Whether you’re a student, a working professional, or just need a computer for everyday use, you’ve likely been inundated with options and don’t know where to start. Do you need a laptop or a Chromebook? What’s the difference? In this article, we break down the pros and cons of both devices so that you can make an informed decision.
Chromebooks vs laptops
At the most basic level, you can consider the differences to be down to the operating system, or OS. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, which is based on the Linux kernel. Chrome OS is ideal for, well, anything you do with Google Chrome on any device. It runs Google Docs, stores files in Google Drive and even lets you use your phone as a remote control for your computer. That said, if you use any specialist software, or really, any software that’s not a web-based app, then your mileage will vary. That’s because unlike Windows or macOS (which are both based on the Unix operating system), Chrome OS isn’t as versatile. It also doesn’t support offline use as well as the other two systems.
Can I use Microsoft Office on a Chromebook?
Yes, Chromebooks can be used offline. In fact, many of the apps installed on a Chromebook (including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides) are designed to work offline. That said, there are some caveats. If you're used to working with the full Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.), you'll need to adjust to using the online versions of these apps. They still work offline, but the experience is not quite the same. For many users, Google's own suite of office apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) will fill the void quite nicely.
Can I use a Chromebook offline?
Chromebooks used to be known for their online-only capabilities, but that's no longer the case. Chrome OS now has a slew of offline features, including the ability to access files stored on your device, edit documents and photos, and even work with Google Maps. It's all controlled on a per-app basis, so you can specify which programs you want to use offline. For example, if you need to access a file while you're traveling but don't have an internet connection, you can save it to your Chromebook's local storage. Take Drive, Google's cloud file-sharing platform, for example: it will let you plonk files inside and access them offline if they're stored locally. Keep in mind that Chromebooks tend to ship with lower storage than laptop users might be used to, so you may want to invest in a microSD card if you plan on using your device for offline purposes.
Chromebook vs laptops: Which is right for you?
So, which one should you choose? There's no definitive answer—it depends on your specific needs and what you plan to use your computer for. Generally speaking, Chromebooks are a good fit for people who need a lightweight device that's fast and easy to use, whereas laptops are better for more intensive tasks like video editing and gaming. That said, there are many great laptops that come with Chrome OS pre-installed, and some people find them more than capable of handling their workload. If you're unsure, it's always best to consult with a laptop or Chromebook expert to find the best match for you.
Today's best Chromebook Laptops and Laptops deals
Chromebooks and laptops are both types of computers, but they have some key differences. Chromebooks are designed primarily for online use, while laptops can be used for both online and offline tasks. If you need a computer that can be used for online activities such as homework, email, and browsing the web, a Chromebook is a good option. If you need a computer that can also be used for offline tasks such as word processing or spreadsheet creation, a laptop is a better choice.
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