Chromebook Versus Laptop: Which Is Best for College?

The nature of the college experience has changed so much over the past few decades that today’s college students need a portable device for various computing tasks. At one time, a desktop computer or laptop might have been reserved for writing papers. Still, you are now likely to need a portable computer for note-taking, scheduling, checking emails, doing research and taking exams. While massive processing power isn’t necessary for most students’ daily needs, portability is essential since you need to tuck your device into your backpack and move to the next class or work remotely since much of their work is now online.
Excellent options for students today are Chromebooks and lightweight laptops. Regardless of your choice for this important investment, it is crucial that you buy an extended laptop warranty that includes accident protection to make sure you keep up with your rigorous college schedule.

Is a Chromebook or Laptop the Right Choice for Your College Years?

No matter what type of computer your family has at home, you need to carefully consider your college computer and according to the way you plan to work. If you need some ideas on deciding which type of machine is best for you, keep reading to learn more about both.


Originally launched in 2011, Chromebooks are lightweight, web-based two-in-one laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system. While the body of a Chromebook looks so much like a PC you might mistake it for one, it runs differently. This highly minimal machine offers a completely different experience for computer users.

Operating System

Instead of the common-by-conventional-laptop-standards, Chromebook works on another type of system altogether. Google reworked its well-known Chrome browser to serve as Chromebook’s operating system. The Chrome OS includes features including a file manager, taskbar and app launcher. As you might guess, it also features the Google suite of services, such as Gmail, Maps, YouTube and Docs.


The software aspect of Chromebooks is unique in that it is also web-based. Therefore, when you download an app, it opens in a Chrome tab, rather than via its own platform like apps you download and install on PCs and Macs. This concept might sound unusual, but it allows for lightning-fast startup and high-powered performance.

Reasonably Priced

Many consumers on a budget, including college students, appreciate the friendly prices available when buying a Chromebook. You might expect to pay between $200-350 for a Chromebook that lets you do everything you need without breaking the bank or straining your back when you put it in your backpack.

Multiple Brands Feature Their Own Chromebook

If you prefer a certain brand of computers, no need to worry. Several popular and respected computer brands manufacture Chromebooks, including Acer, Asus, Google, HP and Lenovo.


Many people still gravitate toward traditional laptops because they are so familiar. Not everyone wants minimalism. You might prefer your laptop because it does allow for more platform-based software or features much more storage space than the average 16-32GB available on Chromebooks. If you haven’t decided which way to go, consider a few details about laptops to help make your decision.

Operating System

Depending on whether you buy a Mac or PC product, your primary operating system will be either iOS or Windows, respectively. Apple also makes a line of MacBooks that run on their own operating system known as MacOS. Finally, some laptop users install Linux as an alternative to either of the other operating systems. As you can see, you have more options in operating systems when it comes to buying laptops, so if you have a favorite, keep this in mind.


Software like the Microsoft Suite is not available on Chromebook, so if you need to create Word documents or Excel spreadsheets to work collaboratively, this is crucial. While Microsoft offers a web-based version of its popular suite, it does not have the same functionality that is built into PC or Mac-based software.

The Brands and Price Ranges Vary Broadly

You can find a laptop in any brand you prefer, including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Acer and Mac. Similarly, the price ranges vary according to the specifications you want for your system, starting at around the $300 range for a solid computer that can help you churn out papers, submit assignments and check emails from your professors.

Make Sure to Invest in a Warranty for Your New Laptop or Chromebook

Regardless of what type of machine you choose to buy to support your college success, make sure you buy an extended warranty for anything that comes up, such as mechanical failure or an accidental spill. An Upsie extended laptop warranty means you never need to worry about being without your computer for long!

Learn More About Computer Warranties:

Return to all posts

* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.