What Is The Difference Between A Chromebook and A Laptop? – A Simple Guide

Chromebooks, since their invention, have become quite popular among users and are often considered the same as laptops.

If you are not a tech geek, then you might not be familiar with the difference between the two.

In short, a laptop refers to a broad category of portable PCs while Chromebooks are just a part of it. Generally, traditional laptops and Chromebooks differ a lot.

In this guide, we will be covering some of the major aspects that differentiate a Chromebook from a laptop. So, if you are in the market and are unable to decide which one to purchase, keep on reading.

Also Read: What Is The Difference Between A Laptop And A Notebook?

Difference Between A Chromebook & A Laptop

There are a lot of factors that differentiate a Chromebook from a laptop. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Operating System

The primary and most significant difference between these two is the operating system.

While a laptop generally operates on Windows or Mac OS, and rarely on Linux OS, Chromebooks come with Google OS only.

With this Operating System, Chromebooks have certain limitations or rather differences as compared to traditional laptops.

If you have ever used a laptop or PC, you would know that you need to install applications in your local storage in order to use them.

Whether you want to type documents, browse the internet, edit photos and videos, or do any of the tasks, you will have to install the software packages.

However, Chromebooks rely on cloud-based services and online applications. The Google OS only provides you the capability to download and use some of the applications while most of the applications are directly accessed on the cloud.

Power & Performance

In terms of hardware, traditional laptops are much more superior to Chromebooks. The latter is made to be compact and portable and relies on cloud-based applications, which means it doesn’t require much power.

So, Chromebooks generally come with average hardware components. You will have base-level memory and minimum built-in storage capacity with little to no room for upgradability.

In terms of performance as well, Chromebooks are much less powerful as they cannot handle performance-intensive tasks and applications.

Compared to that, traditional laptops come with much more power and more room for upgradability. They can handle a wide range of performance-intensive tasks and can be upgraded to a great extent, especially in terms of memory and storage.

Also Read: Best Laptops For Programming

Software Compatibility

In terms of software compatibility and installed applications, traditional laptops have the upper hand.

Whether you want to use advanced photo and video editing software or graphic-intensive tools, the Chromebooks won’t be up to the task.

You cannot download and install these applications on a Chromebook and expect them to run smoothly.

Instead, if you download them on a real laptop, they would work much better and won’t cause any performance issues.


Chromebooks are not made for gaming. So, they do not provide satisfactory performance for laptop gaming.

You can play some low-end and casual games on Chromebooks, but most people only use them for Android games.

Since Chromebooks come with touchscreen functionality, you can enjoy Android games directly from the Play Store.

However, if you want to enjoy PC games, you should opt for a laptop instead of a Chromebook. Laptops come with powerful specs and a dedicated GPU that would allow you to enjoy immersive gaming to its fullest.

Portability & Battery Life

Chromebooks have better portability and battery life. These compact, lightweight, and thin devices are made for students and business professionals.

They are much easier to carry around and offer best-in-class performance on the go. So, while working on the move, they will prove to be much better companions than traditional laptops.

Also Read: How To Rotate A Laptop Screen?

Also, since they are not equipped with powerful performance components, their battery will last much longer. So, not only you will have ideal portability but also a long-lasting battery life.

On the other hand, laptops come with a wide range of variations in terms of compactness, portability, and battery life. Generally, when compared, Chromebooks have the win in this aspect.

Internet Connectivity

Since Chromebooks operate mostly on Google and its related applications and services, you will have to have internet connectivity.

Yes, you can use them offline as well, but the functionality will be very limited. There are very few things you can do on a Chromebook when you don’t have an internet connection.

Compared to that, laptops have much higher functionality. Since all the applications are downloaded and installed, you can continue using them offline and won’t need mandatory internet access.

Internet will only be required for the dedicated tasks. So, in terms of internet connectivity, the laptops have higher capabilities without the internet.


In terms of budget, laptops come with a wide range of options. They range from a mere 300 dollars to 3000 dollars and more.

There are a lot of extremely expensive laptops on the market. If you are looking for a powerful laptop or a gaming laptop, then you need to have a budget of above 1000 dollars.

However, Chromebooks are not that expensive. All Chromebooks range between $300 to $700, and they come with all the dedicated features.

So, Chromebooks are considered much more affordable because of which they are considered an ideal choice for modern students as compared to laptops.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Chromebooks more powerful than laptops?

No, generally not. In terms of power and performance, laptops hold superiority. Yes, there are certain low-budget laptops that might be less powerful than Chromebooks, but in general, laptops have higher power and performance capabilities.

Which one should I buy: a Chromebook or laptop?

It depends on your specific needs. If you are a student or a small business owner looking for a laptop to keep up with your daily needs, then a Chromebook would suit you much better than a laptop. If you are a high-performance user or need a laptop for gaming, then you will need a laptop instead of a Chromebook.

Are Chromebooks more expensive than laptops?

No, they are not. Generally, Chromebooks are considered much more affordable compared to laptops. Since they are not equipped with very powerful specs, they are budget-friendly and are preferred by students.

Wrapping Up!

Summing it all up, there are a lot of differences between a Chromebook and a laptop. So, if you are in the market and don’t know what to do, make sure to give our above guide a thorough read.

Once you have identified your needs, you will be able to make a better and more informed decision.

In short, a student and small business owner who needs a laptop for basic computing and day-to-day needs might prefer a Chromebook instead of a laptop because of its affordability, portability, and Google-related services.

However, performance-intensive users and passionate gamers will need a laptop as a Chromebook won’t be able to meet their demands.

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