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Chromebook vs. Laptop: Full Comparison

generic laptop with colorful screen

Chromebook vs. Laptop: Full Comparison

Key Points

  • The first recognized laptop was created in 1981 by Adam Osborn to be basically a portable version of a desktop computer.
  • The Chromebook was introduced on June 15, 2011 and was intended as a budget-friendly alternative to laptops.
  • Chromebooks can’t be directly connected to a printer via Wi-Fi or a cable. They can only print to Google Cloud Print printers. Chromebooks also were not designed for gaming.
  • Laptops are designed to handle basically any computing needs — including web browsing, email, streaming, photo editing, local and cloud storage, music, gaming, and much more.

When it comes to the exterior design, Chromebooks and laptops look basically the same. The differences are primarily in the internal hardware with the main difference being the operating systems. Chromebooks use the Google Chrome operating system, while laptops use either Windows or a Mac operating system. For a detailed breakdown and to see which device is right for you, continue reading below.

Chromebook vs. Laptop: Side by Side Comparison

ChromebookLaptop
Primary useWeb browsing, email, streaming, music, photo editing, and cloud storage.Designed to handle basically any computing needs to include web browsing, email, streaming, photo editing, local and cloud storage, music, and much more
Initial releaseJune 15, 20111981
Developed byGoogle, Acer, Adobe, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Samsung, Intel, and DellAdam Osborne
StorageCloud, USB, or SD cardsLocal hard drive, USB, CD/DVD, cloud, and SSD
Operating systemChromeWindows or Mac
SoftwareUses web-based applications. Does not allow the download of applications such as Microsoft OfficeCan download a wide variety of software applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe, and antivirus
Loading speedTypically faster performance because of reduced hardware and web-based applicationsTypically slightly slower performance than a Chromebook due to hardware complexity
PriceUsually significantly cheaper than a laptopTypically significantly more expensive than a Chromebook
Digital AssistantGoogle AssistantCortana
RAMTypically 2GB to 4GB8GB to 16GB
Battery LifeTypically 10 hrs to 12 hrsTypically 1.5 hrs to 4 hrs.
asus chromebook

A

Chromebook is a budget-friendly alternative to a traditional laptop computer. It’s completely cloud-based

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What Are Chromebooks?

The Chromebook was introduced on June 15, 2011 and was intended as a budget-friendly alternative to laptops. They were designed to primarily operate using web-based applications with an internet connection. Chromebooks use the Chrome OS. Chromebooks are very lightweight and don’t require a lot of RAM memory or processing power. The typical Chromebook has 2GB to 4GB of RAM memory and a processor of 2.0 GHz or less. Chromebooks have a portability advantage because of their lightweight and slim design. They are best suited for web browsing, streaming, email, photo editing, music, and cloud storage. Chromebooks have a long battery life of 10 to 12 hours. They are popular in the education community because of their user-friendly design. Chromebooks are extremely secure and are automatically updated.

Pros and Cons on Chromebooks

ProsCons
Chromebooks do not require large amounts of RAM.They are unable to download applications such as Microsoft Office.
They do not require a powerful processorThey do not have an internal hard drive.
They have a lightweight and slim design.They have limited local storage.
They can be synced with Android devices.Chromebooks rely heavily on cloud-based services.
They have a fast performance.They have a limited operating system.
They are typically cheaper than laptops.They are not designed for gaming or high-end computing.
They are unable to connect directly to a printer via WiFi or a cable.

What Are Laptops?

macbook air
Laptops are portable versions of desktop computers and can carry out virtually all computing needs

.

The first recognized laptop was created in 1981 by Adam Osborne. Laptops are basically portable versions of a desktop computer. They are designed to handle virtually any computing needs. They run on either Windows or Mac operating systems. Laptops can download a wide variety of applications such as Microsoft Office. Unlike chromebooks, they require plenty of RAM and processing power. Laptops typically have at a minimum 8GB to 16GB of RAM and a 2.0 GHz processor or higher. They also come with internal hard drives. Laptops come with a wide variety of ports to connect basically any external device. Security is typically performed by downloaded applications. Embedded applications such as Windows Defender does a good job of protecting the system against viruses.

When it comes to limitations, laptops have very few if any. This is because if you are willing to spend the money, you can purchase a laptop to fit any need. More expensive ones can even rival Chromebooks in portability. The average laptop has a battery life of 1.5 hrs to 4 hrs. This is considerably less than a Chromebook, although some higher-end laptops have a longer battery life. Because laptop operating systems are so complex, they are more susceptible to viruses. Chromebooks are less susceptible to viruses and usually resolve attacks faster.

Pros and Cons of Laptops

ProsCons
Laptops can download applications such as Microsoft Office.They are typically more expensive than Chromebooks.
They are not heavily reliant on cloud-based services.They have a poorer battery life than Chromebooks.
They have internal hard drives and better local storage capabilities.
They can connect directly to printers.
They can be used for virtually all computing needs, including gaming.

Chromebook vs. Laptop: Key Differences

There are a number of key differences between Chromebooks and laptops. The main difference between the two is the operating systems they use as Chromebooks use Chrome OS while laptops use Windows or Mac. However, most of the differences are related to Chromebook limitations. The Chrome OS has many limitations when compared to these operating systems. Chromebooks rely heavily on an internet connection and the cloud to operate, whereas laptops can function online or offline.

Another difference is that Chromebooks primarily store data in cloud and files in Google Drive, therefore requiring less memory than laptops. They can also store limited data in USB drives and SD cards. However, laptops can store data locally and come with internal hard drives. They can also store data on USB drives, SSD cards, CD/DVD, or in cloud. Also, Chromebooks typically use low-end processors while laptops require more powerful processors.

Another notable difference between the two are their capabilities. Laptops are designed to handle basically any computing needs — including web browsing, email, streaming, photo editing, local and cloud storage, music, gaming, and much more. However, Chromebooks are more similar to the capabilities of a tablet and are not able to complete many of the tasks than laptops can.

Furthermore, Chromebooks are unable to download Microsoft Office or other applications. They can use Office cloud-based services and Google Docs and Sheets. Chromebooks can’t be directly connected to a printer via Wi-Fi or a cable. They can only print to Google Cloud Print printers. Chromebooks also were not designed for gaming. Other differences between Chromebooks and laptops include battery life and price. Chromebooks offer significantly better battery life than laptops, often achieving 10 to 12 hours, compared to five or six hours. They are also typically much cheaper to buy than laptops.

Chromebook vs. Laptop: Which Is Better?

Chromebooks were designed as a budget-friendly alternative to laptops. They were not intended to replace laptops. Although Chromebooks are often cheaper than laptops and offer a better battery life and better security features, laptops are typically far superior than them in every other way. Laptops have better performance capabilities and much better internal storage. They are also far more functional as they can be used for virtually every computing need, including gaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chromebook?

It is a budget-friendly version of a laptop that is designed to operate on the Google OS with an internet connection. The majority of its applications are cloud based.

Which is better a Chromebook or a laptop?

A Chromebook is better when it comes to battery life, price, and security. Other than that laptops are better in every other category to include performance, functionality, and storage.

Can a Chromebook replace a laptop?

It cannot because its operating system and design lacks the performance, memory, capability, and functionality.

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