Chromebook vs Laptop

What is the difference between tablet and Chromebook?

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Chromebook vs. laptop: Which is right for me?

Decisions, decisions. A traditional Laptop or a Chromebook? You want a thin and light PC, but which of these portable systems is best for you?

Does a laptop's overall versatility make it the better option? Or is a Chromebook's minimalistic operating system (OS) and web-based usability more suited to your needs? Keep reading to learn the differences between a Chromebook and a standard laptop, the relative advantages of each device, and which one will serve your needs with the most overall value.

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What's the difference between a Chromebook and a laptop?

While both laptops and Chromebooks are portable PCs intended to be used anywhere a computer is needed – say, at a desk, on the couch, or while traveling – there are many differences between the two devices, some of which may be critical to your buying decision.

Differences between Chromebooks and traditional laptops

Technically, both standard laptops and Chromebooks are “laptops,” in that each device is portable and can be operated while resting on your lap. There’s more to it, of course. Here’s a quick look at how laptops and Chromebooks differ:

  • Laptops

    Most users are already familiar with laptops. A laptop is controlled by a PC operating system such as Microsoft Windows 10 that provides the familiar "desktop" workspace where you launch programs, write documents, save files, and so on. Hundreds of gigabytes (at least) of internal storage are provided either by a spinning hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). Laptops may also have added features such as optical drives (i.e., DVD, CD, etc.), and multiple ports to connect external devices and accessories.

    For instance, Lenovo Legion laptops are engineered to be the ultimate gaming machines. The Lenovo ThinkPad series caters more to enterprise and professional users. In fact, there are so many different kinds of laptops that for some buyers, shopping for a simple-but-powerful Chromebook will seem like a breath of fresh air.

  • Chromebooks

    Unlike laptops that can slow-down when low on memory or accessing internal storage components, Chromebooks operate somewhat differently:

    • Chrome OS: Chromebooks are powered by the lightweight (compared to Windows) Google Chrome OS, which uses the Chrome web browser as the primary user interface (UI). Nearly everything is done online within the Chrome browser or via the cloud – improving system speed and efficiency across the board.
    • Browser-based web apps: Chromebooks are built to use web-based applications rather than software you load into local storage. Web-based apps can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Simply enter the URL of the web-based tool and start being productive.
    • Memory and cloud storage: Another advantage of web-based apps is that they typically reduce demands on your RAM. And while there is some local storage on a Chromebook, users typically save their documents, photos, music, and other files on the cloud, with convenient features for syncing and storing data across devices (e.g., your Chromebook, tablet, and smartphone).
  • Chromebooks rarely sport the latest, fastest processors because they don’t need them. And many features are intentionally absent, such as advanced graphics cards, large storage drives, and so on – all to make Chromebooks more lightweight and streamlined compared to regular laptops.

    Of course, Chromebooks are less customizable than laptops. They offer a certain feature set, and that’s that. (To learn more about Chromebooks, visit “What is a Chromebook?”)

How are laptops and Chromebooks similar?

Some of the points mentioned here are not exclusive to one system or another. Laptops can use cloud storage and web applications, just like laptops. Chromebooks have multiple ports and USBs, just fewer of them than many laptops.

The essential difference between Chromebooks and standard laptops will always be the Chrome OS and how it impacts operations. Still, there are several categories where Chromebooks and laptops score roughly equally:

  • Battery life: Laptop battery life has improved over the years, partly because designers have found ways to add more and bigger batteries without making them too heavy. Chromebooks have less room for big batteries but get more out them, thanks to their lightweight OS.
  • Portability: All Chromebooks are designed to be extremely thin and light. Laptops have a far wider range of sizes and weights, but you can easily find a Chromebook-sized laptop. Lenovo’s Ideapad series has many options that compare to the ultraportable Chromebook.
  • Durability: Laptops with sturdy frames and keyboards have long been popular for military and heavy-duty industrial use. Chromebooks are catching up, with fewer moving parts and features like rubber bumpers, reinforced ports, and stronger corners to limit damage from accidental drops.

Plus, as the Chrome OS evolves, more PC-like capabilities become available. For example, some Chromebooks now provide an optional Windows-style desktop. Likewise, PC operating systems are in some ways becoming more Chrome-like. Windows 10 runs its basic apps similar the way the Chrome OS does. And you can obtain more apps on the Microsoft Store, just as you can get them from the Chrome Web Store and Google Play.

Chromebook vs Laptop

At first sight, laptops, and Chromebooks might appear similar. However, once you look closer, it soon becomes clear that there are a few key differences that make the question of Chromebook vs laptop an important choice in the purchase process. Read on to learn about the main differentiators.

Chromebook vs Laptop difference

On the outside, Chromebooks and laptops have a lot in common, both are portable PCs (Personal Computers) that allow you to take them anywhere so you can work from home in comfort, in the office, or while traveling. Laptops rely on Windows and Linux, and some can also support Chrome OS (Operating Systems) as the operating system. Laptops have large, built-in hard drives either via a traditional spinning hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD). Chromebooks however solely run on Chrome OS. This operating system runs most applications and cloud storage means Chromebooks achieve unparalleled portability and are a go-to choose for many. You can see the main differences of Chromebooks vs laptops below:

Feature Chromebook Laptop
Operating System Chrome OS, a lightweight and web-based operating system Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS
Applications Primarily web-based applications and Android apps Wide range of desktop applications and web-based applications
Performance Lower performance due to low-power processors and limited storage Higher performance with more powerful processors and larger storage capacity
Price Lower priced than traditional laptops Wide range of prices, from budget to high-end
Battery Life Longer battery life due to lower power consumption Varies depending on the model and usage
Storage Typically, limited storage capacity, relying on cloud storage Wide range of storage options, including hard disk drives and solid-state drives
Compatibility May have compatibility issues with certain applications and peripherals Compatible with a wide range of applications and peripherals
Portability Lightweight and portable, with smaller screens Varies depending on the model, but typically less portable than Chromebooks
Offline Capability Limited offline capability, relying heavily on internet connectivity Most applications and data can be accessed and used offline

What can and can’t a Chromebook do?

