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When you think of Chromebooks, you may immediately picture a very affordable laptop, which stands in contrast with MacBook Pro, as among the most expensive options in the market. Chromebook runs Chrome OS, which is based on the Chrome web browser. Compared to Windows and macOS, Chrome OS isn’t really a complete operating system, so, it won’t run typical computer programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Chromebooks and MacBook Pro are two machines made for different consumer segments in the market, so they can be very different in some areas. However, we could still make some comparisons:
• Simplicity: MacBook Pro is designed for full computing experience, while Chromebook is for minimalists. Despite being a sleek and highly optimized operating system, macOS still comes with far more functionality than many users need.
• Software options: There are more free software for macOS, but chances are you will need to purchase at least a few programs to get the full functionality of a MacBook Pro. As comparison, it’s easy to get fully functional with Chromebook without spending a dime on additional software. Google has opened access to Play Store for Chromebook users. It means that you can install free office and image editing apps originally made for Android devices. They are far less complete compared to Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, but still useful for minimalist users. If you think that most of your productivity tasks are covered by Android apps, then the same applies with Chromebook.
• Learning curve: MacOS is designed as a simple operating system, but first-time users often don’t have a clue of what to do. Just like Android, Chrome OS has equally straightforward interface. Users intuitively know what to do next.
• Ecosystem immersion: When you are using an Android device, you don’t only buy a device, but an access to Google’s ecosystem. Chrome OS is another entry point to this ecosystem. You can use typical Google services easily with Chromebook, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Play Store and Maps. MacBook Pro can access most of Google’s services as well, but not as fluid and as seamless.
• Touch functionality: Some Chromebook models have touch functionality. Some may argue that a laptop with touchscreen display is gimmicky, but there are situations where making a succession of quick taps on the interface can get things done much more quickly. As comparison, Apple seems reluctant to make touchscreen variants for MacBook Pro.
• Hardware specs: Without a doubt, Chromebooks have far weaker hardware compared to MacBook Pro. But, because Chrome OS is much simpler than macOS, so it could perform well with entry-level Intel processors. A better comparison is between Google Pixelbook and MacBook Air. Both have similar prices, but Pixelbook offers higher display resolution and more advanced Intel Core i5 processor.
• Operating systems: MacOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system and it’s a closed platform. Chrome OS and Linux may not be directly related, but under the hood, they share similar components and system tools. With Chrome OS, Google is investing fully in the Linux ecosystem. Chrome OS is an open-source platform, so, you will be free of any possible legal consequences, when using Chromebook for business and commercial purposes.
While MacBook Pro is aimed at the upper level of the society, Google has done a good thing by allowing people with a more restricted budget to have a lightweight and very affordable computing solution. Even for business professionals, Chromebooks may become a more straightforward platform to deliver casual productivity tasks. You don’t need an expensive laptop and fully fledged operating system to access email and edit the spreadsheet. On the other hand, Apples continues to contribute by delivering luxury and elegant computing products for those who can afford them.