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Best Chromebooks of 2020 compared and reviewed – buying guide

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on December 30, 2019

Chromebooks are snappy, easy to use and inexpensive computers designed for Internet-based activities like browsing, email, text-editing, Youtube, Netflix, music/video streaming, light gaming, and so on.

Many good options start at under $300 these days and for that kind of money you’ll get a fully functional computer able to handle the activities mentioned above, which makes Chromebooks excellent for kids in school, students and anyone else who needs a simple and affordable computer for basic use.

Chromebooks are not for everyone though, as they are crippled without an active Internet connection, can’t run specialized software that works on Windows or macOS laptops, can’t run modern games, and the inexpensive options are not that good at multitasking either.

However, there are also some powerful options with advanced hardware and features, and as long as you understand what Chromebooks are meant for and their limitations, one of them could be the right laptop for you.

You will find many different Chromebooks listed in stores these days, and some are better than the others. We’ve reviewed and compared many of them here on Ultrabookreview.com, and in this post, we’ll help narrow down your options to the devices that would better fit your needs and budget, based on their features, strong points and quirks.

A few things about Chromebooks

However, before we get to talk about the actual Chromebooks, I want you to be absolutely sure that a Chromebook is the right pick for you, so keep these aspects in mind (scroll past this section if you’re already familiar with Chromebooks):

  1. Chromebooks run ChromeOS, a simple operating system built around Google’s Chrome browser. If you’re familiar with that one, you’ll quickly get along with a Chromebook as well. The interface is minimalistic, you don’t have to deal with viruses, updates or any other nuisances, and you get to install apps from a store, pretty much like on an Android phone/tablet;
  2. Chromebooks don’t run Windows or macOs, and for the most part, can’t run the software designed for these platforms. However, you can launch Windows in an emulator on Chromebooks, which means you can load some of the Windows apps (including Office, Steam, older games, etc.), but the compatibility is still jerky and it would be best to get a standard Windows laptop for these apps.
  3. Most Chromebooks can also run apps from the Google PlayStore, and many also offer Linux app support;
  4. Most Chromebooks are low-power computers meant for basic tasks, but some of the better options can easily multitask between different apps at once;
  5. Chromebooks are generally small and compact laptops with 10 to 14-inch screens, with a few full-size 15-inch exceptions;
  6. Chromebooks are Internet-dependent, as Chrome OS and most of the apps are cloud-based, thus need an active Internet connection to access the data on the servers. You can use Chromebooks offline, but with limited functionality.

For more details, you should definitely check out my Chromebooks buying guide. And if you feel like all these things mentioned above are not exactly what you want in your computer, you should have a look at my lists of the best ultrabooks of the moment, or at this selection of more affordable Windows notebooks.

ChromeOS is fast, simple and secure, but not as versatile and permissive as Windows, Mac OS or even Linux

ChromeOS is fast, simple and secure, but not as versatile and permissive as Windows, macOS or even Linux

Chromebooks to consider – comparison

The table below includes all the recently launched Chromebooks available at the time of this update, listed in alphabetical order. You’ll find a glossary of the terms included at the end of the table, which will help you better understand the differences between features and platforms.

We left out the older, and now obsolete variants, and we’ll get in-depth on the most important models further down.