Chromebooks offer fast boot up time, and excellent battery life. They are less prone to viruses, and are lightweight and compact and, more affordable than a traditional laptop. On the flipside, the lighter, less powerful Chromebook have minimal local storage. Additionally, it is hard to work or print offline on these machines since most everything is saved in the cloud. There are no advanced gaming or high-quality video or photoshop capabilities.

Can Chromebooks be used for gaming?

Technically speaking, Chromebooks can be used for gaming, however, laptops will outperform Chromebooks when it comes to both speed, power, and graphical capability. With a Chromebook you may encounter performance and graphical issues as it attempts to keep up with the high demands placed on the processors. You may also find limitations with the selection of games you can play due to a lack of internal hardware storage. If you are serious about gaming the obvious option is a more powerful laptop for gaming- like the Lenovo Legion. It is made specifically for gaming and can support the processing requirements for a smooth immersive experience.

What is the best Chromebook?

You can have peace of mind that Lenovo Chromebooks have built-in virus protection and automatic updates; exactly which model depends on you. There is no one size fits all solution, literally; Lenovo offers a range of Chromebooks from smaller more portable screens to 14” models and larger. There is a style and spec for everyone, from flip screens, 2-in-1s, or standard laptop-style designs. In addition to this versatility, with exceptional battery life in comparison to many laptops on the market, you will be able to enjoy, work, leisure, and study activities all in one charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better, a Chromebook or a laptop?

The choice between Chromebook or laptop is all about ensuring you choose a PC (Personal Computers) that fits your lifestyle and has the capabilities you need. If you want a light laptop, that supports primarily web-based applications, unlimited cloud storage options, exceptional battery life, built-in antivirus software, and automatic updates then a Lenovo Chromebook is for you. Alternatively, if you need larger built-in storage, and high processing power for activities such as gaming or streaming then a laptop may be better suited.

Can a Chromebook do everything a laptop can?

Chromebooks are unique, and although they cannot do everything that a laptop can, what they do is executed well. If you want to work, edit, write, or binge-watch your favourite shows, Chromebook has you covered. Cloud-based storage means you have unlimited online storage options, and you can pick up where you left off on any device anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. Although Chromebooks do have some in-build storage capacity, working offline may be limited. In addition to this, you are restricted to Chromebook-compatible applications and have compatibility issues due to certain applications and peripherals

How is a Chromebook different from a laptop?

Chromebook vs laptop, is a common question and you may be asking, which device is best suited to your requirements? Both are essentially portable computers, but Chromebooks tend to be lighter, smaller, and therefore the preferred choice for working from home or a digital nomad lifestyle so you can work on the go. A Chromebook is different as it offers you something no other device can. Chromebook offers you a simple, reliable, and affordable device with a streamlined operating system without the unnecessary applications, storage, and functions of a laptop that many people use and ends up slowing down the device.

What is a Chromebook best used for?

If you do most of your work on web-based apps and rarely require storage outside of the cloud, they are an excellent choice. Chromebooks are great devices for anyone. If you are a busy digital nomad this grab-and-go device is super portable, lightweight, and functional. Alternatively, if you’re an office warrior or work-from-home expert the Chromebook can also cater to your research, writing, or other light work activities while cloud storage means you can alternate devices and work from anywhere anytime.

Why would I buy a Chromebook instead of a laptop?

Chromebooks are ideal if you travel a lot and need a reliable, lightweight computer to access internet-based information and Chrome applications. Chromebooks won’t leave you disappointed. They are a cost-effective option compared to a laptop of the same specs, but this does not mean you compromise on any of the essentials such as function, design, battery life, or security. For example, Chromebooks offer a longer battery life than many laptops which makes them a great choice if you are working away from a reliable power supply for outside for extended lengths of time.

Why are Chromebooks so cheap compared to laptops?

Due to the minimal operating system and cloud-based storage, the Chromebook is a stripped-back version of a laptop, allowing for just essential functions. The price reflects this and is much more affordable as you’re not paying for additional storage or processing power you don’t need or won’t use. For web browsing and other activities that still prioritize your user experience and security then one of the many Chromebooks offered by Lenovo could be exactly what you have been looking for. They offer a range of styles, designs, and specs for all budgets, so you get an affordable device without compromising on what you want.

Laptop Sizes

Lenovo offers laptops in a variety of sizes, from compact 11-inch models to larger 17-inch models. If you're looking for a laptop that's easy to carry around, the 11-inch model might be the perfect fit for you. For those who need a larger screen for work or entertainment, the 17-inch model offers a spacious display. Lenovo also offers 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch models, so you can choose the size that works best for your needs. From mice to headsets to power cords and more, Lenovo is your stop for a great selection of computer accessories too!

Here are the direct links to some of Lenovo's most popular laptop size categories:

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