Chromebook or laptop: which one is best to buy

If you're reading this article, you're probably in doubt about which to choose: Chromebook or laptop? There are several reasons to choose a Chromebook or a laptop. In this article I explain which one is the best to buy right now.

Chromebook or laptop: the common perception

There are some "preconceptions" about laptops, as well as Chromebooks. Let me start with that first, before I explain the differences and similarities.

It is often thought that a Chromebook is mainly a cheap laptop that you can use for browsing. This is certainly true, you can browse with it, but nowadays you can do much more with it.

When it comes to laptops, people often think that they run on Windows (or MacOS) and are usually a lot more expensive. This is also not always true.

To start explaining the differences, I have made a table from which things should become clear. If you want more information, scroll further down, where I explain exactly why the differences or similarities are, but also what they mean for everyday life.

Also read: What is a Chromebook and what can you (not) do with it?

Chromebook vs Laptop: Comparison

There are many big differences between Chromebooks and laptops, which are often a bit more nuanced than you might think. In the table below I have tried to indicate the basic differences between a Chromebook and a laptop.

Operating systemChrome OSWindows or MacOS
StorageUsually in the cloudLocal and in the cloud
Apps/ProgramsChrome and Android appsPractically all apps
SecurityWell arranged, by GoogleAdditional software required
BatteryEnergy efficientVaries by model
Suitable for…Browsing, social media, emailing, text editing, gaming (Google Stadia)All tasks, including Photoshopping, editing videos and gaming
Suitable for officeOffice 365 onlySuitable for all versions
Business ApplicationsUsually in the cloud (via browser/app)Install local programs + cloud
Suitable for school/studyYes, often recommendedJa
PricingAffordableVaries, usually more pricey

As you can see, you can basically do a lot with both devices, but if you are looking for specific tasks, such as Photoshop or local video editing, the choice is easily made.

However, if you are mainly busy online, a Chromebook is certainly a good choice. Keep in mind that the prices of the Chromebook are often (much) lower. Of course, that also affects the choice between Chromebook or laptop.

Below I will go through a number of scenarios and topics to help you make a good choice between the two devices.

What does your 'work' consist of?

This is the first question you should ask yourself: what am I really going to do with my Chromebook or laptop? If you are mainly working on or with the internet, a Chromebook is extremely suitable. But if you want to run more demanding programs or if you need certain Windows or MacOS apps, it is advisable to look at a laptop.

Chromebooks are actually made for internet browsing in the broadest sense of the word. If you use the browser a lot, edit your files with Google Docs (or Office 365), then a Chromebook is more than enough for you.

For example, if you are a designer, or if your work has requirements to install certain programs, a Chromebook is not an option. You can only install Android apps and Chrome extensions on this.

However, there are other factors that influence the choices between these two devices.

Chromebook or laptop
Via: | coryaulrich

Chromebook or laptop: operating system and storage

A Chromebook always runs on Chrome OS, a laptop generally runs on Windows or MacOS.

Chrome OS is a complete operating system and is based on Chrome, the browser. The big advantage of Chrome OS is that it works smoothly and is more than sufficient for most users. There are also a number of recognizable elements for Android users and you have the option to install (almost) all Android apps on the device.

Word on Chromebook
Limited availability
Official version of Office 365
Suitable for Chromebook
Can also be used in browser

The approach of Chrome OS is to do practically everything online. That means that an active internet connection is more than desirable, but if you have it, you can perform almost all tasks on a Chromebook.

Windows and MacOS are somewhat more robust operating systems that have both been on the market for years. These are made to combine offline and online, but are often a lot more expensive.

Windows and MacOS programs are of course suitable to run on these systems, an Android app must be available for a Chromebook if you want this native can rotate.

Then there is the difference in storage. As you may have noticed: a Chromebook has relatively little storage, sometimes only 32GB. That was done with the underlying idea of ​​ChromeOS: everything via the internet.

You always have some space to store files locally on a Chromebook, but you will do most of it in a cloud service. You can of course determine which cloud service this is. Although Google Drive is preferred by Google, there are plenty of options like Dropbox, OneDrive or any other. Google always gives 100 GB of free storage as a gift with a Chromebook.

