If you’re shopping for a new laptop computer, you might be drawn in by the sleek look and low price tag of a Chromebook.
The Chromebook was first introduced in 2011 as a lighter weight computing alternative. It’s designed for simplicity, and at first glance it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Chromebook and any other laptop.
However, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise if you think it’s the same as a MacBook or Windows laptop and may find yourself without the technology solutions you need for work or home.
There are several distinct differences between a Chromebook and a normal laptop that you need to be aware of before being drawn in by that low price.
Laptop vs Chromebook: Know the Differences
Chromebooks have been growing in popularity, especially this year. In the second quarter of 2020, they reached a milestone of being 25% of the total quarterly notebook shipments.
Factors for the growing popularity of this budget notebook include:
- More distance learning during the pandemic
- Families & businesses watching their budgets
- Low price
- Ease of use
While Chromebooks are great for certain activities, they’re not suitable for everyone. Here are some of the distinct differences between a Chromebook notebook and a Mac or Windows laptop.
Standard computers will usually run either Windows or the macOS. Some may even run Linux. Users have more flexibility with these operating systems, including multiple settings and device-based applications.
Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS, which is a completely different type of operating system. It’s a glorified version of a Chrome browser, which is made to look similar to a Windows desktop.
You’ll find a much more stripped-down settings panel, which for some users might be welcome, but that others will find restricting.
Web Applications vs Downloaded Software
One of the biggest differences between a Chromebook and a normal Laptop is that Chromebooks are designed to use web-based applications. When you launch an app, it will open in a new tab in Chrome.
Normal laptops allow you to download software and use it from your PC. This includes programs like Photoshop, iTunes, Skype, QuickBooks, etc.
This is a big limitation of the Chrome operating system, which doesn’t accommodate software run from a hard drive, and instead is geared to have you use everything in a browser.
You can also download certain apps to run on Chromebook, but they’re not always designed for the environment (being made for smartphones or tablets), so may not look native to the notebook.
Pricing is one of the first things that people notice about Chromebook and what may draw them over when they’re walking the aisles at Best Buy or Walmart.
Chromebooks start at less than $200. Typically, the lowest priced laptops you can get are roughly double that, unless you get something really stripped down with little memory.
Because the Chromebook is designed for cloud and web over all, they will typically have much less storage space on the hard drive than a normal laptop.
For example, it’s not hard to find lower priced laptops with 500GB hard drives standard, but when you look over Chromebooks, their storage capacity is typically less than 50GB.
Which Device Should You Choose?
Chromebooks are very popular for students as 1:1 classroom devices and for use at home by children because they’re streamlined and inexpensive. They also have far fewer settings and do not have the ability to download software to the hard drive, making them less susceptible to user errors or security problems.
If you work mainly with web applications and are just looking for something to use that’s bigger than a tablet and gives you the flexibility of a keyboard and mouse, then Chromebook could be an excellent option.
If you’re traveling overseas and just need a notebook to access online apps and web-based activities, then it could also be safer than bringing along a more expensive laptop, should it be damaged, lost, or stolen.
If you need to use software on your computer, whether it’s an industry-specific software or programs like Photoshop or QuickBooks, then you’ll want to stick with a standard laptop.
Laptops are going to be the best choice for most companies and at-home workers, so they’ll have the flexibility of running the programs they need to and work either online or offline.
With Chromebook being so tied to online application use, if you don’t have an internet connection, the notebook won’t be of much use, which makes a laptop much more flexible to work how and where you need to.
Choose the Best Technology for Classroom or Business
When choosing technology for the classroom, for remote work, or for your Lake Okeechobee business, you don’t want to make a costly mistake. Working with Cris’s Tech Repair can ensure you choose the best technology for your needs and keep it properly maintained.
Schedule a computer consultation today by calling 561-985-4961 or contacting us online.