Laptop Comparison: Windows vs MacBook vs Chromebook

February 4, 2021

A number of laptops placed in a row on a desk

Finding the right laptop can be a challenge for anyone, and especially when having to consider accessibility and app compatibility, that process tends to be particularly confusing to new users. Even though all new mainstream laptops are shipped with at least some built-in accessibility features, not all laptops are created equal, and some shine in ways that others do not. So, with all those options to consider, how can we be sure that we’re choosing the right tool for the job?

In today’s e-bulletin we’re going to break these choices down in further detail and examine the main factors that should be considered when comparing laptops. Our goal is not to steer our readers in any particular direction, but rather to provide a foundation in which AT users can make informed, practical decisions that also fit their budget.

Windows Laptop

This is the most common type of laptop, with typically medium range capabilities and a medium price point.

Pros: Lots of built-in accessibility and ease of access options, widest range of apps available.

Cons: Slows down considerably after 4 or 5 years of use, can be vulnerable to viruses and malware.

Best Used For: Everyday tasks, word processing, browsing, apps.

Accessibility Factor: Medium/High. With plenty of built-in accessibility features already, and more being added with every update, Windows 10 PCs are on their way to catching up with Mac OS in terms of built-in accessibility. Click here(new window) for a complete accessibility overview of Windows 10.

Supports Microsoft Office: Yes.

Tips and Final Thoughts: Never go lower than 8 Gigabytes of RAM (memory), and if you can afford it, always opt for a solid-state drive (a newer, faster type of hard drive).

Typical Price Range: $400 – $1400

Apple (Mac) Laptop

Macs are higher-end, high-cost machines that excel at performing specific functions, and they feature the most advanced built-in accessibility.

Pros: Best built-in accessibility, supports Office apps, shines in editing and production.

Cons: High price, less options for accessible third-party apps.

Best Used For: Audio/Video production.

Accessibility Factor:  High. Mac is the leader in built-in accessibility, with the most built-in accessibility features available out of the box. For a complete accessibility overview, click here(new window).

Supports Microsoft Office: Yes.

Tips and Final Thoughts:  Unless the machine is being used for Audio/Video production, or to be used with a specific, highly specialized app or program not available on PC, then you’ll probably end up paying a lot more than you need to if you choose Mac. That being said, the quality of the materials and level of engineering that goes into Macs is of the highest caliber.

Typical Price Range: $800 – $3000


These cloud-based laptops are compact, quick, and inexpensive, but they’re lacking in raw power and present some issues related to app compatibility. That being said, the abundance of alternative extensions for Chrome helps to offset this issue.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use.

Cons: Low storage capacitysome compatibility issues.

Best Used For: Student projects and homework, browsing, word processing.

Accessibility Factor: Low/Medium. Built-in accessibility features are not as robust as with Windows or Mac laptops, but definitely still present with text-to-speech, dictation, magnifier, and a few other built-in features being available. Click here(new window) for a complete accessibility overview.

Supports Microsoft Office: Yes.

Tips and Final Thoughts: This is a good choice for users with basic accessibility requirements who want a quick, compact laptop for writing, research, and browsing, and not much else.

Typical Price Range: $200-$800