October 27, 2021

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How A Chromebook Is Different To A Windows Laptop (And Which Is Best)

Chromebooks are powered by Google’s Chrome OS and can serve as an alternative to a Windows or a macOS laptop, but there are some differences.

A Chromebook is a computer powered by Chrome OS, Google’s Linux-based operating system that is lightweight and designed to run on a variety of devices, including laptops. While most people tend to think of a laptop as a device that’s powered by either Windows or macOS, it is wise to think of a Chromebook as a Chrome OS laptop. However, there are some differences between a Chrome laptop and a Windows laptop.

Chromebooks have come a long way since they first hit the market ten years ago. Not only has the hardware gotten better, but the Chrome operating system has received significant upgrades taking the experience from one that’s just an operating system built on top of a browser to one that’s capable of doing so much more, including running Android and Linux apps. The popularity of Chromebooks has also increased over the years, with devices powered by Google’s OS even outselling Macs last year.


Related: How To Personalize The Lock Screen On A Chromebook

Unlike Windows and macOS, Chrome OS is built around the Chrome web browser which is where most of the usage happens. Consumers considering picking up a Chromebook will need to take into account the dependency on the Chrome browser, which means having an internet connection to get work done. There are apps for Chromebooks that can be used offline, but they shouldn’t be compared to those designed for Windows laptops in terms of functionality. Laptops powered by Windows (or macOS) are designed to run programs and software that mainly run offline. These programs can be special software for work, document editing, video editing, and even video games. There are also web browsers for connecting to the internet and even support for running Android apps on Windows.

Is A Chromebook Or Laptop Best?

Samsung and Acer Chromebooks

Buying a device mostly depends on needs, and this applies to whether a Chromebook or Laptop is best for an individual user. For tasks that can be done within a browser, such as sending emails, editing a document, typing a blog post, writing assignments, online learning, video/voice meetings, or even playing games over the internet, a Chromebook is going to be sufficient. Chromebooks are also great devices for those on a tight budget or require an inexpensive device as a backup. Great battery life is also a common feature of a Chromebook and it is not uncommon to find even those priced between $200 and $300 boasting daily battery usage that crosses ten hours. This makes Chromebooks a great option for students in general.

However, for those often using special software or programs for work that do not need an internet connection and require more processing power, or those in need of a large amount of local storage on their device, then a laptop is likely to be the better option. While all of the tasks a Chromebook can handle can also be performed by a laptop, the entry barrier for a good laptop is higher than that of a Chromebook. This is particularly the case if in need of a 2-in-1 form factor or longer battery life, features that are commonly available even on budget Chromebooks.

Next: How To Switch From A MacBook To A Chromebook (& Why You Should)

Source: Google, Microsoft

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