Our experts pick the best laptops to write. as an amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What Is The Difference Between Chromebook And Laptops? [2024]

Comparison of Chromebook and laptops, highlighting key differences in design, operating system, and functionality.

Chromebooks and laptops are both types of personal computers, but they have significant differences in terms of operating systems, software compatibility, and hardware specifications.

Chromebooks run on Chrome OS and primarily rely on web-based applications, while laptops typically run on Windows, macOS, or Linux and can run a wider range of software.

Additionally, Chromebooks are generally less powerful in terms of hardware.

I. Chromebook vs. Laptops: Design and Operating System

When it comes to design and operating system, Chromebooks and laptops have distinct differences. Chromebooks are specifically designed to be lightweight and portable, making them ideal for users who are constantly on the go.

They typically have a slim and sleek design, with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.

On the other hand, laptops come in a variety of designs and sizes, ranging from ultra-thin models to bulkier gaming laptops.

They offer more customization options in terms of design and hardware, allowing users to choose a laptop that suits their specific needs and preferences.

When it comes to the operating system, Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS, which is a lightweight and web-based operating system. It is designed to be simple and intuitive, with a user interface that resembles the Google Chrome browser.

This makes it easy for users who are familiar with the Chrome browser to navigate and use a Chromebook.

Laptops, on the other hand, typically run on Windows or macOS, which are more feature-rich and versatile operating systems.

These operating systems offer a wide range of applications and software, allowing users to perform various tasks such as gaming, video editing, and graphic design.

In summary, while Chromebooks excel in terms of portability and simplicity, laptops offer more customization options and a wider range of software capabilities.

The choice between a Chromebook and a laptop ultimately depends on the user’s specific needs and preferences.

II. Chromebook vs. Laptops: Performance and Hardware

When it comes to performance and hardware, there are some key differences between Chromebooks and traditional laptops.

1. Processing Power

Traditional laptops often come equipped with more powerful processors, such as Intel Core i5 or i7, which are capable of handling resource-intensive tasks like video editing or gaming.

On the other hand, Chromebooks typically have lower-end processors, such as Intel Celeron or ARM-based chips, which are designed to efficiently run web-based applications.

2. Storage

While laptops usually offer a range of storage options, including solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs), Chromebooks typically have smaller SSDs due to their reliance on cloud storage.

However, Chromebooks often come with additional cloud storage space, allowing users to store files and documents online.

3. Graphics

For those who require high-quality graphics for tasks like gaming or graphic design, traditional laptops are often the better choice. Laptops usually come with dedicated graphics cards, which offer superior performance and visual capabilities.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, rely on integrated graphics, which may not be as powerful.

4. RAM

RAM, or random access memory, plays a crucial role in a device’s multitasking capabilities. Traditional laptops generally offer more RAM options, ranging from 4GB to 16GB or even higher, allowing for smoother multitasking and faster application loading times.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, typically come with 4GB to 8GB of RAM, which is generally sufficient for their web-based applications.

5. Ports and Connectivity

Laptops often come equipped with a variety of ports, including USB-A, HDMI, and SD card slots, allowing for easy connectivity with various devices.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, tend to have fewer ports, often limited to USB-C ports, which may require additional adapters for connecting certain peripherals.

6. Battery Life

One area where Chromebooks excel is in battery life. Due to their lightweight operating system and power-efficient hardware, Chromebooks can often last significantly longer on a single charge compared to traditional laptops.

This makes them ideal for users who need a portable device for long periods without access to a power source.

III. Chromebook vs. Laptops: Software and Applications

When it comes to software and applications, Chromebooks and laptops offer different options and compatibility.

Operating Systems

Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system developed by Google. This operating system is based on the Chrome browser and primarily focuses on web-based applications and cloud computing. It is known for its simplicity and fast boot-up times.

On the other hand, laptops typically run on Windows, macOS, or Linux operating systems. These operating systems offer a wide range of applications and are more versatile in terms of compatibility with different software.

Web-Based Applications

One of the main advantages of Chromebooks is their seamless integration with Google’s suite of web-based applications, including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

These applications are highly collaborative and allow users to work on documents in real-time with others.

Laptops, on the other hand, can also access web-based applications but do not have the same level of integration with specific platforms like Google’s suite.

However, laptops offer a wider range of web browsers and the ability to install browser extensions and plugins for added functionality.

Software Compatibility

When it comes to software compatibility, laptops have an edge over Chromebooks. Laptops can run a wide range of software applications, including productivity suites like Microsoft Office, graphic design tools, video editing software, and even resource-intensive applications like video games.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, have limited software compatibility as they primarily rely on web-based applications.