Format, made ofPrice*ScreenHardwareWeightBattery
Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-132Clamshell, plastic~$17011.6″ HD IPS matteCeleron Braswell or Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC2.5 lbs45 Wh
Acer Chromebook 11 CB311Clamshell, plastic~$25011.6″ HD IPS matteCeleron or Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.4 lbs45 Wh
Acer Chromebook 13 CB713
Clamshell, all metal$79913.5″ FHD+ 3:2 IPS matteCore U / 8-16 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.5 lbs54 h
Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HClamshell, all metal~$32014″ FHD IPS touch matteCeleron or Pentium Apollo Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.3 lbs56 Wh
Acer Chromebook 714 CB714-1WTClamshell, all metal~$59914″ FHD IPS touch matteCore U / 8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC3.3 lbs56 Wh
Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431Clamshell, metal~$23014″ HD/FHD IPS matteCeleron Braswell or Apollo Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.4 lbs45 Wh
Acer Chromebook 15 CB3-532Clamshell, plastic~$16015.6″ HD TN matteCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC4.3 lbs12+ h
Acer Chromebook 15 CB515-1HTClamshell, plastic~$26015.6″ FHD IPS touchCeleron or Pentium Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC4.3 lbs12+ h
Acer Chromebook 15 315Clamshell, plastic~$19015.6″ HD TN or FHD IPS matteAMD R4 / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.3 lbs8+ h
Acer Chromebook 715 CB715-1WTClamshell, all metal~$59915.6″ FHD IPS touch matteCore U / 8 GB RAM / 64 GB-128 eMMC3.9 lbs56 Wh
Acer Chromebook R 11 CB5-132T
Convertible, plastic~$22011.6″ HD IPS touchCeleron Braswell / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.8 lbs10 h
Acer Chromebook Spin 11 CP311-1H
Convertible, plastic~$26011.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR penCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.9 lbs10 h
Acer Chromebook R 13 CB5-312TConvertible, partially metal$32013.5″ FHD touchMediatek / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC3.3 lbs54 Wh
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713-1WNConvertible, all metal~$59913.5″ FHD+ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR penCore U / 8-16 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC3.2 lbs54 Wh
Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315-1HConvertible~$30015.6″ FHD IPS touchPentium Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.8 lbs54 Wh
Asus Chromebook C202SAClamshell, rugged plastic~$22011.6″ HD TN matteCeleron Braswell / 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC2.5 lbs38 Wh
Asus Chromebook C223NAClamshell, plastic~$18011.6″ HD TN matteCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.2 lbs38 Wh
Asus Chromebook C423NAClamshell, colored plastic~$20014.0″ HD/FHD TN matte or touchCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC2.65 lbs38 Wh
Asus Chromebook C425TAClamshell, partially metal~$38014.0″ FHD IPS matte or touchC0re Y / 8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC2.8 lbs48 Wh
Asus Chromebook C523NAClamshell, plastic~$28015.6″ HD/FHD TN matte or touchCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.1 lbs38 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CAConvertible, all metal~$38012.5″ FHD IPS touchCore Y / 4 GB RAM / 64 GB eMMC2.65 lbs39 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C101Convertible, plastic$24910.1″ HD TN touchRockchip RK3399/ 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC2.0 lbs38 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C213SAConvertible, rugged plastic~$33911.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR penCeleron Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.7 lbs46 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C214MAConvertible, rugged plastic~$40011.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR penPentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.6 lbs46 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C434TAConvertible, all metal~$54014″ FHD IPS touchCore Y/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC3.2 lbs48 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C433TAConvertible, partially metal~$50014″ FHD IPS touchCore Y/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC3.2 lbs48 Wh
Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1Convertible, plastic$39911.6″ HD WVA touchCeleron Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC3.1 lbs42 Wh
Dell Chromebook 11 3100 EducationClamshell, plastic$21911.6″ HD TN mattePentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC2.9 lbs42 Wh
Dell Chromebook 14 3400 EducationClamshell, plastic$32914.0″ FHD TN mattePentium Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.5 lbs42 Wh
Google PixelbookConvertible, magnesium$89912.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR penCore Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD2.5 lb41 Wh
Google Pixelbook GoClamshell, magnesium$64913.3″ FHD 16:9 IPS touchCore Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD2.3 lb48 Wh
Google Pixel SlateTablet, aluminum$44912.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR penCore Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD1.6 lb47 Wh
HP Chromebook 11Clamshell, plastic~$17011.6″ HD IPS matte/touchCeleron Braswell or Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC2.7 lbs44 Wh
HP Chromebook 14Clamshell, plastic~$20014″ HD IPS matte/FHD touchCeleron Apollo Lake or AMD R4/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC3.4 lbs47 Wh
HP Chromebook 15Clamshell, mostly metal~$40015.6″ HD IPS matte/FHD touchPentium Gold or Core U / 4 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC4 lbs60 Wh
HP Chromebook X2Detachable, metal~$45012.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, AES penCore Y / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.1 lbs48 Wh
HP Chromebook 11 x360Convertible, plastic~$25011.6″ HD IPS touchCeleron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC3.1 lbs47 Wh
HP Chromebook 12 x360Convertible, all metal~$35012″ HD+ 3:2 IPS touchPentium Apollo Lake or Gold/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3 lbs40 Wh
HP Chromebook 14 x360Convertible, all metal~$38014″ FHD IPS touchPentium Gold or Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC3.7 lbs47 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook S330Clamshell, plastic~$25014.0″ HD/FHD IPS matteMediaTek 8173C/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3.3 lbs45 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook S340Clamshell, plastic~$25014.0″ FHD IPS matte/touchCeleron Gemini Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC3.05 lbs42 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook S345Clamshell, mostly metal~$28014.0″ FHD TN touchAMD A6/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC3.05 lbs42 Wh
Lenovo 14E Education ChromebookClamshell, plastic~$27014.0″ FHD TN matte or IPS touchAMD A4/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC3.4 lbs57 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook 500eConvertible, plastic$39911.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR penCeleron Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC3 lbs42 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook C330 11Convertible, plastic~$23011.6″ HD IPS touchMediaTek 8173C/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC2.7 lbs45 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook C340 11Convertible, plastic~$32011.6″ HD IPS touchCeleron Gemini Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC2.6 lbs42 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook C340 15Convertible, plastic~$43015.6″ HD IPS touchCeleron Gemini Lake or Core U/ 4 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC4.4 lbs56 Wh
Lenovo Yoga C630 ChromebookConvertible, all metal$59915.6″ FHD/UHD IPS touch, EMR penCore U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC4.2 lbs56 Wh
Samsung Chromebook 3Clamshell, plastic~$18011.6″ HD IPS matteCeleron Braswell/ 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC2.5 lbs30 Wh
Samsung Chromebook 4Clamshell, plastic$22911.6″ HD IPS matteCeleron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC2.6 lbs39 Wh
Samsung Chromebook 4+Clamshell, plastic$29915.6″ FHD IPS matteCeleron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC3.8 lbs39 Wh
Samsung Chromebook Plus v2
Convertible, mostly metal~$43012.2″ IPS FHD 16:10 touchCore Y / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.95 lbs39 Wh
Samsung Chromebook Pro
Convertible, all metal$49912.3″ IPS FHD++ 3:2 touch, EMR penCore Y / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC2.4 lbs39 Wh

