Windows 8.1 vs Google Chrome OS review


Microsoft continues on its journey to make Windows more memory and power efficient. It will run fine on a variety of hardware from dual and quad-core Bay Trail Atom processors with 2GB of RAM to faster quad-core Pentium and Core chips. Boot times swift with the OS taking between 8 to 20 seconds to boot depending on your hardware configuration. It's a significant improvement over Windows 7, which can take minutes to boot and is on-par with Chrome OS.

Chrome OS devices tend to have modest specifications and the system is runs happily on a modest ARM or Intel architecture processor with 2GB of RAM.

Chrome OS typically boots in less than eight seconds, and even the most basic device won't have problems running simple email and Office apps at the same time. Things slow down when you have a lot of browser tabs or windows open and the few more demanding apps there are on Chrome OS can leave older or slower Chromebooks struggling. For this reason we'd advise looking at models with an Intel Celeron or Core processor to get the best ROI.

Older Chromebooks would struggle to run heavy-duty video-editing, image-editing or even 3D modelling app and perhaps that's why they aren't available. If that's your thing, sticking to Windows is the best idea.

Winner: A Tie. Chrome OS starts up faster and Chromebook is good for the price. Windows 8.1 is snappy, and there's a bigger range of hardware available.

Stuart Andrews

Stuart has been writing about technology for over 25 years, focusing on PC hardware, enterprise technology, education tech, cloud services and video games. Along the way he’s worked extensively with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS devices, and tested everything from laptops to laser printers, graphics cards to gaming headsets.

He’s then written about all this stuff – and more – for outlets, including PC Pro, IT Pro, Expert Reviews and The Sunday Times. He’s also written and edited books on Windows, video games and Scratch programming for younger coders. When he’s not fiddling with tech or playing games, you’ll find him working in the garden, walking, reading or watching films.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter at @SATAndrews