Best Chromebooks of 2021 – comparisons, reviews, buying guide

Best Chromebooks of 2021 – comparisons, reviews, buying guide
By Andrei Girbea , last updated on October 11, 2021

Chromebooks are snappy, easy to use, and inexpensive computers designed for everyday use and Internet-based activities such as browsing, email, text-editing, Youtube, Netflix, light gaming, and the likes.

Many 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 those inexpensive Chromebooks excellent for kids, students, and pretty much anyone else who needs a simple and affordable computer for basic use. They also last for hours on a charge, start in seconds, and don’t slow down as they age.

At the same time, those of you looking for nicer made devices, higher-quality IPS or OLED screens, backlit keyboards, snappier multitasking performance, longer battery life, and other modern features, will need to spend a little more for one of the better Chromebooks out there, and the market offers plenty of these premium Chromebooks right now, which should cater to even the pickiest of buyers.

We’ve reviewed and compared many of the available Chromebooks here on Ultrabookreview.com, and in this article, we’ll help you narrow down your options to the devices that will best fit your needs and budget, based on their features, strong points, and quirks. For your convenience, we’ve split the article into three main sections:

Before we get to talk about the actual recommendations, though, I want you to be absolutely sure that a Chromebook is the right pick for you, so make sure to also check out my detailed Chromebook buying guide.

Best budget Chromebooks in 2021 (under $300)

There are quite a few competitive Chromebooks selling for under $300 these days, making for excellent laptops for kids and for students in school, affordable travel companions, or just the go-to’s for those of you on a limited budget.

Down below you’ll find a more detailed list of the options that you should consider in this class, and we’ll get in-depth on our recommendations afterward.

Keep in mind that I’ve only included the more recent products that are on par with today’s requirements in this list. You’ll still find other options in stores as well, older Chromebooks and many of them selling for as little as $200 (follow this link for more details), but I’d advise stretching your budgets for one of these newer variants if possible, as they are significant upgrades in terms of design, features, and especially the way they perform with everyday use, being built on updated and faster hardware platforms.

Format, made of Price Screen Hardware Weight Battery
Acer Chromebook 314 Clamshell, part metal ~$230 14″ HD/FHD IPS matte Celeron Apollo or Gemini Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 3.4 lbs 45 Wh
Acer Chromebook 315 Clamshell, plastic ~$259 15.6″ HD TN or FHD IPS matte Celeron Gemini Lake or AMD R4 / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 3.3 lbs 8+ h
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 & 511
Convertible, plastic ~$270 11.6″ HD IPS touch, EMR pen Celeron Gemini Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC 2.9 lbs 10 h
Asus Chromebook C202 Clamshell, rugged plastic ~$300 11.6″ HD TN matte Celeron Braswell / 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC 2.5 lbs 38 Wh
Asus Chromebook CX1 CX1100 Clamshell, plastic ~$180 11.6″ HD TN matte Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.65 lbs 38 Wh
Asus C423 Clamshell, plastic ~$300 14.0″ HD/FHD TN matte or touch Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.65 lbs 38 Wh
Asus C523 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
Dell Chromebook 11 Clamshell, plastic ~$250 11.6″ HD TN matte/touch Pentium Apollo Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.9 lbs 42 Wh
HP Chromebook 11 Clamshell, plastic ~$250 11.6″ HD IPS matte/touch Mediatek/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC 2.4 lbs 44 Wh
HP Chromebook 14 Clamshell, plastic ~$220 14″ HD IPS matte/FHD touch Celeron Gemini Lake or AMD R4/ 4-8 GB RAM / 16-64 GB eMMC 3.4 lbs 47 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook Duet tablet, mostly metal ~$240 10.1″ 16:10 FHD+ IPS touch MediaTek/ 4 GB RAM / 64 GB SSD 2 lbs 27 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i Convertible, all metal ~$300 13.3″ FHD IPS touch Pentium Gold/ 4 GB RAM / 64 GB SSD 3 lbs 51 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook 3 Clamshell, plastic ~$230 11.6″ HD TN matte Celeron Apollo Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.5 lbs 42 Wh
Lenovo S330 Clamshell, plastic ~$250 14.0″ HD IPS matte MediaTek / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.5 lbs 42 Wh
Lenovo C340 (Flex 11) Convertible, plastic ~$300 11.6″ HD IPS touch Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.6 lbs 42 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Clamshell, plastic ~$180 11.6″ HD TN matte Celeron Gemini Lake / 4 GB RAM / 32-64 GB eMMC 2.4 lbs 48 Wh
Samsung Chromebook 4 Clamshell, plastic ~$220 11.6″ HD IPS matte Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC 2.6 lbs 39 Wh
Samsung Galaxy Go Clamshell, plastic ~$300 14″ FHD IPS matte Celeron Jasper Lake/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC 3.2 lbs 42 Wh

