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How much should you spend on a Chromebook?
Chromebooks have become serious laptop replacements, especially in the low-end market. They start as low as $200 to $250 and can go well over $1,000 for the more premium models. Given that price range, buying one can be a little confusing. The ultimate question is, how much should you spend on a Chromebook? This guide breaks down the different ranges of these devices and who should buy them.
Chromebooks cost as little as $200 and go all the way over $1,000. You can get a refurbished or pre-owned option for lower than $100 if you're willing to go that way.
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Budget Chromebooks: Why are some Chromebooks so cheap?
The budget market is the most important one for Chrome OS devices. These devices range between $200 to $400 and are solid alternatives to cheap Windows machines. You may wonder why these machines cost so little, and that’s because they’re barebones systems. You get no-frills hardware, with either low-end Intel Celeron chips, AMD CPUs, or, often, ARM chips, which help reduce the cost.
Also reducing the cost are the licensing fees. Laptop manufacturers have to pay licensing fees to Microsoft, which adds to the overall cost. Judging by the prices of these devices, Google’s licensing fees seem to be at least a bit lower than those of Microsoft.
Chrome OS also runs light, and lower-end chips often consume lower power, leading to longer battery life. These machines can comfortably do basic tasks, like web browsing, writing and document processing, and using simple apps. These laptops do just fine for folks on a tight budget. They’re ideal for younger students, basic home and office usage, and for anybody that wants a secondary web browsing device.
If you want a budget Chromebook, here are our top recommendations.
Mid-range Chromebooks: A good option for most users
Budget options may get your work done on a tight budget, but what if you want a little more sophisticated hardware? That’s where mid-range Chromebooks come in. You can pick these up for between $400 to $650, and they offer some solid value for money at this price. This is the sweet spot for these laptop replacements.
The most noticeable upgrade you will get for the price will be the screen. Mid-range Chrome OS devices pack in screens with higher resolution and color accuracy. Additionally, you’ll get more powerful processors, with many running Intel’s Core i3 or i5 chips. You also get faster SSD storage instead of the eMMC storage most budget devices use.
These mid-range options are for folks that decidedly want a Chromebook and are willing to shell out a little extra cash. These devices can handle apps better, too, especially if you’re going to run many Android and Linux apps. We recommend picking up a mid-range one if you want a Chrome OS device and have enough cash to spare.
Pick yours: The best budget and mid-range Chromebooks to get
High-end Chromebooks: Why are some Chromebooks so expensive?
High-end Chromebooks are the ones that cost upwards of $700 and offer premium hardware. This is a bit of a tricky category because, at this price, you’ll wonder why you should get a Chrome OS device over a similarly priced laptop or MacBook.
There are a couple of reasons to get these Chrome OS devices. First of all, if you need a top-of-the-line Chrome OS experience, and are sure about it as the operating system of choice, then you can go for a high-end option. Secondly, you’re likely to get a better battery life from a high-end Chrome OS machine than an equivalent Windows laptop.
Of course, there’s a noticeable improvement with app performance as well, and you get an appropriate value for money with these machines. The only issue is that some aspects of Chrome OS may not be enough to take advantage of the powerful hardware, but you can get a great media consumption and web browsing experience.
The best of the best: The best Chromebooks you can buy
How much does the cheapest Chromebook cost?
While budget options start at $200 or so, you can get smaller, older models for as low as $100. If you’re willing to get a refurbished model, the price goes even lower.
How much does it cost to replace a Chromebook battery?
Battery replacements for these devices can cost anywhere between $30 to $100 and even more for some premium models. Sites like ChromebookParts.com can help you get cheaper batteries.
How much does it cost to replace a Chromebook screen?
Screen replacements for these devices can range between $30 to over $300, and even more for the more premium models.
How much does a school Chromebook cost?
School Chromebooks are usually the cheaper models, ranging between $150 to $300. Check out our lists of the best Chromebooks for students and the best Chromebooks for kids for our recommendations.