need to use specialized software – for example, Photoshop, or even Skype, then the Chromebook isn’t for you.

secure system

The ‘limited’ approach has its advantages – for one, you’re less likely to fall victim to a virus on a Chromebook, and they don’t experience the gradual slowdown of the Windows machine that gets bogged down with programs and files over time. .

easy to use

Chromebooks are a lot more user-friendly – there’s little to go wrong when you’re using Google Chrome OS. In short, you can’t do anything that Google doesn’t want you to do.

online-first approach

Chromebooks rely on a constant connection to the Internet, especially for saving content. Most ship with small storage, and although it’s sometimes expandable with an SD card, expect to keep files in the cloud.

Laptops, on the other hand, come with a lot more storage, starting with 128GB solid state drives all the way up to huge terabyte hard drives, which allow you to store as much as you want.

Verdict – If you’re a casual user who primarily surfs the web, streams Netflix, and writes documents occasionally, a Chromebook is a good cheap option. However, if you need to run demanding software or simply need the versatility of a Windows machine, go for a traditional laptop.

chromebook vs macbook

Chromebook and MacBook are two completely different animals. Until the launch of the pricey Google PixelBook, they were on the opposite end of the price spectrum.

premium vs budget

The MacBook is a premium product with a suitably premium price tag. The range starts at $999 and only goes up from there.

Chromebooks on the hand have traditionally been aimed at the casual user, costing around $200 – $400 dollars, making them exceedingly affordable. Google’s PixelBook bucked this trend somewhat, and was announced as a premium Chromebook, but for the most part you can expect these products to be cheap.

If you’re willing to spend MacBook money but are still tempted by Chromebooks, then the Pixelbook range is the best option for you.

MacBook vs Pixelbook

Lightweight

Both the Chromebook and MacBook are spacious and portable. They both use modern types of storage that take up less space than a moving hard drive, and that helps them stay lightweight. While Chromebooks rarely have the premium look of MacBooks that benefit from Apple’s brighter screens, you can still find plenty of slim, attractive Chromebooks that won’t be shy when taken out of the bag at the coffee shop.

Since they’re so lightweight and portable (and cost less), we consider Chromebooks to be one of the best laptops you can pick up for school or college.

great battery life

Surprisingly, since MacBooks cost around $1,000, and Chromebooks cost closer to $250, both types of laptops are hit with some seriously generous battery life.

With a Chromebook or MacBook, you can enjoy 10 hours or more without a recharge. The low-energy storage type and efficient processor make them last longer than Windows laptops.

power struggles

The main issues you might run into in the Chromebook vs. MacBook debate come down to raw power. Typically, Chromebooks run low-powered processors that can run apps from the Play Store just fine, but won’t be too loud for anything.

The MacBook is undoubtedly a powerhouse. If you need a laptop that has a lot of software that can run a great gamut of software, then this is the MacBook you want to go for.

In the market for a MacBook? See our guide to which MacBook you should buy

 

Can you run Office on a Chromebook?

If you need to use Microsoft’s Office software, you might think that a MacBook or Chromebook is over. but it’s not like that. Office is now fully compatible with Apple products, and they can be run as smoothly as a Windows laptop.

Office for Chromebook

Similarly, Word, Excel, and other Office apps are available for Chromebooks as well. Office is available to download on the Google Play Store as a paid-for suite (keeping Microsoft’s profits happy).

It’s worth noting that not all Chromebooks have access to the full version of Microsoft Office, so check compatibility before buying.

Free Office Web Apps for Chromebook

If your Chromebook can’t fully install and run, Office can use the free version, which is online-only. These aren’t traditional software versions, but instead they’re almost identical web apps that you access via the browser on a Chromebook. Down side? You’ll need to be online to use them (and you’ll need to create a Microsoft account to access them).

Google Docs and Drive

You’ll use your own Office apps instead, and with most of Microsoft’s options for programs, and free ones, it’s not a bad idea. Apps automatically save your work and upload them to your Google Drive, assuming you’re online, so they’re always available from any machine at any time. The file formats are also compatible with Office programs, and you can even save documents as Word documents, for example.

 

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