Chromebook vs. Netbook

What's the Difference?

Chromebooks and netbooks are both lightweight and portable devices, but they have some key differences. Chromebooks are powered by Google's Chrome OS and are designed to primarily work online, relying on cloud-based applications and storage. They offer a fast and secure browsing experience, with automatic updates and built-in virus protection. On the other hand, netbooks are small laptops that typically run on Windows or Linux operating systems. They have more storage capacity and can run a wider range of applications, including offline software. However, netbooks may be slower and less secure compared to Chromebooks. Ultimately, the choice between a Chromebook and a netbook depends on the user's specific needs and preferences.


Photo by Kind and Curious on Unsplash
Operating SystemChrome OSWindows, Linux, or other
ManufacturerVarious (Acer, Asus, HP, etc.)Various (Asus, Acer, Dell, etc.)
ProcessorIntel or ARM-basedIntel Atom or AMD
StorageSSD or eMMCHDD or SSD
Screen Size11.6" to 15.6"7" to 12"
WeightLightweightVaries, but generally heavier than Chromebooks
Battery LifeLong-lasting (typically 8-12 hours)Varies, but generally shorter than Chromebooks
Price RangeWide range, from budget to premiumWide range, from budget to mid-range
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, HDMIWi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
Photo by James Jeremy Beckers on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to portable computing, there are several options available in the market. Two popular choices are Chromebooks and Netbooks. Both devices offer lightweight and compact designs, making them ideal for users who are always on the go. However, there are significant differences between the two that can impact your overall computing experience. In this article, we will compare the attributes of Chromebooks and Netbooks to help you make an informed decision about which one suits your needs best.

Design and Portability

Both Chromebooks and Netbooks are designed with portability in mind. Chromebooks typically feature sleek and lightweight designs, often made from durable materials such as aluminum or plastic. They are known for their slim profiles and are available in various screen sizes, ranging from 11 to 15 inches. On the other hand, Netbooks are also compact and lightweight, but they tend to have a bulkier appearance compared to Chromebooks. Netbooks usually have smaller screens, typically ranging from 10 to 12 inches. While both devices are highly portable, Chromebooks often offer a more premium and modern design.

Operating System

One of the key differences between Chromebooks and Netbooks lies in their operating systems. Chromebooks run on Google's Chrome OS, which is a lightweight and cloud-based operating system. Chrome OS is designed to primarily utilize web applications and cloud storage, making it a perfect choice for users who heavily rely on internet connectivity. On the other hand, Netbooks typically run on Windows or Linux operating systems, providing users with a more traditional desktop experience. Windows-based Netbooks offer a wider range of software compatibility, allowing users to install and run various applications offline.

Performance and Hardware

When it comes to performance, Chromebooks and Netbooks differ in terms of hardware specifications. Chromebooks are often equipped with low-power processors, such as Intel Celeron or ARM-based chips. While these processors may not offer the same level of performance as higher-end processors found in laptops, they are optimized for the lightweight Chrome OS, resulting in smooth and efficient performance for web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. Netbooks, on the other hand, often feature more powerful processors, such as Intel Atom or Pentium chips. These processors provide better multitasking capabilities and can handle more resource-intensive tasks, such as photo editing or light gaming.

Storage and Connectivity

Storage options and connectivity features are important considerations when choosing between a Chromebook and a Netbook. Chromebooks typically come with limited onboard storage, usually ranging from 16 to 64GB. However, they compensate for this limitation by offering generous cloud storage options through Google Drive. This cloud-centric approach allows users to access their files from anywhere with an internet connection. Netbooks, on the other hand, often provide larger onboard storage options, typically ranging from 128GB to 512GB. Additionally, Netbooks usually offer a wider range of connectivity options, including multiple USB ports, HDMI, and SD card slots, making it easier to connect various peripherals and external storage devices.

Battery Life

Battery life is a crucial factor to consider, especially for users who require long hours of productivity on the go. Chromebooks are known for their impressive battery life, often lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours on a single charge. This extended battery life is mainly due to the lightweight nature of Chrome OS and the efficient power management of the low-power processors used in Chromebooks. Netbooks, on the other hand, may have slightly shorter battery life, typically ranging from 6 to 10 hours. The exact battery life can vary depending on the specific model and usage patterns, but overall, Chromebooks tend to offer better battery longevity.

Price Range

Price is often a significant factor when choosing a portable computing device. Chromebooks are generally more affordable compared to Netbooks. The price range for Chromebooks starts from as low as $200 and can go up to $800 for higher-end models with premium features. This affordability makes Chromebooks an attractive option for budget-conscious users or those who primarily rely on web-based applications. Netbooks, on the other hand, tend to be slightly more expensive, with prices ranging from $300 to $600. The higher price range is often justified by the more powerful hardware and wider software compatibility offered by Netbooks.


Choosing between a Chromebook and a Netbook ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize portability, web-based applications, and a longer battery life, a Chromebook might be the ideal choice for you. On the other hand, if you require a more traditional desktop experience, greater software compatibility, and a wider range of connectivity options, a Netbook could be the better option. Consider your budget, desired performance level, and the tasks you intend to perform on the device to make an informed decision. Both Chromebooks and Netbooks offer unique advantages, so weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your purchase.

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