Incomparable: Chromebooks versus the new MacBook Air

When shopping for Chromebooks, don't consider the MacBook Air.


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You know how when someone asks you what brand of pressed and breaded microwaveable chicken nuggets they should get and you go out of your way to tell them not to get a nice cut at House of Prime Rib?

No? Well then you can’t write for the Forbes contributor network and dilapidated wiener dog races.

Ostensibly picking the “Best Chromebook To Buy Late 2020”, Brooke Crothers says to skip the M1-based MacBook Air. (Tip o’ the antlers to Roger.)

The Macalope doesn’t know if you noticed or not, but the M1 MacBook Air is not a Chromebook. Just for the record.

Crothers complains that the new MacBook Airs are “over-hyped”. Now, you can quibble about some of Apple’s marketing, but the consensus is pretty clear that Apple delivered something absolutely outstanding. If you missed that, you can check here. Or here. Here. Here’s good, too. Also here.

Basically any place that reviewed the new Airs would be fine.

The tech world is fixated on the new MacBooks with Apple’s M1 processor but Chromebooks are cheaper, more secure, and just as fast.

Was this written by a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are certainly cheaper, we’ll give you that one.

As for “more secure”, Chrome OS is not exactly exempt from security exploits and the Macalope would say that using an operating system run by an advertising company is inherently a risky privacy choice, so if you mean “more secure as long as you leave out privacy,” then that’s arguable. As far as faster, well, that’s kind of comparing two very different things. With Chromebooks, speed will probably depend on your internet connection. It will also mean running things in a very different manner than on a local operating system. There are pros and cons to each method.

And Chromebooks run both desktop applications and Android apps — something a MacBook could never do.

Yeah, M1 Macs just run desktop applications and iPhone and iPad apps. Many of which behave just as inconsistently as Android apps do on Chromebooks!

…Office on Chrome gets closer to the full-featured Office on Windows every year…

Chrome OS: closer to full-featured every year. The Macalope couldn’t have written a better catch phrase for Chromebooks himself.

By the way, you know what has a full-featured version of Office? A MacBook.

Crothers touts the fact that he can get a day and a half to two days of “moderate use” from a single charge on a Chromebook. Jason Snell says he got nine and a half hours of battery life streaming video in Safari on an M1 MacBook Air, so a day and a half of moderate use seems perfectly achievable.

There are also a host of applications that simply don’t run on Chromebooks like Photoshop and in order to run graphics-intensive games on a Chromebook, you’d have to subscribe to Google’s game-streaming platform, Stadia.

The point here isn’t to say “BAH! M1-BASED MACBOOKS ARE BETTER IN ALL INSTANCES!” The point is to say that there are reasons Chromebooks are good for some people and MacBooks are good for other people and you don’t need to be make sweeping, unsupportable generalizations about either.

Can’t we all just agree that it’s Windows laptops that no one should buy?

That’s a joke, by the way.

No, really.

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