* The starting price of the base configuration at the time of our latest update is listed for each model. You might find them for less with discounts, follow the links for updated info. Higher specked versions are also available, and those are more expensive.

Here’s a short glossary of the terms mentioned above:

  • Formats:
    • clamshell: traditional computer whose screen closes on top of the keyboard and does not flip into any sort of tablet mode;
    • convertible: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen rotates or converts to a tablet mode (or similar), but cannot be detached from the base;
    • detachable: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen detaches from a solid base and can be used independently as a tablet;
    • tablet: a stand-alone tablet with matching keyboard folio for laptop-like functionality
  • Resolutions: HD ( 1366 x 768 px), FHD (1920 x 1080 px) – also see this post;
  • Screen types: TN (older generations panels, with limited contrast and narrow viewing angles), IPS (newer generation screens, with better contrast, viewing angles, and colors);
  • Platforms: we’re not getting in-depth here, but generally you can rank these platforms in this order, based on their performance: Rockchip  << Celeron Braswell/ AMD A4/ Mediatek << Celeron Apollo Lake << Celeron Skylake << Pentium Apollo Lake << Pentium Gemini Lake<< Core Y << Core U. The higher-tier the hardware, the better the performance, but also the higher the energy demands.
  • RAM: go for at least 4 GB on a cheaper model and preferably 8+ GB if you’re looking for a solid multitasker.
  • Storage: cheaper models get slower and non-upgradeable eMMC storage, while the higher tier options get faster SSD storage, which can also be upgraded on some models.
  • Battery size: the actual size of the battery inside, in Wh. The bigger the batter, the longer the runtimes, but battery life is also affected by the hardware inside, screen type, etc. Check out our reviews for exact details on how long each device can go for on a single charge.

Out of all these models mentioned above, the following are our favorites and the ones you should primarily consider buying.

Best budget Chromebooks (under $200)

There are still many Chromebooks selling for around $200 these days, making for the best Chromebooks for kids, affordable options for traveling or just the go-tos for those on a limited budget. However, only some of these models are actually worth considering at this point. Keep in mind that at this level you’ll only get 11-inch or 14-inch devices with HD screens, plastic builds, non-backlit keyboards, and basic hardware configurations.

