What’s the Difference Between a Chromebook and a Laptop?

Feature Chromebooks Laptops
Cost Typically between $250-350 Mid-range models between $600-1,500
Operating System Linux-based Chrome Microsoft Windows
Storage Cloud-based Disc drive
Online vs. Offline Usage Created for online, web-based use Created for offline use
Battery Life 10-12 hours 5-10 hours

This article will explore the key differences between Chromebooks and laptops.

Was the Laptop or Chromebook Created First?

Laptops have been around for a much longer time; Chromebooks came onto the scene recently. 

What Are the Major Differences Between Chromebooks and Laptops?

Operating System (OS)

The main difference between Chromebooks and laptops is directly related to their operating system.

Laptops function off of the Windows OS, which provides the user with more functionality and complexity. Laptops usually have the same functionality as a desktop computer system but with the benefit of being mobile.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, function off of the Chrome operating system, which is a Google product.

The Linux-based Chrome OS was made to function online, whereas a laptop using Windows OS can function well online and offline.

Storage vs. Cloud

Because laptops can work well in online and offline spaces, storage remains a key feature for laptops. Files can be saved to the laptop’s disk drive and be worked on offline.

On the other hand, Chromebooks are designed for online, cloud-based use, which means that files are stored digitally in a user’s Cloud account. 

Microsoft Office vs. Google Suite

The main difference between these productivity suites is their compatibility with offline storage and the online Cloud. 

Microsoft Office, paired with Windows operating systems, can be stored on a laptop’s hard drive and is widely used in the professional world. Many businesses and companies rely on Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel.

Google Suite, however, connects directly with the user’s Google account and relies on the web. Google Suite has variations of Microsoft Office products. For example, the word processing software that Google Suite uses is called Google Docs, a stand-in for Microsoft Word.

While Office products typically have more features and in-depth tools, Google Suite provides greater collaboration among users. 

You should note, in addition, that both suites have developed a great deal over the past few years and can be used in both offline and online environments, although Office still favors offline environments while Google works best online.


Because Chromebooks function through the web and boast of simpler, more streamlined capabilities, a Chromebook’s cost significantly differs from most laptops.

Depending on the storage, brand, and features, a typical laptop can run anywhere between $600-$1,500 for a mid-range model, although prices can be above or below for different models.

Chromebooks, meanwhile, can be purchased for as low as $229. Their budget-friendly price makes for an excellent, more affordable option if Chromebook features align with user preferences.

Battery Life

Chromebooks boast of a high battery life, with averages falling between 10 and 12 hours. While laptop battery power varies, most Windows laptops have a battery life somewhere between 5 and 10 hours.

How Are Laptops Mainly Used?


Because laptops run on more complicated operating systems and have more features, businesses often use laptops because of their advanced capabilities.

Employees can work in the office or remotely, and they do not have to be connected to the internet to get a great amount of work done. 


For people who game as a hobby or for a job, laptops provide a much better experience than a Chromebook. A Chromebook simply does not have the storage or functional capacity to process PC games.

How Are Chromebooks Mainly Used?


Chromebooks have become increasingly popular in educational spaces for several reasons. Chromebooks provide school districts with an affordable option to provide one-to-one technology for students.

In addition, schools typically require a great deal of collaboration among students, faculty, and administration. Google’s products (Docs, Slides, Sheets) easily allow close interaction between users.

Younger Users

Similarly, younger children and teens may appreciate the simple interface provided by a Chromebook. If a student only needs a personal device for school work and communication, a Chromebook may be a great solution.

Simple Tasks

For someone who plans on completing simple tasks that do not necessitate heavy-duty features, a Chromebook provides streamlined functionality and practical usage.

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