You’re ready for a new laptop, whether it be for work or to start the new school year, but there is an overwhelming number of options available. Before you even get down to picking the best laptop for students or business, you should determine if you want to go with a traditional laptop or a Chromebook.
What Is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook looks, feels and interacts just like a traditional laptop. It has a display, web camera, keyboard, trackpad and even connectivity like USB and HDMI ports that you’d expect from standard laptops. The differences aren’t necessarily on the surface, but rather how a Chromebook operates, and it’s internal components.
Chromebooks use ChromeOS as their operating system. Without getting too technical, your entire operating system is a Google Chrome web browser. Whereas a laptop, like a PC for instance, uses an operating system such as Windows, that can run multiple applications and has plenty of onboard storage for pictures, videos, projects, etc.
With that in mind, a Chromebook doesn’t seem sufficient, does it? But when you really think about it, you can accomplish a lot with Chrome. You can send emails, type documents in Google Docs and, save everything to your G-drive, and of course, surf the web and look up videos. Not bad, huh?
Knowing that laptops are more powerful and have more overall capabilities than a Chromebook, why would anybody pick the latter? Well, what good is a Lamborghini if you live one minute away from work and the speed limit is 25mph? If you don’t have a need for all that processing power and storage, you might just be overpaying for a laptop you don’t really need. Chromebooks are a great solution for those who need minimal processing power and little storage space, but still need a laptop to handle their daily tasks.
Picking a Chromebook vs. Laptop
Your job, your requirements for school, and even what you like to do for fun, can be a great gauge on what type of computer you should choose. Below we’ll run through a few scenarios to help you decide whether a laptop or Chromebook is right for you.
Scenario 1: Work Hard, Play Hard
When your job requires you to do anything more than send emails and quick write-ups in Word, you might want to consider going the standard laptop route. For instance, if you use applications for video editing, accounting, or after a hard day of work, you like to plug in your laptop to your curved monitor and put noobs to shame on Fortnite, all of these applications require more computing power and better hardware than a Chromebook can offer. Here are a few options for those who work hard and game even harder.
1. Dell XPS 13 2020
Powerful enough (at high configurations) to game, especially with the 4K screen and 10th generation Intel processor, but also portable enough to carry with you to work or from class to class without wearing your shoulder out. This is one of the best laptops for business professionals and students alike.
2. Razer Blade 15
This laptop has plenty of power to game and get all of your work or homework done. It’s a bit on the bulkier side, weighing over four pounds, but you’ll appreciate the sharp OLED screen and the speedy components when you’re blasting through heavy multimedia projects or your favorite online games.
Razer Blade 15
3. MacBook Pro 13 (2020)
When it comes to multimedia work, like video editing, or recording audio, it’s hard to beat a Mac. These computers were specifically built for creative work. And creative-type work also happens to be some of the most intensive work for a laptop. If multimedia work is your life, a MacBook Pro 13 should be a strong consideration.
MacBook Pro 13 (2020)
Scenario 2: Daily Mail Checker
You don’t have an intensive job that requires a lot of computing power, and you aren’t a gamer. Instead, you are looking for an inexpensive, lightweight and affordable laptop to use for surfing the web, sending emails, and using Google applications like Docs and Sheets for your schoolwork. You want something that is light enough to carry around from class to class or from work to home, and something that boots up quickly and is reliable. If this sounds like you — you don’t really need that Lamborghini — it’s best to go with a Chromebook. Here are some Chromebooks we recommend:
1. ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
This souped-up Chromebook is certainly not cheap, but it is powerful and useful. It boasts two-in-one capabilities, so you can flip it around to tent mode, press play on the screen and watch your favorite show from anywhere. And we mean anywhere, considering it’s only 2.5 pounds.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
2. Lenovo Duet
This is the quintessential example of a quality Chromebook. Lightweight, 11 hours of battery life for all-day use, and 4GB of storage just in case you need to save something on board instead of in the Cloud. The Lenovo Duet is super affordable, and reliable, especially when you’re looking for a daily web surfer.
3. HP Chromebook 14
When you want to stream something to your TV instead of watching on your Chromebook, an HDMI port gives you that option. Beyond stellar connectivity is a keyboard that feels great, and a reliable trackpad for comfortable web surfing. This is an overall sturdy Chromebook that doesn’t require you to empty out your savings account.
HP Chromebook 14
Scenario 3: I Want All The Things
If your work laptop or gaming rig is specifically used for work or gaming, then you might want a daily driver to compliment your job or gaming workhorse. Some jobs require access to sensitive materials, and general internet use is restricted. It’s also a good idea to keep sensitive materials like job applications and resumes off your work laptop. Nothing makes for an awkward workday than opening up your personal email on a screen share and showing everybody you’re trying to find a new job. Below you’ll find a few recommendations for both Chromebooks and business PCs.
1. MacBook Pro 16
A total workhorse for your profession or school. And Mac finally changed out the flat, chiclet-style keyboard for one that is much more comfortable to type on! This laptop has a ton of processing power and a big, crystal-clear display for multimedia editing.
MacBook Pro 16
2. HP Chromebook X360
This Chromebook packs plenty of power and connectivity. In fact, a USB-A and two USB-C ports provide you with plenty of options for thumb drives and external hard drives. And the touchscreen and foldable design add extra utility to this option, especially when you want to comfortably watch something. It’s a great personal Chromebook to compliment your work laptop.