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

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.

Chromebook vs Laptop: 15 Must Know Facts

  • Chromebooks were designed as a budget-friendly alternative to laptops. They were not intended to replace laptops.
  • Chromebooks require less memory than laptops.
  • Chromebooks typically use low-end processors while laptops require more powerful processors.
  • Chromebooks are very secure and security is handled behind the scenes by Google. All security updates are automatically downloaded.
  • Windows is more complex and has more security holes. Security primarily handled through downloaded applications.
  • Chromebooks primarily use web-based applications which improve processor performance.
  • Chromebook prices are typically considerably lower than a laptop.
  • The battery life for chromebooks is usually much longer than a laptop.
  • Chromebook portability is similar to a tablet and is better on average than a laptop.
  • Chromebooks can download android apps from the Google Play Store and are compatible with Linux software
  • Laptops can handle basically any computing need and can download a wide variety of apps..
  • Chromebooks have ports similar to laptops such as HDMI, USB, and a headphone jack.
  • Unlike Chromebooks, laptops were designed to be used online and offline.
  • One of the main difference between Chromebooks and laptops is the operating system.
  • Laptops utilize solid state drives and hard disk drives

Summary of Chomebook vs Laptop


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.

There are a number of key differences between Chromebooks and laptops. Most of the differences are related to Chromebook limitations. The primary difference is between the operating systems. Laptops use a Windows or Mac operating system. The Chrome OS has many limitations when compared to these operating systems. Chromebooks rely heavily on an internet connection and the cloud to operate. Laptops can function online or offline. Another difference is that Chromebooks primarily store data in cloud and files in Google Drive. They can also store limited data in USB drives and SD cards. 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. Chromebooks are unable to download Microsoft Office or other applications. They can use Office cloud-based services and Google Docs and Sheets. Chromebooks cna’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.


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.

Chromebook vs Laptop Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the Pros and Cons of Chromebook vs Laptop?

Chromebook Pros:

  • Typically cost less.
  • Very portable.
  • Fast performance.
  • Lightweight and slim design.
  • Large amounts of RAM not requied.
  • Powerful processor not required.
  • Excellent security with automatic updates.
  • User friendly
  • Can sync with Android devices.

Chromebook Cons:

  • Unable to download applications such as Microsoft Office.
  • No internal hard drive and limited local storage.
  • Limited operating system.
  • Heavily reliant on in cloud services.
  • Not designed for gaming or high-end computing.
  • Unable to connect directly to a printer via Wi-fi or a cable.

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.

What is the Difference Between a Laptop and Chromebook?

  • The main difference is in the operating systems they use. Chromebooks use Chrome OS while laptops use Windows or Mac.
  • Laptops are not reliant on cloud services or storage.
  • Laptops can download Microsoft Office and a host of applications.
  • Laptops have internal hard drives and more local storage capability.
  • Laptops can connect directly to printers.
  • Laptops can be used for gaming and basically any computing needs.

Can a Chromebook Replace a Laptop?

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

What are the Disadavantages of a Chromebook?

  • Unable to download applications such as Microsoft Office.
  • No internal hard drive and limited local storage.
  • Limited operating system.
  • Heavily reliant on in cloud services.
  • Not designed for gaming or high-end computing.
  • Unable to connect directly to a printer via Wi-fi or a cable.
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