Whereas as soon as thought of a novelty merchandise by many tech fans, Chromebooks have damaged out of the “only a browser” mould and change into professional laptops. They’re full-featured, light-weight machines that may do every part most customers want them to do. Best of all, they’re safer and infrequently extra inexpensive than the competitors.
As a result of they’ve gained such recognition, there are a ton of Chromebooks to select from at this level. There’s no scarcity of selections, from the meager, discount retailer gadgets to the extremely high-end premium phase. Whereas that’s factor, it’s additionally exhausting to search out the appropriate one for you. So we’ve picked the present cream of the crop at numerous worth factors that will help you slim down that search.
Is a Chromebook Proper for Me?
Earlier than we have a look at among the finest ‘Books available on the market at the moment, there’s an enormous hurdle it’s good to leap: is a Chromebook even a possible choice for you?
Briefly: it relies upon.
You have to take a more in-depth have a look at the way you truly use your pc to make that decision. The largest query, I believe, is: do you reside within the browser? If Chrome is your most-used app and 95+ % of what you do on the pc revolves round Chrome, then yeah—a Chromebook will work exceptionally nicely for you. There are greater than doubtless Chrome-based apps to cowl the opposite 5 % of your computing wants, however once more, that’s one thing you’ll have to do a little bit of analysis on.
The different half is . Take into consideration your peripherals or anything that you just plug into the pc. Most printers and scanners will work flawlessly out of the field with a Chromebook, however you received’t be capable of do sure issues—like sync your iPhone knowledge to your native exhausting drive, for instance. No iTunes means no native entry, which may very well be a deal breaker for some customers.
Equally, and this will go with out mentioning (however I’m doing it anyway), it’s important to preserve your expectations in examine. You’re not going to do any hardcore video or picture modifying on a Chromebook. Not solely is the just too restricted for this, however there actually isn’t a lot in the best way of software program proper now, both. Don’t get me mistaken—minor picture tweaks are undoubtedly potential (and even simple) on a Chromebook, however should you do that lots, then it’s possible you’ll wish to look elsewhere.
Principally, should you’re going to be spending something greater than $500 on a laptop computer, you is likely to be higher off wanting within the lower-end vary of Home windows machines—once more, you’ll need to preserve your expectations in examine in the case of uncooked energy, however they’ll at the very least be extra versatile.
With that stated, Chromebooks have undoubtedly stuffed one other area of interest within the electronics market that none of us knew we wished till Google stated we might have it. These laptops are a continuously evolving lineup of inexpensive, rugged productiveness machines that may slide out rapidly from a briefcase or backpack, boot up from sleep immediately, and have us typing or swiping in seconds.
And in my expertise, if a Chromebook is best for you, you’ll completely adore it.
The Best Chromebooks on a Funds (Sub-$300)
There are a variety of inexpensive Chromebooks on the market—some as little as $99! That stated, you get what you pay for in that sub-$150 price-point, so except you’re actually seeking to go finances, I’d advocate staying away from that phase of the market. On the subject of finances Chromebooks, spending a bit extra goes a great distance. Right here are the most effective sub-$300 enviornment.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C101: $299
On the subject of finances Chromebooks, the ASUS Flip C101 would possibly simply be the king—rightfully so, as that is the successor to final yr’s Flip C100. ASUS has executed a wonderful job of holding the associated fee down the place it is sensible—for instance, the C101 makes use of a extremely cost-effective Rockchip processor that will get the job executed fantastically. Paired with 4GB of RAM, it holds up very nicely to on a regular basis duties. ASUS additionally is aware of precisely the place not to chop corners: construct high quality. For the value, the C101 has a surprisingly strong aluminum chassis and really strong total construct.
And it’s additionally greater than only a Chromebook—its 10.1-inch convertible design and skill to run Android apps makes this a wonderful pill alternative as nicely. Admittedly, it’s barely cumbersome when in pill mode, however should you don’t have a pill or want to exchange and getting old unit, you may simply kill two fowl with one stone by simply grabbing a C101.
The solely place the place the C101 might fall quick for some customers is the show measurement. That 10.1-inch contact panel (at 1280×800 show decision) would possibly make it exhausting to make use of as a full-time laptop computer—particularly for customers with lower than good eyesight.
The ASUS Flip C101 is on the market on Amazon for $299. Should you’re seeking to save a bit of cash, you too can go for final yr’s C100 for round $260, which contains a barely slower Rockchip processor however in any other case very related parts.
Acer Chromebook R11: $199-299
Should you’re searching for a convertible Chromebook with a barely bigger display, look no additional than the Acer R11. This 11.6-inch Chromebook can hit full-on pill mode (together with full entry to the Google Play Retailer for Android apps), however nonetheless readily get your by means of a day of pounding keys and plugging away at spreadsheets if that’s what you want.
Its plastic shell doesn’t scream “I’m a premium finances machine!” the best way the C100/101’s aluminum shell does, however it does pack some barely extra highly effective beneath the hood—the Intel Celeron N3150 processor will go a great distance in holding sluggishness at bay, letting you do extra in much less time. I don’t know anybody who can’t respect that.
