Chromebook vs laptop: what can i and can’t do with my Chromebook?


Acer’s updated two-in-one Chromebook Spin 713 is the first with Thunderbolt 4 support and is verified by Intel Evo.

Josh Goldman / topwatchbest

Chromebooks are a tempting option for budget-conscious people, especially if you’re looking new computer which you can easily take with you. The most important thing to keep in mind when comparing a laptop to a Chromebook is that it’s not an apple-to-apple comparison. The main difference, apart from the price, is the operating system. If you are used to using Windows or Mac operating systemminimalist google Chrome the operating system may not have all the features it needs. But on the other hand, maybe it is, and on some Chromebooks even submersion below $ 300maybe you’ll save a ton of cash by deleting features you don’t use anyway.

Read more: Best Laptop under $ 500 for 2022

When Chromebooks the first arrived in 2011 were routinely ridiculed – and rightly so – due to their limited functionality and dependence on a persistent internet connection. Last year, the operating system turned 10 years old and Chromebooks today, which come in both versions laptop and two in one projects are a long way from where they started, but some things haven’t changed and you may not want to work with the constraints they have. (Also, if you don’t feel like reading this and prefer to just experience Chrome OS, here’s how to temporarily run it on any laptop using an inexpensive flash drive you are probably already lying.)

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Here’s why a Chromebook might be enough for your laptop


What can I and can’t do on a Chromebook?

When Chrome OS started up, it was basically Google Chrome web browser. To those used to operating systems like Windows and Mac, the average Chromebook seemed like nothing more than a laptop with a web browser, and that’s about it.

Even if Chrome OS has never matured, the fact remains that quite a lot can be done online these days. Take a look at everything you do on a daily basis and you may find there’s nothing you can’t accomplish with Chrome at its most basic level.

That said, a Windows laptop or MacBook can run Chrome as well as other software supported by these operating systems. Even if you don’t need specific software right away, it’s still fun to have an option. Plus, if you’re buying a remote-learning Chromebook with Google Classroom, a Windows-based Mac or PC also works.


Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a premium model with better performance than most.

Josh Goldman / topwatchbest

As such, Chromebooks are not natively compatible with either Windows or Mac software. Companies can use VMware on Chromebooks to run Windows applications but it’s not an easy option for most Chromebook owners. However it is Linux software supportplus current models can run Android applications there are also web applications that are available via Google Chrome online store. Also, if you’re considering your Chromebook as an accessory, you can use Windows or Mac software on your Chromebook with Chrome Remote Desktop feature and it actually works really well!

Read more: How to buy a laptop to edit photos, videos or other creative tasks?

One of the biggest hurdles for many people is access to Microsoft Office. You cannot install the full version of Office software for Windows or MacOS computers on a Chromebook, but you can use Office 365 online and install progressive Office web applications. PWA applications work like mobile applications, so you can use them offline, receive notifications and pin them to the taskbar. But overall, if you need or want a specific Windows or Mac app – and there’s no suitable replacement for a web app or Android app, and VMware isn’t an option – don’t buy a Chromebook.

Also, if you need advanced photo and video editing capabilities, you’ll need a Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop. Basic photo and video editing is fine, but Chromebooks typically don’t offer the graphics performance you need for demanding tasks or reinstall Windows or Mac software and games. On the other hand, thanks to streaming services like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna and Xbox cloud gamesChromebooks can now be used not only in Android games and browsers. You can also install and play Linux games, but you need a taller Chromebook for that. In addition, there are several Android apps for editing photos and videos, including Adobe options.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

Today’s Chromebooks like the Asus CM5 are ready to play cloud gaming services, Android games, and even Linux games.

Josh Goldman / topwatchbest

What is a good Chromebook?

A few years ago, all Chromebooks were pretty much the same, no matter what company made them. Today, there is a much greater variety of laptops and two-in-one devices – convertibles and tablets – that take advantage of the current capabilities of Chrome OS. When it comes to Windows laptops, you’ll still find more sizes and styles, especially if you need top processing and graphics performance, but the variety of options is much better than in the past.

If you’re looking for a good, basic Chromebook experience, a small, lightweight operating system has minimal hardware requirements, and the same goes for web apps. Having a faster, higher-end CPU, more memory, and more storage space for files and applications will help keep discerning people multi-tasking at bay; An Intel Core i-series or AMD Ryzen processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB SSD for storage will take you far, but they will certainly increase the cost. Here’s what I recommend if someone asks me what base Chromebook spec to look for:

  • Intel Celeron or Pentium, Qualcomm or MediaTek processors
  • 4 GB of memory
  • 64 GB of memory
  • Full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels)

These recommendations provide flexibility. You can get a display with a resolution of 1366×768, for example, but the cheap ones used in weaker Chromebooks look especially soft compared to the Full HD models. You can get by with 32GB of onboard storage as long as there’s a microSD card slot to top it off or you don’t plan on downloading a lot of Android apps. Unlike a regular laptop, a Chromebook uses cloud file storage more than local storage. It’s also worth noting that many times your storage and memory are soldered and can’t be upgraded after the fact, so plan ahead.

Whatever Chromebook you buy, you should check what the device is before you buy it Automatic update expiration dateor AUE. Currently, non-Google hardware is only supported for that long before it stops receiving Chrome OS and browser updates, including security updates. For models released now, the date is around seven to eight years from the first release of the device, but this is not always the case. Google maintains a list of AUE dates for all models and you should check it out before purchasing your Chromebook, new or used.

Do Chromebooks require an internet connection?

When Chromebooks first booted up, they basically became paperweights when they were offline – a real problem if you were in the process of editing an important document that suddenly couldn’t be saved because your internet connection was disconnected. Fortunately, things have improved as Google has improved offline capabilities, and popular apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify also have offline options.

To read: The Best VPNs for 2022

With a regular laptop, being offline is a bit less of a problem as you are using software installed that saves data to internal memory. While none of these experiences are good offline at the moment, Chromebooks aren’t a good choice if you don’t want and can’t be online most of the time. On the other hand, Google has made it very easy for Android users to turn their phones into instant mobile hotspots and own Chromebooks and Android devices work better together.

Are Chromebooks Cheap?

Due to the low hardware requirements of the Chrome operating system, Chromebooks can not only be lighter and smaller than the average laptop, but are also generally cheaper.

The new $ 200 Windows laptops are very rare and, frankly, are rarely worth buying. Finding a good $ 200 Chromebookon the other hand, it is quite easy to do. When you spend more, you’ll get better build quality, more features, or higher performance, even these premium Chromebooks typically start at $ 400 to $ 500, but can easily generate over $ 1,000 depending on your needs.

For Windows laptops, it typically takes $ 700 or more to get a thin, lightweight model with decent performance and battery life that will maintain its performance for years to come.

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

The simplicity of the Chromebook is unbeatable. If everything you do can be done in your web browser or web or Android apps, there’s no reason not to use your Chrome device. Though with support for Android, Linux, Parallels, and VMware, you can do much more today than when it first came out in 2011.

Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review.

Josh Goldman / topwatchbest

With a wide range of designs, sizes and styles that can be configured with different types of components and available at prices ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars, a Windows or Mac laptop offers a greater variety of performance and usage, especially if you want to easily use software or play games only available on these operating systems.

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Here’s why a Chromebook might be enough for your laptop


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