Macbook, Chromebook or laptop

Whether your home has students in need of a computer, or adults with an older machine that is long overdue for a replacement, you want to find the right solution that will serve you now and into the future. Students will need to have the right device to succeed, no matter what shape their courses take. And, parents working from home need reliable access to productivity apps and to the outside world. So here’s a summary to help you make the choice: MacBook, Chromebook, or Windows laptop?


I like saving money, don’t you? Chromebooks are the most affordable category of laptop available. They use the Google Chrome operating system, they’re designed to use cloud applications run through the Chrome browser, and they are extremely secure. The OS is made by Google, which also offers its own line of flagship Chromebooks called the Pixelbook.

MacBook Chromebook or Windows Laptop

But you aren’t stuck with only one Chromebook option: there are a variety of manufacturers to choose from. You can install and run some Android apps on your Chromebook. So, if you’re already using an Android phone or tablet, and Chrome as your browser, a Chromebook will be a seamless addition.

The reliance on internet connectivity means that your Chromebook may be a little less useful when you’re not online. The other drawbacks to a Chromebook are less storage space, less power, and fewer connectivity ports. For a detailed look at using a Chromebook for schoolwork and family life, check out this great blog post: “Why a Chromebook should be your next family computer”


MacBooks are the laptops on offer from Apple, and they are pretty. You will be hard-pressed to find a sleeker, more visually appealing laptop. MacBooks are everywhere you look on university and college campuses, where happy students overlook the lack of USB Type-A ports and optical drives Apple was an early adopter of USB-C). If you’re already living the Apple life with some combination of an iPad, iPhone, and iWatch, adding a MacBook makes sense. Your familiarity with the apps and operating system will make it easy to use the MacBook.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air weighs under 3 pounds, amazingly light for a full-powered laptop. The raw power of a MacBook Air is more than a Chromebook, but the use of Intel’s Y-Series mobile processors mean they aren’t really powerhouses. If you have a variety of peripherals you like to use regularly with your laptop, the two USB-C Thunderbolt (AKA USB 3.0) ports won’t meet your needs without adding a hub to the mix. You won’t get as much hard drive space as you would in a bulky regular laptop, either.

MacBook Pro

You can opt for a MacBook Pro if you’re looking for more processing and video card power, but the emphasis on keeping the laptop as thin as possible will still be a limiting factor. You’ll need to have a healthy bank account as well. But, for a multimedia or design student, a MacBook Pro is a very good fit.

Windows Laptop

You want options? You’re in luck! There are many manufacturers ready to provide you the Windows Laptop that you’re dreaming of. You could get a beast of a laptop with a distinct video card for all of the entirely course-related gaming you need to do. Or you can get a light, thin laptop that is similar in weight and performance to a Chromebook or MacBook Air.

The big advantage of a Windows Laptop is software compatibility. Most of the world uses Windows, so most software is designed for Windows machines. You will be able to install whatever applications are required for your coursework. The big disadvantage of a Windows Laptop is, well, you have to use Windows. Windows 10 is much better than earlier versions, vastly better than the worst ones, but it still has occasional perplexing issues. I shudder to think about diagnosing and fixing a Windows issue caused by a third party driver. Don’t be scared, though-Windows works well most of the time.

Many Windows laptops also offer touchscreen support, for easy navigation and use of Windows 10’s Inking feature.

You need lots of ports and an optical drive? Those are understandable requirements. You will be easily find a Windows laptop that will fulfill those needs. The trade-off will be increased weight and thickness.

Microsoft Surface

This is Microsoft’s own laptop, boasting a touchscreen and high fashion finishes to wow the crowd. You can think of the Surface Laptop as Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook. Like its nemesis, the Surface Laptop is a pricey purchase. But, you will get all the compatibility of Windows in an aesthetically pleasing form factor.

MacBook, Chromebook, or Windows Laptop?

You have specific requirements for the upcoming school year that will determine which laptop is the best fit for you. I made this decision based on my kid’s capacity for taking care of a device. Finding his tablet with the screen smashed opened my eyes to how expensive the school year could be. I chose the Chromebook, because replacing it will be less financially painful. And, he already uses Google products in the classroom.

But he won’t be 12 forever, thankfully, and someday he may actually be interested in keeping his devices intact. When we get to that magical day, I’ll look at a Windows laptop that can do school work and has good gaming performance. Who knows, maybe he’ll save up his money and buy his own laptop. A dad can dream.

We’re all shopping for the things we help our families be successful. Best Buy Canada is continually updating and upgrading their services to make the experience as helpful as possible. Whether it’s in-store or online shopping, you can shop with confidence.

Chris Loblaw
Chris is a novelist, avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and proud dad of a 13-year-old video game master.


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