In May of 2011 the Chromebook line was first announced, immediately finding itself a target of mixed reception. Many felt a computer that was “limited to the web” would ultimately struggle to find a following, and yet despite this the Chromebook market has exploded in recent years.

While the Chromebook market might still be a very niche one, there a growing number of people that are looking for an affordable, virus-free computing experience that serves as their gateway to the web. The fact that Chrome OS only has a number of true offline apps simply doesn’t matter to this type of web-centric user.

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Wondering which Chromebook to buy? Google can help you pick

April 12, 2016

In the early days, there were only a limited number of Chromebooks to choose from, but in 2016 there are dozens of models to pick from. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few models that we feel represent the very best of the Chromebook universe right now.

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HP Chromebook 13

hp-chromebook-13

Normally when we think of Chromebooks, what we’re imagining is something affordable and basic. Indeed, there aren’t really many options for anyone looking to run a more upscale Chrome OS experience. If budget isn’t your priority, but you’re not quite willing to go all out for the Pixel, then the HP Chromebook 13 might just be the device for you.

This Chromebook sports an Intel Core M Skylake processor powered by 4GB of RAM. For productive members of society on the go, the HP Chromebook 13 boasts a battery that manages to keep its 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 display glowing for 11.5 hours. You’ll naturally find the usual connectivity features like a USB 3.0 port, 2 USB Type-C ports, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot to expand upon its 16GB SSD, and of course Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

The HP Chromebook 13 launched with a $499 price tag, placing it in the comfortable middle ground between the standard sub-$350 fare of most Chromebooks and the pricier Pixel. The price has since dropped a bit to $424.99.

Specs

  • 13.3″ Anti-Glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Wide Viewing Angle Display
  • Intel Celeron 3215U Dual-Core Processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • Battery rated for up to 12 hours use

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Get it on Amazon!


Acer Chromebook 11

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The Acer Chromebook 11 serves as one of the most affordable options out there. What’s impressive is that it manages to maintain some fairly respectable specifications for its meager price tag. The device is stable and clean, and it makes efficient use of its 2GB of RAM. Stacked up against other devices in its price range, the Acer Chromebook 11 straight up eviscerates the competition.

The build quality is sound, but nothing to write home about. When you’re paying less than $200 for a device, plastic pretty much comes standard. However, the Acer Chromebook 11 doesn’t feel cheap. It feels practical. In many ways, this is a Chromebook of Chromebooks, seeing as the platform was originally created for students and professionals on a budget.

Related: ChromeBook vs Laptop

It’s worth noting that the Acer Chromebook 11 isn’t particularly rugged. You get a lot for what you’re paying here, but you’re still investing in a product that has a primary selling point of affordability. Excellent for students or people looking for a backup netbook, but this might not be your best pick for your primary interface with technological landscape. Still, in terms of bang-for-buck, the Acer Chromebook 11 is incredibly hard to beat.

Specs

  • 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • 2.16 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron N2840 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • 9 hours of battery life

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Get it on Amazon

Acer Chromebook 14

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The Acer Chromebook 14 ticks off all the checkmarks of the Chromebook 11 while bringing a much more premium feel to the table. The device has a brushed aluminum lid, weighs a solid-feeling 3.42 pounds, and boasts a much more impressive display than you would expect from its circa-$300 price point.

This is an ideal Chromebook for a writer on the go or a student who needs to get work done while schlepping their entire work station from coffee shop to coffee shop. It runs Docs and the rest of Google’s suite with aplomb, and its nearly-10-hour battery life means you can work all day on a single charge without worry.

Unfortunately, although this device has the specs to run the slew of Android apps being made available on ChromeOS, it doesn’t have touchscreen capabilities. That means that if using Android apps is your primary motivation for picking up a Chromebook, you might want to look elsewhere. If that doesn’t faze you, then the Acer Chromebook 14 is a seriously good pick.

