If you’re on the market for a new laptop computer, with so many option available you’re no doubt confused about which brand to choose or which type of laptop Operating System to go for.
Now, while both the Chromebook and Macbook are great options, they’re significantly different in terms of performance, cost, and capabilities. That said, both laptops are filled with great features and modes of functionality.
To help you decide between the two, below is our comprehensive Chromebook vs. Macbook comparison with a close look at each device type.
We’ve looked at the features of both devices side by side and provided a pros and cons list as well. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Chromebook vs. Macbook: An Overview
- Chrome OS vs. MacOS
- Chromebook vs. Macbook: A Feature-by-Feature Comparison
- MacBook vs. Chromebook: Pros and Cons
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Chromebook vs. Macbook: An Overview
Before we move into the specifics, here’s a brief comparison table with an overview of the main differences between the two:
|Screen Size||10-15 inches||12-16 inches|
|Battery Life||10+ hours||10-12+ hours|
|Processor||Mainly Mobile Chip||Intel CPU or M1 Chip|
|Main use case||Mostly for online work||Both online and local work|
|Price||$200 – $1400||$999 – $2888|
Chrome OS vs. MacOS
One of the most important considerations when selecting a laptop is its operating system (OS).
In the question of Macbook vs. Chromebook, it’s important to look into the differences between MacOS and Chrome OS, the respective operating systems which power the two laptops.
MacOS is considered one of the foremost operating systems in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
The wide suite of MacOS apps makes it possible to get so much done with a Macbook that you might have trouble with otherwise.
Dependable, clean, and fast, MacOS gives you much greater flexibility in terms of both programs and the ability to complete complex tasks.
For this reason, MacOS is strongly recommended for professionals or students who need to make use of many different programs.
Because of Chrome OS, on the other hand, Chromebooks tend to be far more suited to those who conduct most of their work online.
Developed by Google, ChromeOS is modeled largely on the Google Chrome browser (considered one of the best browsers).
Instead of running programs like Mac or Windows computers do, Chromebooks run web apps that exist online or can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Ever used YouTube or Google Docs? Yep, those are web apps. And since Chrome OS is a Google-produced OS, you can also expect many Android apps to run smoothly on a Chromebook. Some Linux apps work as well.
However, if your Internet connection is unstable, Chromebooks may not be the best choice as it requires internet connectivity to run properly.
Many ChromeOS apps can be used offline, but to get the most out of your Chromebook, you need Internet connectivity.
It’s also worth noting that you won’t be able to use Microsoft Office programs on a Chromebook, which is essential for many people.
What are your computing needs?
So, before you compare Chromebooks and Macbooks, consider what your computing needs are.
For example, if your work requires you to have for example a specialized accounting program installed on your computer or some other local software, Chromebooks are not going to be able to support it and, as such, your best choice will be a Macbook.
On the other hand, if you don’t have high-strung computing needs and you work mostly online, a Chromebook might be just the right laptop for you.
Meanwhile, both OSs come with a voice assistant: the iconic Siri for Macbooks and Google Assistant for Chromebooks.
Chromebook vs. Macbook: A Feature-by-Feature Comparison
In order to give you a comprehensive understanding of the differences and similarities between Chromebooks and MacBooks, we’ve compared the two devices side by side according to the following features and specs.
Given all you have just learned, it should go without saying that the processor of a Macbook is much more powerful than that of a Chromebook.
Due to the relatively lower needs of a ChromeOS device, they don’t need workhorse processors and are thus fitted with mobile chips corresponding with their lower price tag.
Although ChromeOS tends to be quite swift and light to the touch, you shouldn’t expect it to carry out any strenuous tasks.
Macbooks, on the other hand, come with a much more advanced processor — this can be an Intel processor or Apple’s very own M1.
You can even get chip upgrades if that’s required, although that will, of course, set you back quite a bit of money.
Once again, consider your work needs, but remember that Macbooks run much faster.
The lightweight build of ChromeOS makes it so that Chromebooks don’t require more than 16GB or 32GB of local storage, and you probably won’t need more than that as ChromeOS is largely cloud-based.
This means that your files will mostly be stored online, so we recommend getting familiar with the use of Google Drive and other online cloud storage services if you’re planning to get yourself a Chromebook.
Unfortunately, Macbooks don’t offer a huge amount of storage either. Because they utilize SSD, they have a base capacity of 128GB to 256GB.
However, you can spend a few hundred dollars more to configure the newer Macbook models to upgrade to 512GB or more if you need more space for your local files.
When it comes to battery life, Chromebooks and Macbooks are closely matched. While Chromebooks are capable of providing 10 to 12+ hours of work time on one full charge, Macbooks have been known to go up to 16 to 18 hours.
Of course, the amount of time your battery lasts depends on what kind of work you’re doing on it, so this is not set in stone.
You might be confused about the negligible difference in battery performance given the contrasting price points of the two laptops, but when you consider that Chromebooks have lower performance requirements and low power-consumption hardware in general, this means that battery life lasts longer as well.
Weight and Build
Now let’s break down the build quality of both laptop devices. Because Chromebooks are available in numerous models and price ranges, the size and weight of the Chromebook depend on which one you buy.
The Acer Spin 713, which is presently one of the best Chromebooks on the market, weighs around 4 pounds. In comparison, the budget HP Chromebook x360 14c weighs roughly 3.61 pounds.
