Chrome OS Flex vs Chrome OS: Differences and Similarities

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As Chrome OS gains popularity, users are more intrigued than ever. In this post, we’ll explore both the familiar Standard Chrome OS and the new Chrome OS Flex. We’ll break down their strengths and weaknesses, making it easier for you to understand the unique features of each operating system.

Chrome OS Flex vs Chrome OS: Similarities

Core Foundation

Both Chrome OS Flex and standard Chrome OS share a common core foundation rooted in the Chrome Browser. This ensures a consistent, web-centric experience across both variants.

Engineered for efficiency, both operating systems offer lightweight and fast performance, making them suitable for a wide range of devices, including older hardware.

lacros chrome browser on chrome os flex

Similar Look and Feel

The user interface and overall design elements of Chrome OS Flex and standard Chrome OS share a familiar and cohesive aesthetic. This consistency provides users with a unified experience, regardless of the specific variant they choose.

This also includes Google’s Material You design which brings a delightful touch of customization. Users can personalize their experience by deriving custom accent colors directly from their wallpaper or selecting from a variety of color combinations. Additionally, both variants offer a curated collection of default wallpapers with dynamic screen-saver options.

Android Phone Integration

Seamlessly integrating with Android phones through the Phone Hub feature, both variants provide users with a cohesive experience, allowing them to monitor smartphone activities and access media files effortlessly.

An invaluable tool for seamless file sharing, Google Nearby Share is integrated into both operating systems. This feature simplifies the process of sending and receiving files between Chrome OS devices and Android devices, fostering efficient connectivity.

Linux Subsystem

Both Chrome OS Flex and standard Chrome OS offer Linux support, offering users the ability to explore a wider range of applications beyond the Chrome Web Store. This allows users to install Linux applications through the built-in terminal or graphical user interface.

chrome os user interface and features (4)

Screen Recorder

Both the Chrome OS variant offers advanced screen recording features. Accessible through quick toggles or the “PrtSc” key on the keyboard, users can record or take screenshots of a specific area, or app window (such as a Chrome tab or settings tab). We can even incorporate a face cam on the bottom right corner of the screen.

Google Assistant

Both Chrome OS Flex and Standard Chrome OS offer the user-friendly inclusion of “Google Assistant.” Available through the launcher, it mirrors the experience found on Android devices, allowing users to perform tasks effortlessly. The Google Assistant can be engaged through typed or voice commands, offering flexibility in interaction. This extends its utility by seamlessly controlling smart home devices with simple voice commands, enhancing the overall convenience of both operating systems.

google assistant on the chrome os

Installation Process: Chrome OS Flex vs Chrome OS

Chrome OS Flex

  • Chrome OS Flex offers a user-friendly installation process facilitated by the Google Chrome Extension “Chromebook Recovery Utility“. This simplicity makes it accessible even for users with limited technical knowledge.
  • As an official release from Google, Chrome OS Flex benefits from direct support, ensuring users a reliable and stable experience. Additionally, Google promised years of features and security updates.

Chrome OS

  • Standard Chrome OS primarily comes preinstalled on Chromebooks, offering a seamless plug-and-play experience for users purchasing devices within the Chromebook ecosystem.
  • For installations outside the Chromebook ecosystem, standard Chrome OS relies on the Brunch framework. This method, while effective, requires a bit more technical know-how as the process can get quite complicated.
    • Also, the availability of standard Chrome OS is contingent on supported processors. Users must check compatibility before attempting the installation. Also, remember that the installation process is not backed by Google and needs manual bug fixes and updates.
chrome os update with brunch pwa

Chrome OS Flex vs Chrome OS: Differences

  • A big difference between the two versions is that Chrome OS Flex doesn’t support Android and Google Play Store, unlike Standard Chrome OS.
  • The regular Chrome OS works seamlessly with Android, allowing you to enjoy Android games, apps, social media, productivity tools, media, and much more.
    • Additionally, users have the flexibility to sideload Android apps on Chromebooks using ADB or directly if Chrome OS is manually installed through the Brunch framework.
how to get google play store on chrome os flex

This stands out as a key distinction, highlighting Standard Chrome OS’s flexibility and its ability to work smoothly with a variety of apps compared to the more straightforward Chrome OS Flex


In weighing the pros and cons of both Chrome OS Flex and Standard Chrome OS, each reveals its unique strengths and weaknesses. Chrome OS Flex boasts official support and a straightforward installation process, offering accessibility to users. On the other hand, Standard Chrome OS stands out with its Android and Google Play Store support, catering to a broader range of applications.

It’s worth noting that the manual installation of Standard Chrome OS can be intricate and is limited to specific processors. Armed with an understanding of both sides, users can make an informed decision based on their preferences and intended usage, choosing the Chrome OS variant that aligns best with their needs.

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Tech Enthusiast with an interest in Anime and Pop culture.

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