Chromebooks have come a long way from the time they first burst onto the scene some years ago. What once used to be considered low-powered, glorified netbooks, have now earned a seat at the table as some of the more affordable, yet capable laptops that your hard-earned money can buy.
With the ability to run Linux apps, access to offline apps through the Google Play Store, and hardware that — in some cases — rivals that of top-tier laptops, Chromebooks are great for a wide variety of users. In this post we take a look at the best Chromebooks for students. Right now this is especially important, as more kids end up staying at home due to the Coronavirus. While some school districts provide laptops that students can take home, that’s not true for everyone.
Just looking for a great deal? Check out the best Chromebook deals available.
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Chromebooks for students regularly as new devices launch.
1. Best Quality / Overall: Google Pixelbook Go
It’s hard to curate a list of best Chromebooks for any buyer without mention of the Google Pixelbook Go. While it’s clear that the price of this device is far beyond the average of the others we have on our list, the intersection of specs, design, and performance clearly justifies the price tag.
Learn more: Google Pixelbook Go review
What makes this a great overall Chromebook for students starts with its weight. Coming in at just over 2lbs, and only 3mm thick, this is an easy device to stick into a bookbag and carry around campus. The Pixelbook Go also backs a punch compared to other Chromebooks with the 8th Gen Intel CPU, and seeing as it is configurable with up to 256gb of storage, you will have plenty of space and power to download and run your favorite apps.
Google Pixelbook Go specs:
- Display: 13.3 Full HD, Touch-Enabled
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8200Y
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Ports: 2x USB-C, 3.5mm jack
- Battery Life: Rated at 12 hours
2. Best I/O: Acer Chromebook 15
We ask more and more of our machines as time progresses, and the same rings true for students of all ages. For college-age students in particular, a Chromebook most likely will serve as their one and only machine for the life of their education. In that case, the Acer Chromebook 15 is one to consider, as it has a larger-than-most 15” touch-enabled display which means more room for productivity.
The Acer Chromebook 15 also has more I/O ports than you get with many Chromebooks. Flanking both sides of the machine are a single USB-C 3.1 port which is used for charging and data transfer of up to 5 Gbps, and USB-A 3.0 port. On the right side of the device, you will also find a headphone jack and Micro SD slot.
Above all of this, though is the battery life. Even with the large 1080p touch-enabled display, the Acer Chromebook 15 is rated at up to 12 hours of battery life which will get most students through a day of classes, and maybe into a bit of homework as well.
Acer Chromebook 15 specs:
- Display: 15.6-inch, Full HD, Touch-enabled
- Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Celeron
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 32GB
- Ports: 2x USB-C, 2x USB-A, Micro SD, 3.5mm jack
- Battery Life: Rated up to 12 hours
3. Asus Chromebook Flip C214
I have two kids of my own, and while they aren’t quite school-aged yet, leave a trail of destruction wherever they go. If this sounds like a student you know, you should consider looking for a ruggedized Chromebook. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is just that – ruggedized and built to withstand some damage.
This Chromebook has been given the classification of Mil-STD 810G durability which can be up for debate when used as a credible durability classification. However, regardless of the classification, it has rubberized corners, textured surfaces, and a spill-proof keyboard. All of these features go a long way in helping the Chromebook survive everyday usage by not-so-careful kiddos.
There’s a lot to praise with this Chromebook, but its primary pitfall is the sub-par storage. At only 32GB of storage, a student would have to rely nearly 100% on cloud storage. And even if that is possible, you won’t be download many apps on the device. Note that this is now an older model and means you’ll get it used/refurbed, but it’s at a great price and still very much worth it.
Asus Chromebook Flip C214 specs:
- Display: 11.6″, 1366px x 768px, Touch-Enabled
- Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel Celeron
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 32GB
- Ports: 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, Micro SD card slot, 3.5mm jack
4. HP Chromebook x360
A bit on the higher up on the pricing scale, but not as steep as Google’s Pixel Book Go is the HP Chromebook x360. Looking at the spec list for this device, you won’t find anything astronomical, but it is more capable than most folks will require for a Chromebook, considering its 8GB of RAM. However, when it comes down to it, the build of the device is what sets it apart from others in the category.
As I was eluding to, this Chromebook is more of a premium purchase, and with that, it is actually a great looking device, and it feels great as well. The bezels are a bit large for my taste, but the quality of the screen itself outshines many of its competitors, and the keyboard and trackpad reflect the price tag.
In terms of the device’s usability for students, the HP Chromebook x360 is a good fit due to its screen size of 14”, as well as the I/O ports that surround the device and make it plenty capable for toting back and forth to campus. And, with battery life rated at 14hrs / charge, you should have no problem knocking out all of your daily classes on a single charge.
HP Chromebook x360 specs:
- Display: 14-inch Full HD, Touch-Enabled
- Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core i3
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Ports: 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, Micro SD Slot, 3.5mm jack
- Battery: Rated up to 14 hours
5. Lenovo Chromebook S330
Rounding out our list is the Lenovo Chromebook S330. Aesthetically speaking, this Chromebook is one of the best looking on the market. It’s very minimal and sleek, yet it also packs in some solid performance and specs.
The S330 has 64GB of storage which should be plenty of room to install your favorite Android apps. In terms of hardware, this is one of the few Chromebooks you will find with an HDMI port at the ready, which is extremely convenient for students who are likely plugging into outdated projectors, TVs, etc. to collaborate and present on their work.
The primary trade-off with this Chromebook is that there is no touch screen support.
Lenovo Chromebook S330 specs:
- Display: 14-inch, Full HD, No Touch
- Processor: 2.1 GHz MTK 8121
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Ports: 1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, HDMI, 3.5mm jack
- Battery Life: Rated up to 10 hours
The Chromebook segment continues to thrive, and the lines between Chromebook and full blow laptop keep getting blurrier. For students, Chromebooks are almost a no-brainer these days. Save some cash, and, in most cases, get all of your work done by leveraging the Google ecosystem plus Android apps. For even more Chromebook buyer’s guides and how tos, check out the links below.
- Best Chromebooks at any price
- Best budget Chromebooks
- Best Chromebook deals
- Best Chromebooks under $200
- Chromebook vs traditional laptops – what’s right for you?