Chromebook vs Windows laptop – A discussion

Chromebook vs Windows laptop is a hot topic for discussion these days. People are discussing whether a Chromebook is better or Windows 8 laptops still rule the world. People are also wondering whether Chromebooks are powerful and feature-rich enough to replace the mighty Windows machines. I this post, we will have a look at the advantages and disadvantages, the pros and cons and the pluses and minuses of a Chromebook vs. a Windows 8 laptop.

Basically, choosing between Chromebook and Windows 8 laptop depends on user’s priorities and nature of work. This decision answers the very basic questions – What are your requirements.


Chromebook vs Windows laptop

Before you start making a decision about buying a Chromebook or Windows laptop, you should first understand the fundamental difference between the two.

A Chromebook can be used only for web surfing and using web applications. It offers a better user experience with Chrome Suite and Online applications. However, you can’t use applications that are meant for offline use. You need Internet connectivity all the time to be able to use a Chromebook.

A Windows laptop – be it any version of Windows OS – is a complete package of a ‘PC’. Apart from using it for Internet surfing and online applications, Windows laptops offer the widest range of services which majority of people need in day-to-day life. This includes, Microsoft Office suite, photo editing using software, online or offline video calling, downloading games and playing them offline and more. The list is huge.

Difference between Chromebook and laptop

While most are voting for the full-fledged Windows 8 laptops, some people are choosing Chromebooks. Here’s the comparison between the two.


Chromebooks are cheaper than any Windows laptop. If you are looking for a device that can connect you to the world through web at cheaper price, then Chromebook is the device for you. Windows laptops are little pricier as compared to Chromebooks. However, if you want a PC that increases your productivity, then Windows laptops should be the choice.

However this price difference may narrow down as Microsoft is getting ready to launch $199 Windows laptops made by HP, as well as $99 Windows tablets, to compete with Google Chromebooks.

Surfing the web and online apps

This is the point where both Chromebook and Windows 8 laptops score the same. The Chromebook is optimized for Google’s online apps, which include Google Drive, Google Calendar and Gmail. Windows laptops too offer a smooth connectivity with Windows Store. However, when it comes to using some of these apps offline, then Windows 8 laptops score an additional point. You will be able to watch your favorite movies and TV shows offline on Windows 8 laptops; but not on Chromebooks. Chromebooks, by default, need internet connectivity at all the times!

Microsoft Office Suite

If you are a hardcore user of Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) and other Windows programs, then you may have a hard time adjusting with the Chromebook. You can use Microsoft Web Apps on the Chromebook though. Microsoft Web Apps is a free cloud version of Microsoft Office and it’s compatible with Chromebooks. Besides, you can also make use of Google Drive to open Microsoft Word documents and Excel sheets. However, you will need to tackle with the formatting issues when importing Office documents to Google Drive. Hence, if you are going to import large number of Microsoft Office files like documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, then it’s better to stick to Windows 8 laptops.

File structure and placement of documents

Most of your files such as document, videos or pictures need to be uploaded on cloud when using Chromebooks. However, with Windows 8 laptops you can choose the placement of your documents. Besides, those habitual with Windows PC’s file structure may find Chromebook file structure messy and unorganized.

Image editing

If your job involves image editing task frequently then Chromebook may not solve your purpose completely. With Chromebook, you can use web-based image editing alternatives such as Pixlr Editor. Pixlr Editor doesn’t offer all the features that software like Adobe Photoshop (which runs smoothly on Windows 8 laptops) has; but it will simply help you edit the image which is usable. However, Chromebook certainly isn’t the device for hardcore image editors whose job involves complex image editing tasks.


Chromebook certainly isn’t a high-powered, graphic-rich gaming notebook. You can play games, but limited to the games that are available on Chrome Web store. Besides, Chromebooks’ graphics processing ability is limited, and hence, you won’t be able to play online games which require high leveled graphic processing power. On the other hand, Windows 8 laptops offer both online and offline gaming.

Skype, iTunes and other such programs

Those connected with their friends, family and colleagues through Skype, won’t be able to go for Chromebook as Skype doesn’t run on Chromebooks. Similarly, other essential programs such as iTunes, Quicker and many more don’t run on Chromebook at all. For these, you will have to go for Windows 8 laptops.

Printers and Scanners

The Chromebooks need Google Cloud Print-ready printers. Other printers won’t work on Chrome. Hence for any printing job you will need a Windows PC, laptop or a Mac device. In fact, the Chromebooks can’t connect many other peripheral devices directly, such as scanners.


As we mentioned earlier, the selection depends purely on your priorities. If you are happy with online apps or are mostly connected through Gmail and are looking for a cheaper device, then Chromebooks is the choice for you. However, if your requirements include lot of documentations, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, image editing jobs, Skype connectivity and offline gaming, then Windows 8 laptops should be your pick.

In short, set you priorities and go for the technology that works for you!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.