With a Windows laptop or Macbook, there is often more local storage available because this operating system is set up differently. This is aimed at working both online and offline. For the latter you often need more storage.

Apps, programs and security

To make choosing a Chromebook or laptop easier for you, it is wise to check which programs you use.

Provided you don't do specific things like Photoshop or edit videos, you'll see that most apps and programs are available for both a laptop and a Chromebook. Think of generic programs such as e-mail or editing documents.

Nowadays you can also install practically all Android apps on Chromebooks, which of course has suddenly increased the range of apps. If you have specific apps that you use that only run on Windows or MacOS, for example, then the choice is quickly made: you need a 'regular' laptop.

The security on both devices is also arranged completely differently. ChromeOS has built-in security managed by Google. This means that any updates to this are done on Google's side and in practice this appears to be much better security than with Windows and MacOS.

When we look at the vulnerability of the systems, Windows is number one. Here you also have to take care of installing measures yourself (firewall and virus scanner). In any case, Windows is the darling of the malicious in this world.

In second place is MacOS. These Apple computers are quite well protected in themselves, although issues regularly crop up here as well. Nevertheless, MacOS is a lot more secure than Windows.

Google handles remote security for ChromeOS, making it very up-to-date. Chrome OS is also built for security, which is why it's a relatively safe choice.

Battery life and price (and why are Chromebooks so cheap?)

Now we come to one, or rather two, of the showpieces of Chromebooks: the battery life and the price.

In general, we can say that the battery life of a Chromebook is much better than Windows laptops and Macbooks. Of course this depends on the model, but because a Chromebook is relatively light in terms of processes and especially well-tuned by Google, the battery simply lasts longer.

There are models that also put extra effort into a long battery life. So if you are on the road a lot, or if there are regular times when there is no power in the area, then a Chromebook is recommended.

There are also major differences in terms of price. Especially when we look at a Chromebook and a Macbook, there are huge differences.

The cheapest Chromebooks go over the counter for about 200 euros, while you have to pay 1000+ euros for a Macbook as standard. The differences with Windows are slightly smaller, but still significant.

So if you are looking for an affordable solution that has a long battery life, then one Buy Chromebook definitely the best option. It is therefore not for nothing that the sales of Chromebooks are considerable have increased.

The reason Chromebooks are so cheap is actually twofold: on the one hand, there are no large license fees that manufacturers have to pay Google for using Chrome OS.

In addition, less powerful hardware is required to run Chrome OS, which naturally reduces purchasing and production costs. In this way, Chromebooks can be offered for very interesting prices.

Chromebook vs laptop: which one should you choose?

Now, of course, we come to the key question of this article, which one should you choose, a Chromebook or a laptop?

If you have read the above, you will see that there is no clear answer. This depends on what you want to use a Chromebook or laptop for. If you need specific programs, graphics-intensive tasks or gaming, then a laptop (or perhaps a PC) is the best option.

For all other activities, you can get by with a Chromebook. To help you on your way with this, I have a list of the best chrome books of this moment, which was preceded by a lot of research. In addition, I regularly update that list.

If you want to check out even more Chromebooks, we've made a handy overview, including Chromebook comparator. There is also another option: a Chromebook in PC form. This is what you call one Chromebox, of course we also have all the information about that.

Anyway, hopefully you can make a good choice…

Frequently Asked Questions about Chromebook or laptop

Which is better: Chromebook or laptop?

That is a question that cannot be answered unequivocally: there are many factors that play a role in this, such as the required programs or apps, battery life, but also the price. In this article we list all the details for you.

Which should I choose: laptop or Chromebook?

That depends on what you will be using the device for. If you want to use Photoshop or play games, a laptop is more suitable. However, if you are online a lot and do everything in the cloud, then a Chromebook is the better option.

What is a Chromebook used for?

You use a Chromebook to do 'things on the internet'. This in the broadest sense of the word: think of editing documents, saving files, browsing, emailing and much more.

Read also

Chromecast enthusiast from the very beginning. Has been using Google services for years and knows a lot about Chromecast, Chromebook, Google Home and streaming.

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