The R11’s 1366×768 contact panel ought to present rather less eye pressure than the C100’s show, on condition that it’s not solely a barely decrease decision (on the vertical axis, anyway), however it pairs that with a bigger show within the first place.
There are two variants of the R11, relying in your wants: one with 2GB of RAM and one with 4GB of RAM. I’m at all times going to advocate the latter, particularly because it’s solely $20 greater than the 2GB mannequin. Simply value the additional coin.
You can get the Acer Chromebook R11 from Amazon.
The Best Mid-Vary and Premium Chromebooks ($300+)
Funds Chromebooks are nice, they usually match very nicely into most individuals’s lives—should you don’t have a excessive want for a laptop computer, the finances scene is the place it’s at. However should you’re searching for extra energy, bigger shows, and an total nicer machine that may fill the laptop computer void, the listing under cowl the Chromebooks that match the invoice.
I made a decision to mix mid-range and premium Chromebooks into the identical class for one major cause: relying on the choice you make, every of those machines can go both manner. For instance, there are a number of totally different variations of the HP Chromebook 13, ranging in worth from $499 to $819. The entry degree mannequin is a strong mid-range machine, but when step it as much as (and above) the $599 mannequin, you’ve received your self a premium Chrome OS machine.
Other than the apparent—bigger screens, premium construct high quality, and many others.—essentially the most notable variations you’ll discover on this premium line will probably be what’s beneath the hood: processors and RAM. Whereas the ARM-based chips present in most cheaper Chromebooks can get the job executed for lots of people, the extra superior processors discovered within the ‘Books you’ll see under pack a a lot greater punch. Whereas lots of them are nonetheless utilizing ARM chips, these aren’t of the smartphone-in-your-computer selection—these are sometimes designed from the bottom up with Chromebooks in thoughts. Which means they’re made to push extra energy whereas nonetheless staying cool—you realize, precisely what you need in a laptop computer. And naturally, the Intel cellular chips utilized in Chromebooks are the identical ones that you just’ll discover in lots of present Home windows laptops, and the already-impressive efficiency goes to be additional enhanced whenever you toss a type of into a light-weight Chromebook.
Additional, the RAM problem continues to be at play right here, similar to on a extra conventional PC. Briefly, the extra RAM you’ve gotten, the extra duties you may run on the identical time. Should you’re like me, it’s nothing to have 20+ Chrome tabs open at one time—that may be lots on simply 4GB of RAM, which is why I’d extremely advocate wanting extra in direction of one thing with 8GB. However, alternatively, should you’re a two-to-three tab form of individual, 4GB needs to be greater than sufficient.
Acer Chromebook 15 (2017 Mannequin): $399
Should you’re searching for a bigger Chromebook that provides an unbelievable bang for you buck, the Acer Chromebook 15 is totally, undoubtedly it.
This newly-redesigned for 2017 Chromebook is among the hottest ‘Books on the scene, and its premium appear and feel make it probably the greatest purchases you may make proper now on this house.
It options an all aluminum construct, a big 15.6-inch full HD contact display, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. It’s powered by an Intel Pentium N4200 processor, which retains issues surprisingly peppy more often than not.
It additionally packs a pair of USB-C ports—each of which can be utilized for charging (!)—together with two USB Three.zero ports and a media reader. May as nicely make the most effective of the larger chasis, and Acer did simply that with the Chromebook 15.
Whereas it doesn’t have a convertible design like a lot of the others on this listing, it does supply assist for Android apps, which provides much more worth to a Chromebook that already affords lots for the cash.
You should buy the Chromebook 15 proper now at Best Purchase for $399, although you too can catch it on sale for as little as $350. Improbable deal.
Acer Chromebook 14 for Work: $480
Should you’re searching for a tough working, do-everything Chrome OS laptop computer that received’t break the financial institution, the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work may very well be your huckleberry…assuming you’re not searching for a convertible laptop computer to additionally use as a pill. It’s additionally value noting that the Chromebook 14 for Work is the one Chromebook on this listing that doesn’t run Android apps (and doubtless by no means will). These are undoubtedly issues to contemplate.
All that stated, should you simply want Chrome OS and nothing extra, the Chromebook 14 for Work is a workhorse. It packs an Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM—almost unprecedented specs for a Chromebook, however particularly one at this worth level. The 14-inch show runs at full 1080p decision, which needs to be a lot crisp.
It’s additionally a bit extra strong than different Chromebooks on this listing, because it options Gorilla Glass safety, in addition to inside routing that channels liquid away from the parts and thru two vents on the underside ought to one thing get spilled on it. That’s neat.
Lastly, it options one USB Kind-C port for charging and knowledge switch, in addition to two full-size USB A Three.zero ports. Like I stated, should you’re searching for a tried and true Chromebook that can run circles across the majority of the competitors, the Chromebook 14 ought to at the very least make your shortlist.
You can choose it up from Amazon for $480.
