Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

Laptop guide: Chromebook Vs Laptop - which one is better for you?

BY Joshua Joda

19th Oct 2023 Technology

6 min read

Laptop guide: Chromebook Vs Laptop - which one is better for you?
Laptops come in all shapes, sizes and types of functionalities, what works best for you will depend on how you plan to use them.
The world of modern computing is a complex and ever-changing one—everyone knows about laptops and what they can do but once you get into the finer details, things can get a little complicated.
When it comes to the differences between laptops and Chromebooks—which are functionally the same but have key differences—we’ll break down in this guide.

Key differences

What is a Chromebook? Well, all Chromebooks are laptops but not all laptops are Chromebooks, understandably it may sound confusing at first but there are important differences to note. Laptops are mobile computers, able to store data, run programs, games and several applications.
Chromebooks functionally work in the same way but they run on ChromeOS as opposed to Windows, which means the way they operate is fundamentally different. Mainly, ChromeOS is very secure, will load up very quickly but some programs you may be familiar with or use on Windows might not work on a Chromebook. Chromebooks are also generally lighter and smaller machines, with quite a lot less storage space and processing power, but on average better battery life as a trade-off.
A laptop will usually be more powerful than a Chromebook and almost certainly have a better processor and graphics card, for using complex programs and demanding games.
Laptop and notebook


Laptops come in all sorts of price skews, with anything from the budget range to premium, high-end machines that can easily run into thousands of pounds. Your standard high-end gaming laptop or Macbook may cost anywhere from £800 - £1500, depending on the specifications.
Chromebooks on the other hand will almost always be cheaper and firmly sit on the budget side of things, which is an advantage if you need a more rudimentary machine for basic office work or university. This isn’t to say that all Chromebooks are cheap though, as you can get machines like the ASUS CX5400 that run well into mid-range territory. Sitting more in a higher pricing tier, these machines can offer considerably more RAM and storage space than what is considered normal.


You probably already know what you can do with a laptop and you can do much of the same with a Chromebook. However due to their mostly lesser amounts of RAM and older processors, you can’t run demanding programs, play most modern games or store a huge number of files on them.
What you can do with a lot of Chromebooks is adjust their orientation, with a few machines featuring 360-degree spin capability like the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. This feature allows you to use them more like tablets and at more customisable angles rather than having them sit flat on a desk or your lap. Also, a key feature of Chromebooks is that they have touch screens—which isn’t that much of a common feature for laptops outside of Microsoft Surface laptops and some individual models from other brands.
Laptop on google


Ultimately, how you use laptops and the requirements you have for work, recreation or certain projects will determine what type of laptop or Chromebook you end up going for. If you need a powerful, fast laptop for gaming, streaming or editing high-resolution video, you’d probably get a Macbook or equivalent high-end laptop.
If you only need a laptop with long battery life for day-to-day work, note taking and don’t need to use demanding programs, a Chromebook may be a better job. However, you should be aware of the limitations as listed above.
Ultimately before buying any laptop or Chromebook you should consider what you need it for the most and think on its functionalities, namely whether it meets your requirements. To be satisfied, you should always do research to inform your decision before parting was with your money.
Best premium Chromebook: ASUS CX5400
Best premium laptop: Acer Swift X SFX16
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit