- Web-based tools like Google Docs and Slack make Chromebooks a great option for those who work on the web and value collaboration.
- Chromebooks are known for their simplicity and lack of bloatware compared to Windows laptops, making them a no-fuss option.
- Chromebooks have gained popularity in schools due to their low cost and simplicity, with over 50 million students and teachers using them.
If you’re in the market for a laptop, you may be wondering whether to stick with a standard Windows machine or opt for a Chromebook instead. Here are some things to consider when choosing between the two platforms.
Work on the Web? Use a Chromebook
The pandemic made working from home necessary, and many people are still resisting the return to office, at least for a full working week. Many web-based tools like Slack make it easier for teams to keep in touch, no matter where they are.
It’s now more common to carry out office-based work on the web too. Google Docs is a popular online word processor because it makes it easy to work on documents with others.
If you use web-based tools like these, you should give Chromebooks serious consideration.
Want a No-fuss Computer? Get a Chromebook
While Windows has long been the market leader in laptops, it’s been around so long that it’s picked up quite a bit of baggage. Many Windows machines come with a whole host of programs and utilities. These are preinstalled whether you want them or not. Detractors refer to these programs as “bloatware.”
Chromebooks, by contrast, are lean and mean. The only apps you’ll find are the ones installed by default. This is why Chromebooks have a lightweight reputation.
Student? You’re Probably Using a Chromebook Already
Chromebooks have become popular in schools, particularly in K-12 schools. They’ve challenged a market that has traditionally been Apple’s bread and butter since the Apple II days.
This is likely due to Chrome OS’s simplicity, as well as the low cost of the hardware compared to standard Mac and PC laptops. These are reasons that more schools issue Chromebooks to their students.
In a Keyword blog post, Google claims that over 50 million students and teachers use Chromebooks.
Use Office Apps? Stick With Windows
While Microsoft has made Office, or rather, Microsoft 365, as the company prefers to call the suite now, available in an online version (including on Chromebooks), if you make heavy use of Office apps, Windows is still your best bet.
On a Budget? Pick a Chromebook
Chromebooks have become popular for their cheap prices on the low end. While you can buy premium models, like the Chromebook Plus line, the low-end machines have specs that aren’t that much lower, as long as you can accept some compromises in build quality.
You can get a good basic Chromebook laptop for under $500.
Linux Fan? Use a Chromebook
If you’re dedicated to Linux, a Chromebook might be a better option for you. While you can run a Linux development environment on both Chrome OS and Windows, Chromebooks have the upper hand because the OS is already based on Linux.
Windows Is Best for Gamers
While there’s been a push for Chromebook gaming laptops, the Windows gaming market has a much longer track record, going back to the days of MS-DOS. The vast majority of popular games are readily available on Windows. Chromebooks will limit you to mainly web-based, Android, Linux, and streamed games.
The Chromebook gaming market is still very new, and it’s unclear how much support it will have in the long term.
Want Raw Power? Stick With Windows
If you’re looking for performance, you’ll probably be better off with a standard Windows laptop. There are more premium laptops available, like the Dell XPS line, than there are Chromebooks. Professional software, such as Adobe’s creative apps, is also much more developed on Windows—although Lightroom is available as an Android app from the Google Play store.
Chromebooks tend to use less powerful processors, especially on the low end. Their software base is also limited to web, Android, and Linux apps, as with Chromebook gaming. However, bear in mind that you’ll be able to install powerful Linux tools like GIMP and ImageMagick.
Now You Can Choose Between Chromebook and Windows Laptops
While the choice between Windows and Chromebook laptops may seem daunting, it’s a matter of what you’re using the machine for. If you’re looking for a simple no-fuss computer, you should consider a Chromebook. If you need more power for productivity, go with a Windows machine.