Chromebooks are more powerful and versatile than ever, especially as Google refines Chrome OS to work better with full-size devices. Traditional laptops running Windows or macOS are also more efficient and affordable than in the past. With both types of devices making significant strides in recent years, it’s a good question which is best for you.
If you do a lot of work on the internet and don’t use many resource-intensive apps, a Chromebook provides the convenience and functionality you need. But if you run a lot of CPU-heavy or Windows-specific programs, consider a full-featured laptop.
Unlike when they first came out, today’s Chromebooks are versatile and easy to use. They’re designed around Chrome OS, which is related to the Android operating system but refined to work better with large devices such as tablets and laptops.
Chrome OS’s biggest upside is that it requires significantly less processing power than Windows or macOS. Because of that, Chromebooks generally have far less powerful components while offering a similarly smooth user experience to full-fledged laptops. Even a modestly equipped Chromebook can perform day-to-day tasks with little to no frustration or slowdowns.
The hardware inside this one is nearly as powerful as what most true laptops have. It also boasts a high resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, making it significantly easier to get work done.
Sold by Acer
Arguably the most portable Chromebook ever, almost nothing competes with the size, weight and convenience of this detachable 2-in-1 Chrome OS tablet from Lenovo.
Sold by Lenovo
This recently released model from electronics giant Samsung checks all the boxes in terms of reliability, performance and a mid-range price.
Sold by Amazon
The 360-degree hinge on this affordable clamshell makes it especially good for streaming movies and TV shows.
Due to significant advances in efficiency and manufacturing techniques, it’s never been a better time to invest in a laptop. You can get something powerful enough for nearly any work activity without spending a fortune, and you can find premium models with advanced features and excellent keyboards for better prices than ever.
The remarkable versatility of Windows and the user-friendly experience of macOS are the best reasons to opt for a full-featured laptop. The performance and available software on traditional notebook PCs make them great choices for nearly any use case.
Widely regarded as one of the top few laptops ever, the latest iteration of the Dell XPS lineup is portable, powerful, reliable and overall hard to top.
It’s thin, light, easy to use and equipped with Apple’s first in-house chipset, the M1. It’s one of Apple’s most streamlined and efficient releases yet.
Sold by Amazon
Not only is it packed with impressive components, but the ThinkPad Carbon also has one of the best keyboards ever found on a laptop. It’s worth highlighting the Gen 9, which is last year’s model, because it’s significantly more affordable than the only slightly improved Gen 10 version.
There have been very few laptops throughout history that combine this performance level with such a remarkably low price.
Sold by Amazon
If most of your work happens within a browser or a commonly used app found in the Google Play Store, a Chromebook will save you money while enabling all the productivity you need. On the other hand, if you frequently multitask, do any work that requires a lot of processing power or are committed to using Windows, a standard laptop is probably your best bet.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.