If you’re in the market for a new laptop, the best Chromebooks available feature processors and software that give Windows and macOS models a run for their money while also being much more affordable. Chromebooks are designed for ultra-fast initial setups, needing just a Gmail address to sign in, so you can get started with school or office work right out of the box. The best Chromebooks also feature integrated anti-virus protection, automatic updates and built-in voice controls via Google Assistant.
The ChromeOS is meant to be an easier system to use, making Chromebooks perfect first laptops for college students or grandparents looking to keep up with technology. Chromebooks allow for cloud-first storage, meaning you can send documents, photos and videos to Google Drive or other cloud-based storage services to free up space on your laptop’s hard drive. This is a great idea, because many of the best Chromebooks have somewhat limited storage space, often topping out at just 64 or 128GB.
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If you’re not familiar with Chrome-based laptops, there are a few things to consider before you commit to buying one:
Memory and Storage: Most Chromebooks, unless they’re premium models, have somewhat limited RAM and storage drives. Many models have just 4–8GB of RAM and a 32 or 64GB eMMC storage drive. While this is plenty of space and memory for most home use, you may want to spring for a premium model if you have more demanding needs.
Processor: Many Chromebooks use an Intel Celeron processor because they’re less expensive than their Intel Core cousins, passing the savings on to you in the final price. They’re also much less powerful, meaning that if you do a lot of creative work or are looking for a gaming laptop, you’ll have to choose something else. However, there are Chromebook models that have an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU or even an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7, allowing you to keep up with more intensive work like digital art; just be prepared to shell out more cash for a more powerful processor.
Connectivity: While WiFi connectivity is standard on all of the best laptops, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to connect to the internet wherever you are. If you commute for school or travel often for work, you may want to choose a Chromebook that also offers LTE cellular data so you can keep in touch with professors and co-workers, even if WiFi isn’t available.
Price: Chromebooks are often much less expensive than Windows laptops or MacBooks, with the least expensive retailing at around $200. This makes them very attractive choices for anyone working with a limited budget or shopping for a child’s first laptop. However, these very inexpensive models are also pretty bare bones. If you want more features, there are premium Chromebooks that cost well over $1,000 as well as mid-range models that retail for around $450.
Since Chromebooks are relative newcomers to the market, with the first models hitting stores in 2011, it can be hard to know what the differences are between models and manufacturers. We want to help you find the one that fits your needs, so we’ve gathered the best Chromebooks and broke down their features to help you decide which to buy.
1. HP Chromebook x360
The HP Chromebook x360 is designed from the ground up to make work and entertainment easier than ever. The 14-inch screen features ultra-narrow bezels for more viewable and workable space as well as universal stylus support so you never have to worry about compatibility when handwriting notes or sketching. The two-in-one design gives you the best of both a traditional laptop and tablet.
It comes configured with 4GB of RAM, but you can upgrade it to accommodate your needs if they change. And the quiet, fanless design helps to eliminate distractions in shared workspaces and classrooms. The battery gives you over 12 hours of use on a single charge, letting you work and stream all day, worry-free.
2. Samsung Chromebook 4
We’re big fans of the Samsung Chromebook 4 (as well as the larger 4+ model). While these aren’t the most powerful Chromebooks in terms of memory or processing power, they’re affordable Chromebooks that make it easy to stream TV and movies, complete school work, and browse the web. And since that’s all most people are really looking for in a Chromebook, we actually rate these basic devices more highly than some of the more advanced HP Chromebooks.
The Samsung Chromebook 4 has a compact 11.6-inch screen, but if you’d like more space and improved performance, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ has a larger 15.6-inch screen and a super narrow bezel to give you the most working and viewing area possible. They’re both powered by an Intel Celeron processor and offer 10-12.5 hours of power on a single charge. Not only is this a great Chromebook for students, but it’s also a great option for anyone that needs a basic device for accessing the web when the workday is over.
If you’re looking for a basic Chromebook under $200 to handle typical, everyday household or college use and are working with a limited budget, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is an excellent choice. Best of all, during the back-to-school shopping season, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is discounted by 46% via Amazon Prime.
3. HP Chromebook 14C
BEST LAPTOP ALTERNATIVE
The HP Chromebook 14c we tested had an Intel Core i3 (four cores, eight threads, 8 MG and up to 3.7 GHz) and software that runs relatively fast. The Chromebook also has a clear screen you can easily see even though it’s only 14 inches. No mouse is provided, but you get a mousepad that has a nice, smooth and natural feel to it. When we tested it, we had a bit of a comfort issue while scrolling down and it kind of felt like you were clicking and not scrolling.
The keyboard is somewhat louder than other laptops we’ve tested. This might not be the best laptop to work on in a quiet space. This HP computer also comes with a touchscreen, which is extremely responsive. We found no glitches or bugs while using it. Fingerprints are also not a big problem. At any brightness, fingerprints are relatively hard to see and the font and images shine through clearly. However, opening the laptop can be a bit of a challenge, as the hinges are somewhat tight. But overall, the HP Chromebook 14c is a decent standard laptop. It is great for getting your work done if you don’t want anything particularly special.
4. Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
BEST FOR STUDENTS
Whether you’re in college or high school, a good laptop can streamline your classwork load. The Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 is the perfect choice for students; its durable construction holds up well in a backpack so any kind of moving around can be handled without concern. Students will also love the bevy of ports (two Thunderbolt USB-C, USB-A, Mirco SD and an audio jack), the richly vivid 14″ display, a comfortably textured keyboard and strong performance. Ten hours of battery life should be more than enough for a day’s worth of classes and the folding screen allows you to watch your favorite streaming show in bed with no issue.
5. HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
BEST FOR BUSINESS
The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook we tested has an Intel i3 Processor (3.3 GHz E-cores / 4.4 GHz P-cores) with 8 GB of RAM and a battery life of 50 WHr (although it can be upgraded up to an Intel Core i7 processor with 32 Ram, integrated graphics and vpro-5B963AV). The DragonFly Chromebook also has a crystal-clear screen that you can see at a distance even though it’s only 13.5 inches. You can even spin the screen and use it like a tablet, and it has a touchscreen that’s exceptionally responsive and works smoothly. The ChromeOS software runs fast, and we could have several tabs opened simultaneously without any lag.
Although there is no separate mouse provided, there is a trackpad that works relatively seamlessly. It does feel a bit awkward and has a weird feel on the fingertips, but these are small complaints when compared to the overall mouse pad responsiveness.
The keyboard was exceptionally quiet when pressing the keys and the computer comes with a stylus. When using drawing applications, you can change strokes based on the pressure you use. This is ideal for digital art or animation. Overall, this is one of our favorite Chromebooks we tested, as it has impressive specs, an exceptionally quiet keyboard and many available upgrades. The trackpad could use improvement, but that is a small price to pay for such a quality laptop.
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
BEST MID-RANGE CHROMEBOOK
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 proves that you don’t have to break the bank to get a great laptop. This two-in-one model features a 13.5-inch, 2K resolution touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass for extra durability, as well as a 128GB SSD for fast boot times and file access.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 we tested has an Intel Core i5 (1.60 GHz and Quad core) with 8 GB of RAM, but it can be upgraded. The Chromebook Spin 713 also has a decent battery life of roughly 10 hours, which is ample time to allow for on-the-go use without bringing a charger along with you. The best feature of this product is the add-on stylus, which feels like an actual pencil.
7. HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Notebook
For customers willing to spend more to get the best of the best, the HP Elite c1030 has tons of configuration options to create the perfect machine for your needs. You can choose an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and either a 128 or 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage drive. You can also equip your laptop with a privacy screen to keep your work and information private if you work in public places or while traveling, and optional LTE connectivity lets you access the internet without a WiFi network.
An integrated fingerprint reader lets you have password-free, biometric log-ins for extra protection against unauthorized access. The chassis is tested against military standards for durability against spills, dust, and drops, meaning your new laptop can handle everything that a morning commute, work trip or encounter with a rowdy toddler can throw at it.
8. ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3
BEST TABLET ALTERNATIVE
The ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3 is a tablet-style laptop that looks good and works hard. The 10.5-inch touchscreen features universal stylus support so you can use your favorite pens for taking notes or creating digital art; the included stylus can be stored inside the tablet for easy access, and with just 15 seconds of charging, you get 45 minutes of use. Which is perfect for when you forgot to charge your stylus before a meeting.
The detachable keyboard doubles as a cloth-textured cover for the screen, adding a bit of style that can show off your personality or blend into your office decor. It also features an integrated stand for horizontal and vertical modes. Weighing in at just over a pound, this ultra-lightweight laptop can go with you anywhere, which is great news for on-the-go professionals and students alike. And with a battery life of up to 12 hours, you can work and play all day.
9. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i
BEST 2-IN-1 CHROMEBOOK
Convertible laptops allow you to streamline your workflow by combining the best tablet and traditional laptop into one unit, and the Lenovo Flex 5i is one of the best you can get your hands on. Its 14-inch touchscreen supports both 10-point touch and stylus inputs for navigating apps, taking notes and creating art. The Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD give you tons of power and storage for all of your projects, and the 10-hour battery life lets you work and stream all day.
The integrated speakers work with Dolby Audio technology for crisp, clean sound in both meetings and while you’re streaming shows, movies and music. You can connect all of your peripherals and storage devices via USB-C and USB 3.1 inputs for fast file transfers and reliable connections.
10. ASUS Chromebook CX9
MOST DURABLE CHROMEBOOK
Nothing spells certain death for your laptop faster than a drop or spill, and the ASUS Chromebook CX9 is built to withstand just about anything your day has in store. It’s rigorously tested against military durability standards for water, dust and drop resistance. This means you won’t have to worry about spilling your morning coffee on the keyboard or knocking it off your desk and losing everything. It also features a Titan C security chip to encrypt your data, keeping your work and personal information safe from theft and unauthorized access.
11. Google Pixelbook Go
The Google Pixelbook Go is made with on-the-go students and professionals in mind. The integrated battery provides up to 12 hours of use on a single charge, meaning it’s ready to work from morning to late in the evening without you having to stay close to a wall outlet. And when it is time to top up the battery, just 20 minutes of charging provides two hours of use.
12. Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga
MOST POWERFUL CHROMEBOOK
Just because a laptop runs on ChromeOS doesn’t mean it has to compromise on power. The ThinkPad C13 Yoga from Lenovo is built with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700C processor that can be overclocked to 4.0GHz, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD for enough power, memory and storage to handle work, streaming, digital art and even gaming. The processor also features integrated AMD Radeon graphics for smoother video playback.
13. Samsung Chromebook Plus LTE Verizon
BEST FOR TRAVEL
If you travel a lot for work, you may want to pick up the Samsung Chromebook Plus LTE. It can use either WiFi or LTE cellular data, so you’ll always be able to check email, drop into video calls and meetings and submit work. It also features two cameras so you can collaborate with colleagues and easily show progress on off-site projects.
The two-in-one form factor allows you to streamline your workflow by combining the best features of laptops and tablets. Bluetooth connectivity lets you use wireless peripherals or connect to projectors for presentations. It measures just 11.3 x 8.2 x .7 inches and weighs around three pounds, making it easy to slip into a backpack or carry-on bag. And the seven-hour battery means you can catch up on work during long business flights or work all day in the office without needing to recharge.
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