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. Especially now that a growing number of new devices are starting to offer Android app support via Google Play.

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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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Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus

Samsung took the wraps off of the new kings of the Chromebook jungle back at CES this year, the Chromebook Pro and Plus, and these are definitely going to be the devices to beat in this segment. Both these devices offer the capability of rotating the display a full 360 degrees to use them in a tablet mode, but that isn’t all these have to offer.

The best part, obviously, about both these Chromebooks is that they will be among the first to be able to run Android applications. The execution may be a touch lacking as we found in our review, but the idea is chock full of potential, and adds a whole other layer of productivity to the rather simple Chrome OS. Both also come with a S-Pen like stylus that comes with a lot of the features of its smartphone counterpart.

Both the Pro and Plus feature beautiful 12.3-inch LED display with a 2400 x 1600 resolution, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, two USB Type-C ports, and a headphone jack, and the clickpad, keyboard, and general dimensions are identical as well. The only real difference between the two is that the Plus is powered by an ARM-based chipset, whereas the Pro comes with a more powerful Intel Core m3 processor.

The Samsung Chromebook Plus is currently available for $444.99, and the Pro will launch later this spring with a price tag that should set you back around an additional $100.

Specs

  • 12.3-inch LED display with 2400 x 1600 resolution
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card
  • ARM-based processor (Chromebook Plus)/Intel Core m3 (Chromebook Pro)
  • Extras: 2 USB Type-C ports, microSD card slot.
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac 2 x 2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0.
  • 5,140 mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 11.04″ x 8.72″ x 0.55″, 2.38 lbs

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ASUS Chromebook Flip

The latest generation of the ASUS Chromebook Flip has received a significant upgrade when compared to its predecessor, with it now being powered by an Intel Core m3 processor, and featuring a larger 12.5-inch display with a Ful HD resolution.

It retains the portability and multi-purpose features of the previous generation though, and remains ideal for those looking for a single device that can function as both a Chromebook for basic productivity, and a tablet for media consumption.

As good as its predecessor was, the Chromebook Flip an upgrade is specifications and features was required to have it compete more effectively against other current generation Chromebooks. These upgrades are not without their consequences though, with the price point being bumped up significantly as well, with the latest Chromebook Flip being priced at $499.99.

Specs

  • 12.5-inch LCD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Intel Core m3 processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64 GB on-board storage with SD card slot for expansion
  • Extras: 2 USB Type-C, microSD card slot
  • 39 Wh battery rated for about 9 hours use
  • 304 x 210 x 13.7 mm, 1.2 kgs
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HP Chromebook 13 G1

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 now retired Pixel, then the HP Chromebook 13 G1 might just be the device for you.

This version of the HP Chromebook 13 sports an Intel Pentium processor powered by 4GB of RAM. For productive members of society on the go, the HP Chromebook 13 G1 comes with a 13.3-inch display with a 3200 x 1800 resolution, 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 32 GB SSD, and of course Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

This version of the HP Chromebook 13 G1 is priced at $484.99, placing it in the comfortable middle ground between the standard sub-$350 fare of most Chromebooks and the pricier Pixel.

There are a few other variants available as well, including a lower model powered be an Intel Celeron processor and featuring a 1080p display, and higher-end models, with them being powered by Intel Core m3, m5, or m7 processors, featuring 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB of RAM, and with them coming with a display resolution of 3200 x 1800 as well. The price goes up to around $1000 depending on the version.

Specs

  • 13.3″ Anti-Glare IPS Wide Viewing Angle Display with a 3200 x 1800 resolution
  • Intel Pentium 4405Y processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32 GB storage
  • Extras: 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB Type-C port, microSD card slot.
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac 2 x 2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Dimensions: 12.59″ x 8.64″  x 1″, 2.69 lbs

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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. One of them that is showing its age but remains one of our favorites is 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 32 GB. The base package includes 2 GB RAM and 16 GB 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
  • 2/4 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB 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″, 4.85 lbs

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Dell 7310 series Chromebook

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, these high-end Dell Chromebooks could certainly be worth a look.

Ranging from $5000 to $650, the DELL Chromebook 7310 series devices are 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 Core i3 processor to an i5 processor, with 4 GB or 8 GB RAM, and 16 GB to 32 GB storage.

Specs

  • 13-inch LCD display with 1080p resolution
  • Intel Core i3 or i5 processor
  • 4 to 8 GB 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
  • 12.93″ x 9.03″ x 0.72″, 3.23 lbs
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Acer Chromebook 14 for Work

Like the Dells above, the Acer “Chromebooks for Work” series bring a lot of the power to the table, and while it falls in the mid-range to high-end of Chromebooks, it remains relatively affordable when considering its competition running Windows 10 or MacOS.

To start with, this Acer Chromebook looks and feels more premium than its price point would suggest, with its metal chassis, a top cover protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and ultra thin bezels around the display. An added design feature includes a spill resistant keyboard, that diverts an spilled liquid away from internal components and out through two drain holes.

In terms of specifications, you get a 14-inch Full HD display, a choice between an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage that is further expandable via microSD card, and a battery that promises up to 10 hours of battery life. Depending on the processor you choose, the Acer Chromebook for Work are currently priced at $575 and $720 for the i3 and i5 versions respectively.

Specs

  • 14-inch display with 1080p resolution
  • Intel Core i3 or i5 processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 32 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • Extras: 1 USB Type-C port, 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3,950 mAh battery
  • 13″ x 8.9″ x 0.9″, 3.2 lbs
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Lenovo N22

As we can see in this list, there are some OEMs that are slowly but surely pushing their Chromebooks to the higher-end of things in terms of specifications. That said, the marquee feature of the Chromebook as always been affordability, and it doesn’t get more affordable than the Lenovo N22 series.

Not surprisingly, the specs aren’t particularly impressive, with the device coming with an Intel Celeron processor, 16 GB of internal storage that is further expandable via microSD card, and an 11.6-inch display. There are three different variants available, with users having the choice between a HD or Full HD resoution, 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM,  and with or without a touchscreen.

The difference in the price points isn’t significant though, with the low-end model priced at just $143, going up to $193 for the version with a touchscreen and 4 GB of RAM.

Specs

  • 11.6-inch display, 720p or 1080p resolution
  • Intel Celeron processor
  • 2 GB or 4 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g, Bluetooth
  • 16.6″ x 3.2″ x 10.9″, 4.2 lbs or 11.8″ x 8.2″ x 0.9″, 2.7 lbs (touchscreen)
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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 one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
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