Once upon a time, Chromebooks were low-budget options for students without many features or high-end specs.
But no longer. As Google refines Chrome OS, and manufacturers continue to build and innovate, Chromebooks are becoming great options for users of all ages and occupations. There are hundreds of sellers, makes, and models to choose from, all of which have access to the millions of Android apps Google has to offer.
So which one should you buy?
Choosing the right Chromebook can be overwhelming, but we’re here for you. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best Chromebooks for use at home, school, and work, at every possible price point.
If you’re looking for a computer for browsing Netflix and the occasional game, a Chromebook can be a great option. The highest-end Chromebooks are able to handle your video streaming, Googling, Facebook messaging, photo editing, and mobile gaming without frustrating lags or glitches.
These Chromebooks will deliver the same speed and performance that you’d expect from a Windows or Mac laptop, but with a lower price and lighter build. You’ll have no problem using them as your primary device, or as a secondary device for school or work.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line Chromebook, you can’t do better than the Pixelbook.
While the company’s early Chromebooks were clunky and underpowered, its newest try is beautifully designed, light, and easily worth its $899 starting price tag.
It’s 0.2 inches thinner (0.4 inches) and a whole pound lighter (2.4 pounds) than the previous Chromebook Pixel 2. It’s a two-in-one computer, meaning its touchscreen can flip 360 degrees to function as a laptop or a tablet. Artists will enjoy the accompanying $100 Pixelbook Pen stylus which has a standout 10 milliseconds of latency (Apple Pencil has 20ms and Microsoft’s Surface Pen has 21ms), and excellent pressure sensitivity.
The 12.3-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2,400 x 1,600 resolution delivers as crisp and clean of a picture as you’ll get from the MacBook Pro’s Retina display. And with a Core i5 chip and a whopping 8GB of RAM, the Pixelbook runs Chrome OS as smoothly and reliably as any of its competitors. As a bonus, Google Assistant is built in, and can be at your beck and call with the touch of its dedicated button.
This Chromebook is more than $300 cheaper than the Pixelbook, but offers almost (but not quite) the same standout performance and laundry list of features.
Like the Pixelbook, it’s a 2-in-1 with a built-in, very precise, and pressure-sensitive stylus for artists and note-takers. Its touchpad and touchscreen are as accurate as they come.
At 2.38 pounds and 0.55 inches thick, The Samsung Pro is almost as slim as its Google competitor, and much more portable than most other Chromebooks.
It features a 12.3-inch 2,400 x 1,600 display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, just like the Pixelbook. And with a Core m3-6Y30 processor and 4GB of RAM, you’ll have no problem streaming 4K media, multitasking, or running the most demanding Android apps, though you may see some lag compared to competitors with more RAM and better chips.
This Chromebook lacks some of the fancier amenities, like a backlit keyboard, a 360-degree hinge, or a touchscreen, but it’s a reliable device that will get the job done.
It features the excellent keyboard for which Lenovo’s more upscale ThinkPads are known (though it lacks the TrackPoint nub), as well as two USB-C ports and a decently sized, responsive trackpad. Its Intel Celeron-3855U and 4GB of RAM can handle light multitasking and media.
It’s not light at 3.17 pounds, but it’s robust and still small enough to fit easily into a bag for carting around.
Chromebooks began as devices for students, and many are still designed for that purpose.
The ideal student Chromebook is cheap enough for a high school or college budget, but sturdy enough to withstand a day of jolting and jostling, with the occasional spill. The devices we’ve selected can survive a rough day in your backpack, and won’t break your bank account.
Acer’s 11.6-inch Chromebooks are prepared to withstand bumps, spills, and all other trials and tribulations of student life.
The latest model, the C732T-C8VY, is a beastly 0.8 inch thick and weighs almost three pounds (for context, the 12-inch MacBook is 0.52 inch thick and weighs two pounds). But what the Acer 11 lacks in portability, it makes up for in durability. It’s one of the sturdiest lines of Chromebooks out there — its predecessor, the C771, could withstand drops of up to four feet and 132 pounds of downward force.