This latter aspect is important, as even if you’re after a basic Chromebook, you’ll still want something that can actually handle basic tasks well enough. I’d recommend getting a device with at least an Intel Braswell Dual-Core Celeron CPU (Celeron N3060, N3160) and 4 GB of RAM. You’ll also find options based on BayTrail-M processors (Celeron N2840) and options with only 2 GB of RAM, but I’d stay away from them, such configurations are going to struggle and stutter with even the basic activities. Of course, even with the Braswell options, it’s recommended to keep multitasking at a bare minimum in order to get a smooth everyday experience.

Hardware aside, most of the options in this section are standard clamshell laptops with matte screens and TN panels, but some actually include nicer IPS panels, and you might even find a discounted convertible with a touchscreen from time to time, like the Acer Chromebook R11. You will also have to settle for fairly chunky plastic builds, standard ports and pretty small batteries with most options, although some offer 40+ Wh batteries and will be able to run for 6-8 hours on a charge.

As for the actual products in this section, I’d keep an eye on the Samsung Chromebook 3, the Acer Chromebook 11, the Asus ChromeBook C223NA or the ruggedized Asus Chromebook C202 if you’re interested in something small and compact, or on the ASUS Chromebook C423NA, the HP Chromebook 14 or the Acer Chromebook 15 CB3-532 if you’d rather get something with a larger 14-inch display, but also in a larger and heavier package. Follow this link for more details on these options, and there’s a fair chance you’ll also find other higher-tier Chromebooks for under $200 in that selection, with occasional discounts.

Some of the affordable Chromebooks

Some of the affordable Chromebooks

The best-value Chromebooks ($300 to $500)

After seeing most Chromebooks in action, we consider that it’s worth spending a little extra in order to get faster hardware, extra storage space, nicer and larger FHD IPS screens, improved build-quality and features like USB-C connectivity, USB-C charging or a backlit keyboard. 

11-inch Chromebooks are compact and portable, yet for most people, an 11-inch screen is too small for everyday use, that’s why the most appreciated Chromebooks get 12, 13 or 14-inch screens with a fair-quality FHD IPS panel (or better).

If you’re after a traditional form-factor, you’ll find great value in devices like the Acer Chromebook 514, the Asus Chromebook C425TA or the Lenovo Chromebook S340, all of them affordable clamshell laptops with 14-inch matte displays and optional touch for some of the higher-end configurations. These are based on mid-tier fanless Apollo Lake hardware, with 4 GB of RAM and 32-64 GB of storage, but with a variation in battery size, from 42Wh on the S340 up to 56 Wh on the Acer 514.

You’ll also find big batteries in 14-inchers like the Dell Chromebook 13 or the Lenovo 14E Education Chromebook, but these only get TN screens, which is not a sacrifice worth making.

You’ll get a few more options if you’re willing to step-up to the full-size 15-inch models, with the HP Chromebook 15 topping the charts at 60Wh and a competitively priced package. At the other end, the Asus Chromebook C523NA is a very light and affordable 15-inch computer, at 3.1 lbs, but only gets a plastic shell and 38 Wh battery.

Value Clamshell Chromebooks

Value Clamshell Chromebooks

Value 2-in-1 Chromebooks

Convertible Chromebooks is the sub-section most of you should consider if you’re after the best value for your money. This includes premium-built laptops with a 2-in-1 form-factor and a 360-degrees convertible touchscreen, as well as pen support.

The more affordable versions get 11-inch IPS HD screens, like the Acer Chromebook R 11, the rugged Asus Chromebook Flip C213, the HP ChromeBook 11 x360 with its big battery or the Lenovo Chromebook C330 and the updated C340 11. They’re still plastic notebooks with fairly chunky builds, big bezels and limited performance.

There is better value in devices like the Asus Chromebook Flip C302, the HP Chromebook 12 x360 or the Samsung Chromebook Plus, which are available for around $350-$450 at the time of this update.

The Chromebook C302 (reviewed here) has been around for a while and is still a viable option, despite its age. It gets a 12.5″ FHD IPS screen, a nice backlit keyboard, USB-C connectivity, snappy Core Y hardware and a 39 Wh battery, all tucked inside a sturdy metallic shell that weighs about 2.65 lbs. It lacks proper pen support though, and you might run into some QC issues, so it’s best you buy it from places that handle returns and warranty claims smoothly.

