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.
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:
- Budget Chromebooks (selling for under $300);
- mid-range best-value options ($300 to $500);
- premium Chromebooks ($500+).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.