Specs are definitely important at this level, as even if you’re after a basic Chromebook, you’ll still want something that can actually smoothly handle basic tasks. To keep things simple, I’d recommend getting a device with at least an Intel Apollo Lake (Celeron N3350) or preferably a Gemini Lake processor (Celeron N4020/4010 or Pentium N5000), or an AMD/Mediatek equivalent, at least 4 GB of RAM, and at least 32 GB of storage (preferably 64 GB).

Hardware aside, keep in mind that many of the options in this section are still plastic-made clamshell Chromebooks with matte screens and mediocre quality TN LED panels, non-backlit keyboards, and basic IO. There are however some exceptions that are partially made out of metal, include IPS screens or even a touchscreen, and those are what I’d primarily look into.

Now, as far as our actual recommendations go in this segment, there’s one option that clearly steps out of the crowd, and that’s the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

Update: Recently, Lenovo also unveiled an updated and more affordable version of their popular 13-inch Chromebook Flex 5. This late-2021 update gets an Intel 11th gen Pentium Gold 7505 hardware platform with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage, so is not as snappy as the Core i3 ChromeBook Flex 5 variant (which we’ll discuss further down), but it sells for ~$70 to $100 less at the time of this update. I’d still recommend going with the Core i3 version, but this Pentium Gold model is definitely interesting as well if you’re shopping at a sub $300 budget.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Starting at under $250, this is an aluminum-made compact and lightweight tablet with a surprisingly good 16:10 FHD+ touchscreen, with pen support. Furthermore, a keyboard folio is also included by default, for laptop use, and the MediaTek hardware platform inside is capable enough for snappy everyday use and some multitasking, while also highly efficient.

So while the Chromebook Duet is only a 10-inch device and bundles a smaller battery as a result, it can still last for 6+ hours of daily use and 8+ of video.

Unfortunately, though, the Duet is not that easy to find in stock these days, and that’s no surprise considering the unmatched value you’re getting here. If you can find it and you’re OK with this sort of smaller Chromebook, go for it, there’s no better alternative in this segment.

Before we move on, if interested, a wider list of mini-laptops with 10 and 11-inch displays is available in this separate article, while a separate article on fanless notebooks is available over here.

OK, so if you’re looking for a device with a larger screen or larger battery, or perhaps prefer the traditional laptop form-factor that would make the computer more convenient to use on the lap, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and especially Asus offer some inexpensive and ruggedly built Chromebook options, but most of them with LED TN screens.

At the lower end of inexpensive models, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook and the Samsung Chromebook 4 earn my current recommendation over the other options. The newer Asus Chromebook CX1 is another interesting budget 11-inch alternative, but the Ideapad 3 is overall better value in this class with its faster processor and bigger battery. You’ll find links for all of these in the table above.

Next, the compact Lenovo’s Chromebook C340 or the Acer Spin 11 sell for a bit extra over the options above, but replace the 11-inch TN matte panel with convertible 360-degree IPS touchscreens, something I’d gladly pay extra for.

As we move up in size, the offer for larger Chromebooks with 14-inch screens starts with the more affordable HP Chromebook 14, Acer Chromebook 314, or Lenovo Chromebook S330, and goes up to the more lightweight Asus Chromebook C423 and Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go. None of these are amazing options, and I’d advise saving a little extra for one of the value 14-inch models that we’ll cover in the next section.

