Difference Between a Laptop and a Chromebook

What Is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Chromebook?

You have probably heard of Chromebooks. But, one thing is confusing you – whenever you hear someone talking about Chromebooks or read about them, they are passed off as something different. Aren’t they just laptops made by Google? What Is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Chromebook possibly could be?

chromebook vs laptops

But hear it out, Chromebooks may look like laptops, but they are an entirely separate species altogether. If you are sick of budget laptops which run Windows or MacOS, their load time, their crashes and infected by the virus, updates went wrong, ect…then an alternative is here. Here is our rundown of the main differences between a laptop and a Chromebook.

Operating System

As you may expect, Google has created its own operating system which it uses on its flagship laptop product. At first glance, Chrome OS looks much like Windows. The familiar features, such as the positioning of the start button, are all there. The Chrome OS is a more stripped-down version of other operating systems, and this is to its advantage. The features you need are there. This makes it a lightweight operating system, adding speed at the expense of features. Much like the Chrome browser that is one of the fastest, Chrome OS is one of the fastest operating systems.


One of the main differences between Chrome OS and other operating systems is the way apps run. The apps are not stored on the Chromebook; instead, they are all online apps. When you open an app, a browser tab will open with the app inside it. This comes with positives and negatives. You cannot use apps which you are not able to use in Chrome OS. You cannot download apps. You can, however, download movies and you can edit documents offline, meaning that you are not required to have a permanent Wi-Fi connection. Again, you have speed at the expense of features.


MacBooks are very expensive, and there is a reason for this. They come packed with features and power. Windows also has the name and features to charge a lot of money for their laptops. A Google Chromebook will set you back less money than those two alternatives. For only US$200, you can get a Chromebook. Sure, you can find other budget laptops around that price, but they will not have the sleek performance as a Chromebook. If you are buying a regular laptop for that price, you will find yourself with a useless laptop. If you purchase a Chromebook, you will be more than satisfied.


If you shell out on a MacBook with retina display, you will be getting the best quality display out there. A Chromebook will not be able to compare with that, but when you compare a Chromebook to a regular Windows laptop or a Mac without the retinal display, you will not find any difference. The quality of the casing, keyboard, and touchpad also lives up to comparison with a regular windows laptop.


As a Chromebook uses Chrome and web apps for web storage, you will not find a lot of memory in the actual machine itself. The Chromebook comes with SSD storage, meaning that you will have quick access to your storage should you need it, but most Chromebooks will only come with 16GB or 32GB. This is a lot less than most traditional laptops, but as you will be storing most of your data online, you do not need to worry about this. Google also offers 100GB of online drive space for two years.


Printing is a little trickier on a Chromebook. With most printers, you need to download and install the drivers which are associated with it. With a Chromebook, drivers are not downloaded and stored. This means that you cannot just plug in a USB from the Chromebook to the printer and print documents. To print, you need a cloud-ready printer, and you need to print through Google Cloud Print. This is one of the main drawbacks with a Chromebook. The good news is that more and more printers are cloud-ready, but this is one thing you should think about before you buy a Chromebook.


Most Chromebooks use an Intel Celeron processor. Mostly they will use the dual-core versions, and they will sit around 2.0GHz. When it comes to RAM, most Chromebooks will give you between 2-4GB. This is enough for what you need a Chromebook to do, but a lot of traditional laptops now offer you 16GB, of course, you are paying a lot less for your Chromebook. Chromebooks also come with the ports you are familiar with on traditional laptops. If you are running your Chromebook from the battery only, you can expect 7-9 hours of battery life. This can improve to 12 hours for some of the newer models.


If you are thinking about buying a Chromebook, then you are not alone. The main draw, and the thing we like most about a Chromebook, is the price. If you buy a Chromebook, you will be saving a lot of money compared to purchasing a traditional laptop. The other advantage is that you will be buying something made by Google. You know that you can trust the system, apps, etc. There will also be ample support, both if something goes wrong with the Chromebook and with apps. The apps will not stagnate.

The downside of a Chromebook is that you do not have as many apps available to you. This is only a real problem if you want to manipulate photos or create other media. For such a low price, you cannot expect a laptop for a developer. The other downside is the printing. Without the ability to plug in a printer and print, you may find frustration.

In the middle, is the storage. If you are comfortable with online storage, then you have no problems. If you prefer traditional storage, then this is not the laptop for you.

All in all, a Chromebook is a great purchase. For the money you pay, you get a machine which is better than any budget laptop, and comparable to many mid-range laptops. It is not a Mac, but that extra $1000 in your pocket will sure feel good.

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