If you’re going for a Macbook Air, you will no doubt be quite impressed by how lightweight it is.
The 2021 model, for example, weighs only 2.8 pounds. On the other hand, the 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds, and if you want to spring for the 16-inch version, the weight goes up to 4.3 pounds.
When it comes to construction material, you will find that MacBooks offer a far sleeker and premium feel, as they are made primarily from aluminum.
Depending on the price tag of your Chromebook, it might be made from plastic or metal. Aesthetically, Macbooks take the cake, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find modern-looking Chromebooks to turn heads.
The longevity of any device depends on how well it is taken care of. That goes without saying. However, it must be noted that most Chromebooks are not known to last as long as Macbooks tend to.
You can get around 5 years out of a Chromebook that is well taken care of, and you should expect to have to replace its battery once it has completed 500 cycles.
A Macbook typically lasts at least 6 to 8 years if you can take good care of it. In fact, you can probably keep using a Macbook until upgrades are no longer provided for the model you own (at which point the security and performance of your laptop will both be affected).
Meanwhile, a Macbook’s battery won’t need to be replaced before 1,000 cycles are reached.
That said, you can’t easily replace a Macbook’s battery as well as that of a Chromebook.
If you don’t care how much you spend, you can skip this section. But for the rest of you who aren’t as lucky, it’s clear that one of the most prominent differences between Chromebooks and Macbooks is their price point.
Like all Apple Products, Macbooks are pretty expensive. The prices of Macbooks vary depending on the model you choose.
A MacBook Air will set you back $999 at the least, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro clocks in at around $1,299.
But if you want the 16-inch MacBook Pro, be prepared to spend double that, at around $2,399.
Chromebooks are much more budget-friendly. Low end Chromebooks, such as Acer, are available for as little as $249.
On the other hand, the higher-end options, such as the HP Chromebook x360, are priced below $400.
The Google Pixelbook is one of the premium offerings at around $900, while the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook clocks in around $700.
As Apple manufactures them, the high price tag of Macbooks is easy to understand. Chromebooks are on the opposite side of the price spectrum with a highly affordable price tag – so if you’re looking for an affordable laptop, the choice is clear between the two.
MacBook vs. Chromebook: Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve gone through all of the different features of Macbooks and Chromebooks, let’s finally compare Chromebook and Macbook pros and cons.
- Top-of-the-line display with multiple size choices
- Super fast and dependable with professional level specifications
- Offers high portability due to thin and lightweight build
- Not susceptible to viruses and/or malware
- Seamless Apple ecosystem compatibility for iPhone and iPad users
- Sleek and contemporary design
- Supports a wide range of software
- Very user-friendly
- Great battery life
- Affordable and accessible for a wide segment of customers
- Available with screen sizes between 11″ and 15.6″
- Inherently secure from viruses due to cloud-based OS
- Compatible with Android apps and Linux apps
- Suitable for online-based work
- It comes in many different models to suit different users’ needs
- Because files are stored online, they’re easier to access
- Undoubtedly one of the most expensive computers on the market
- Limited variety in terms of models and sizes – only Macbook Pro and Macbook Air are available
- Comparatively low storage with expensive add-ons
- HDMI or AUX ports are not included
- RAM upgrades are not supported
- Expensive maintenance and upkeep
- It might not support some Windows and ChromeOS apps
- Requires internet connectivity for seamless use
- Screen and build quality might be low at low price points
- Largely incompatible with Windows and MacOS apps and programs
- Some software is unavailable on the Google Play Store
- Prone to slowing down when multitasking
- Offers relatively lower durability
- You might not be able to access important files without an internet connection
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use a Chromebook without an internet connection?
You can, but it’ll be difficult. Apps such as Google Docs and Sheets have to be configured beforehand to offer offline functionality as there is no on-device software.
Is it worth buying a Chromebook instead of a Mac laptop?
Chromebooks are much more affordable and offer an impressive battery life, as well as improved security. However, if you’re going to be using complex programs or require a powerful processor, and have access to a bigger budget, get a Macbook or Windows laptop for better performance.
How much space does a Macbook have?
Depending on the model, it can be either 128GB or 256GB. Additional SSD storage can be bought.
What are the limitations of a Chromebook?
In general, a Chromebook device is less powerful than regular laptops and isn’t suited to handling heavy projects or running too many apps at once. Intensive apps, such as Photoshop or advanced video editing tools, are not available for ChromeOS.
Should I buy a Chromebook or a Macbook?
If you are a busy professional with demanding computing needs, get a Macbook. If you only need to use web-based apps and don’t care about technical specifications, get a Chromebook.
You won’t get a clear answer if you ask us for a verdict in this Chromebook vs. Macbook battle.
It’s quite obvious that the two computers are worlds apart in terms of performance and capabilities, and it all depends upon your particular computing needs.
If you want a high-performing device that is capable of handling a wide array of tasks and programs, and more importantly, if cost is not a problem, go for an Apple Macbook – the performance of this powerful laptop is unparalleled.
However, if you won’t be doing much more than streaming movies and music or editing documents and spreadsheets through Google’s office suite, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t get a Chromebook.
Still can’t decide? Generally speaking, maybe you should start researching Microsoft Windows laptops which offer excellent choices as well.