The Chromebook Plus (reviewed here) received a v2 update in late-2018, but actually lost some of the first-generation’s selling points. It gets a 16:10 FHD screen now and not the 3:2 2400 x 1600 px screen it used before, it’s slightly heavier and chunkier, and the keyboard still lacks backlighting. The design is nice though, the pen support is better implemented, there’s little to argue about the build quality, speakers or the typing experience, and the hardware (Skylake Celeron) is faster than on the original Plus.

The Chromebook 12 x360 is a newer launch that we haven’t yet reviewed. It gets a 3:2 lower-resolution display, metallic build, and a more affordable price-tag than the others, but is only powered by lower-tier Pentium platforms.

While these choices should satisfy most average buyers, those interested in a higher-performance model (with faster hardware, more RAM and storage, better high-resolution displays, excellent battery life) should read into the next section, which goes in-depth on the premium Chromebooks on the market.

And some of the better value 2-in-1s

And some of the better value 2-in-1s

Premium Chromebooks – are they worth it?

Several years ago Google launched the Pixel, a premium and expensive device in a sea of affordable Chromebooks. It was superior across the board to all the other Chromebooks and could easily rival the premium Windows laptops and MacBooks of its era in terms of build quality, screen, typing experience, etc. But it was still a ChromeOS device with limited capabilities and a hefty price tag.

Much has changed in the meantime though, and quick forward to early 2020, Chromebooks are a lot more capable now, with a more polished OS and improved support for pens and Android/Linux apps. As a result, the offer for premium Chromebooks is much larger as well. These are still Chromebooks and cater to specific needs, just like the other devices mentioned in the previous sections, just in a smoother way and in nicer packages. Some of you might find just what you need in these and won’t mind paying $600 to $1000 to get them. If that’s not you, though, there are a lot of good mid-range Windows notebooks you can consider instead.

The Google Pixelbook is still the halo Chromebook out-there, shortly followed by Google’s Pixelbook Go and Pixel Slate, but various OEMs have picked up where Google left off. You’re now able to choose between a bunch of other excellent Chromebooks, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and Chromebook 714, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 or the Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook or the Samsung Chromebook Pro. Let’s take them one at a time.

The Pixelbook is an amazing piece of hardware: excellently crafted, compact and light for a convertible 2-in-1. It also gets a fast keyboard and smooth glass clickpad, a bright high-resolution screen with 3:2 aspect ratio and pen support, fast hardware and 8+ hours of everyday use, even with its rather small 41 Wh battery, so it pretty much offers the looks, the build quality and the smooth experience you’d expect from a premium computer.

However, this is not without its issues though. Pen support is still rather quirky on Chromebooks and a pen is not even included with this unit, the speakers aren’t great, there are some huge bezels around the display (wait for the updated late-2018 model) and last, but definitely not least, this is very expensive. A Core i5 model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage MSRPs at $999, and even if these days you can get it for much less online, that’s still a hefty price for a Chromebook.

Google Pixelbook is still the Halo Chromebook

Google Pixelbook is still the halo Chromebook

The Pixel Slate is a tablet, thus great for tablet/pen use, but not as versatile as a laptop. It’s built well and gets the same high-quality 3:2 display from the PixelBook, as well as competent hardware and a larger battery. The typing experience is not on-par with the other Pixel devices, though, and the keyboard-deck or the pen are not included by default and will cost around $200 on top of the actual slate.

The Pixelbook Go is the late-2019 addition to the Pixel family. It doesn’t replace the Pixelbook, instead, it is designed to sell by its side, as a traditional clamshell notebook with a 16:9 FHD touchscreen, updated hardware, a lighter shell, and improved battery life, thanks to having a larger battery inside and a less-demanding display. The Go is also one of the best typers in this segment, and well as $150-$200 more affordable than a similarly specced Pixelbook Go, all these making it a very compelling offer. It’s not a convertible, though.

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is a potential alternative for the Pixelbook, with a significantly more affordable price tag.

The former is a convertible and for the average user, a better value Chromebook than the Pixelbook, due to the fact that it’s much cheaper: it sells for around $500, and an ergonomic passive pen is included. On the other hand, the Samsung Pro trails the Pixelbook at most levels: the build is nice, but not as well designed and crafted, the keyboard lacks backlighting, the screen is a tad dimmer, the battery smaller and the hardware not as fast. The Samsung still wins at the weight and size departments, as it’s a tad smaller than the Pixelbook.

