Laptop vs Chromebook | What is the Difference

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What is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Chromebook

If you’ve looked for a new laptop recently, you must have encountered a Chromebook somewhere.

A Chromebook resembles any other laptop but mostly comes at a lower price. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t get your money’s worth.

Depending on your use, a Chromebook can suit you better than a conventional Laptop.

Besides, you should be able to research before choosing between a Laptop and a Chromebook.

Granted, there could be significant confusion between buying a Laptop and a Chromebook.

This article will dispel all your doubts and give you a better understanding of the difference between a Laptop and a Chromebook, their pros and cons, and any other difference that matters.

Buying Laptop vs. Chromebook – Which is the Better Choice

Laptop vs Chromebook

A Laptop and a Chromebook – Which is the better choice

When you decide to buy a convenient, lightweight laptop computer, you need to consider the type of operating system you would require, the overall versatility of the computer to make your tasks more efficient, etc.

A Notebook and Chromebook are both laptops that can replace the desktop computer for everyday tasks.

These are more advantageous than a conventional desktop PC because they are incredibly lightweight, smaller, and portable.

However, there are some significant differences between a Laptop and a Chromebook, such as:

What is a Laptop

A Laptop is a portable personal computer. Laptops with significantly smaller sizes are often referred to as Notebooks.

These laptops and notebooks can perform all the tasks a conventional desktop computer can; however, the main difference is the former’s portability.

Think of a Notebook laptop as a miniature version of your computer that has an on-screen keyboard with a trackpad/trackball and is powered by a battery.

A notebook laptop mainly runs on Mac or Windows operating systems.

They are equipped to run all software and apps on conventional computers.

A Notebook laptop consumes less power and has significant processing power and RAM to handle multiple tasks easily.

However, laptops usually come with a higher price tag than personal computers.

What is a Chromebook

On the other hand, a Chromebook is a new take on Notebook laptops and runs on a Linux-based Chrome Operating System (Chrome OS).

This OS runs directly on an internet connection. A Chromebook differs from a Notebook laptop in several ways, with their distinct operating systems being the main difference.

Another significant difference is that a Chromebook is an online-only computer that requires an internet connection to work, as most of its tasks are cloud-powered.

In essence, a Chromebook is like a laptop but with fewer complications.

Chromebooks are incredibly lightweight as they don’t need loads of RAM or heavy processing power. As they rely on cloud services and Google apps to work.

Chromebook laptops have become increasingly popular among students because of their sleek design and easy-to-use features.

Although a Chromebook can’t replace a Notebook laptop, they are handy for particular tasks. Chrome OS looks very similar to Windows OS but is extremely lightweight.

You can store music, images, videos, and document files on a Chromebook like on a Notebook laptop. Still, all these files are stored on cloud servers instead of the Chromebook’s internal memory.

A Chromebook can easily sync with Android devices by logging into your Google account.

Besides this, a Chromebook is programmed to update automatically, which relieves you of the task of downloading and installing updates manually.

What are the Main Differences Between a Laptop and a Chromebook

Now that you know the basic features of the two, let’s take a closer look at the main differences between a Laptop and a Chromebook:

What is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Chromebook

What are the main differences between a Laptop and a Chromebook

1. Operating System (OS)

The operating system is the main difference between Notebook laptops and Chromebooks.

A Notebook usually runs on Windows or Mac OS, which are conventional operating systems for computers and laptops.

On the other hand, a Chromebook is powered by Google’s Chrome OS, which is essentially a simpler version of the Chrome web browser.

2. Cloud Server

Conventional laptops, like Notebooks, require significant computing power derived from RAM and processors.

However, Chrome OS is a web browser with additional features and functions.

This operating system relies entirely on Google’s online services, like Google Docs, Drive, Gmail, etc.

A Chromebook is cloud-based, and its applications and software are all stored on the cloud server instead of on the device itself.

3. Storage Space

A Notebook laptop needs high-end SSDs or disk drives for local storage, whereas a Chromebook is designed mainly for online use.

Hence, a Chromebook stores everything on the cloud server, such as your Google Drive. Additionally, you can increase your device memory using USB or SD cards.

4. MS Office

Microsoft Office is an essential tool found in all Windows-powered laptops. However, MS Office’s traditional desktop versions are not compatible with Chromebooks.

You can use Microsoft Office through Android Apps or web-based versions. Also, Microsoft’s cloud-based office automation features, such as One Note, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.

In addition, you can also choose to use Google Docs and Google Sheets as alternates for MS Word and MS Excel.

Remember that a Chromebook is not designed to download and install applications but relies on web-based apps.

5. Printer Connectivity

Chromebooks now use native printing (CUPS) instead of Google Cloud Print, which was discontinued at the end of 2020.

6. Gaming

Cloud gaming services such as Google Stadia can expand the range of games you can play on Chromebooks. When the games run in the cloud, the demand on the local hardware is not as intense. If you are a fan of specific local games, then you might want to consider a laptop instead of a Chromebook.

Although some games are compatible with Chromebooks, not all PC games are compatible with running on a Chromebook.

Some device-agnostic games like Minecraft can be played on Chromebook with a few tweaks.

7. Battery Life

Depending on the hardware setup and usage, Chromebooks can have a battery life of up to 10 hours after a full charge. The average battery life of laptops is around 5 hours, though this can vary significantly based on the model and usage.


The operating system is the main factor of distinction between a Notebook laptop and a Chromebook.

The two might look similar, but they have distinct features and functions. Getting 100GB of free cloud storage is a big plus for Chromebook users compared to traditional laptop users.

See Also

Best Chromebook for Kids

Best Laptops for College Students

Best Gaming Laptops Under 1500