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Chromebooks are a relatively new type of laptop, first hitting the market in 2011. If you’re in the market for a new laptop or are in charge of purchasing laptops for a group, Chromebooks may have caught your eye due to their low prices.

Before you jump onto the Chromebook bandwagon, it’s important to understand the significant differences between Chromebooks and conventional PC or Mac laptops. First, let’s take a high-level look at what Chromebooks are.

Chromebook Overview

The underlying vision for Chromebook was to create an entirely new category of laptop, one that’s streamlined, durable, and low in price. Chromebooks generally don’t look as flashy as higher-end laptops. They don’t have hard drives; instead, they rely on small amounts (16, 32, or 64 GB typically) of eMMC storage. eMMC storage is cheaper and less feature-packed than SSD storage. Critics call them underpowered; proponents say they’re intentionally streamlined.

Chrome OS

One of the most noticeable differentiators between Chromebooks and other laptops is Chrome OS. Chrome OS is a much simpler operating system than Windows or macOS. It’s quick and responsive — most Chromebooks boot up in around 8 seconds — but it lacks many of the features and much of the depth of both Windows and macOS.

Software Options

With a few exceptions, the apps in Chrome OS launch and run in the Chrome browser. Chrome OS’s file manager and media player launch on their own, but that’s it. Everything else runs in the Chrome browser. Granted, the Chrome browser is powerful, and these days many apps have a web version accessible via Chromebook. Still, this gives you an idea some of the limitations you might face when choosing a Chromebook. You won’t be running Photoshop, iTunes, or other popular desktop-only applications.

If you want to know more about what software is and isn’t available for Chromebook, search the relevant stores. All Chromebooks have access to the Chrome Web Store, and some additionally can access the Google Play Store.


If you’re looking for a streamlined, lightweight machine to do basic office or education-related tasks, Chromebook may be a good choice. It’s no hardware powerhouse, though, and that’s by design. If you need raw computing power, you won’t find it here. Most Chromebooks have decent but not great displays. They have lower levels of eMMC storage, which itself is less powerful than SSD technology.

Their processors are adequate for what the OS allows you to do, but they are slower than what you’re likely to find in a late-model PC or Mac. Because Chromebooks don’t do a lot of heavy lifting, most of them are fanless, which reduces both weight and power consumption.

Chromebook battery life is usually fantastic. Smaller, slower, simpler components don’t need as much power, and along the same lines the sleek, streamlined OS doesn’t demand much, either. Bear in mind that the more intense the task, the faster the battery will drain—just like other laptops.


Cost is one of the biggest differentiators. Because Chromebooks don’t need to include the fastest and best components, they are far cheaper than flagship PC or Mac laptops. While prices vary depending on hardware specs, many Chromebooks are available for less than $200. The cheapest MacBook air starts at $999. You could buy 5 Chromebooks with that money!

Should You Get One?

The answer is, of course, it depends. If you need a powerful device capable of running any and all software, or if you have a strong preference for Windows or macOS, then a Chromebook isn’t right for you. On the other hand, if price is a big consideration, you’re a casual user, or you’re wanting a simple, streamlined device, Chromebook may well be a great choice for you.

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Elizabeth Mitrani
Elizabeth Mitrani
17:23 06 Aug 19
Palindrome Consulting was key in establishing my business and helps me keep it running. They are the consummate... professionals, incredibly knowledgeable and are always available to help. They have gone above and beyond to ensure that I was up and running quickly and that any issues that may arise on my end or dealt with immediately. I highly recommend Palindrome Consulting.read more
Moshe Rubinstein
Moshe Rubinstein
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They are there every step of the way. Responsive and timely. The full service mentality mixed with the problem solving... abilities, is what makes them an easy choice.read more
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Benjamin Wainberg
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Palindrome Consulting is customer centric. For Palindrome Data Safety is paramount; they keep their and our systems... updated with the newest technologies and are not shy at changing to better alternatives. Their platforms are always running and in the odd case there is an event, their technical team has an awesome response time.read more
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We have been using Palindrome since 2005. They make my company feel like we are #1 all the time. Expert staff are... always available to help all my users all around the country.read more
Martin Feldman
Martin Feldman
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As a partner in Fischer & Feldman, P.A. we have utilized Palindrome Consulting as our IT experts for many years. In... addition to keeping our server up and running, they are available to consult on the everchanging cloud and web landscape. We could not function as a successful law firm without their constant care, attention and almost IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TIME.read more
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Rebecca Fischer
16:39 26 Jun 19
Palindrome has been my IT company for more than 15 years. We have been through four server and computer replacements... over the years all of which went smoothly. As technology has changed Palindrome has kept us current in their recommendations and are extremely responsive when we run into a software or hardware problem. We have been through hurricanes with Palindrome and felt confident they would have us up and running as quickly as possible and despite the fact we are probably a smaller client, they have treated us as one of their most important clients. I highly recommend Palindrome and have complete confidence in their capabilities and service. They have even gone the extra mile when we wanted to donate our old computers to a children's special needs school and delivered the computers, set them up and provided service for the same. Ilan Sredni is the consummate professional and has surrounded himself with top professionals and skilled technicians.read more
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Nelson T
20:32 25 Jun 19
Palindrome Consulting has proven itself time and time again to be the epitome of professionalism and technical... expertise. They take the time to listen to your needs and then apply their wealth of technical knowledge to create truly innovative and robust solutions. They truly deliver piece of mind.read more
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