However, you should factor in the fact that this Chromebook is built on a Core m3 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB/64 of storage, and that’s normally plenty for a regular Chromebook, but in this case the hardware has to push a lot of pixels and it will struggle with serious multitasking and demanding Android apps, while the Pixelbook with the faster CPU, storage and 8 GB of RAM handles such loads much smoother. With regular use and light multitasking you’re not going to notice any hiccups though.

Thus, all in all, the Pixelbook is a better product, but for the average user looking for a good Chromebook with premium traits and design, the Samsung Pro is probably the better value option.

Acer and Asus offer very competitive 2-in-1s as well with the Spin 13 and the Flip C434TA, perhaps the best value options in this higher-tier segment, as they sell for a fair bit less than the Google models.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C434TA is based on fanless Core Y hardware, much like the Pixelbooks, and can be specced up to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC storage. It also gets all-metal construction, an excellent backlit keyboard, and a fair-quality IPS FHD touchscreen.

Compared to the PixelBooks, you can’t get this with 16 GB of RAM and there’s no SSD storage either, but you do get a more modern design, a larger display with smaller bezels and a much more affordable price. The Core m3/8GB configuration sells for around $600, and often for less with discounts. Follow this link for more details.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 13, on the other hand, is an even closer alternative to the PixelBook, but is slightly larger and heavier.  It gets a 13.5-inch convertible FHD+ touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a built-in EMR pen, Core U hardware, eMMC storage, and a backlit keyboard, starting at around $549 at the time of this update. Our in-depth review is available over here.

The Core U processors make it faster than the Pixelbook or the Flip, and this is also one of the few Chromebooks that can be specced with 16 GB of RAM and gets a big 54Wh battery in sub-14 inch form-factor. With the current price-cuts, this is one of the best performing Chromebooks out there, and an excellent option for heavy users and those interested in running Linux on such a device.

Dell and Acer Core U powered convertible Chromebooks

Dell and Acer Core U powered convertible Chromebooks

Last, but definitely not least, those of you interested in a full-size premium Chromebook should have a look at the Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook.

It’s a sturdily crafted computer that borrows from the design and build of Lenovo’s ThinkPad lines, with a 15.6-inch touchscreen available with either a FHD or an UHD panel and EMR pen support, 8th gen Core U hardware, up to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC storage, as well as a backlit keyboard and 56 Wh battery, so definitely something to keep an eye on.

The Yoga Chromebook starts at $599, but don’t forget that even if this is compact and light for a 15-inch convertible, with small bezels and a total weight of 4.2 lbs, it’s still nowhere near as portable as some of the other options out there.

The 15-inch Yoga Chromebook

The 15-inch Yoga Chromebook

Wrap-up

Long story short, Chromebooks have come a long way and these days the offer is diversified enough to cater to most needs.

A lot of people spend the majority of their time online, and for them, a Chromebook is a compelling and inexpensive option, as a smoother, safer and simpler alternative to the existing Windows laptops in the $200 to $500 range. You can opt for an affordable option under $200, or get one of the better mid-tier laptops with superior builds and screens, snappier performance, long battery life and still excellent value.

The premium options, on the other hand, are a harder sell, but still make sense for regular user that are not interested in specific Windows software or games, and would rather get a simple and quick computer with an excellent screen and the build quality and battery life they wouldn’t otherwise get in a similarly priced Windows laptop. Such a Chromebook is no longer an inexpensive secondary notebook, so you should make absolutely sure it will do what you want and you’re not going to regret its reduced functionality later on.

There's no perfect Chromebook, but a few that offer a lot for the money. And more to come

There’s no perfect Chromebook, but a few devices offer a lot for the money

At the end of the day, Chromebooks make for great travel companions, inexpensive laptops for school and even everyday notebooks for those of you who stick to Internet-based activities like browsing, emailing, multimedia and so on. They’re definitely not for everyone, but as long as you’re aware of their strong-points and especially of their limitations, and also buy them from places that will properly handle the eventual QC issues inherent on inexpensive computers, you should be happy with one of these.

That’s about it for now. I’m constantly updating this list of the best Chromebooks available out there, adding new devices as they pop in stores and retiring the obsolete variants, so make sure to bookmark this and check it out from time to time for changes. Last but not least, share this post around if you found it useful and check out the comments section below, it’s open for your suggestions and questions, and I’m around to reply and help you find the best Chromebook for your needs.