While there are web-based alternatives for many software applications, some specialized software or games may not be available or may not run as smoothly on a Chromebook.

App Stores

Both Chromebooks and laptops have their own app stores, offering different types of applications.

Chromebooks have the Chrome Web Store, which provides a wide range of web applications, browser extensions, and Android apps that are compatible with Chrome OS. However, the availability of Android apps can vary depending on the Chromebook model.

Laptops, on the other hand, have access to various app stores depending on the operating system. For example, Windows laptops have the Microsoft Store, which offers a wide range of applications, including productivity tools, games, and multimedia software.

macOS laptops have the Mac App Store, which provides a similar range of applications specifically designed for macOS.


When it comes to software and applications, Chromebooks excel in their seamless integration with web-based applications and the Google ecosystem.

They are ideal for users who primarily work online and rely on web-based productivity tools.

However, laptops offer more versatility and compatibility with a wide range of software applications.

They are better suited for users who require access to specialized software or need more powerful hardware for resource-intensive tasks.

FAQ: What Is The Difference Between Chromebook And Laptops

1. What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a type of laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome OS operating system. It primarily relies on cloud-based applications and storage.

2. What is a laptop?

A laptop, also known as a notebook, is a portable computer that can run various operating systems like Windows, macOS, or Linux. It offers a wide range of software options and storage capabilities.

3. How do Chromebooks and laptops differ in terms of operating systems?

Chromebooks use Google’s Chrome OS, which is a lightweight operating system designed for web-based applications. Laptops can run different operating systems, including Windows, macOS, or Linux.

4. Can I install software on a Chromebook like I can on a laptop?

Chromebooks have limited software compatibility compared to laptops. They primarily rely on web-based applications available through the Chrome Web Store, although some Android apps can also be installed.

5. What are the storage options for Chromebooks and laptops?

Chromebooks typically have smaller storage capacities, usually ranging from 16GB to 128GB, as they heavily rely on cloud storage. Laptops generally offer larger storage options, including hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs) ranging from 256GB to several terabytes.

6. How do Chromebooks and laptops differ in terms of performance?

Chromebooks are generally designed for basic tasks such as web browsing, email, and document editing. Laptops, on the other hand, can handle more demanding tasks such as video editing, gaming, and running resource-intensive software.

7. Are Chromebooks and laptops priced differently?

Chromebooks are typically more affordable compared to laptops. They are designed to provide budget-friendly options for users who primarily need web-based applications and cloud storage.

8. Can I use Microsoft Office on a Chromebook?

Chromebooks have built-in support for Google’s suite of office applications, including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. However, you can also use the web-based versions of Microsoft Office applications or access them through Android apps on newer Chromebooks.

9. Are Chromebooks and laptops equally compatible with peripherals?

Laptops generally have more extensive peripheral compatibility, including various ports such as USB, HDMI, and Ethernet. Chromebooks usually have fewer ports and rely more on wireless connectivity for peripherals.

10. Can I play PC games on a Chromebook?

Chromebooks have limited compatibility with PC games, as most games are designed for Windows or macOS operating systems. However, some Chromebooks support Android apps, allowing access to a limited selection of mobile games.

11. Which one should I choose, a Chromebook or a laptop?

The choice between a Chromebook and a laptop depends on your specific needs. If you primarily use web-based applications, have a limited budget, and prioritize portability, a Chromebook may be a suitable choice. If you require more software options, higher performance, and storage flexibility, a laptop would be a better fit.

Conclusion: What Is The Difference Between Chromebooks and Laptops

While both Chromebooks and laptops serve the purpose of providing computing capabilities, there are distinct differences between the two. Chromebooks are designed to be lightweight, affordable, and highly efficient for online tasks.

Laptops, on the other hand, offer more versatility, power, and a wider range of software compatibility. Choosing between a Chromebook and a laptop ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Consider your budget, required software, and desired performance to make an informed decision.

Related: Why Is My Apple Laptop So Slow

Share on:

Related Articles:

Avatar for William Larson

William Larson is a computer engineering graduate and a techy writer and a laptop enthusiast based in New York who is the man behind BestLaptopsVenture.com, where he reviews and writes professionally about laptops & cutting-edge technology with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. He tends to spend most of his time researching the best laptops. His love for studying laptops enables him to assist others to find the best laptops. He has written and managed content for tech websites like Laptops, Computers, T-Sprint, and TracFone Wireless, etc. On YouTube, he reviews laptops, How to guides, Tips, peripherals, and hold giveaways. You can follow him on Twitter.

Leave a Comment