Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are relatively recent inventions. In fact, had you asked a salesman at a computer shop to show you a Chromebook only 3 years ago, he would look at you as though you were speaking Greek! But today, Chromebooks are among the hottest selling personal computers. They can be seen in colleges and universities throughout North America and Europe.
You might be wondering how Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are different from Windows-based PCs. The biggest difference lies in the operating system used by them – Chrome OS. Chrome OS is different from Windows because it is only meant to be used online, with an internet connection.
Chrome OS can be used offline as well, but not so effectively. That’s why Chrome OS is a best selling product today, rather than 5 or 6 years ago when fast broadband connections were not as common or as reliable as they are today. So a computer that worked only online was till as recently as 2010, a laughable idea. Not anymore!
Chrome OS is today available on Chromebooks and Chromeboxes manufactured by some of the top PC manufacturers such as Samsung, HP, Acer and Asus. Here, we focus on Chromebook and Chrombox and the differences between them.
Chromebook versus Chromebox – What is a Chromebook?
Chromebook is a laptop that is completely dependent on the internet and takes just a couple of seconds or so to start-up, unlike most Windows PCs that take ages to get started. Chromebook has just one native app, Google Chrome.
Everything you do on Chromebook has to be done using Google Chrome or by using the various web apps belonging to Google such as Gmail, Google Doc, Google Maps, YouTube etc. Web apps are apps that run only when connected to the internet.
The Chromebook does not come with a hard drive, everything you do on the Chromebook is simply saved in the cloud, on Google Drive. Google offers 100 GB of free cloud storage along with the Chromebook.
The big advantage of saving everything on the cloud is that you can access the data from any computer and don’t have to worry about losing anything in case the Chromebook crashes.
One issue you may have with Chromebooks is that you cannot play 3D games on them because of their lack of storage space. So you can only play 2D games on Chromebook such as the Mark of the Ninja and Shank.
Chromebooks have 11 to 14 inch displays and are portable. They are very fast and run on Celeron processors as well as on the super fast Intel core i5. They have a RAM which is of 2 GB to 4 GB in capacity.
The price of a Chromebook depends on the manufacturer, but generally they cost between $250 and $1,500.
Chromebook versus Chromebox – What is a Chromebox?
Chromeboxes are very small personal computers that you can carry with you in a backpack to school or office. They come with an inbuilt wireless internet capacity. While PCs run on Windows, Chromeboxes run on Chrome OS. They are similar to Chromebooks as they support just one application, Google Chrome and depend on the various Google web apps.
Chromeboxes don’t come with any keyboards or display monitors, unless you specifically order for them. They will have a power switch and multiple HDMI or DisplayPorts which allows them to be hooked up to external monitors.
While Chromeboxes are not as powerful as Chromebooks, they are a lot cheaper. While Chromeboxes cost $250 to $1500, Chromeboxes only cost $175 to $700.
Chromebook versus Chromebox – Should You Buy a Chromebook or Chromebox?
As said earlier, Chromeboxes are much cheaper than Chromebooks. But Chromebooks are more like the laptops that you are probably used to. In fact, you may consider a Chromebook to be a lightweight laptop without a hard drive, which only works when connected to the internet. Chromeboxes are unconventional PCs as they don’t come with a display or with a keyboard, just with switches and ports so that they can be hooked up to other external devices. So it might take you some time to get used to a Chromebox. Given a choice between the two, we recommend buying a Chromebook over a Chromebox as they are more convenient.
Raghav Hegde, Bangalore
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