Disclaimer: Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

35 Comments

  1. Carlito

    July 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    This is an excellently article in relation to Chromebooks and the author deserves a lot of credit for writing an exhaustive yet succinct review of the current selection of Chromebooks. I think his reviews were very fair and balanced as there are a lot of inaccurate articles written these days about Chromebooks. This article makes everything very clear.

    I personally own a HP Chromebook 11 (I had a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook which I gave to my girlfriend) and would agree with his comments about the HP Chromebook 11. There are sacrifices to be made with the HP Chromebook 11 and they are performance and battery life (when compared to other available Chromebooks) and this would be a deal-breaker for a lot of people looking for a Chromebook (and they are very good reasons to be a deal-breaker).

    In my opinion Everything else is perfect on the HP Chromebook 11 and for what I use it for I can live with deficiencies of that model of Chromebook but I do wish it had the power and battery life of the Dell 11 or the Acer C720. Like most things in life – you can’t get everything! Anyway the main thing I wanted to do was to remark on the excellently written article and give the deserved praise to the author.

    • FILA

      November 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      I was seriously considering buying the chromebook 11. Its a sweet little chromebook, but the low end specs held me back. I really hope HP keeps the same design for the next gen, but up the battery, RAM and processor to a intel with alot of balls and I will buy. Its perfect unlike the other bulky ugly chromebooks out there.

      • FILA

        November 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        nevermind, I forgot HP did away with this design, made is more ugly and bulky. Of course a company always screws up whats perfect. ugh :-/

    • Alison

      November 8, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Hey there, I realize that this is an old article, but if you somehow get this, I am trying to decide between a Samsung series 3 and the hp chromebook 11, could you let me know which one you prefer? Thanks!

      • Andrei Girbea

        November 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

        I'd probably get the HP, It's a little better built and gets an IPS screen. The color choices might also make it more appealing.

  2. Michael Adamson

    January 30, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Andrei, it would be very helpful if you could add a column to your “The Best Chromebooks of the Moment” table to indicate if each Chromebook is completely fanless. This inforation is often difficult to find or is misrepresented in advertizements.

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 31, 2015 at 11:25 am

      That’s based on the platform. IN general, if it’s an ATOM or ARM platform inside, it’s fanless, if not it has a fan. But I’ll take this into consideration for the next major update.

      • Michael Adamson

        January 31, 2015 at 1:02 pm

        Thanks Andrei. I know that Intel was advertising that the Lenovo Yoga 3 was fanless (since it has the fanless Core M processor) but it does have a chassis fan. And Acer has the E11 which is totally fanless with a Celeron processor. Having a completely fanless machine is important to me so I’m looking for accurate information.

        • Andrei Girbea

          January 31, 2015 at 5:09 pm

          Yeah, you’re right, there are some exceptions. Till I get the update, if you have any questions about any particular model, leave a comment and I’ll try to help.

  3. Damiano

    February 3, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Does any Chromebook have a 3G sim connection or not?

    • alex

      March 27, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Yes some do.

      • Dave

        March 11, 2016 at 10:25 am

        Which one ?

  4. Frank Perkins

    December 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    It would be great if you can put the screen resolution in the Screen column in your table.

  5. MartinK

    May 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Any possibility of updating the HP section? The G4 model of the Chromebook 11 is very different to what was released back then. thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Yes, this post needs an update urgently. It’s on the list, sry for its current state.

  6. eric

    May 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I just searched. An 11.6″ IPS display with 4GB RAM is not available anywhere. If anyone knows different please post. thx!

    • eric

      May 30, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      PS-I found it in the Acer R11 C738T (one of the three models getting Android App support first; in June).

  7. Matt

    August 11, 2016 at 4:03 am

    I just got an Acer c740 with 4gb of ram and i’m amazed at its performance. I have had multiple videos, sound editors,image-heavy news websites, google docs, facebook and google plus, all while google play music is streaming in the background and it never stutters at all.

    It would be perfect if the screen had better quality, but for the $220 they charged for it new, it was a bargain.

  8. Gregory M Yates

    October 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Good article. Which Chromebooks have memory slots for expanding memory like some of the older Acer and HP Chromebooks as opposed to soldered in memory?

