Should you buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop? Whether you’re seeking out the best computer for your child or deciding which inexpensive computer would make a great holiday gift, figuring out the difference between Chromebooks and laptops can be tough. We can help you choose the right one. Chromebooks and Windows laptops both have their advantages and disadvantages, and there are tasks that each can achieve better than the other. At their core though, they’re all essentially laptops, and can browse the web, stream video and handle documents.
The main point of difference. Chromebooks run ChromeOS, a Google-developed operating system. If you’ve ever used the Google Chrome browser, it’ll feel instantly familiar. Essentially, all your day-to-day computing happens through this browser. Chromebooks run “web apps” rather than programs that you need to install. Windows 10 is a far larger operating system- that’s a blessing, and a curse. It means you have much more flexibility to run programs or do complex tasks. But it tends to be slower to load and needs regular updates.
Bang for Your Buck
Take a look at popular Chromebooks on the market, and you’ll quickly see just how affordable they are. Such low prices are one of the strongest market differentiators for Chromebooks. When people are on a strict budget and can only afford a few hundred dollars for a new laptop, Chromebooks are their first- often only- choice. No other laptops are so affordable. Chromebooks are ultra-portable in terms of both size and weight. Most feature an 11.6-inch display and weigh just 2.5 pounds. This can be compared to the MacBook Air, a 13.3-inch model that weighs 3 pounds. However, the 12.3” Microsoft Surface Pro 6 from Buydig.com is lightweight compared to even the Chromebook, as it weighs in at a light 1.7 pounds! Another favorable feature is that Chromebooks are also incredibly durable. Some come in special “ruggedized” models that boast water and shock resistance. Combined with a full-body case, available for practically every Chromebook model, these things are tough to break.
The majority of Chromebooks use MultiMediaCard (eMMC) storage. eMCC is a form of flash storage comparable to solid-state drives in the way that there are no moving parts. However, SSDs deliver vastly superior performance and are available in much larger sizes. Chromebooks come with storage sizes typical to smartphones: often 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. With a 16 GB eMMC, Chrome OS is small enough to where you’ll have around 9 GB of usable space. Chromebooks often come with low-resolution displays, and many of them don’t have fans. Since they can’t be used for intensive tasks like video editing, most Chromebooks can do just fine without internal cooling. This helps cut down on noise and weight. Lastly, Chromebooks are well-known for their battery life. As a result of their low profile and intended workload, the majority of Chromebook models will outlast laptops while on battery. For example, the HP Chromebook 15-inch Laptop from Buydig.com will last for around 13 hours.
The biggest and best feature of Windows is the software. You buy these laptops not because of what they are but what they can do. Windows has more software support and, more importantly, more sophisticated software options. They run full versions of Microsoft Office; games that rival consoles; and a host of other software programs that promote productivity. Chromebook will get a big shot in the arm in the near future when the Google Play Store and Android apps come to Chrome OS. Until then, Chromebook relies on the apps built for the Chrome browser and web apps. This doesn’t limit you particularly, though. Want to type a document? You can use Google Docs, which backs up all of your work online to the cloud. There are Chromebook web apps for all sorts of tasks, like creating spreadsheets, running calendars or an inbox, or streaming videos.
Final Verdict: It Depends on Why You Want a Laptop
Those are the basic arguments of the Chromebook vs laptop debate, so you should have a better idea of which option is going to work best for you based on your needs. It really all boils down to what you’re planning to do with your new computer. If you already spend most of your computing time inside a web browser, then a Chromebook makes sense. They’re fast, intuitive, easy to maintain, and often very affordable. For more configuration options, more processing power, more applications, and something that’s going to work whether you’re close to Wi-Fi or not, go for a normal laptop.