Specs

  • 14-inch display, 1920×1080 resolution
  • Intel Celeron N3160
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • Extras: HDMI port, Bluetooth, 2 USB 3.0
  • 9.5 hours battery life

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Get it on Amazon

HP Chromebook 11 G5

hp chromebook 11 g5

Now, if touchscreen capabilities are a priority, look no further than the HP Chromebook 11 G5. This baby offers the best of both worlds and really feels like a Chromebook designed for the current notebook landscape. This recently launched device is currently available through online retailers in the ballpark of $200 and is expected to hit brick and mortar locations in September.

Although the screen has a somewhat off-puttingly thick bezel, it seems a reasonable concession for the kind of specs you’re getting for this price tag. It’s an impressively thin and light design that feels a bit more premium than its competition in the price range. Most of all, it has an impressive 12 hour battery life, meaning you rarely even have to think about charging it.

If you’re on the go and on a budget, the HP Chromebook 11 G5 is a solid option. Its specs won’t break any records, but it won’t break your bank account either.

Specs

  • 11.6″ LED HD SVA Anti-Glare flat (1366×768)
  • dual-core Intel Celeron N3060
  • 2 or 4GB RAM
  • 16 or 32GB storage
  • Extras: 2 USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, HDMIport
  • 12 hour battery life
Get it from HP

Acer Chromebook 15

bts-2015-acer-chromebook-15

Alongside Samsung, Acer was one of the first manufacturers to jump into the Chromebook fray. Since then, they’ve released numerous models with different screen sizes, processing packages, and more. Our favorite from the company is currently the Acer Chromebook 15.

The Chromebook 15 is far from the most powerful Chromebook around, but it packs plenty of juice for the price. Starting at $230 and tapping out around $300, this Acer laptop offers an Intel Celeron processor, a large 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768, RAM up to 4GB, and storage up to 32GB. The base package includes 2GB RAM and 16 storage.

Specs

  • 15.6-inch Active Matrix TFT Color LCD display with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Intel Celeron Dual-Core 3205U 1.5 GHz Processor
  • 2 to 4GB of RAM
  • 16 to 32GB of on-board storage, with SD card slot for expansion
  • Extras: Webcam, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, HDMI
  • 3220 mAh battery, rated for about 9 hours use
  • 15.08 x 9.65 x 0.95/0.97 inches, 4.85 pounds

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Buy the Acer Chromebook 15 on Amazon

Dell Chromebook 13

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One thing you’ll find in common for most Chromebooks is that they tend to make plenty of concessions in order to keep pricing down: Celeron or ARM processor, plastic bodies, and other little things that make it clear that you’re using a ‘budget friendly’ device. For those that want something a bit more upscale without going to Chromebook Pixel extremes, the Dell Chromebook 13 could certainly be worth a look.

Ranging from $430 to $650, the DELL Chromebook 15 is certainly pricier than the many “$300 or below” Chromebooks out there, but for that extra money you get a 13.3-inch Full HD display and a more premium looking metallic chassis. The processing package ranges from an Intel Celeron up to a Intel Core i3-5005U, with 4 to 8GB RAM, and 16 to 32GB storage.

Specs

  • 13-inch Non-Touch LCD display with 1080p resolution
  • Intel Celeron 3205U or Intel i3-5005U
  • 4 to 8GB of RAM
  • 16 to 32GB of on-board storage, with SD card slot for expansion
  • Extras: Webcam, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, HDMI
  • 67Whr 6 Cell Battery
  • 18 x 3 x 11 inches, 5.2 pounds

Read more

Buy DELL Chromebook 15 on Amazon

Lenovo 100S Chromebook

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While Chromebooks have always been pretty affordable when compared to their “regular PC” brethren, the Lenovo 100S Chromebook takes this a step forward by hitting sub-$200 pricing.

For just $175, the 100S Chromebook gives you an Intel Celeron N2840 processor with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768, and a battery rated for about 11 hours of life. While these specs won’t wow anyone, there are good enough to provide a fairly decent Chrome experience, though folks who are big into multiple-tab browsing might find it to be a bit underpowered for this kind of use case.

