What Is a Chromebook? | Chromebook vs Laptop

Widespread Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen
360 General Score
$2,279.00 & up
1 12 months
8 – 16 GB

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Macbook Air M1
360 General Score
$999.00 & up
1 12 months
8 – 16 GB

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HP Envy x360 13-inch

Greatest 2-in-1 Laptop computer

360 General Score
$699.99 & up
1 12 months
 8 – 16 GB

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Chromebooks are web-centric laptops that run Google’s Chrome working system (OS). Chrome OS is constructed across the Chrome browser, which runs web-based apps like Gmail and Google Docs, in addition to some apps from third-party distributors. Most Chromebooks may also run Android apps. This strategy often makes a Chromebook comparatively low upkeep, with all software program up to date robotically and all of your information and settings synced to Google’s cloud for simple backup and restoration. It additionally requires much less computing energy and storage, which signifies that most Chromebooks value significantly lower than Home windows and Mac laptops. This has fueled their popularity in schools and different locations that want cheap laptops for fundamental computing.


If you happen to spend a lot of your time in your laptop computer or desktop laptop utilizing solely your net browser, you have already got a style of the Chromebook expertise. Google announced Chrome OS in 2009 primarily based on the notion {that a} browser able to operating net apps utilizing a Wi-Fi connection would offer a lot of the utility of a Home windows PC or a Mac.

There’s no software program to put in on a Chromebook within the conventional sense. As an alternative, you utilize net apps you’ll be able to bookmark on any web site, equivalent to Google Docs, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, or the Zoom video convention app. Many of those can help offline modes as they do in browsers on different computer systems. Alternatively, you should use net apps from Google’s Chrome Net Retailer. These run outdoors of the Chrome browser in their very own home windows and may operate offline. Virtually all Chromebooks additionally support Google’s Play Store for Android, permitting you to run many (however not all) Android apps in separate home windows.

Chrome OS, primarily based on a model of the open-source Linux working system, basically maintains itself, downloading and putting in updates robotically. Though Chromebooks embody their very own native storage, their solid-state drives (SSDs) are usually a lot smaller than these of Home windows laptops as a result of Chrome OS wants a lot much less house. Chromebooks additionally persistently boot up a lot quicker than Home windows or Mac laptops. However as a result of most run on the identical Intel processors as Home windows and older Mac laptops, they usually don’t supply significantly better battery life.

Chrome OS backs up information like photos, music, and movies to Google Drive, with 100 gigabytes (GB) of storage free the primary yr after which $19.99 a yr after that. As a result of all your information and settings are robotically synced to Google’s cloud-based servers, there’s no want to fret about manually backing up information. Switching to a brand new Chromebook merely entails signing into your account after which ready for every part to sync over to the brand new laptop. If a Chromebook runs right into a software program glitch, you’ll be able to reset the machine and get all of your information, apps, and settings again in minutes.

The Chrome OS structure permits for all kinds of designs, starting from thin-and-light fashions that may look extra like tablets with exterior keyboards, to bigger Chromebooks with the identical display sizes and vary of enlargement ports as new Home windows or Mac laptops.

Greatest Chromebooks of 2021

cide if a Chromebook Will Work for You

For a Chromebook to satisfy your wants, the apps you utilize most frequently should have good web-based equivalents. That is usually the case. For instance, Microsoft’s Workplace now provides a full suite of net apps for phrase processing, spreadsheets, and displays, and video chat apps like Zoom additionally help Chromebooks. However different generally used apps, equivalent to Apple’s FaceTime video chat, Adobe’s Photoshop picture editor, and virtually all Home windows video games, haven’t any net equal.

Additionally, you will must be comfy with Google accessing your information as a result of Chromebooks lean closely on its companies. You possibly can nonetheless use different mail companies that provide their very own net apps, equivalent to Outlook, however app set up and information backup use Google’s cloud-based servers.

se a 2-in-1 or Commonplace Laptop computer Design

Virtually all Chromebooks appear to be a standard laptop computer, with a display and keyboard related by a hinge, and the processor and different inside parts beneath the keyboard. As with some Home windows laptops, a couple of Chromebooks sport a 2-in-1 design; that’s, they incorporate a 360-degree hinge or removable keyboard that means that you can use the Chromebook as a contact display pill. These 2-in-1 designs often value somewhat extra however present appreciable comfort.

our Processor, Storage, and Reminiscence Wants

Most Chromebooks run on Intel processors, however many characteristic older and slower chips than the newer processors in present Home windows PCs. You may not discover a lot of a distinction, although, as a result of Chrome OS apps usually require much less processing energy than many Home windows and macOS apps.

Chrome OS occupies a lot much less house than Home windows and doesn’t require a whole lot of extra storage for put in applications. If you wish to have numerous media information to take pleasure in offline, you will want an SSD with sufficient room to your images and movies. The bottom-priced Chromebooks, at $200 or much less, supply solely 16 GB of storage, which in follow would require you to maintain all your information within the cloud. At $400 and up, 64 GB SSDs are the norm. In greater value brackets, 128 GB SSDs are broadly accessible, with some as massive as 1 terabyte (TB).

