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.
The current Chromebook landscape presents a bit of a challenge — most options you’ll find right now are either refurbished or used. We’ve chosen to include a few of these options as they present solid value at reduced prices.
Best Chromebooks under $200:
- Lenovo Chromebook 100e
- Samsung Chromebook 11.6-inch (renewed)
- Acer Chromebook C720 (used)
- Asus Chromebook C300MA
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Chromebooks regularly as new ones launch.
1. Lenovo Chromebook 100e
One of the few brand-new options on this list, the Lenovo Chromebook 100e presents great value for under $200, especially for students. It’s not very large at just 11.6 inches, so even the littlest of learners can tote it around with ease. The 100e features a water-resistant keyboard too so you don’t have to worry too much about spills.
If you pop open the durable plastic cover, you’ll be greeted by a dual-core 1.6GHz AMD A4 processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. You’ll also find 32GB of storage and integrated AMD Radeon R4 graphics — not a bad setup for less than two Benjamins. Beyond the basics, the Lenovo 100e also relies on 802.11ac Wi-Fi for a stable connection. You’ll need a good wi-fi network set up to take full advantage of the cloud-based Chrome OS apps after all.
Many modern laptops are guilty of dropping ports in favor of size, but you’ll be happy to hear that the Lenovo 100e Chromebook isn’t one of them. It’s equipped with a microSD card slot, USB-A 3.1 and USB-C options, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for all of the remote learning you can handle. The 47Wh battery is rated for up to 10 hours too.
2. Samsung Chromebook 11.6-inch (Renewed)
While Chromebooks might not be the first device that springs to mind when you think of Samsung, the Korean manufacturer offers a fairly wide range of options. This 11.6-inch model holds down the Chromebooks under $200 end of the spectrum, though it looks remarkably similar to the Chromebook 4. It’s a renewed option, though all models sold are backed by Amazon’s 90-day guarantee.
If you do choose to pick up this pint-sized option, you’ll open the lid to an 11.6-inch HD LED display — fairly standard for the price point. Powering that display is Samsung’s proprietary Exynos hardware, in this case it’s a 5250 chipset. Along with that, Samsung opted for just 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It’s not much to go on, but most of your files and applications will run from the cloud so it should be manageable.
Samsung managed to craft a rather thin body for its 11.6-inch Chromebook, and you might notice that there are no ports on the left or right sides of the machine. Fear not, as the designers simply moved the ports to the spine to make better use of the space. You can make the most of two USB-A options and an HDMI port for a good variety of peripherals.
3. Acer Chromebook C720 (Used)
You might be noticing a trend with these Chromebooks for under $200 — and that trend is some big, chunky bezels. It’s almost to be expected with the tiny 11.6-inch screen sizes, as a smaller bezel would ultimately mean less space for the keyboard. The Acer C720 is no exception to the rule, though it seems to manage a bit better than most.
The first thing you’ll see above is that the ports are back to where they normally reside on the sides of the device. You’ll find USB options on both sides as well as an HMDI port if you want to add a monitor. Acer managed to keep a solid selection of ports, though it slimmed much of the weight out of the keyboard itself to make the device easier to manage overall.
Under the hood, you’ll see that Acer opted for the Intel Celeron 2955U dual-core processor as the mitochondrion of its miniature Chromebook. It’s supported by 4GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD, which is an easier combination to recommend than that of the Samsung above.
4. Asus Chromebook C300MA
Today’s last option, the Asus C300MA, offers something that the last few Chromebooks under $200 just couldn’t match — a 13.3-inch display. Your kids may not mind the difference, but it’s always nice to have the extra real estate when you’re working or streaming your favorite shows.
Unfortunately, the C300MA drops back down to just 2GB of RAM, but sometimes sacrifices are part of the low price. The brushed metal appearance is a nice touch, though the laptop itself is made of plastic. If you’re shopping for your kids, the Asus C300MA comes in red, yellow, and blue as well. You’ll have plenty of peripheral potential thanks to USB-A options on both sides and an HDMI port just in case.
Rounding out the spec sheet, Asus chose an Intel Celeron processor for the C300MA as well as 16GB of storage. Weighing less than three pounds, it’s a great choice if you like to work on the go. The C300MA stacks up with 10-hours of battery life and a trackpad that Asus boasts is among the largest on any Chromebook today.
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.