The entire value proposition of a Chromebook stems from the idea that most of the heavy lifting is done in the cloud. Because of that, manufacturers can deliver higher build quality for less cash. So much less cash, that there are viable Chromebooks for less than $200.
So what are your options if you want in on Chrome OS for cheap? We’ll be honest, to reach this price range you may be looking at lower spec’d models or those that are older or even refurbished. That said, due to the lighter nature of a cloud-based OS, you don’t need killer hardware to have a great laptop. This is especially true if your needs are basic, such as wanting a way to access the web, social networks, and for tasks like typing.
Best Chromebooks under $200
- HP 14-inch Chromebook AMD A4
- Lenovo 11.6-inch C330 2-in-1 Chromebook
- Acer Chromebook 15 (Refurbished)
- Acer Chromebook Tab 10 9.7-inch tablet (Renewed)
1. HP 14-inch Chromebook AMD A4
The HP 14-inch AMD A4 was one of the first Chromebooks to use AMD’s processors. The chip’s integrated graphics give a decent boost over the Intel chips that are generally used for cheaper Chromebooks, and its dual-core processor pushes more overall performance than many other devices in the price range.
Reviews have noted the surprisingly good keyboard on this device, which requires a good amount of force to actuate. Cheaper laptops are known to have low-quality keyboards, and seeing more thought put into the typing experience is nice. Especially because Chromebooks are mainly made for writing and viewing content on the web, the keyboard is especially important.
This laptop also has two USB-A and USB-C ports, which is more than many more expensive laptops can tout. Even though most of the media you’ll be interacting with will be in the cloud, it’s nice to be able to pass media easily between devices.
This laptop originally cost $269 MSRP for the 4GB RAM and 32GB storage SKU, so its current $199 price is solid.
2. Lenovo 11.6-inch C330 2-in-1 Chromebook
Most lower-end laptops sacrifice screen quality to cut costs, but not the Lenovo C330. This laptop has a surprisingly good IPS display that’s bright and colorful. Even though it’s smaller than the HP 14-inch Chromebook mentioned above, the quality makes up for the differential in screen real-estate. Its 1280 x 720p screen isn’t quite the 1080p display you might be used to on more expensive laptops, but it still looks quite good.
There is plenty of IO available on the C330 – more than you’ll find on even some professional laptops. The C330 has a USB-C port for charging, a USB-A port, a full-sized HDMI port, and even an SD card reader. You probably won’t be doing much photo editing on this laptop (though you still can!), but an SD-card slot is awesome nonetheless. If you’re a writer like I am, it’s nice to be able to offload photos off your camera and upload them directly to a media library.
The Lenovo C330 is a 2-in-1 machine, meaning the screen can rotate a full 360 degrees. This lets you use the device like a tablet, or put it in tent mode to make watching movies or YouTube videos more comfortable. Whether or not you like this feature is up to you, but I would rather have the ability than not.
The MSRP for this laptop was originally $279, so the $181.99 price at Best Buy is a great deal.
3. Acer Chromebook 15 (Refurbished)
Acer’s Chromebook 15 is one of the older Chromebooks on this list, but that’s also what makes it enticing. Originally released for $399 in 2017, you can now find this laptop refurbished for just $194.99.
The Acer Chromebook 15 sports extras like a backlit keyboard, loud speakers, 13 hours of rated battery life and a full HD 1080p display. While those are all nice to have, the build quality of this device outshines the price. The Chromebook 15 is made with a combination of aluminum and plastic, making it feel more similar to a traditional ultrabook than a budget Chromebook.
This laptop also isn’t lacking in IO. The Acer Chromebook 15 sports two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, a dual microphone/headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a Kensington lock port. That’s a lot of IO for a Chromebook and gives you a little extra peace of mind that you can plug things in to your heart’s desire.
Even though it’s refurbished, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That means it’s been tested to be functional and operate at a high standard, which may be safer than buying a random laptop used on eBay.
4. Acer Chromebook Tab 10 9.7-inch tablet (Renewed)
Even though this isn’t technically a laptop, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 runs the same OS as all the other Chromebooks you’ll find on this list. That means you’ll still have access to all your favorite Google apps and services.
When we reviewed this tablet back in July 2018, we were excited about its prospects. The Chromebook Tab 10 brings a crisp, bright display with a rugged design and a stylus to the market, which is perfect for people who want a multimedia tablet on the go. Because there is no keyboard for this tablet, you’ll interact with it more as you would your phone – primarily through the touch screen. If you do want to use a keyboard though, the tablet can pair to nearly any Bluetooth keyboard on the market.
The most exciting part of the Chromebook Tab 10 is undoubtedly its pen, which lets you easily doodle on screenshots or jot quick notes. And because the tablet can run Android apps, it’s compatible with any of the drawing apps you might find on the Google Play store.
The Tab 10 is one of the cheapest Chromebooks on this list, for just $139.99 at Amazon. It’s renewed so it’s not technically new, but Amazon guarantees that it looks and works like new, and gives you a 90-day guarantee.
The world of Chromebooks is so broad, there’s a lot more out there if you’re up to expanding your budget a little. The Google Pixelbook is one of my favorite laptops of all time, so if you’ve never tried one, I’d recommend giving it a shot. Also check out some of the lists below for even more Chromebook buying advice.
- Best Chromebooks at any price
- Best Chromebooks for students
- Best budget Chromebooks
- Best Chromebook deals
- Chromebook vs traditional laptops – what’s right for you?