Finally, both Asus and Acer still offer 15-inch Chromebooks in this price range, if that’s what you’re after, but you’re sacrificing portability for that larger display. The Acer Chromebook 315 is the most interesting inexpensive 15-inch model here.

Overall, I recommend going through more detailed reviews for each of these if you prefer this sort of larger-format device, but I’d rather advise you to step up to the next price category for better-made options with higher-quality screens, faster hardware and a few extra features that are not available in this budget laptop segment.

Some of the affordable Chromebooks

Some of the affordable Chromebooks

The best-value Chromebooks in 2021 ($300 to $500)

Having used many of the existing Chromebooks, I’m convinced that you can get better value for your money in this price segment, especially if you’re after a well-rounded laptop with a mid-sized 12 to 14-inch display. You’re not just getting faster hardware (Pentium Gold, Core i3/i5 or AMD Ryzen equivalents) and a bigger and improved screen on these options, but also a more spacious and more comfortable keyboard, a larger battery, extra ports, and improved build quality.

First off, just as in the previous section, here’s a more detailed list of the Chromebooks worth considering in this segment as of right now, and we’re getting into more details down below.

Format, made of Price Screen Hardware Weight Battery
Acer Chromebook 317 Clamshell, plastic ~$329 17″ FHD IPS matte Celeron Jasper Lake / 4 GB RAM / 64 GB-128 eMMC 5.2 lbs 56 Wh
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 convertible, all metal ~$450 14″ FHD IPS touch AMD Ryzen 5 / 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.65 lbs 56 Wh
Acer Chromebook 715 Clamshell, all metal ~$499 15.6″ FHD IPS matte Core U / 8 GB RAM / 64 GB-128 eMMC 3.9 lbs 56 Wh
Acer Chromebook R13 Convertible, partially metal ~$300 13.3″ FHD touch Mediatek / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC 3.3 lbs 54 Wh
Acer Chromebook Spin 15 Convertible ~$399 15.6″ FHD IPS touch Pentium Apollo Lake / 4-8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC 3.8 lbs 54 Wh
Acer Chromebook CX1 Cx1700 Clamshell, plastic 17″ FHD IPS matte Celeron and Pentium Jasper Lake / 4 GB RAM / 64 GB-128 eMMC 5.4 lbs 67 Wh
Asus Chromebook C425 Clamshell, partially metal ~$350 14.0″ FHD IPS matte or touch C0re Y / 8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC 2.8 lbs 48 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C214 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 C433 Convertible, partially metal ~$500 14″ FHD IPS touch Core Y/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.2 lbs 48 Wh
Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 CM3000 tablet, plastic ~$380 10.5″ 16:10 FHD IPS touch Mediatek/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC 1.2 lbs 27 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 CM3200 Convertible, partially metal ~$330 12″ 3:2 1.5K touch Mediatek/ 4-8 GB RAM / 32-128 GB eMMC 2.5 lbs 32 Wh
Dell Inspiron 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 14 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 Pixel Slate Tablet, aluminum ~$429 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 15 Clamshell, mostly metal ~$500 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 x360 12 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 x360 14a Convertible, all metal ~$360 14″ FHD IPS touch Pentium Gold or Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.6 lbs 61 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 tablet, metal ~$430 13.3″ FHD OLED touch, EMR pen Qualcomm/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-256 GB eMMC ? 42 Wh
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13 Convertible, all metal ~$360 13.3″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 4 GB RAM / 64 GB SSD 3 lbs 51 Wh
Samsung Chromebook 4+ Clamshell, plastic ~$400 15.6″ FHD TN matte Celeron Gemini Lake/ 4-6 GB RAM / 16-32 GB eMMC 3.8 lbs 39 Wh
Samsung Chromebook Plus v2
Convertible, mostly metal ~$500 12.2″ IPS FHD 16:10 touch Celeron Y / 4 GB RAM / 32 GB eMMC 2.95 lbs 39 Wh

Pixel Slate and Asus Chromebook Flip CM3

At the more portable end, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 and especially the Google Pixel Slate stand out from the crowd, both 12-inch convertibles.

