Windows 8.1 vs Google Chrome OS review

Can your business save money by using Chrome OS instead of Windows?

Features and Flexibility

Chrome OS is tied to services in the cloud. This reliance on an internet connection makes it a flexible OS but can also limit its usage. Everything from your user profile, to email, calendar, contacts, bookmarks, documents and apps are all stored within your Google profile. Even your user photo, account picture and desktop background are synced. This allows you to sign into any Chromebook or Chromebox and find your personal environment waiting for you there.

Support for Google's own apps and services is baked in, so there's no need to install anything. Windows can match most of this through profile roaming, but the experience isn't as consistent. This is a real advantage if you want to move between, a Chromebox in the office and a Chromebook on the move, or if you want to use a micro-fleet of Chromebooks and hand them out as and when needed.

Chrome OS is growing more flexible too helped by the way the OS is continuously updated. You can already customise the look through Chrome themes, choose a desktop background and add tools through Chrome extensions. There are plans to enhance connection with Android phones, and even run selected Android apps within Chrome OS.

Concerns over Chrome OS remain. Printer support is restricted to Google's Cloud Print service, and while this isn't difficult to setup, you will need a supported WiFi or Ethernet-enabled printer with a live internet connection. Most new office inkjets and lasers will qualify, but the old laser printer sitting in the corner will need replacing. Many other peripherals will also be off the menu, so if your business relies on a scanner, for example, then you can't dump Windows entirely. Support is believed to be coming, but with no definite timeline.

Windows 8.1 undoubtedly has more features and and flexibility. The modern UI isn't as useful as the traditional Windows desktop, but you can alter the size and position of the live tiles, change backgrounds and pinned apps, or simply set your PC to boot to the desktop. It's easy to customise for tablets, laptops or desktops, and if you want a different browser, a different email client or a different voice and video communications app, then that's fine too. Windows 8.1 is tied into Microsoft's OneDrive cloud service, but it's not quite as locked into them. It's as happy to work with Google Drive, Google+ and Gmail, Dropbox, Box and even iCloud as it is with the Microsoft equivalents.

Winner: Windows 8.1. It's hugely customisable and can be extended to do anything you want.

Featured Resources

B2B under quarantine

Key B2C e-commerce features B2B need to adopt to survive

Download now

The top three IT pains of the new reality and how to solve them

Driving more resiliency with unified operations and service management

Download now

The five essentials from your endpoint security partner

Empower your MSP business to operate efficiently

Download now

How fashion retailers are redesigning their digital future

Fashion retail guide

Download now

Recommended

The most significant challenges facing SMBs post-pandemic
SMB

The most significant challenges facing SMBs post-pandemic

7 Jul 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

5 Jul 2021
Microsoft announces Windows 11 with redesigned UI, third-party app payments, and more
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft announces Windows 11 with redesigned UI, third-party app payments, and more

24 Jun 2021
The total economic impact of the Intel vPro® platform
Whitepaper

The total economic impact of the Intel vPro® platform

18 May 2021

Most Popular

The benefits of workload optimisation
Sponsored

The benefits of workload optimisation

16 Jul 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review: A rose-tinted experience
Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review: A rose-tinted experience

14 Jul 2021
Six ways boards can step up support for cyber security
Business strategy

Six ways boards can step up support for cyber security

22 Jul 2021