The Acer 11 boasts an IPS LCD panel with 1,366 x 768 resolution, which is low, but appropriate for its affordable price. It also includes, in addition to its two USB ports, two USB-C ports, a rarity among laptops.
Dell’s Chromebook 3189 is one of the cheapest 2-in-1s out there. Its touchscreen can bend backwards into tablet and tent modes, which is great for handwritten notes, or copying diagrams. The cover also has a three-color light that students can use to communicate with the teacher.
At 3.2 pounds, it’s hefty but still compact enough to fit in your backpack. It can withstand drops of up to 30 inches, and its spill-resistant keyboard can survive assaults from your morning coffee. There’s also a rubber bumper around the outside to protect it from jolts and jostles.
The 11.6-inch display displays impressive color accuracy for its low 1,366 x 768 resolution. And your study playlist will thank you — its speakers are some of the best you’ll find for its price point.
The Acer Chromebook 14 is a few years old, but it’s still one of the most affordable Chromebooks out there. It’s pretty heavy, at 3.32 pounds, but its all-aluminum finish and body are sturdy enough to take a solid beating from your backpack or briefcase.
It’s not a 2-in-1, but its screen can rotate a bit past 180 degrees, so you can still get a decent variety of comfortable viewing angles.
With an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and 2GB of RAM, you won’t be able to do anything too intense, but you can still reliably manage a few tabs at a time. For its price, it has a responsive touchpad and decently loud speakers as well. Best of all, it has some of the best battery life you’ll find, clocking in at over 10 hours.
Your work computer needs the compact build and durability to survive long commutes in your briefcase, the power to handle serious multitasking, and, most importantly, the battery life to last your whole workday. These Chromebooks pack in all those features at an affordable price.
If you want a MacBook, but don’t want to drop thousands of dollars, Asus’ 12.5-inch Flip is the next best thing.
It looks and feels a lot like the 12-inch MacBook, but unlike the MacBook, it’s a 2-in-1. There’s even a magnetic clasp that tightens the screen against the underside of the notebook when the screen is folded backwards, which makes it feel much more like a tablet than many of its 2-in-1 competitors.
At 12.5 inches and 2.6 pounds, it’s one of the lightest Chromebooks out there, and the 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display provides a decently bright and clear picture compared to those of its cheaper competition.
The Flip is also known for its very crisp, backlit keyboard and standout battery life. You can get over ten hours out of one charge, making it one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks out there.
If you love the Pixelbook but want to save a few hundred bucks, try the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Not to be confused with Samsung’s more expensive Chromebook Pro, the Plus brings an elegant silver 2-in-1 design — and at 2.4 pounds, it’s exactly as light as the Pixelbook.
Like the Pro, it comes with a fast, responsive, embedded stylus that’s easy to snap on and off. And like the Acer 11, it offers two USB-C ports, meaning you’ll have one free to connect peripherals while the device is charging.
Its 12.3-inch 2,400 x 1,600 display offers the same resolution as the Pixelbook’s, and makes for one of the most sharp and detailed displays for photos and videos you’ll find in a Chromebook. And its OP1 ARM processor and 4GB of RAM allows for decent multitasking and HD media streaming, but will struggle with 4K video and demanding apps.
No, that’s not a typo. This budget Chromebook has a massive 15-inch display, which will easily allow you to work with two windows side by side.
At 4.85 pounds, it’s heavier than most Chromebooks, but only a bit heavier than the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which weighs in at just over four pounds.
The big screen is accompanied by a large backlit keyboard and loud speakers — basically, if you think bigger is better, this is the Chromebook for you. Like its 14-inch Acer counterpart, the Acer 15 has a 180-degree hinge, so you can’t make it a tablet, but should be able to find the right viewing angle.
Its dual-core Intel Pentium N4200 will deliver a smooth Chrome OS experience, though you may experience a lag when multitasking. And its battery life, at over 13 hours, is a standout among all computers.