The Pixel Slate is primarily a tablet, thus great for tablet/pen use, but perhaps not as versatile as a laptop. It’s excellently crafted, gets a splendid 3:2 touchscreen, as well as competent Intel Core hardware and a large battery that allows for 10+ hours of daily use. The typing experience is not on-par with some of the other options in this price range, though, and the keyboard deck or the pen are not included by default and will cost around $150 on top of the actual tablet, which alone could be enough to steer many of your towards something else.

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 CM3200, on the other hand, is a 12-inch convertible with a 3:2 touchscreen and a compact, lightweight design, made possible by the fact that this is motorized by a low-power Mediatek hardware platform. That means it’s not the snappiest multitasker, but it’s fine with daily use and lasts for a fair bit on a charge, despite the fact that it includes a smaller battery than what the Intel Chromebooks offer these days. This Flip CM3 is also on the most affordable options in the class, and a solid alternative to last year’s affordable HP Chromebook x360 12.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13 and Duet 5 OLED

With these smaller options out of the way, my main recommendation in this price range goes once more towards Lenovo Chromebooks, the excellent Flex 5 13 convertible, and the more recent Duet 5 OLED tablet.

At somewhere between $350 to $380, the Chromebook Flex 5 13 laptop punches way above its class and successfully challenges many of the more expensive products.

The construction is part metal and part plastic, much like with the Windows-based IdeaPads, the format allows the screen to convert to 360-degrees, Lenovo implemented a good-quality IPS touchscreen with 300-nits of brightness and fine colors, and the backlit keyboard is one of the better available on any Chromebook.

On top of these, the Core i3 platform is snappy enough for everyday use, the 51Wh battery ensures 10+ h of life on a charge, and even if some of you might appreciate more memory and storage space, 4 GB are still enough for most potential buyers on a budget Chromebook.

Bottom point, sure, you can get more refined Chromebooks if you’re willing to spend $500+, but at roughly $370 right now, there’s nothing out there that can match the Flex 5 at this point.

Update: Recently, Lenovo also unveiled an updated and more affordable version of their popular 13-inch Chromebook Flex 5. This late-2021 update gets an Intel 11th gen Pentium Gold 7505 hardware platform with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage, so is not as snappy as the Core i3 ChromeBook Flex 5 variant, but it sells for ~$70 to $100 less at the time of this update.

As for the Chromebook Duet 5 OLED, this has an MSRP price of $429 at launch and is expected in stores around October 2021.

The format is still of a tablet with a keyboard folio and kickstand, so pretty much an oversized version of the existing Duet. The main selling point is the OLED 13-inch touchscreen, most likely the Samsung panel we’ve already seen on some OLED laptops in the last months. It’s sure punchy and excellent looking, but I wonder whether Lenovo will be able to address the graininess I’ve noticed on some of the Asus models.

We’ll also have to see how the hardware platform inside the Duet 5 is going to handle the FHD OLED screen. It’s the same Snapdragon 7C platform that’s already selling in the Samsung Galaxy Go, so not a very fast implementation based on that product. Hopefully, it can make up for it with good efficiency.

All in all, the Duet 5 OLED might be one of the most competitive Chromebooks of late-2021 and early-2022, but we’ll have to spend more time with it before drawing conclusions. So for now, just consider this on your shortlist.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514 and HP Chromebook x360 14a

Jumping into 14-inch models, the convertible  Acer Chromebook Spin 514 and the HP Chromebook x360 14 are my favorite options in this price segment.

Metal is entirely used for their construction, and the Acer model offers marginally more powerful specs but is also a more expensive option compared to the HP x360 14 and the Flex 5 13 mentioned earlier. You won’t be wrong with any of these. Also, don’t forget that we’re talking about the lower-specced Pentium Gold version of the X360 14a here, as there’s also a newer and more powerful Core i3 X360 14c that we’ll touch on in the next section of this article.

15 and 17-inch Chromebooks

This class also includes full-size 15-inch Chromebooks with IPS screens, partially metal construction, and large batteries, starting from affordable options such as the convertible Acer Chromebook Spin 15, and all the way up to the HP Chromebook 15.

