How does a Chromebook differ from a laptop? Here is a short and simple guide explaining all the differences.
Computers have come a long way over the past two decades, no doubt about that. Apart from the constant increase in hardware power, the rapid technological advance is also evident if you look at laptops.
Compared with the bulky, heavy laptops of the 2000s, today’s thin, sleek notebooks are leagues ahead. When you’re searching for the cheapest, lightest laptop you can find, chances are you’ll find a Chromebook.
In this guide, we’ll answer some of the questions you may have about these devices.
Who are they? What makes them different from regular laptops? Is it worth getting them?
If you’re thinking of buying a Chromebook or a laptop soon, keep reading!
What Is A Chromebook
Chromebooks refer to laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1 devices running Google’s Chrome OS operating system. In the early 2010s, Chromebooks first appeared on the market, and they are regarded as a successor to the netbook, as they compete in the same niche that is now dominated by tablets.
In light of the above, a Chromebook may appear indistinguishable from a laptop at first glance, since the differences mainly lie in the software.
Chrome OS is based on Linux, heavily relies on the internet and cloud storage, and is much lighter than Windows or macOS. It is essentially a mobile operating system rather than a desktop one. The device can run Android apps from the Google Play Store, as well as desktop Linux applications.
Chromebook vs Laptop — Which Should You Get?
Which device should you get: a Chromebook or a laptop? In order to answer that question, you would have to think about what you’ll mostly be using the device for.
You’d probably be better off using a Windows or macOS-powered laptop if you want to play PC games or run certain professional applications like Adobe Premier or Microsoft Office, as such software is not available on Chrome OS.
If you plan to use the device mainly for casual tasks such as web browsing, gaming, or work that can be handled completely through the productivity apps available on Chrome OS, then a Chromebook would be a better option.
Of course, there are also some additional factors to keep in mind.
There’s also the battery life to consider. Chrome OS is a lightweight system, and Chromebooks are typically equipped with low-power hardware, so they can run for longer periods on a single charge than most Windows laptops can. This makes them very portable, since you can easily carry them around and won’t have to worry about running out of batteries.
While the Chromebook’s size is an advantage when it comes to portability, it can also be disadvantageous since a smaller frame also means a smaller screen. For example, if you need more screen space for work or if you enjoy watching videos on a larger display, this can be a problem.
Lastly, there is the issue of storage. Chrome OS is heavily reliant on the internet and on cloud storage, so Chromebooks typically have very limited local storage space compared to regular laptops. This can be an issue if you don’t have access to a stable internet connection or if you just prefer to keep all your data locally and don’t want to use an external HDD or an external SSD.
Chromebooks are great if you’re looking for a portable, lightweight laptop with a streamlined operating system that can be used for casual gaming and basic productivity tasks, especially if you’re looking for something more affordable and/or with good battery life.
However, Chromebooks are not suitable for serious gaming or more demanding professional applications due to their limited CPU and GPU performance, as well as their limited memory capacity. If you need a laptop to play PC games or edit videos, gaming laptops and MacBooks still reign supreme.
Google has now added Windows app support to some Chromebooks, but the feature is not readily available on Chrome OS devices.
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Additionally, high-end Chromebooks are available, some with quadruple-digit price tags. They are, however, a bit tougher to sell than high-end gaming laptops and MacBooks, unless it’s a 2-in-1 device, in which case they offer additional advantages.
After going over their defining characteristics, you should be able to decide whether a laptop or a Chromebook would be better suited to your needs and budget.