Chromebooks vs. Laptops: Which Device Should You Buy?

Many people consider the Chromebook to be the sleekest, fastest, and even simpler cousin of a traditional laptop. Unlike a Mac or Windows system, a Chromebook relies heavily on the Internet for everyday tasks.

Since they are generally less expensive, you may be wondering how the Chromebook compares to a regular laptop. Are they a waste of money or an inexpensive diamond in the rough? Read on to find out!

Both Chromebooks and laptops cannot be expensive. If you’re looking for a discount, check out the best Chromebook deals and the best laptop sales available now.

What is a Chromebook?

Acer Chromebook 13 Review
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

When Chromebooks first appeared in 2011, they were lightweight, low-cost laptops based on Google’s new platform, called Chrome OS. These laptops mainly relied on cloud-based applications rather than traditional software. Over the years, their more affordable nature has changed, but the price is still on what the Chromebook offers.

Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung sell Chromebooks in a variety of sizes, from Ultrabook-type design to standard 2, in-to-1 hybrids, to standard, thick laptops.

The cheaper model is larger and less powerful than the slimmer, sleeker premium model. These lower-end Chromebooks are often seen in schools or for the first time as personal laptops. High-end Chromebooks such as Google’s own Pixelbook feature premium aluminum bodies, faster Intel Core processors and, in some cases, 4K screens.

Although you cannot buy a $ 10 Chromebook, such as a Windows 10 laptop or MacBook, there are several options depending on your needs.

What can a Chromebook do?

As opposed to Windows 10 or MacOS, the Chromebook has its own operating system called Chrome OS. Although it has basic computing elements, such as a file manager and an app launcher, the focus of these devices is the Google Chrome web browser. Because you cannot download web-based applications, most of the action takes place in Chrome’s tab.

This may seem limited at first, but many applications already offer web versions, such as Spotify, Netflix, Gmail, Slack, and Evernote. Due to the prevalence of web applications, many people spend most of their time in web browsers anyway. If your specific workflow resembles this scenario, the transition to a Chromebook will be relatively easy. Just connect to Wi-Fi and proceed with your browsing as usual.

However, apart from the Google Play Store, you can download the Android app to fill any software gap. Their implementation in a laptop setting can be a bit cowardly in some cases – some extend full screen while others remain locked in smartphone screen mode – but Android apps are available if you really need them.

Chromebooks also support Linux. If you need desktop applications, installing Linux is definitely an option. There are Linux versions of Audacity, Firefox, GIMP, OBS Studio, Steam, VirtualBox and many more, but your preferred application may not offer a Linux-based version. First check out the developer’s website before you exit the Chromebook.

Finally, if you are a gamer, there are plenty of options, but you are also limited. For example, your best bet is to install Android games or subscribe to Google’s new Stadia streaming service. Installing Steam via Linux is viable, but will limit specific low-end hardware and minimal storage that you can download and play.

What can’t a Chromebook do?

How to copy and paste on a Chromebook

The limitations of Chrome OS mean that you cannot install some important software that you might need otherwise. Some notable examples include some Adobe applications or any kind of proprietary software that is limited to Windows or MacOS. If you rely on similar applications, you will either need to find a Linux-based option or avoid Chromebook altogether.

Limitations enhance performance in general. Chromebooks run fast, but in some cases, you’ll be limited by the components inside. Lower-end Chromebooks use older processors, which cannot match what you find in the Windows and Mac space, especially in the case of multitasking. Then, if you’re spending $ 200, a Chromebook is a far better option.

On the high end, there are options like the HP Chromebook X2 or Pixelbook, and you’ll find familiar processors like the eighth-generation Core i5, which has four cores and plenty of power. Do Chromebook Fly With these fast options. Some newer Chromebooks, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook and Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713, have Intel’s latest 10th-generation processors, closing the gap between Chromebooks, MacBooks, and Windows 10 laptops.

What are Chromebooks for?

The Chromebook is designed with some specific people in mind. Students are at the forefront, as school administrations favor Chromebooks due to their security benefits, strong build quality, and software limitations. This means that you will get cheap Chromebooks in public schools across the country.

Chromebooks go beyond just cheap, plastic laptops for children. There are also high-end options for professionals and college students. Because they are lightweight with a long battery life, they are a great choice for those who need to keep their work going, whether it is from class to class or on long flights. Some of these include Google Pixelbook, Google Pixelbook Go, and Asus Chromebook Flip C436.

The world of Windows 10 laptops certainly has the same options. However, in the cheaper price range, Chromebooks can sometimes offer a better price. For example, around $ 500 is where the Chromebook goes through, but at this price Windows 10 laptops collide with a thick chassis and clunky performance.

What are the Chromebook options available?

Google Pixelbook is running Adobe Lightroom CC

The most expensive Chromebook you can buy is Google’s Pixelbook, which contains $ 1,000 Beginning cost. It represents high end not only in premium materials and construction quality but also performance.

Overall, you’ll get chromebooks ranging from 11-inch 2-in-1 to 15-inch options for additional screen real estate. HD resolution is standard, while touchscreen and 4K options are rare. Intel Celeron processors are a popular choice for today’s Chromebooks – typically, dual-core versions that rarely rise above the 2.0 GHz mark.

Most Chromebooks offer 2GB to 4GB of RAM, which is sufficient for average laptop tasks but less than traditional laptop models that routinely offer 8GB or 16GB of RAM. For storage, Chromebooks do not have large disk drives, as they rely on the Internet for most data purposes. Storage can usually be extended with an SD card or USB drive if necessary.

For ports, most Chromebooks are largely comparable to laptops, although fewer in number. Common connections are USB-A, USB-C, and a headphone jack.

Most Chromebooks have better battery life than typical laptops. Although around 10 hours is the most common, the new model is more likely to have a battery life of 12 hours. Windows 10 laptops are slowly closing the gap, but on average, Chromebooks last longer.

The really high-end part of the laptop range, however, does not include Chromebooks. You will not find the six-core or eight-core processors found on laptops like the MacBook Pro 15, Razor Blade, or Dell XPS 15. These content-producing machines and gaming laptops will outperform any Chromebook in terms of performance.

Finally, Chrome OS tablets such as Google’s own Pixel Slate are available, but we wouldn’t recommend those without a keyboard.

The prices

Even higher priced Chromebooks are relatively cheap. For the price of Microsoft’s $ 3,000 laptop, you can buy a Chromebook for the whole family, and then some.

For example, HP’s latest Chromebook 15 sells for only $ 450, and Lenovo’s Chromebook Flex 15 costs just $ 410. For $ 226, you can get a popular 2017 Samsung model. These low prices are one of the most important selling points for Chromebooks. The one exception is Google’s ultra-premium $ 1,000 Pixelbook.

Chromebook features will never be able to compete with pricier laptops, but they do everything you need them to. They are an ideal option for those who need a computer at short notice or at a low price. Their simple design also makes them incredibly easy to use, making them ideal for those who are not super comfortable using a laptop or computer.

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