I will also mention the Asus Chromebook C523 and Samsung Chromebook 4+ 15-inchers as more inexpensive alternatives in this 15-inch class, but you’ll end up with mostly plastic builds and TN screens with these, so I’d rather save up for one of the other options as much as possible here.

Finally, 17-inch Chromebooks are also available these days in this mid segment, with an affordable Chromebook 317 from Acer and a higher-tier CX1 CX1700 available from Acer, the latter with faster hardware and a bigger battery. Don’t expect much in terms of display quality on any of these, though.

Best Premium Chromebooks of 2021

While most buyers won’t spend $600 to $1000 on a Chromebook, there are actually quite a few excellent devices available in this segment. With these, you’re getting the uncompromised Chromebook experience, with a mix of upgraded builds, displays, and hardware specs over any of the more affordable options. In fact, most of the options in this class are built on the latest-gen Intel platforms with plenty of RAM and fast SSD storage, so you’re not going wrong in terms of performance with any of them.

In fact, the choice in this segment is between the designs and the form factors that you like best, the specific features offered by some options, as well as the overall pricing and value.

Here’s the list of all the premium Chromebooks available as of now, and we’ll get in-depth down below.

Format, made of Price Screen Hardware Weight Battery
Acer Chromebook 514 clamshell, all metal ~$600 14″ FHD IPS matte Core U / 8 GB RAM / 256 GB SSD 3.1 lbs 56 Wh
Acer Chromebook 714 Clamshell, all metal ~$650 14″ FHD IPS touch matte Core U / 8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.3 lbs 56 Wh
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 Convertible, all metal ~$560 13.5″ FHD+ 3:2 IPS touch, EMR pen Core U / 8-16 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.2 lbs 54 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C436 Convertible, all metal ~$700 14″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 8-16 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD 2.6 lbs 42 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 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 CX5 14 CX5400 Convertible, partially metal ~$700 14″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 4-16 GB RAM / 64-256 GB SSD 3.1 lbs 48 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 15 CX5500 Convertible, partially metal ~$560 14″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 4-16 GB RAM / 64-256 GB SSD 4.3 lbs 57 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 15 CM5500 Convertible, partially metal ~$550 14″ FHD IPS touch Ryzen/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 4.3 lbs 57 Wh
Asus Chromebook Flip CX9 CX9400 Convertible, metal ~$750 14″ FHD IPS matte Core U/ 8-16 GB RAM / 128-256 GB SSD 2.3 lbs 50 Wh
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Chromebook Convertible, part metal $599 14″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 128+ GB eMMC 3.7 lbs 56 Wh
HP Chromebook x360 14c Convertible, all metal ~$600 14″ FHD IPS touch Core U/ 8-16 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3.7 lbs 61 Wh
HP Elite ChromeBook 1030 Convertible, all metal $1000+ 13.5″ 3:2 2K IPS touch Core U/ 8-16 GB RAM / 128-256 GB SSD 3.3 lbs 50 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 2.4 lb 48 Wh
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Convertible, plastic ~$550 13.3″ FHD touch Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 3 lbs 51 Wh
Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook Convertible, all metal ~$800 15.6″ FHD/UHD IPS touch, EMR pen Core U/ 4-8 GB RAM / 64-128 GB eMMC 4.2 lbs 56 Wh
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
Convertible, all metal ~$700 13.3″ UHD AMOLED touch, EMR S pen Core U / 4-8 GB RAM / 128-512 GB SSD 2.2 lbs 49 Wh
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Convertible, all metal ~$550 13.3″ FHD QLED touch Celeron Comet Lake or Core U / 4-8 GB RAM / 64-512 GB SSD 2.7 lbs 45 Wh

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and Google Pixelbook Go

For the most part, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and the Google Pixelbook Go are still the best-balanced premium Chromebooks you can get these days.

The Pixelbook Go is a somewhat older addition to the Pixel family, but still a viable option today.

