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.
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):
- 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;
- 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.
- Most Chromebooks can also run apps from the Google PlayStore, and many also offer Linux app support;
- Most Chromebooks are low-power computers meant for basic tasks, but some of the better options can easily multitask between different apps at once;
- Chromebooks are generally small and compact laptops with 10 to 14-inch screens, with a few full-size 15-inch exceptions;
- 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.
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 of||Price*||Screen||Hardware||Weight||Battery|
|Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-132||Clamshell, plastic||~$170||11.6″ HD IPS matte||Celeron Braswell or Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC||2.5 lbs||45 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook 11 CB311||Clamshell, plastic||~$250||11.6″ HD IPS matte||Celeron or Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.4 lbs||45 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook 13 CB713||Clamshell, all metal||$799||13.5″ FHD+ 3:2 IPS matte||Core U / 8-16 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.5 lbs||54 h|
|Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1H||Clamshell, all metal||~$320||14″ FHD IPS touch matte||Celeron or Pentium Apollo Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.3 lbs||56 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook 714 CB714-1WT||Clamshell, all metal||~$599||14″ FHD IPS touch matte||Core U / 8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||3.3 lbs||56 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431||Clamshell, metal||~$230||14″ HD/FHD IPS matte||Celeron Braswell or Apollo Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.4 lbs||45 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook 15 CB3-532||Clamshell, plastic||~$160||15.6″ HD TN matte||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||4.3 lbs||12+ h|
|Acer Chromebook 15 CB515-1HT||Clamshell, plastic||~$260||15.6″ FHD IPS touch||Celeron or Pentium Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||4.3 lbs||12+ h|
|Acer Chromebook 15 315||Clamshell, plastic||~$190||15.6″ HD TN or FHD IPS matte||AMD R4 / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.3 lbs||8+ h|
|Acer Chromebook 715 CB715-1WT||Clamshell, all metal||~$599||15.6″ FHD IPS touch matte||Core U / 8 GB RAM / 64 GB-128 eMMC||3.9 lbs||56 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook R 11 CB5-132T||Convertible, plastic||~$220||11.6″ HD IPS touch||Celeron Braswell / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.8 lbs||10 h|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 11 CP311-1H||Convertible, plastic||~$260||11.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR pen||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.9 lbs||10 h|
|Acer Chromebook R 13 CB5-312T||Convertible, partially metal||$320||13.5″ FHD touch||Mediatek / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||3.3 lbs||54 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713-1WN||Convertible, all metal||~$599||13.5″ FHD+ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR pen||Core U / 8-16 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||3.2 lbs||54 Wh|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315-1H||Convertible||~$300||15.6″ FHD IPS touch||Pentium Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.8 lbs||54 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook C202SA||Clamshell, rugged plastic||~$220||11.6″ HD TN matte||Celeron Braswell / 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC||2.5 lbs||38 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook C223NA||Clamshell, plastic||~$180||11.6″ HD TN matte||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.2 lbs||38 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook C423NA||Clamshell, colored plastic||~$200||14.0″ HD/FHD TN matte or touch||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||2.65 lbs||38 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook C425TA||Clamshell, partially metal||~$380||14.0″ FHD IPS matte or touch||C0re Y / 8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC||2.8 lbs||48 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook C523NA||Clamshell, plastic||~$280||15.6″ HD/FHD TN matte or touch||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.1 lbs||38 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA||Convertible, all metal||~$380||12.5″ FHD IPS touch||Core Y / 4 GB RAM / 64 GB eMMC||2.65 lbs||39 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C101||Convertible, plastic||$249||10.1″ HD TN touch||Rockchip RK3399/ 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC||2.0 lbs||38 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C213SA||Convertible, rugged plastic||~$339||11.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR pen||Celeron Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.7 lbs||46 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C214MA||Convertible, rugged plastic||~$400||11.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR pen||Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.6 lbs||46 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C434TA||Convertible, all metal||~$540||14″ FHD IPS touch||Core Y/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||3.2 lbs||48 Wh|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C433TA||Convertible, partially metal||~$500||14″ FHD IPS touch||Core Y/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||3.2 lbs||48 Wh|
|Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1||Convertible, plastic||$399||11.6″ HD WVA touch||Celeron Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||3.1 lbs||42 Wh|
|Dell Chromebook 11 3100 Education||Clamshell, plastic||$219||11.6″ HD TN matte||Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC||2.9 lbs||42 Wh|
|Dell Chromebook 14 3400 Education||Clamshell, plastic||$329||14.0″ FHD TN matte||Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.5 lbs||42 Wh|
|Google Pixelbook||Convertible, magnesium||$899||12.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR pen||Core Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD||2.5 lb||41 Wh|
|Google Pixelbook Go||Clamshell, magnesium||$649||13.3″ FHD 16:9 IPS touch||Core Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD||2.3 lb||48 Wh|
|Google Pixel Slate||Tablet, aluminum||$449||12.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR pen||Core Y / 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD||1.6 lb||47 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 11||Clamshell, plastic||~$170||11.6″ HD IPS matte/touch||Celeron Braswell or Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC||2.7 lbs||44 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 14||Clamshell, plastic||~$200||14″ HD IPS matte/FHD touch||Celeron Apollo Lake or AMD R4/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC||3.4 lbs||47 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 15||Clamshell, mostly metal||~$400||15.6″ HD IPS matte/FHD touch||Pentium Gold or Core U / 4 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||4 lbs||60 Wh|
|HP Chromebook X2||Detachable, metal||~$450||12.3″ FHD++ 3:2 IPS touch, AES pen||Core Y / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.1 lbs||48 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 11 x360||Convertible, plastic||~$250||11.6″ HD IPS touch||Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC||3.1 lbs||47 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 12 x360||Convertible, all metal||~$350||12″ HD+ 3:2 IPS touch||Pentium Apollo Lake or Gold/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3 lbs||40 Wh|
|HP Chromebook 14 x360||Convertible, all metal||~$380||14″ FHD IPS touch||Pentium Gold or Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||3.7 lbs||47 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook S330||Clamshell, plastic||~$250||14.0″ HD/FHD IPS matte||MediaTek 8173C/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3.3 lbs||45 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook S340||Clamshell, plastic||~$250||14.0″ FHD IPS matte/touch||Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||3.05 lbs||42 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook S345||Clamshell, mostly metal||~$280||14.0″ FHD TN touch||AMD A6/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||3.05 lbs||42 Wh|
|Lenovo 14E Education Chromebook||Clamshell, plastic||~$270||14.0″ FHD TN matte or IPS touch||AMD A4/ 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||3.4 lbs||57 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook 500e||Convertible, plastic||$399||11.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR pen||Celeron Apollo Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||3 lbs||42 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook C330 11||Convertible, plastic||~$230||11.6″ HD IPS touch||MediaTek 8173C/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||2.7 lbs||45 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook C340 11||Convertible, plastic||~$320||11.6″ HD IPS touch||Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC||2.6 lbs||42 Wh|
|Lenovo Chromebook C340 15||Convertible, plastic||~$430||15.6″ HD IPS touch||Celeron Gemini Lake or Core U/ 4 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||4.4 lbs||56 Wh|
|Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook||Convertible, all metal||$599||15.6″ FHD/UHD IPS touch, EMR pen||Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC||4.2 lbs||56 Wh|
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Clamshell, plastic||~$180||11.6″ HD IPS matte||Celeron Braswell/ 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC||2.5 lbs||30 Wh|
|Samsung Chromebook 4||Clamshell, plastic||$229||11.6″ HD IPS matte||Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC||2.6 lbs||39 Wh|
|Samsung Chromebook 4+||Clamshell, plastic||$299||15.6″ FHD IPS matte||Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC||3.8 lbs||39 Wh|
|Samsung Chromebook Plus v2||Convertible, mostly metal||~$430||12.2″ IPS FHD 16:10 touch||Core Y / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.95 lbs||39 Wh|
|Samsung Chromebook Pro||Convertible, all metal||$499||12.3″ IPS FHD++ 3:2 touch, EMR pen||Core Y / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC||2.4 lbs||39 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:
- 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.