  9. JD

    February 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    * The Acer R11 is an IPS touch panel, not a TN.

  10. Sam

    September 4, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Very informative and balanced review! I'm trying to decide between ASUS C201 (2GB Ram) and Acer CB3-131-C3SZ (2GB RAM) and Acer CB3-131-C5RA (4GB Ram and ICD N2840 processor). I would really appreciate some feedback to aid in my purchase!

    They are all on sale at the moment and all cost about the same. What I'm looking for:

    – suitable for college use
    – light to carry
    – browsing the internet
    – long battery life
    – be able to work OFFLINE on Microsoft Office, view PDFs (essentially to be productive during a few hours of commute)

    To my understanding, I think I would have about 10GB of actual storage on the laptop (all 3 that I've mentioned above have 16GB SSD) . But would it be possible to get it extended in other ways that are not on either a USB flash drive, memory card, or on cloud/G drive?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Updating the storage is not possible as far as i know, as thee get eMMC storage soldered on the motherboard. I'd lean on the latter ACER option just for the extra 2 GB of RAM, they're going to make a difference. Otherwise, they are all mostly the same, but you could look for user reviews on Amazon to pinpoint their specific issues so you'll know what to expect.

  11. kamran

    February 25, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Hi,
    please tell me can i run microsoft office programs particularly "word" and "power point" on chromebook?

    regards

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 26, 2018 at 3:39 am

      you can use online services, but you cant' run the regular desktop versions

  12. beth

    July 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    my daughter's high school requires a chromebook. requirements: 10" screen o rlarger, wireless internet connection (802.11n preferred); 6 hours battery life, modern operating system.
    does this look like a chromebook I should buy? amazon.com/Acer-Chromebook-Celeron-Storage-CB3-132-C4VV/dp/B0795W86N4

  13. Kadie hutchens

    December 11, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    I need a little help in the right direction! My kids are 7 and 11 and they like to watch Netflix, do school work, play games and maybe a little YouTube. Which chrome book should I go with? I was looking at the Samsung chrome book 3 due to the hp having so many bad reviews :( HELP! Please and thank you

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 12, 2018 at 11:07 am

      That should do fine, or you could also consider the more rugged Asus C202SA.

  14. Jean Youngblood

    May 9, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Can Chromebooks only be used on line? I have the lenova S303

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 10, 2019 at 9:44 am

      they can be used offline as well, but most of the functionality requires an Internet connection

  15. Michael

    May 24, 2019 at 2:56 am

    Andrei, since this Chromebook page is now on 2019 models, it would be helpful if you could indicate which of the Chromebooks mentioned have existing support for Crostini to allow easy Linux installation. This is sometimes hard to find information and confusion is too easy.

  16. bittricks

    November 27, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    I snatched an Acer Chromebook for Work 14 a few years ago for $385 on eBay. The thing was brand-new in the box. Backlit keyboard, nice trackpad, Gorilla Glass covered lid, 8 to 10 hour long battery life. If anyone comes across one then I can recommend it highly.

    Chrome OS never, like ever, gives me any kind of fuss as compared to Windows or Linux.

    No fuss is what it is all about. I much prefer the Chromebook experience over any Windows or Linux OS device. Just a completely different trouble-free experience.

  17. Rosanne Corey

    January 16, 2020 at 5:48 am

    Andrei…I am looking for a good Chromebook for my 83-year-old mother. Her laptop is ancient and full of viruses, so she really needs something new! She mainly uses her computer for email, browsing the web for recipes, Facebook, and typing documents like her Christmas letter. She does like a large screen and something bright and easy to see. She never moves her laptop off of her desk, but does need it to work with her printer (can be wired or wifi). She also likes to use a mouse rather than the mousepad. So, suggestions? I have researched and researched and am so confused by all the brands and specs. She just needs a durable, reliable computer that will serve her basic needs. I really value your opinion and hope you can help. Thank you so much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 16, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      HI, I'd go with one of the 15-inch Acer Chromebooks, you can just search them on Amazon or Best Buy and read some reviews.

      As far as specs go, get something with at least 4 GB of RAM. My only worry is about that printer, I'm not sure if it gets the right drivers to work with a Chromebook. Perhaps you could ask/look for more info on the printer manufacturer's site.

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