It doesn’t replace the convertible Pixelbook, instead, it is designed to sell by its side, as a traditional clamshell notebook with a 16:9 FHD IPS touchscreen, fanless fast hardware and good battery life, a lightweight magnesium shell, and some of the better speakers you will find in a Chromebook. 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 compelling offer even today, despite the newer options released by the competition in the meantime.

It’s not a convertible, though, and it’s built on somewhat older Intel Core Y hardware, so not as fast as other Core U options in this price segment.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 13, on the other hand, is a convertible and a true alternative to the original Pixelbook, but with modern specs.

It gets a 13.5-inch convertible QHD touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 400-nits of brightness and a built-in EMR pen, the latest-generation Core U hardware, up to 16 GB of RAM, SSD storage, and a backlit keyboard, starting at around $560 at the time of this update. And that’s for a no-compromise Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of SSD storage out of the box, backed up by a 54Wh battery, that creative-focused 3:2 display and fine inputs.

In all fairness, though, inputs are one aspect where Acer could further improve this model, alongside the audio quality, which are still bested by the PixelBook Go.

All in all, though, the Chromebook Spin 713 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.

Asus Chromebook CX5 14 and HP Chromebook x360 14

These two 14-inch models are very similar to the Acer Spin 713 and might well be the better options in your region, as they’re nearly the same specs, features, builds, and formats. HP has an edge on battery life, as it offers a bigger battery than the other two, but is also the heavier option. Both are 16:9 screens, and not the 3:2 format available on the Spin.

All in all, I’d make sure to go through detailed reviews of all these options, to better narrow down their particularities and potential quirks. I’m not going in-depth here, but if you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch in the comments section at the end of the article.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Chromebook 2

The original Samsung Galaxy Chromebook launched in 2020 has been touted by many as the best Chromebook of its generation, and a 2nd generation updated later followed in 2021.

The 2020 Galaxy is still available in stores as a convertible with a 13.3-inch 4K AMOLED touchscreen with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, 400-nits of brightness, and the excellent black levels you would expect from an OLED screen.

The build quality and craftsmanship are both A++, with metal used for the entire chassis, and a highly compact and portable format that weighs 2.2 lbs. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook does not sacrifice in performance either, with Intel Core U hardware, 8 GB of memory, and fast (upgradeable) NVMe storage. As a side note, this is also passively cooled, which is an advantage on one hand, but also causes the laptop to run warmer than other fan-cooled Chromebooks with similar specs, and somewhat limits the performance.

Furthermore, the battery life isn’t great on this laptop. There’s a 49 Wh battery inside, but the power-hungry 4K display drains power quickly, so only expect around 4-6 hours of battery life on a charge. On top of that, audio quality is also rather mediocre on this Galaxy, which paired with the high price tag further adds to its list of shortcomings. On the plus side, though, you can find this disocunted these days, so it might still be worth considering for that OLED screen.

With the 2021 2nd generation Galaxy ChromeBook, Samsung decided to ditch the OLED screen for a QLED FHD panel, updated the hardware, added a fan inside, and trimmed the build and material quality in order to meet a lower price point. The base variants built on a COmet Lake Celeron processor start at $550 in this case, while the Core U variant goes for around $700, several hundred less than the initial Galaxy Chromebook at launch.

Unfortunately, though, this 2n generation Galaxy has also lost some of its appeal and shine with these changes, and with all the other updated options from the competition, I feel this series is not as compelling in rea-life as I would have perhaps expected. In fact, I’d most likely rather go for a discounted 2020 Galaxy Chromebook over the 2021 updated model.

Lenovo Yoga Chromebook and Asus CX5 15-inch

Lastly, those of you interested in a full-size 15-inch premium Chromebook should still have a look at the Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook, or even the newer and more affordable Asus ChromeBook CX5 15.

The Yoga C630 is a sturdily crafted computer that borrows from the design and build lines of Lenovo’s ThinkPad series, with a 15.6-inch touchscreen available with either an FHD or a UHD panel and EMR pen support, 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.

