Ultrabook reviews 2014, scoops and comparisons

Ultrabooks vs chromebooks: big differences, one clear winner!

Last updated: March 6, 2014

After comparing and contrasting the fresh, hip and exciting ultrabooks with regular laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs, it’s now time to focus on a comparison we know everyone is interested in.

We are talking about the comparison between ultrabooks and chromebooks, both of which being new categories of laptops and both trying to find their path in a crowded and extremely competitive computer market.

In the following lines, we will try to find the similarities and differences between these two classes of personal computers and we will insist on each of the two’s strong and weak points. Finally, we will determine (or at least try) whether any of the two categories (or both) has a real shot of staying on the computer market long enough to make an impression.

What are ultrabooks, what are chromebooks?

Without getting into very many details (we have done that in some of the previous posts), ultrabooks are thin and lightweight laptops, set to be powered by strong and snappy Intel Sandy Bridge processors and to come with flash-based SSDs and very capable batteries.

The Toshiba Z835 is one of the best, if not the best ultrabook on today's market.

The Toshiba Z835 is one of the best, if not the best ultrabook on today’s market.

Again, we don’t want to go into details, but if you want to know more, you can check out this post, where ultrabooks are analyzed more thoroughly, or this one, where you can find a selection of top available ultrabooks.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, might not ring many bells for some of you, as they have been released just a few months back and have failed to make a very important impact so far. These are netbooks powered by Google’s Chrome operating system and, like ultrabooks, have promised to revolutionize computing, as we know it right now.

However, chromebooks don’t come with original designs, ‘’extreme’’ portability and strong technical specs, but rather with ease of use and cloud connectivity. These laptops are therefore designed to only be used while connected to the Internet and should offer a better overall browsing experience than a regular laptop.

The Acer AC700 is one of the two chromebooks available on today's market.

The Acer AC700 is one of the two chromebooks available on today’s market.

Google’s chromebooks are significantly cheaper than ultrabooks, as we will find out in the following lines, and offer automatic updates, as well as multiple layers of antivirus protection. On the other hand, in terms of features, connectivity and ports, they are pretty much the same as netbooks, only offering a couple of basics.

Ultrabooks vs chromebooks: similarities

Aside from the fact that they are both basically laptops and therefore have, or should have, the same basic use, ultrabooks and chromebooks have very little in common. As a matter of fact, the only real similarity regards the battery life, which is in both cases at least satisfying and better than that of a regular laptop (around five or six hours of continuous use between charges).

Differences between the two

Because it would take us clearly too much time to list all the differences between ultrabooks and chromebooks, we are only going to insist on those really important ones who might help you decide to go for either one of the two.

First of all, as we already mentioned, ultrabooks are far stronger and snappier than chromebooks. Most of today’s ultrabooks are powered by Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and come with 4 GB of RAM, as well as 128 GB SSDs. Chromebooks, on the other hand, feature Intel Atom processors, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB SSDs.

One of the most important differences between the two is that ultrabooks run Windows and chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS.

One of the most important differences between the two is that ultrabooks run Windows and chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS.

The difference should translate into a better overall gaming performance for ultrabooks, as well as better multimedia use.

Secondly, while chromebooks are not exactly ugly, bulky or tacky, ultrabooks are clearly more elegant, lighter and slimmer and should be considered the number one choice for people who are always on the move.

In addition to that, there’s also the software aspect, another huge difference between ultrabooks and chromebooks. Intel’s ultrabooks run Windows 7 and come with a guarantee of professionalism, as well as with loads of available content. Chromebooks, on the other hand, run the Chrome OS, which is not half bad, but which in fact is far from being a real competitor for Windows in terms of apps.

The pricing is yet another very important difference, with chromebooks being this time around the better machines. Google’s laptops go for around 400-450 dollars at the moment, which is less than half the price of most ultrabooks today.

Why to get an ultrabook, why to get a chromebook?

As much as we would have liked to have a closer battle, ultrabooks are clearly better than chromebooks.

As much as we would have liked to have a closer battle, ultrabooks are clearly better than chromebooks.

After comparing and contrasting ultrabooks and chromebooks, it’s very clear that Intel’s ultraportable laptops have quite a lot of aces up their sleeves. They are stronger, more elegant, slimmer than chromebooks and they run Windows 7, offering access to all the content you could need.

