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Chromebook vs Laptop—things to know for making an impactful decision

Chromebooks have been around since 2011 and are fairly populated among people who tend to make minimalistic use of a laptop. These run on ChromeOS, offer a minimalistic design and on top of that, the software and technical capabilities of a Chromebook are also somewhat limited. A laptop running on Windows offers a more diverse use case than a Chromebook which requires a constant internet connection to be of some use to the user. 

Chromebooks and their general adoption

On top of that its use case is also fairly limited, you can only do things that can be done on the internet or online with little to no software support to do so offline. People who do most of the things on the internet or online fairly prioritize Chromebooks over laptops but even so a Chromebook can only support Google-oriented apps and services at best, it is fairly lacking in providing a customized experience to the user. 

That is why their use remains limited to a dedicated number of people who think ChromeOS offers a bit of fresh and impactful perspective to the work they do rather than Windows or macOS.     

Chromebook vs Laptops: OS capabilities and limitations

You need to get one thing straight with the Chrome OS and it is that it is not a proper OS that lets you install any program or software that you want to. You might have worked with Chrome in the past, right? Think of every possible thing that it allows you to run or do that is practically what the Chrome OS is but a bit more extensive. That is why its use case is limited to the things that you can only do online using a simple chrome browser. 

A laptop running on Windows or Mac OS on the other hand allows you to achieve a lot more than that. You can use it for offline work as well as online tasks as well. If you have a laptop or Mac with you installing a chrome won’t be a problem and then you can do everything a Chrome OS supported laptop can. On the other hand, if you want to buy a Chromebook for the sake of e-learning with Google classroom you can buy a laptop and install Google classroom on it. So, there is evidently no need to buy a Chromebook for the mere reason of using Google exclusive content and apps.

Another downside of owning a Chromebook is that it can’t run any software or program from Windows or Mac OS for that matter but there is a tedious workaround that allows you to do so. You can install VMWare on your Chromebook for the sake of installing programs and software from Windows and Mac OS origin. 

But is going to all that trouble to be able to extract some compelling usage out of your Chromebook is worth it? For many users out there it simply isn’t. You can download all sorts of apps from the Google Play Store though making it a rather captivating asset for those users who yearn to be able to run mobile apps on their laptops. 

Accessing daily use apps such as Microsoft Word or for video and photo editing the Adobe premium is going to be a challenge to come around in Chromebook. You might not like the workaround that is available for that. For Microsoft Word, you can access the Google play store and download the android version for it and the same goes for Excel, PowerPoint, and any other Microsoft utility you want to use. You can use their android counterparts and not the original program intended for a laptop user. 

Some kind of photo and video editing can be done with Chromebook and that too is strictly possible in an online capacity such as using the web to do so. So, if you need to install dedicated video and photo editing tools that are not available on Play Store then it is better to buy a laptop that supports Windows, Mac OS, or Linux for that matter. 

Chromebook vs Laptops: sufficient specs to get by

When it comes to a laptop you would require it to have at least 8GB RAM, 500 GB HDD/SSD (depending on your budget), and an Intel Core i3 CPU (at the very least) to be able to run Windows or Linux sufficiently and by sufficiently here it means to get you by. 

And as for the MacBook, the specifications are a lot more sophisticated than this which means that these are able to carry as much load or resource-intensive work thrown their way. Compared to such a machine a Chromebook is nothing but a lite version of a fully compatible laptop only able to handle menial tasks and nothing resource intensive. 

Chromebooks now offer a lot of variety when it comes to choosing a specific manufacturer, you can now have these in convertibles and tablets with touch screens and all. It is not like only Google is preparing these as many other laptop manufactures have adopted the initiative and they are producing quite some variety when it comes to user selection and available options. 

But even so, a basic Chromebook should be able to carry the multitasking user through the day, and for that, it must have at least 4GB of RAM or more, 64GB of storage, Intel Celeron, or Core i-series, and a Full HD display. Coming around these basic requirements many of you might be thinking that a smartphone nowadays packs a stronger punch than this and you won’t be wrong. 

This by any scale is not the kind of specification that can handle resource-intensive tasks or run applications that rely on a bit more processing power. That is why the use case is extremely important, only go for a Chromebook if you can see it managing your daily workload and if not then you won’t be making a very wise decision going for it nonetheless. 

And a Chromebook available in the above-mentioned specifications is not going to come cheap but you always have the liberty of toning down these specifications such as going for 32GB of storage or cutting some more corners to bring the price down.           

Chromebook vs Laptops: Price and affordability

Now, this is where scales do tip massively towards the Chromebooks as these are comparatively way cheaper than a laptop because of how little it is going on with these, there is barely any RAM, little Storage, and a less powered CPU. That is the reason you might be able to find a Chromebook for as little as $200 with decent specs while the same can’t be said for a laptop.

With $200 you are less likely to find a decent laptop and even if you do it won’t be able to get you through your daily tasks and activities. But a Chromebook purchased at $200 or at a little more if you want more robust features included in your Chromebook can go a long way. 

Typically a good Chromebook starts from $400 and goes all the way to $1000 offering more storage, a decent CPU, and more RAM. But if you are going to spend $1000 for a Chromebook you will be better off using that money to buy you a mid-range laptop as it can offer more tedious tasks as compared to a Chromebook.     

Chromebook vs Laptops: which is worth your buck?

It can’t be stressed more that Chromebooks can only help you with entry-level work such as browsing the web, editing documents, saving your photos and videos onto the cloud, or other menial tasks that you can think of. The very ideology behind a Chromebook is that it can’t handle resource-intensive tasks because it was not designed with that in mind, its basic purpose is to serve the needs of the average internet user that don’t require a laptop or a heavy specs computer to get by. 

That is why if there is anything present in your daily tasks that require involving the resources of your system into the play such as photo/video editing, PC gaming, or using other relevant programs and software then Chromebook is not a valid option for you. You must go for a laptop and if budget is an issue then you can always go for a mid-range laptop decent enough to get you by your daily use.      

The Verdict

If you find yourself to be an avid internet user that has little to nothing to do with onboard programs, apps or software then you can’t go wrong with a Chromebook in your hands. But on the other hand, you are compelled to use these third-party apps and programs then sorry a Chromebook is not going to help you in this regard and a laptop is the only option you can entertain here. But that is how things are with a Chromebook, it was never intended to be used as a serious computing system, it was designed in the first place for simple and everyday use.  

Written by HackerVibes

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