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

As for the Asus CX5, this is available with a 15.6-inch IPS display and either Intel (latest-gen) or Ryzen (older-gen) hardware. The Intel model is especially powerful and a fair bit cheaper than other modern 15-inch configurations, but too bad Asus skimped on the screen quality, only offering a 250-nit washed-out panel. In comparison, there’s a much nicer 300-nits 100% sRGB panel on the 14-inch Chromebook CX5.

Wrap-up

Chromebooks have come a long way in recent years, and these days the offer is diversified to cater to every need.

Many of you are spending the majority of your time online, and if that’s the case, a Chromebook is a compelling and inexpensive option to consider, as a smoother, safer, and simpler alternative to the existing Windows laptops. Of course, Chromebooks are not ideal for specific workloads that require a Windows or Apple architecture, or for gaming, but for everyday multitasking, they’re hard to beat by even the best laptops and ultrabooks out there.

Now, potential buyers can opt for affordable Chromebooks under $300, or get one of the balanced mid-tier options with superior builds and screens, snappier performance, longer battery life, and still excellent value.

The premium Chromebook options are a harder sell, but could still make sense for those of you not interested in specific Windows/Apple software or games, which would rather get a simple and snappier computer with an excellent screen and the build quality and battery life they wouldn’t otherwise get in a similarly priced Windows device.

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 students in school, and even everyday notebooks for those of you who stick to Internet-based activities like browsing, emailing, multimedia, and so on. They’re not for everyone, but as long as you’re aware of their strong points and limitations, I’d expect you’ll end up satisfied 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.

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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.

42 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.

  18. Klaus Zeuge

    March 15, 2020 at 2:08 am

    Great overview! THanks for updating it.

    As always with larger data sets, small errors might creep in. Lenovo claims the S345 has an IPS panel, you list it as TN. Same for the S340.

    When it comes to Chromebooks, does it make sense to keep a keen eye on Google End of Support (Auto update expiration) page, https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6220366? (Maybe even add a column?)
    Or is the route as lined out by iFixtit at https://www.ifixit.com/News/30282/how-to-get-updates-on-your-end-of-life-chromebook sufficient? I.e., treating the Chromebook as any other Windows machine when switching to ChromeOS.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 17, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks, updated.

      We update the listing with recent launches and take out older products as they become obsolete, so I don't think updates should be a concern in the next few years. Also, I don't know about what that iFixit article suggests, it seems complex and not something a regular user would be comfortable to perform on their unit. It might be just simple to buy something new after 3-5 years if you really need the updates, or otherwise just use the laptop as is.

  19. Erin

    March 24, 2020 at 5:54 am

    I am looking for a chromebook for my son who is in grade 4. He has a chromebook at school and I need one for home as well. He uses a DELL at school, would you recommend a DELL for home too or I have also been looking at the 14 inch touch screen HP chromebook. Would either of these be a good purchase or do you recommend something different?
    He would be using it for typing and researching, however not gaming of any sort.
    Thank you

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 24, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Hi. Brand isn't important, Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo all make good products, but each with their pros and cons.

      You should look for the best specs and overall value for the money you're willing to spend. Telling us your budget would allow for more targeted recommendations.

  20. Yury Leh

    April 1, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    There's also this premium convertible with AMOLED coming soon from Samsung – Samsung Galaxy Chromebook – 13.3" amoled 2 in 1 with a garaged pen – https://www.anandtech.com/show/15351/samsung-premium-galaxy-chromebook-at-ces-2020-4k-amoled

  21. SELENAS

    June 8, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Good point. My kids have taken courses hosted in Adobe, but now I'm trying to remember if they used a Chromebook or a laptop. I know that the classes hosted on Canvas work.

  22. Nick HOLDEN

    August 16, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    'Chromebooks are crippled without an active Internet connection' : absolute garbage and COMPLETELY untrue. I made the switch to Chromebook from Windows 10 last year and they are no more 'crippled' than any Windows 10 device. Many Android apps are offline, as on your phone, on-board storage means a connection is NOT essential, Linux lets you use a number of office suites offline….people, you need a connection as you do with any other laptop/Mac etc, but it is not especially important for a Chromebook…

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