Still, for such a low price, the Lenovo 100S Chromebook brings a lot to the table, and combined with a weight of just 2.2-pounds, it could prove to be the perfect traveling companion for those that want a no-frills machine for browsing and basic work.

Specs

  • 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768
  • Intel Celeron N2840
  • 2 RAM
  • 16GB of on-board storage, with SD card slot for expansion
  • Extras: Webcam, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, HDMI
  • Battery life of up to 11 hours
  • 11.81″ x 8.23″ x 0.78″, 2.6-pounds

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Buy Lenovo 100S Chromebook on Amazon

ASUS Chromebook Flip

Asus Chromebook Flip

Lastly we have the Asus Chromebook Flip, a unique device aimed at those looking for something that’s one part laptop, one part tablet. The Flip isn’t exactly the most impressive device on this list, and the only one without an Intel processor, actually. But power isn’t the point here.

With a unique hinged design and a much smaller screen size of 10.1-inches, the Chromebook Flip is the perfect device for those looking for a multimedia machine that also can double as a Chromebook for basic productivity and for those situations where having a keyboard makes sense over a touchscreen.

The Flip isn’t perfect, with a weaker Rockchip processor onboard and an OS that isn’t necessarily built with touch in mind, but for less than $250 – it’s a unique twist to the Chromebook formula. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but it might be perfect for you.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch LCD screen with 1280 x 800 resolutio
  • Rockchip 1.8 GHz Processor
  • 2 to 4GB RAM
  • 16GB on-board storage with SD card slot for expansion
  • Extras: Webcam, 2 USB 3.0
  • 31 Wh battery rated for about 9 hours use
  • 7.2 x 10.4 x 0.6 inches, 1.96 lb

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Buy Asus Chromebook Flip on Amazon

Elephant in the room: Chromebook Pixel

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Okay, we couldn’t end this post without addressing the elephant in the room. Technically speaking, the Chromebook Pixel  (2nd gen) is still the very best Chromebook out there, but it’s probably overkill for most users and so unless you’re a power user — you’re probably better off going for one of the other devices we showcased above. That said, even if you are a power user, arguably you’d be better off spending a few hundred more for a Windows (or Mac?) machine that could handle gaming, traditional apps, and the like.

With all that aside, the Chromebook Pixel is a beautiful device, and it also happens to be a powerhouse. The base model, which sets you back $1000, is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM and 32GB storage, though there’s options to upgrade to an i7, up to 16GB RAM, and 64GB storage. The device also has a high-resolution 12.86-inch touchscreen display, 12 hour battery life, 2 USB-C connectors, 2 USB 3.0 connectors, and a premium metallic design that no other Chromebook can match — though Dell comes the closest.

At the end of the day, the Chromebook Pixel is a niche offering in an already niche product category, but that doesn’t mean it in’t cool or sexy as hell. If you have your heart set on Chrome OS but want to be able to open up countless dozens of tabs and multi-task like a boss, the Pixel could be right up your alley. That said, with devices like the HP Chromebook 14 might make more sense, as they offer higher-than-normal Chromebook performance but still manage to be priced much more affordably.

Specs

  • 12.8-inch LCD touchscreen with 2560 x 1700 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
  • 8 to 16GB RAM
  • 32 or 64GB storage
  • Extras: 720P HD Wide Angle camera with Blue Glass, 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB C, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, 4K video output
  • Battery rated for up to 12 hours use
  • 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches, 3.3 lbs

Read more

Buy Chromebook on Google Store

That’s that! While there are many more models out there, these are the Chromebooks we felt deserved a little extra highlight. Agree with our picks? Have another you feel deserves a place among the best? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Andrew Grush
Andrew is dedicated to reporting on the latest developments in the world of Android, and is very passionate about mobile technology and technological innovation in general. While he appreciates Android in all of its forms, he prefers a clean stock experience when possible and currently rocks a Nexus 5. Andrew also loves to engage with his readers, and welcomes well-thought-out conversations and responses in the comments section!
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