Windows 8.1 vs Google Chrome OS review

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

Price 

While there are free builds of Chrome OS available online, these are unofficial, unsupported and not the software you want to be using in a business environment.

Investing in Chrome OS means purchasing hardware, but the cost is low. Chromebook laptops start at 179 while the latest Chromebox desktops from Asus start at 169 including VAT.

Combine this with a Google Apps for Business account at 3.30 per month ex VAT and moving to Chrome could involve real cost savings.

Basic Windows laptops and desktops are available at between 200 to 230, though performance is likely to degrade quickly and not all are as business-ready as the high-end Chromebooks. An entry-level Office 365 subscription with access to the online, rather than desktop, Office apps comes in at 3.10 per month ex VAT.

Winner: Chrome OS, but not by as big a margin as you might think.

Verdict

To recap Windows 8.1 won three categories: Features/flexibility, applications and cloud connectivity. Chrome OS won in the area of security and cost whereas performance and interface were tied.

For many small businesses, Windows 8.1 remains the most versatile and practical of operating system. But there are Office scenarios where a Chromebook or Chromebox could handle your requirements for less, and reduce the amount of time you have to spend maintaining systems. Employees who need access to basic word processing apps and the internet would have their requirements fulfilled with a Chromebook.

Moving from Windows to Chrome OS involves a little risk, but for many small businesses there could be significant savings to be made and opportunities to change the way you work.

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