We’re going to help you make the best personal choice based on a comparison between Chromebooks and cheap Windows laptops, so you’ll have a clear image on both their weaknesses and strengths.
In both cases you really, shouldn’t expect extremely stylish cases, strong builds or metallic flashy finishes. Chromebooks are light and thin and they can even offer a light touch of class with their silver/golden frames, polished aluminum or polycarbonate chassis, leather linings or tapered cases. All these aspects make them a better choice at a nice price. You won’t find a Windows notebook promoting portability and elegance under $200.
Windows 10 and Chrome OS offer quite different environments, and what you’ll chose will definitely depend on your preferences. You should remember that the Chrome OS is a web-based platform, and Windows is more of an offline ecosystem. So, Chrome OS is friendlier in the navigation area, even if its interface is limited when compared to Windows 10.
Regarding the touch-friendliness, Windows 10 makes the most out of this technology.
Apps & software
This one is pretty easy because Windows is the most functional device and this is pretty big considering that the apps determine a laptop’s functionality. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is still a work in progress and who knows what the future will bring.
You can run Android apps on the latest Chrome OS, but not even Android can compete with Windows in the software area.
File management & compatibility
Windows File Explorer is so popular these days that the Chrome OS’ Files Folder looks quite sad. On the other hand, the apps are hosted online so we don’t really need the file management system and the Files folder gives you quick access to Google Drive.
Regarding the compatibility issue, Windows 10 supports tones of files, unlike the Chrome OS.
Chrome OS only supports Google Chrome which also happens to be a great browser. But it’s the only option you have; you can’t run important plugins like Java or Flash. Windows 10 can run lots of browsers including Chrome, and this boosts your browsing experience.
Chromebooks are more efficient in this area, and if they get infected, you can restore them to their default setting with just a few clicks. Anyway, most of your data is going to be saved online, so you don’t even have to worry that much.
The limited flash memory of Chromebook is probably its biggest weakness, and even if you invest in online storage, you’re going to need an Internet connection to have access to your stuff.
A budget Windows notebook can offer as much as 500GB offline storage.
The choice is based on your needs, but our opinion is that a laptop’s software features are vital and together with enough offline storage these things make buying a Windows laptop the safest choice.