In the world of tech, battles like Windows laptop vs Chromebook are constantly brewing. For us consumers, this is great news, as this competition has led to innovation, competitive pricing, and high-quality products.
If you're on the market for a new portable device, choosing between a laptop and Chromebook is a necessary first step. Whether you're looking for a great laptop for studying, or a cheap laptop under $500, both offer great specs and features.
So, which should you pick: Chromebook or laptop?
Which is better: Chromebook or laptop?
Ultimately, the choice of a Chromebook or a laptop comes down to what you value most in a laptop.
If you want a simple, cost-effective laptop for browsing the internet, watching Netflix, and writing up documents, a Chromebook will suffice for these basics. Running on ChromeOS, Chromebooks tend to be cheaper than their Windows counterparts, with a longer-lasting battery life, too.
However, a Windows laptop (or Linux) is the better choice for more demanding tasks. Looking at all the best gaming laptops, they are all Windows or Linux-focused machines. The same can be said for if you need a business laptop for working from home, as some bespoke programs will not run on Chromebooks if originally tailored for Windows machines.
What is the difference between a Chromebook and a laptop?
In the literal sense, a Chromebook is a type of laptop. However, what separates it from other laptops is that it runs on Google's ChromeOS.
The web-based OS is different from MacOS and Windows in many ways, especially in the type of software and applications it boasts.
While many Window-focused applications are not currently available on Chromebooks, these devices support Android applications via the Google Play Store.
As an online-focused device, many Chromebook functions are online-only. Each Chromebook comes with a designated amount of Google Drive space (100GB) as opposed to physical storage, for example. At least via Google Stadia, you can still play games online.
Finally, given the number of laptop manufacturers each creating their own distinct products, standard laptops can vary more in terms of size, performance, and price when compared to Chromebooks. However, with manufacturers such as HP, ASUS, and Lenovo now producing Chromebooks, this is changing.
What are the disadvantages of a Chromebook?
The major disadvantage of a Chromebook is its lack of offline functionality when compared to a Windows laptop.
With Google Drive storage and many applications sitting online, this can cause problems for those who may not have a constant or stable internet connection - such as those travelling. While we'd recommend having 256GB of SSD storage in a laptop, a Chromebook usually has either 16GB or 32GB.
Alongside these online applications, several vital pieces of software do not support ChromeOS. If you need a great laptop for video editing, Chromebooks may restrict what you can do. Applications such as Photoshop and Premiere only offer their Android/tablet versions, which are limited compared to their Windows or macOS versions.
This is in part because Chromebooks are not powerful enough to run the most demanding pieces of software. The battle between 8GB and 4GB of RAM in Chromebooks has only just started, with most ChromeOS laptops featuring 4GB of RAM.
What are the advantages of a Chromebook?
The main advantage of a Chromebook is its cost. At their lowest, Chromebooks can go for £179, while many sit around the £229-£299 range. In terms of budget laptops for under £300, you can't get much better than a Chromebook.
Of course, it's not all about price- £300 is still a heft amount you don't want to waste on a bad product. Luckily, Chromebooks do have many other redeeming features.
Chromebooks are relatively simple devices to use. If you want a no-hassle, easy-to-use laptop, Chromebooks offer all you need.
For example, Google will automatically install any updates to your Chromebook. This has the extra benefit of added security - another measure in which the Chromebook excels. Its online functionality via ChromeOS, along with its restrictive 'sandboxing' methods should provide a solid foundation of protection for your device.
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