4 Reasons Why Chromebooks are Better than Windows Laptops

A decade or so ago, a successful consumer ad campaign compared Macs to Windows PCs, as if they were people. These ads ran between 2006 and 2009, a few years before the first Chromebooks came onto the scene.

The “Mac” character was young, hip and relaxed. The “PC” persona was older, wore a dated suit, and, well, was pretty nerdy. Mac showed viewers all of the cool things they could do with their computer, while the PC was far more practical and functional. A business computer vs. a creative one.

I would love to see this campaign revived to show how Chromebooks play a crucial role in today’s enterprise space as compared to PCs. While Macs remain strongly entrenched in the creative side of things, traditional Windows laptops now face strong competition from the powerful Chromebook both in performance and secure cloud computing.

The Computing Market is Changing

A late 2019 article from Computer World indicates that “Windows is expected to comprise 83% of the market in 2020, with Chrome OS and macOS in second place at 7.5% each," according to Linn Huang, research vice president of devices and displays at research firm IDC.

working from home cloud

At the time of this article’s publication, estimates for Chromebook sales were predicted at 18.7 million for 2020 with those running on the macOS at 18.6 million, putting Chromebook in second place behind Windows PCs. People have warmed up to Chromebooks, and the demand is getting even hotter in both the consumer and enterprise spaces.

Additionally, Google reports that it has “seen a 109% year over year growth in unit sales in the U.S. for Chromebooks, and ~155% year over year growth in commercial Chromebooks in Q1 2020, fueled in part by the cost benefits and simplicity of deploying Chromebooks.”

The impact of COVID-19 on Chrome adoption also is clear. For a long time, Google has said that anyone in a business role could easily be a cloud worker. With the scramble to convert many positions to remote during quarantine requirements, the demand for Chrome only continues to grow.

Windows laptops and Chromebooks might look alike, but they run on different operating systems and have completely different ways of functioning because of this.

Running on Google Chrome Enterprise, Chromebooks designed for enterprise use are built for today’s cloud-first workplace with speed, security, shareability and simplicity. @OnixNetworking

Running on Google Chrome Enterprise, Chromebooks designed for enterprise use are built for today’s cloud-first workplace with speed, security, shareability and simplicity. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why Chromebooks are built better for enterprises that rely on cloud computing and have remote workers or ones that are always on the go.

Reason 1: Chrome OS delivers secure cloud computing with no downtime.

Chrome device managementWindows devices require scheduled patches and security updates to remain secure. These often lengthy updates require the user to wait for the download and installation procedure to run before they can log in and use their device. Windows updates also require devices to restart once the updates are installed.

It's not uncommon for users to start the update process, walk away, get some coffee, chat at the water cooler and come back to see if the update has completed, oftentimes it hasn't. That’s a huge, and regular, impact on productivity each month when patches are pushed.

Security is built into every level of Chrome Enterprise and Chromebooks, offering end-to-end protection across your enterprise. This includes:

  • Verified boot at startup
  • Hardware-backed cryptographic proof of verified boot and enterprise enrollment status
  • Quick, ephemeral user sessions
  • Automatic full-disk and per-user profile encryption and access policies

Seamless security updates occur automatically in the background, allowing users to keep working on their Chromebooks without any needed restarts. And these updates take only a minute or two, compared to an hour or more for some Windows updates. And, as threats are identified, Google engineers can quickly push background updates to Chrome Enterprise devices.

What’s more, Chrome’s sandboxes malware, spyware and viruses keep these threats from spreading to other open tabs. It does this on a site-by-site and app-by-app basis, so each affected tab or app is contained.

Reason 2: There’s no physical storage that can fail.

While Windows computers mainly rely on local, hard-drive storage, they do have cloud-storage options. The average Windows device local storage capacity comes from 500GB to 1TB internal drives.

Chromebooks are cloud-native. This means other than a small amount of storage for some operational features, all data produced on a Chromebook is automatically saved and stored in the cloud, using Google Drive. The typical local storage capacity on a new Chromebook is  32-64GB storage. It’s still considerably less than traditional Windows machines. Chromebooks also use inexpensive eMMC flash storage.

grab n go ladyBecause Chromebooks primarily rely on cloud storage for most data, users will not lose their files if a device crashes, something that happens all too often with Windows laptops’ local storage. A hard-drive failure can be catastrophic.

It’s also easier to swap devices using a Chromebook, as all you have to do is log in to your Google account on the new device, and all of your files are there, in the cloud. With a Windows device, chances are many of your files are on an internal hard-drive and will need to be transferred over to the new device.

On a related note, Windows laptops also require more powerful memory to complete tasks. While these devices and Chromebooks both can work with 4GB RAM, many Windows PCs perform better with 8GB. Chromebooks will do well with 4GB, with 8GB being a higher-end upgrade for power users.

Reason 3: Chromebooks deploy and manage easily across an organization.

Chrome devices deploy easier and faster than legacy devices. IT will spend less time on such things as imaging laptops, testing and deploying apps, managing policies and deploying devices to individual users.

Because Chromebooks are cloud-native, they also require significantly less IT management and service. They can be managed from a single point using a cloud-based Admin console. From this console, IT can set up features for users, enforce policies, set up access permissions to apps, VPNs and more, and install apps and extensions among other simplified activities.

Reason 4: Chromebooks cost less and deliver high ROI.

ladygrabngo-1Less storage capacity and required memory and easy deployment and management mean lower cost. Typically the average Chromebook will cost a couple of hundred dollars less than a similar Windows laptop. And it delivers some hefty ROI for a modest upfront investment.

According to the 2018 study, “The Total Economic Impact of Google Chrome OS Devices,” the return on investment for Google Chromebooks over three years at the enterprise level totaled 295% with $477,000 in IT management cost savings. Time savings per device for workers was roughly three hours each week.

The study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Google Cloud, focused on responses from 236 organizations and seven Google Cloud customers that had experience using Chrome devices.

Final Thoughts about Chromebooks

Some could argue that Chromebooks can’t run some of the Windows apps needed in business. Google has not been unaware of this and has launched a new partnership with Parallels to provide legacy application support, which includes Microsoft Office desktop apps for Chromebooks. So that reason to stick with Windows will soon be moot.

Overall, a Chromebook environment is known to drive productivity thanks to the fact there’s reduced downtime through automatic updates that don’t require device and app shutdown. Cloud workers who use Chromebooks also enjoy better collaboration and data portability, which further contributes to the productivity factor.

The impact a move to Chromebooks could have on many organizations is immense and one worth considering.

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Meet the Author

Steve Holly, Product Manager, Chrome & Devices

Steve Holly, Product Manager, Chrome & Devices

Since 2008, Steve has been on the forefront of the transition to cloud-based services. He has helped companies like Whirlpool, Lexmark, Fujifilm America, Celestica, The New York Times, and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation make the transition to Google’s cloud-based services. Steve spent six years in the Navy, where he got his start in computers. During his service, he visited Japan, Thailand, Bali, Austrailia, Hong Kong, and more.

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