As for reminiscence, all however a couple of bargain-priced Chromebooks characteristic 4 GB of RAM, with 8 GB being the commonest. Some higher-end fashions embody 16 GB, however most customers don’t want that a lot as a result of Chrome OS apps do not require as a lot reminiscence to function as many Home windows and macOS apps.


Chromebook display sizes vary from 10 inches to greater than 15 inches. For many, 13- or 14-inch shows in high-definition decision ought to suffice. We suggest getting a contact display, particularly when you plan to put in Android apps.

Having greater than a few USB ports – ideally each customary USB-A and newer USB-C – ought to make sure you don’t must unplug one gadget to plug in one other. If the Chromebook prices by way of USB-C moderately than with a proprietary charger, it is going to be simpler to borrow another person’s charger if obligatory.

A backlit keyboard, which is widespread on most fashions, eases typing in darkened rooms. Lastly, biometric authentication with a fingerprint reader provides further safety and frees you from having to sort a password each time.


Skilled reviewers say that battery life could be a tie breaker between in any other case worthwhile Chromebooks, so be sure the mannequin you get has a battery that may final so long as you want. Examine costs and supply instances at electronics retailers and on the seller’s web site, after which make your buy.

Home windows and Mac laptops are constructed to run offline, whereas Chromebooks assume you might have an web connection. In follow, the variations blur considerably. Home windows and Mac customers now spend a lot of their time on the internet and utilizing net apps, whereas each Chrome OS apps and Android apps put in on Chromebooks can run offline. That mentioned, in case your web connection drops, a standard laptop computer might be extra helpful.

As a result of Chromebooks run a easy working system, they boot up a lot faster, require no fussing with software program updates, and are rather more proof against malware. Chrome OS has far fewer reported security vulnerabilities than macOS or Home windows, and it is simpler to get well when you do endure a malware assault: Merely reset the laptop computer utilizing the “powerwash” command, and you will get a clear, verified set up of the working system. After that, check in along with your Google account and every part might be restored from the cloud. No Home windows or Mac laptop computer can match this ease of upkeep.

By way of the precise {hardware}, many Chromebooks and Home windows laptops will be laborious to differentiate from a distance, as each help such options as contact screens and 2-in-1 convertible designs.

How A lot Do Chromebooks Value?

You should purchase a Chromebook for below $200 when you’re not too choosy. A $400 to $500 price range will get you all kinds of Chromebooks with present parts, ample storage, and even 2-in-1 convertibility. It’s troublesome to spend greater than $1,000 on a Chromebook with out splurging on such pointless options as a 4K extremely high-definition (UHD) display.

Can You Use a Chromebook Offline?

Generally. Simply as you should use Gmail and Google Docs offline in a Home windows or Mac browser, many Chrome apps support offline modes through which they retailer your information on the Chromebook after which sync it again up when you’re on-line once more. You may also open any media information saved on the Chromebook’s solid-state drive.

How Lengthy Is the Battery Lifetime of a Chromebook?

Chromebooks have about the identical vary of battery life as Home windows laptops. Small, low cost fashions will solely run for a couple of hours on a cost, whereas batteries on the best-designed fashions exceed 10 hours.

How Sturdy Is a Chromebook?

Each Chromebooks and most new Home windows and macOS laptops use SSDs, that are extra sturdy than older laborious drives that was widespread in computer systems. In consequence, there’s no distinction in general sturdiness of Chromebooks versus Home windows or Mac laptops.

Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook

To take an image of the complete display, press the Ctrl key and the “present all home windows” key (the one that appears like a rectangle with two vertical traces to its proper). To seize a part of the display, press the Ctrl, Alt, and the show-all-windows key, then draw a rectangle across the portion you need. Both approach, the picture might be ready within the Pictures folder of your Recordsdata app.

Copy and Paste on a Chromebook

Home windows customers could have nothing new to study, as the very same keyboard shortcuts work in Chrome OS, together with Ctrl-C to repeat and Ctrl-V to stick. (For Mac customers, the Command key takes the place of the Ctrl key on this operation.) You may also use the touchpad; choose the textual content you need, faucet two fingers, and choose “Copy” from the menu that may seem. Then place the cursor the place you wish to paste the textual content, faucet two fingers, and select “Paste” from the pop-up menu.

Greatest Laptops of 2021

If you happen to assume you may want a Home windows or Mac laptop computer as an alternative of a Chromebook, take a look at our ranking of the Greatest Laptops of 2021.

Study Extra

For extra data on laptops, see the next guides.

Different Guides from 360 Evaluations

You may additionally have an interest within the following opinions of associated companies.

Our 360 Methodology for Evaluating Laptops

We clarify what issues most to customers, consultants, {and professional} reviewers on the subject of laptops. Then we offer an unbiased analysis of laptops accessible on the time of our evaluate. Our objective is to empower customers with the data and instruments they should make knowledgeable choices. Extra details about our 360 Evaluations methodology for evaluating laptops is right here.

U.S. Information 360 Evaluations takes an unbiased strategy to our suggestions. While you use our hyperlinks to purchase merchandise, we could earn a fee however that under no circumstances impacts our editorial independence.

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