ASUS Flip C302: $499+
A CES 2017 newcomer, the Flip C302 is the larger, extra highly effective brother the Flip C100/101. This beautiful machine takes all the nice issues in regards to the C100/C101—the aluminum construct and convertible design—and brings it into a bigger, 12.5-inch type issue. There will probably be two variations that sport Intel Core m3 and m7 processors, respectively.
In contrast to among the different premium choices right here, ASUS has opted to stay with an FHD (1920×1280) show decision, which is actually in all probability for the most effective—the less pixels, the higher efficiency and battery life you’ll get. Whereas I’m certain QHD panels are good, I’ll brazenly admit that they may very well be overkill on such comparatively small shows. I understand there are a variety of opinions on this topic, nevertheless, so I’m simply going to cease there.
To offset the comparatively decrease show decision, the C302 does have another distinctive options, like an ambient mild sensor. Very like your telephone, the C302’s show will mechanically regulate brightness based on the lighting within the room—an admittedly good function to have, I believe. It additionally has a backlit keyboard, which the Samsung items are surprisingly (and disappointingly) missing.
Pricing for the Flip C302 will begin at $499 for the Core m3 mannequin with simply 4GB of RAM, with no phrase on how a lot the m7/8GB mannequin will run. For extra data on the C302, head right here, or go right here to purchase the m3/4GB mannequin from Amazon. Once more, we’ll replace as extra details about the m7/8GB mannequin turns into obtainable.
Samsung Chromebook Plus/Professional: $449/$549
One other set of CES newcomers, this duo is a pair of imply machines. Each the Professional and Plus fashions function almost equivalent specs, together with a 12.Three-inch 2400×1600 contact panel, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a stylus that strongly resembles Samsung’s well-known S Pen.
Why the stylus? Effectively, as a result of these two convertible machines are “constructed for the Google Play Retailer.” Very like the opposite convertibles on this listing, these are laptops and tablets in a single with full entry to Android’s Play Retailer, and at simply 2.38 kilos are literally mild sufficient to suit the invoice.
The major distinction between the Professional and Plus fashions would be the processor: the Plus comes with a Samsung-designed hexa-core ARM processor, whereas the Professional packs an Intel Core m3 chip. The worth of the previous will are available in at $449, and the latter is available in at a decent $549.
Whereas each the Professional and Plus fashions look strong, there are some things Samsung ought to get a slap on the wrist for: no 8GB RAM choice, limiting each gadgets to 32GB of storage, and no backlit keyboard. These are premium Chromebooks designed to offer a premium expertise, which could be exhausting to do with restricted specs. Nonetheless, the processors ought to assist present a greater expertise than the smaller, extra inexpensive Chromebooks we checked out above, so there may be that.
You should buy each gadgets from Amazon: Chromebook Plus, Chromebook Professional.
The Best Extremely-Premium Chromebook: Google Pixelbook: $999-$1650
Should you’re searching for a high of the road Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook is undoubtedly the reply. The lowest-end mannequin sports activities an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The high finish mannequin will get a bit loopy with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and an enormous 512GB of storage—arguably a couple of would ever really want in a Chromebook.
However that is Google’s tackle what a premium Chromebook needs to be. The match and end are premium from high to backside, with the Pixelbook sporting an ultra-thin 10.3mm chassis. It’s designed out and in for the convertible type issue, options full entry to the Play Retailer for Android apps, and guarantees as much as 10 hours of battery life. Actually, it’s a beast.
Not not like the Samsung Chromebook Professional/Plus, the Pixelbook additionally has an obtainable pen stylus, referred to as the Pixelbook Pen. This $100 add-on is a bit greater and extra cumbersome than the Professional/Plus stylus, nevertheless because it’s extra of a full pencil measurement, and there’s nowhere on/within the laptop computer to retailer it. In different phrases, it simply form of floats round. Its $99 price ticket additionally brings into query how a lot you’ll truly want that kind of performance on high of an already-expensive Chromebook, however should you’ve dreamed of writing in your pc’s show, then the choice is on the market for you.
When you have a Pixel telephone, the Pixelbook can even supply a singular function that’s unclear if it’ll come to different Chromebooks: instantaneous tethering. Principally, when mixed with a Pixel telephone, the Pixelbook will immediately and mechanically tether (over Bluetooth) to the telephone when away from Wi-Fi, permitting it to make use of the obtainable knowledge connection to stay always-connected. That’s superior. However like I stated, this will or might not come to different telephones and Chromebooks—solely time will inform.
Should you’re all-in on this ultra-premium Chromebook, you will discover extra data or pre-order it straight from Google or Amazon, beginning at $1000. The Pixelbook can even be obtainable in retail chains like Best Purchase beginning on October 31st should you’re reasonably go hands-on first.
Should you’ve been holding out for a brand new laptop computer and contemplating a Chromebook as your subsequent machine, there’s by no means been a greater time to make that leap. All of the premium options obtainable on these fashionable Chromebooks make them glorious selections for nearly everybody, particularly those that need highly effective simplicity and an at all times up-to-date, safe system. For what it’s value, I’ve chosen the ASUS Flip C302 as my major laptop computer (in the intervening time, anyway; the Pixelbook is terribly tempting)—it has the most effective steadiness of options and worth to this author.