What is a Chromebook and differences with a laptop

what is a chromebook and laptop differences

Chromebooks are physically similar to laptops with their screen, keyboard and connection portssome with touch screens, designed to use various applications and with Internet access. At some point you may have wondered what the differences are between both types of computer and why, being so similar, they are so different.

The main difference between chromebook and laptop It is usually at first impression that laptops can be found in different operating systems, and can even be changed to another, while the first ones only have ChromeOS by Google and a lighter setup. This also affects the price, but are these the differences? Are there any more?

We tell you what these devices consist of, how they differ from a laptop and what their general characteristics are, as well as what you can do with them or not and if it is worth the investment or on the contrary, it is better to opt for a laptop.

What are these computers?

Chromebooks are a type of computer designed so you can do the tasks you need faster and easier. When they first appeared in 2011, they are from their beginnings in 2011 very cheap computers with the Google Chrome OS operating system. At that time, they depended on cloud-based apps more than native applications, although over time things have changed in some aspect and they have managed to evolve while preserving their essence.

There are many brands that offer these equipment, from Lenovo to HP, Asus, Acer, Dell and Samsung, among other. There is a wide variety of models, with traditional designs, ultrabooks or 2-in-1 hybrids. Low-cost models are usually usually see in schools because their benefits, autonomy and the limitations they have are interesting. The most advanced ones can also be seen in schools, professional sectors and other areas and can have aluminum bodies, 4K resolution screens and fast processors, as well as a higher price. Even so, there are not as many models or as expensive as laptops that have operating systems such as Windows or macOS.

In order to better understand what they consist of, Chrome OS is an operating system created by Google that differs from Android in many ways. Is based in the linux kernelso it also supports this OS if you want to incorporate it, and use google browser as user interface principal. Its appearance is very similar to that of Chrome, with a file browser, taskbar and other elements that are in operating systems.

This operating system has been created with the clear intention of reaching a specific target audience, since most people use the computer to surf the internetand this covers this need at a low cost and functionality. It was announced in the middle of the year 2009 to be based on the cloud and web apps. Later, computers based on it arrived in which many things could be done on the Internet, such as accessing Google Drive tools or apps from the Chrome Web Store, as well as other functions without accessing the Internet, although with greater limitations than even on laptops. low end.

What can you do and what not with it?

Chromebooks have their own operating system with core items What file manager or app launcher. Applications cannot be downloaded, but run from browser. The download in many well-known services is not necessary because they have their own web versions that are just as or more functional than these, so in many cases you won’t see it as an inconvenience.

Also, since they already have google playalthough the initial implementation was not as easy as it might seem, you can download from the app store whatever you need to be able to do what you want. However, there are many applications that you will not be able to have, and this can be a great limitation if you need them for your work, studies day to day. Not everything is found in the web app store, in an operating system, or on the web. One thing you can do in this case is use linux if you need desktop applications, since they have support for this operating system and it usually has many possibilities. This is something that you should assess only if what you really need is possible to use it from this new operating system, which is not always the case.

what can you do chromebook

Some apps can be viewed in a small format, like on your smartphone, while others are viewed full screen. This is something that varies depending on the service you use, although you end up getting used to it. However, there are many programs and applications that you will not be able to install or use, such as Adobe services or software that you will only find on Windows or macOS devices, so if you need it, it will be a serious inconvenience to opt for these low-priced equipment.

What concerns to games, although it has many options, the offer is much smaller than other operating systems. You can use services like Stadia, or even Steam if you install Linux. Of course, with certain limitations, which will mean that in more powerful games it does not offer you the performance you need.

Although they are usually fast and have a good performanceas this is something that depends on the internal components, generally the cheapest, low-end models have lower features and processors than those you will find in the same range of other operating systems, especially in multitasking operations. There are higher range ones, but also more expensive and with the aforementioned limitations, so you have to assess if this is what you really want or if it is better to opt for a laptop.

Differences between a Chromebook and a laptop

Next, we are going to tell you what are the Main differences between a Chromebook and a laptop, although you can already imagine them from what we told you before, the price and the operating system being especially relevant.


computers with operating system Windows 10, other versions of Windows or Mac, are usually more expensive compared to Chromebooks because in the first case you are paying for the operating system and it is not exactly the cheapest. The price is one of the main advantages of the latter, since even the most expensive is in the same price range as cheaper laptops with higher performance than these.

As a general rule we must emphasize that they are cheaper than laptops and also in recent years they have been launched diferent models designed for practically all types of users, both in the educational field in which they could initially focus and in the home and work environment.


One of its main differences is the operating system. While laptops can be purchased with Windows, macOS, Linux, or even none so you can use whichever you want, Chromebooks use Chrome OS, a limited and specific system compatible with Android apps. This can be a determining factor for some people, while for others it is not a great inconvenience.

If you don’t have great requirements or use the computer a lot, the operating system may be the least important thing and what you are interested in is simply that it fulfills its task. This is something you should value.

chrome os chromebook operating system


Although laptops are somewhat insurancefor this it is necessary to update the operating system, its programs and complement it with security programs, while Chromebooks due to their limitations They don’t usually need antivirus.

They will not install or practically use anything that could affect them, so you do not need to have security programs to protect yourself. Of course, since they connect to the Internet and it is in fact where you will take full advantage of their benefits, it is not bad that you have one. On other operating systems it is not only recommended, but there are many options to choose from.

anti virus chromebook

Consumption and battery

Chromebooks are low consumption equipment that have a excellent battery life, which can reach 10 or 12 hours, something that you will check in each of the models. However, laptops usually have a lower autonomy, hopefully 5 or 6 hours or more depending on the model.

As the latter allow you to do many more tasks, and at the same time, they will consume much more. Although the power consumption of a computer is usually low, this is a factor that you can take into account. In addition, although laptops are improving in this aspect, not enough and it is usually at the cost of a higher price.


One of its main advantages is the lack of compatibility with Windows or macOS apps, so there are many programs that you will not be able to download or use because they are not compatible. If this is an ERP, accounting program or software that you need for your work or use of the computer, it is a clear inconvenience. Besides, his storage is often limited (they don’t have a large hard drive capacity) and your low power for programs of image and video editing.

Talking about games, you will be able to enjoy those that you can use from your computer or designed for Android, but forget about the others since they will not have compatibility, power or graphics for it. There may be some exceptions, but if you really like to play it is better that you don’t even think about it.

windows erp program

When is a Chromebook right for me?

Chromebooks are fast, cheap and highly effective computers, although they have certain limitations regarding compatibility with applications. If what you usually do is view websites or consult social networks, you are undoubtedly interested because you do not need to pay more to have the same. In addition, they offer you great performance in these functions and excellent battery autonomy that allows you greater mobility. So you can take it to the office, home, on a trip, on public transport or to the library.

If you need more advanced tasks, power or applications that you will not be able to install or use them does not suit youunless you find apps with similar functions that adapt to your needs, so you have to see very well the use that you are going to give to your new computer, what you want to spend and if the models that you are consulting of each model according to your budget comply with what what do you need.

chromebook suits me

Yes you don’t want to spend a lot and you are not going to make much use of the computer, it is not very demanding or you use it only to consult the Internet, make conferences, contact other people by messaging, view social networks, videos or edit documents, the Chromebook can give you what you need. In addition, there are many options to choose from in the different brands and ranges. But think very carefully about what you need, because otherwise it may fall short or even not serve you.