Why would you want a chromebook, in this case? Well, you wouldn’t! Or, at least, we wouldn’t… It’s true, chromebooks are significantly cheaper than ultrabooks, but if you want something cheap, a netbook is still your best choice right now, being able to do more things than a chromebook at a better price.

Final words

While we don’t usually like to give out cold and clear sentences in comparisons like these, in this particular case it’s pretty obvious that ultrabooks are much better than chromebooks.

You shouldn’t however understand that chromebooks are that bad. Not at all! It’s just that we’re not very convinced about this whole ‘’cloud experience’’ and we can’t think of a computer that is unable to work offline as more than a secondary machine for someone who wants to follow trends and be as ‘’hip’’ as possible.

As far as ultrabooks go, as we stated in some of the previous posts as well, these are cool, strong and snappy and are here to stay, no matter what the competition throws at them!

Adrian has a passion for technology and portable computers and he's been writing about mobile devices for many years now. He is in charge with the news here on the site, but sporadically he also contributes with tests and reviews.

13 Comments

  1. Pat novak

    October 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    you forgot to point out the huge downside of ultrabooks….they run windoz.

  2. JLRC

    November 6, 2013 at 3:43 am

    If I had a <$400 budget, I'd go for the Chrome OS for sure. The Chromebook 14 from HP is a nice deal. I think a larger portion of computer users than one would expect would learn to love their Chromebooks as they don't do anything that Chrome OS can't do. It is so much lighter than Windows that the hardware comparisons don't match the way you want them to. 2GB RAM on an Ultrabook and 2GB on a Chromebook will give you completely different performance. At least once upon a time, Macs ran with leaner memory as well.

    Ultrabooks and Windows in general is going to be far more versatile, capable, and customizable. However, netbooks can't do anything. They have the software capability to "do more stuff," but they lack the hardware to do so; this is why nobody buys them. If you have a low budget, buy a Chromebook or buy an older, used/refurbished laptop if you have software needs that can't be satisfied by Chrome OS. Don't buy the Pixel though, it is a deluxe piece of hardware that has way too much capability to be utilized by Chrome OS.

  3. ted

    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 am

    And the other HUGE downside of ultrabooks – cost.

    Chromebooks are down right cheap. If your tasks consist of web, email, and light office work – chromebooks are a fantastic value.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 8, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Indeed, most ultrabooks are so damn expensive

  4. David Brandt

    November 28, 2013 at 3:42 am

    every time you talk about how sleek and fashionable the ultrabooks are I laugh and gag at the same time. Are you going to where the silly things or what? Not even remotely something I care about. the cloud thing sound cool, but I am nervous about the functionality of the chrome OS. I do use google chrome for my main browser though. for me the debate is chromebook vs laptop. I would never waste money on one of those overpriced “fashion” statements of a ultrabook

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      You might be right, but the line between ultrabooks and laptops is getting blurrier each day. In other words, most laptops are getting thinner and lighter, except for those specialized (multimedia or gaming rigs, and even some of these are slim these days). And we, the buyers, actually benefit from that.

  5. Tyler

    February 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever read.

    We have the nice expensive car over here and we have the budget car over here. Lets compare them. first you have this piece of crap cheap car that only has a V6 but this shiny beaut has a V12. Don’t forget you will be paying 3 times as much for the expensive car. The clear winner is the expensive car.

    Does that not sound stupid?

  6. Adriane Day

    March 6, 2014 at 3:18 am

    What did he mean by “Chrome can not be used. Offline, and the Ultra books and netbook can

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Adriane, Chrome OS relies heavily on web services, so it needs Internet access for those to work properly. It can still be used offline, but not at its full abilities.

  7. cookyy

    March 10, 2014 at 7:29 am

    “if you want something cheap, a netbook is still your best choice right now, being able to do more things than a chromebook at a better price.”

    really? i have a netbook and it’s completely useless.
    and what’s the only advantage of windows? being able to run all games and stuff like photoshop. will the majority who has an ultrabook do that? no. most people only browse the web and occasionally use office (which is NOT possible with a netbook without enraging).

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      You are somewhat right, this post is quite old and desperately needs an upgrade. It’s on the TO DO list :)

      • cookyy

        March 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm

        well, it says last updated march 6, 2014, so i thought it’d be up to date :)

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

          Yea, I updated something inside the post on March 6th, but not the Core article, which is a few years old now. Sry for the confusion

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