With everyone getting more an more on the go is a Chromebook my better option over a laptop? You want a thin and light PC, but which of these portable systems is best for you? Does a laptop's overall versatility make it the better option? Or is a Chromebook's minimalistic operating system (OS) and web-based usability more suited to your needs? Learn the differences between a Chromebook and a standard laptop, the relative advantages of each device, and which one will serve your needs with the most overall value.
What is the difference between an Chromebook and a Laptop? While both laptops and Chromebooks are portable PCs intended to be used anywhere a computer is needed – say, at a desk, on the couch, or while traveling – there are many differences between the two devices, some of which may be critical to your buying decision. Each device is portable and can be operated while resting on your lap. There’s more to it, of course. Here’s a quick look at how laptops and Chromebooks differ:
Most users are already familiar with laptops. A laptop is controlled by a PC operating system such as Microsoft Windows 10 that provides the familiar "desktop" workspace where you launch programs, write documents, save files, and so on. Hundreds of gigabytes (at least) of internal storage are provided either by a spinning hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). Laptops may also have added features such as optical drives (i.e., DVD, CD, etc.), and multiple ports to connect external devices and accessories. For instance a laptop can be built for either gaming or for business by changing the RAM, processor, graphics card.
Unlike laptops that can slow-down when low on memory or accessing internal storage components, Chromebooks operate somewhat differently: Chromebooks are powered by the lightweight (compared to Windows) Google Chrome OS, which uses the Chrome web browser as the primary user interface (UI). Nearly everything is done online within the Chrome browser or via the cloud – improving system speed and efficiency across the board. Chromebooks are built to use web-based applications rather than software you load into local storage.
Another advantage of web-based apps is that they typically reduce demands on your RAM. And while there is some local storage on a Chromebook, users typically save their documents, photos, music, and other files on the cloud, with convenient features for syncing and storing data across devices (e.g., your Chromebook, tablet, and smartphone).
Chromebooks rarely sport the latest, fastest processors because they don’t need them. And many features are intentionally absent, such as advanced graphics cards, large storage drives, and so on – all to make Chromebooks more lightweight and streamlined compared to regular laptops.