Microsoft’s 8 Reasons to choose Windows Laptops instead of Chromebooks

Posted on 21 August 2014, Last updated on 17 June 2018 by

Microsoft and Google are now head to head in the $250 laptop market and it’s going to be one big fight. Chromebooks and the Google ecosystem vs low-cost Windows laptops and the Microsoft ecosystem.  I have my opinion on which option is better (tip: there’s no best laptop, just a best laptop for you) and many of you have solid opinions too but what do Microsoft say? On their Windows 8 Chromebook comparison page Microsoft have listed 10 points that should be considered before choosing between the two.

Interestingly, and so, so obviously, Microsoft have omitted the discussion on security.

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What they do mention is: Applications, desktop, printers, DRM content, peripherals, document locations.

You’ll notice that there are only 6 points there. That’s because Microsoft want to tell you that there are three types of applications to consider. Office (and other Windows programs,) Skype (and other Windows programs) and  PC games (which are Windows programs.)  Two more bullet points cover Web and Web apps for which the Chromebook is also given credit.

My personal list of Chromebook issues is similar:

Skype, Local storage, Printing, Microsoft Office, Offline applications, USB device support, Playing a CD or DVD/Video format support, Network attached storage access, Music player synchronization, DRM content. [More detail here.]

The elephant in Microsoft’s room is the important area of security. I’m very impressed with the security features available on Windows 8 but it’s not easy to make sure you have these features in your laptop or even to configure them when you have them. Chromebooks have the huge advantage that they don’t assume that the user is going to proactively act to improve security. “We update transparently and try to provide safe defaults without asking users to make security decisions” [src.]  Cheap Windows 8 tablets do a good job if you use a Microsoft account (disk encryption, login tracking, secure boot, sandboxed apps in RT mode) but more needs to be done for the laptops which don’t have some of these features. Windows desktop remains a huge risk area too.

One other point I would argue, and Microsoft should bring this forward, is the fun aspect of using a touchscreen Windows device in RT mode. Chromebooks are as boring as Windows 7 laptops were and that’s not going to attract consumers in the sub $300 bracket. Devices like the Lenovo N20p might change that but only if Chrome OS evolves to offer better touch features and a richer choice of entertainment.

As you might have noticed I’m increasing my coverage of Chromebooks as simple, portable, secure PCs. I predict they will sell well as they improve over the next few years, they will drive a significant improvement in security across low-cost PC products, they will drive down prices of small Windows PCs and you’ll see some movement of Chromebooks into the ultra-mobile space very soon. I look forward to the first sub-1KG product.

We’re tracking the lighter Chromebooks in our database.

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Andrew says:

    Though I have always been a Windows person, now that I have used a Chromebook for sometime I honestly never see myself going back to a Windows laptop unless I were to use it for a desktop replacement.

  2. Paul says:

    Can someone explain to me why Windows RT was run out of town by the press? I’m serious on this one. ChromeOS is somehow better for being restricted. Yet Windows RT was the worst idea ever!

    Give me a cheap Windows RT notebook so I can give it to my parents. I’d pick up a Surface 2 but every article out there seems to indicate that would be a TERRIBLE mistake!

  3. mark says:

    That’s an excellent point – even if one doesn’t like the Windows Store apps, or is arguing there are less of them than on Android, you can still run a browser on Windows RT, putting it on a similar level to a Chromebook.

    As for the press, I’d say it’s because it doesn’t have a big Apple logo glued on it, and anything that’s seen as competing against them therefore has to be either ignored or hated (interestingly if ChromeOS does grow to significant market share, it will be Apple at risk of falling into 3rd place).

    Similarly how Windows 8 was proclaimed that it would be and was a complete and utter failure while Chromebooks were selling like hot cakes in comparison. Yet with 100 million sold in 6 months, and stats on Windows 8 installed userbase doing fine while ChromeOS barely showing up at all, I’ve not seen a single media article admit this failed prediction. As Chippy says, Windows 9 will be the one they’ll accept – claiming it proves them right about Windows 8 even though Windows 9 will likely still include and expand on things like WinRT and Windows Store apps. And then years later, revisionist history will kick in, and the press will be hating Windows 10 or 11, whilst claiming Windows 8 is the best OS ever (Windows XP got plenty of hate on first arrival)…

  4. Jon says:

    I think it’s due to how MS marketed it. It was essentially marketed as Windows desktop on ARM and it was far from that. If it was marketed as their tablet OS, I bet reactions would have been different. Like Apple’s Mac OS and iOS, it’d be Windows desktop and Windows tablet.

    They would have been better off making it look like the tablet extension of Windows Phone. From rumors, it sounds like they plan on doing something along those lines. Too bad first impressions are hard to overcome.

  5. Chippy says:

    RT was very much a victim of the overall Windows 8 UI trashing that the press were, in my opinion, simply too lazy to find out about. RT (on both Win8 and RT standalone) is a great operating system extension and exactly what Windows needed. It will live on and when the UI is tweaked slightly, or renamed, or gets some more apps, it will probably get a different response. Journalists don’t like to be wrong so they’ll wait for WIndows 9 until they tell everyone that it’s all OK and we can all start using Windows again.

    32 Windows features that don’t get enough credit:
    http://www.umpcportal.com/2014/02/32-windows-8-features-that-dont-get-enough-credit/ < most of these are thanks to RT. Where do we go from here? Is RT tarnished so much that it's doomed as a standalone OS now? I think not. I think that it will merge towards Windows Phone as MS indicated in the last BUILD conf. That phone/RT element will then form a more important part of desktop. At some point in the near future the desktop is just going to be too risky, inefficient, complicated, ugly for consumers. If there's no RT middle ground then MS loses tens of millions of Windows customers.

  6. Kyle says:

    I totally agree with Microsoft here. I tried a chromebook, and they work fine and all, but you really need the internet to do 90% of its function. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I do this thing called leaving my home, and not everywhere has the internet. In any case though, why limit yourself with chrome? Even if I could leave home They give you 16gb drives. Unless you are the most basic user, you should be able to see the obvious functionality fallout of using chrome vs windows.

    Chrome also might be cool if they had great battery life, but they are the same or worse than windows. The Asus T100 destroys any chromebook in value, functionality, and battery any day.

  7. Jon says:

    My main issue with Windows is security. At least the perceived security problem of Windows created over the decades. I assume security issues aren’t as bad in the Modern UI side and is probably on par with ChromeOS. My main issue with ChromeOS is the same as with the Modern UI: you’re limited in what you and apps can do. The reasons for what limits you differ of course.

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