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Chromebook vs Windows laptop : which is better?

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If you are thinking of buying a new laptop, you may have noticed that there are three types: those that work with Windows 10, Apple’s MacBooks and a third type called Chromebooks, which use the Google operating system.

Chromebooks tend to be cheaper, and in recent years their popularity has grown for use at home, in the office, and in the classroom. So what is a Chromebook? Why should you choose it over a Windows PC?

Chromebook Pros

  • Usually cheaper
  • You don’t need antivirus or security software
  • Most are compatible with Android apps (including Microsoft Office)

Cons of Chromebooks

  • Not ideal for video or audio editing
  • Limited storage
  • They are not compatible with Windows apps

What is a Chromebook?

Chromebook is a lot like a Windows laptop. Both have keyboards, trackpads , displays, ports for connecting peripherals, some have touchscreens, all offer Internet access with their browsers and can run a wide variety of apps.

What differentiates them is that they use different operating systems. While Windows computers and laptops use Windows 10, Chromebooks run on ChromeOS, Google’s operating system.

Is that really important? For most people, no. In fact, you might not notice the difference. With ChromeOS, the Chrome browser will appear to be your entire operating system.

If you think about it, most of us always have the browser open on our laptops, whether for personal or professional use. We use it to access the Internet and make purchases online , check social networks, play videos, and so on.

 

There are, as in everything, pros and cons of using Chromebooks or Windows laptops. Next, we analyze what they are.

Does Microsoft Office work on Chromebooks?

One of the first questions that arise is whether the Chromebooks can run the suite office automation of Microsoft Office , with programs like Word or Excel. The answer is yes, although not the full version you get with Windows computers.

You have two options if you want to use these apps on your Chromebook: either get them through the Google Chrome Store or bet on the Android apps. In any case, you can create, read and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

That means you can collaborate with your co-workers using Word or Excel, and it is also very useful for the little ones who have to do their homework. Of course, for now the Android version of OneDrive is not compatible with Chromebooks.

In case you need a word processor, a spreadsheet editor or a slideshow tool, you can opt for Google’s own apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides), which are designed precisely for Chromebooks and are free.

Can Windows run on a Chromebook?

No. The operating system for Chromebooks is ChromeOS, and there is no way to install Windows in its place. Yes, you can use Linux and, in fact, in certain circles it is a very popular option, but it is not recommended for most users.

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Why is Chromebook storage so limited?

Something that you will quickly realize when comparing Chromebooks with Windows laptops is that the former have a much smaller hard drive or SSD than the latter. This is for two reasons.

On the one hand, ChromeOS is a very light system, so you do not need the 20 GB or more that Windows 10 does. On the other hand, most apps are designed to be used in the cloud, so your data is stored on Google Drive or similar services.

If you are someone who prefers to store your photos, music and other documents on your computer, then perhaps the 32 GB or 64 GB of storage space that Chromebooks usually offer will not be enough.

As an alternative, you can use external memory , which has the added benefit of being able to take your music collection from one place to another and access it from any other computer. Of course, you must buy it separately.

In general, Chromebooks are cheaper than Windows laptops, and that is because they do not offer the same level of hardware and their components manage to offer the same power. There are obviously exceptions, like Google’s Pixelbook.

For the € 1000 it costs, we would be hard pressed to recommend that you buy a Chromebook before a Windows laptop like the Dell XPS 13 or the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 , since these two offer much more versatility.

Do Chromebooks work with Android mobiles?

Yes, and because Google is responsible for the operating systems of both devices, you can easily share documents, send and receive text messages from a Chromebook, unlock one or the other when you are close, and so on.

Do Chromebooks Work With iPhones?

Not in the same way as an Android. You can connect your iPhone to the Chromebook using a USB cable, which will allow you to transfer photos and videos, but you will not be able to benefit from all the advantages mentioned above.

Of course, apps like Google Photos and Google Drive make it much easier to have all your photos and documents in sync. You can also log into your iCloud account to access your mail, contacts, photos, calendar, notes, and more.

Can you use a Chromebook offline?

When Chromebooks were first introduced, the idea is that you always had to use them connected to the Internet. Over time, this has changed, so you can already use many apps even without being connected to Wi-Fi.

Google Docs is a clear example, since you can create and edit documents on your hard drive and then synchronize the changes when you reconnect to the Internet. The Play Store has a section of apps that you can use offline and many Android apps also work without being connected to the network.

Obviously, apps that are installed on a Windows laptop work regardless of whether or not you are connected to Wi-Fi, but for most things, you will need to be online .

In the past, Windows laptops would have been our clear bet in this regard, and indeed it is in other departments, but Chromebooks have caught up especially if you connect them to an Android mobile or iPhone.

Can you use Windows apps on a Chromebook?

Windows apps cannot be installed directly on Chromebooks, but many of them have versions or online equivalents . For example, before we talked about Microsoft Office, with limitations in ChromeOS. The Google Office suite is a great alternative.

Photoshop is another example that has a web version, although if you want to edit photos at a professional level, you should bet on a Windows computer. The same goes for any video or audio editor or for gamers .

Obviously, you will also need a powerful PC that can support this type of software , so if you were thinking of buying one of the models from our selection of cheap laptops , you should take this into account.

If you need to use specific software , we recommend that you check if there is a web version or if it is available for Android or ChromeOS, otherwise you will not be able to use it with your Chromebook. This would be a reason to discard the Google computer.

Can you play Windows games on Chromebook?

No. Chromebooks are basically intended for simple tasks like browsing the web, writing documents, making video calls with friends, and so on. Games, especially first person shooter games with high resolution graphics, are not intended for this platform.

That said, you can indeed play Android games on your Chromebook, and since many have a touchscreen and can be folded like a tablet , you’ll be satisfied with the experience. It is ideal for casual gamers, although if you want access to Steam, you will need a PC.

Can Chromebooks have viruses?

One of the advantages of Chromebooks over Windows computers is that they are much less exposed to malware and viruses. You will not need an antivirus on a Chromebook, while on a Windows laptop it is essential (although luckily there are very good antivirus on the market).

This does not mean that Chromebook users are completely safe, as they can also click on an infected link they receive in an email, visit suspicious web pages, or fall for a hacker posing as a friend.

To put it another way, if you use the Internet, you become directly vulnerable. This is why we recommend that you spend some time researching how to be safe surfing the net and how technology can help you.

Can you make video calls on Chromebook?

Nowadays, video calls have become an essential requirement when buying a computer. Most of the programs are available on Chromebook, like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype, although not FaceTime of course.

Now, you should know that you will not always have access to all its benefits. For example, you won’t be able to record your Zoom calls from a Chromebook. If this is not an issue, your Chromebook or Windows laptop experience should be the same.

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Should you buy a Windows laptop or a Chromebook?

As with any technological device you want to buy, the key is to know what you are going to use that product you are thinking of purchasing for. Thus, it will depend on the use that you are going to give your Windows laptop or your Chromebook.

If you want complete programs, compatibility with almost all programs and the possibility of using them offline , you should bet on a Windows laptop. The same goes for gaming , although in this case perhaps you should go for a desktop computer.

Chromebooks are simple, easy to use, and will allow you to do a lot of things. If you are going to spend most of your time on the Internet and do not need specific software , then they will be a very good option for you.

To use social networks, make purchases online , watch videos on Netflix, YouTube and similar services, check your mail, write text documents and other simple tasks, they are easy to recommend. You can also do all this on your Windows laptop, so here it will be a question of how much you want to spend.


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