Chromebooks are no-nonsense computers meant for light usage. As such, they make the perfect devices for students, given the low barrier to entry, and a lightweight approach to technology. While Chromebooks can work for a variety of users, education is one of its strong use cases. To help you pick the best Chromebook for students, we’ve put together this list.
Students require laptops that can get the basic computing work done, like video conferencing, word processing, and web browsing. Since these things don’t quite require a beefy machine, a Chromebook makes more sense. You get the basics without the bloat.
Here’s our list of the best Chromebooks for students you can get right now.
Buying the best Chromebook for students
Chromebooks are basically a new class of laptops. They run Google’s Chrome OS. It’s an operating system that revolves around the Chrome browser and its apps. This OS is an extension of the Chrome browser and its apps, turned into a complete desktop environment.
As a result, Chrome OS was pretty limited, to begin with. However, over the years, Google has updated it, and it has come to support Linux apps, as well as Android apps. Chrome OS is a solid choice if your workload resides mostly in a browser, which is often the case for students.
Unless you have any high-performance computing needs, as a student, a Chromebook is bound to serve you well.
For students, Chromebooks make more sense as they offer more bang for the buck. They’re also better with regards to battery life, and there are quite a few options with rugged builds as well, which is an important criterion for students. While making a purchase decision, it’s crucial to consider the screen size, weight, and form factor.
See also: The best Chromebooks you can buy
Still not sure which Chromebook would be the best for you? Below are our picks of the best Chromebooks for students.
The best Chromebooks for students right now
- The Google Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook for students, coming at a higher price that is justified by the solid performance and the slim and light design.
- Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is the best budget Chromebook for students, packing in great battery life and keyboard into a well-built chassis.
- Asus Chromebook Flip C214 is the best-rugged Chromebook for students, with a great screen and battery life rounded up by the durable chassis.
- The Samsung Chromebook 4 Plus is the cleanest-looking Chromebook for students, with a thin-and-light aluminum chassis housing decent performance and solid battery life.
- Lenovo Chromebook C340 is the best 2-in-1 Chromebook for students, with a premium design backing the convertible design and solid performance.
Google Pixelbook Go: The best Chromebook for students
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.
What makes this a great overall Chromebook for students starts with its weight. Coming in at just over 2lbs and a thickness of only 3mm, 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.
- Slim, light design
- Good keyboard
- Quick performance
- Limited ports
- Pricey upgrade options
- Limited colors
Also read: Google Pixelbook Go review
Acer Chromebook Spin 311: The best budget Chromebook for students
We ask more and more from 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 Spin 311 is one to consider, as it has an 11.6-inch touch-enabled display that’s ready for morning walks to class.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 also has an HD webcam and two built-in microphones. The 2-in-1 design and Bluetooth 5.0 are nice touches and the Intel Celeron processor packs enough power to run Chrome OS without any trouble. It’s backed up by 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB of storage.
Above all of this, though, is the battery life. Even with the large 1080p touch-enabled display, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is rated at up to 10 hours of battery life that will get most students through a day of classes, and maybe into a bit of homework as well.
- Solid build
- Outstanding battery life
- Good keyboard
- Large bezels
- Minimal port selection
See also: Acer Chromebook Spin 311 review
Asus Chromebook Flip C214: The best rugged Chromebook for students
For students of younger age, 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.
- Rugged build
- Decent screen
- Great battery life
- Port selection could’ve been better
- Limited storage options
Also read: The best Asus Chromebooks
Samsung Chromebook 4 Plus: The cleanest-looking Chromebook for students
Keeping the price low, you can grab a new Samsung Chromebook 4 Plus with 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. It’s equipped with a large, 15.6-inch Full HD display that matches the quality you’d expect from Samsung. Samsung’s Chromebook 4 Plus is thin and light, and 10 hours of battery life should be plenty for your workday.
This Chromebook is a budget-friendly buy — it’s stylish and feels great in the hand 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 Samsung Chromebook 4 Plus is a bit light on ports with just two USB-C options. It makes up for that shortcoming with Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds and an Intel Celeron N4000 processor along with Intel UHD graphics.
- Great battery life
- Slim profile and lightweight for its size
- Decent performance
- Bezels make it look dated
- Low display brightness
Lenovo Chromebook C340: The best 2-in-1 Chromebook for students
Rounding out our list is the Lenovo Chromebook C340. Aesthetically speaking, this Chromebook is one of the best looking on the market. It’s minimal and sleek, but the 2-in-1 design allows for plenty of creative flexibility.
The C340 has 32GB of storage, which should be plenty of room to install your favorite Android apps. Its 15.6-inch Full HD display has tiny bezels on three sides, and the full-metal design has a premium feel to it. Lenovo chose an Intel Pentium Gold 4417U processor and Intel HD Graphics 610 to power the C340 too.
The Lenovo Chromebook C340 offers up to 10 hours of battery life, which is enough to get through a full day of work or binge your favorite shows. It’s equipped with a full-size backlit keyboard that has a 1.4mm travel distance.
- Small, lightweight
- Lots of ports
- Great battery life
- Low-res display
- Unappealing bezels
- Tinny speakers
Also read: Lenovo Chromebook C340 review
Chromebooks for students v/s Windows laptops for students
When shopping for a laptop, Windows laptops are usually the go-to choice for most people. Windows is wildly popular, and even more importantly — widely compatible. If you’re a student looking to buy a laptop, Windows laptops are definitely on the cards. So the question is — should you buy a Chromebook over one?
A Chromebook purchase usually comes down to the purpose of the machine. For students, Chromebooks are the way to go, but there are some things you should consider. First of all, a Chromebook cannot handle high-intensity workloads like video editing and gaming.
The other thing you need to consider is whether the student’s workload requires them to use applications that only work on Windows. The younger a student is, the fewer concerns there are about Chromebooks not meeting the requirements of their day-to-day usage.
Chromebooks can also run Linux apps and Android apps, in case the student needs some additional functionality. The overall experience is much lighter than a Windows machine, and as such, the battery life on Chromebooks with similar hardware is usually better.
If you’re still not sure about whether to go for a Chromebook, check out our detailed Chromebook vs laptop comparison.
Picking the best Chromebook accessories
Now that you have a feel for the best Chromebooks to buy, you might want to get some accessories to go along with it. Here are some of our favorite Chromebook accessories:
Other frequently asked questions
Q: How much does a Chromebook cost?
A: Chromebooks are available at a variety of prices. There are many options available under $200, and some going over a thousand dollars. If you don’t have a restricted budget, check out our best Chromebooks list.
Q: What’s the best Chromebook tablet?
A: For students, it makes less sense to pick a Chromebook tablet, which is why we haven’t recommended one in this list. We however have a dedicated best Chromebook tablets list with all of our recommendations. Our top pick is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
Q: What is the difference between a Chromebook and a laptop?
A: A Chromebook is a type of laptop that runs Chrome OS, as opposed to traditional laptops that run Windows, or MacBooks, which run macOS.