A Chromebook is a cheaper alternative to laptops with a Mac or Windows operating systems because of its equal (almost) capability against them but with a cheaper price. Though a Chromebook is a very good alternative laptop, it is not actually a direct replacement for a laptop with a Windows or a Mac operating system. There are only limited things that a Chromebook can do while a Windows or a Mac PC can do more. Here are some of the things that a Chromebook cannot do:
Chromebooks cannot work offline
The most essential requirement of the Chromebook is you have to be connected to the Internet in order to fully utilize the Chromebook. Without the Internet connection, you will only be limited to performing simple tasks such as playing some games or using a limited number of apps such as the New York Times. You cannot work on your files in Google docs as it requires internet connection to fully access it. On a side note though, you can boot up, connect to the Internet (if it is available) and work on your docs in less than a minute!
Chromebooks cannot share an Internet connection
USB tethering on a smartphone’s data connection is easily done on a laptop with a Windows or Mac operating system. On the other hand, you cannot do it on a Chromebook. There can be a work-around on this though as Google claims to have a data connection with an Android Smartphone being used as a Wi-Fi network.
Chromebooks have limited allowable application / programs
If you are used to a Windows laptop wherein you can download anything that comes off the Internet, you will be frustrated with a Chromebook as it is only limited to a certain number of file types that it can open such as .doc, .pdf, .html and a number of image formats. All others are just a bunch of space eaters on the Chromebook and can never be opened.
Chromebooks are not friendly in managing storage devices and / or smartphones
Some of us have a thing towards our laptops being used to organize files on our storage devices or even on our smartphones. If you will be using a Chromebook for this purpose, be prepared to experience the cold shoulder as it will not help you organize those files to your devices.
You cannot watch a high quality streaming video
Watching videos in YouTube is a piece of cake with Chromebook. But you will have problems if you want to watch streaming videos in high quality. With its limited hardware and connection capabilities, high quality streaming videos tend to adjust to the Chromebook’s capabilities thus causing major quality issues on watching video streaming.
You cannot fully utilize a Chromebook without a Google account
It is more of an exclusivity concern rather than a handicap. Chromebooks need a Google account sign in order to have full use / access. This is not actually a drawback but rather a slight change from the normal sign-in / access requirements of a laptop with a Windows or a Mac OS.
Chromebooks are not actually a big downgrade or a negative product against a Windows or Mac laptop. If one can work with some things that Chromebook cannot do, or make a work-around on some of its equivalent apps, then Chromebook can be a nice alternate.