Originally seen as a laptop built around the Google cloud, these laptops did very well in the educational market. Over time, however, its appeal has increased and best Chromebooks are some of best laptops today in general.
Our new Chromebook drop test gives us a sense of which Chrome OS laptop is the most durable. Read our Pixelbook Go Review to see how battery life and great design make it one of our favorite Chromebooks. Students should also check out our Windows 10 x macOS x Chrome OS guide when the back to school season arrives.
How much do Chromebooks cost?
For a long time, there has been a very narrow price range for Chromebooks, and it was at the most affordable end of the spectrum. This is still largely the case; You can get the affordable and light price Acer Chromebook R11 – which features an 11.6-inch HD screen, an Intel Celeron N3150 CPU and 2 GB of RAM – for just $ 169.
Other models ask you to go up a little bit more, like Google Go Pixelbook ($ 649) or $ 549 Samsung Chromebook Pro, a 12.3-inch notebook equipped with a pen with a 2400 x 1600 pixel screen, an Intel Core M3 processor and 4 GB of RAM. Now, the Chromebook premium market is booming, with laptops as the next Samsung Galaxy Chromebook ($ 999) leading the charge.
You will probably end up paying more for a Windows 10 notebook, as the average selling price for a PC is $ 448, according to the NPD. There are more affordable options, as we detail here, but the PC laptop market has a much higher limit than the Chromebook market.
But is a Chromebook right for you? Our Chromebook shopping guide has the answers to these and other questions.
Chromebooks run Chrome OS, Google’s operating system, so they feature Google’s suite of apps a lot and often rely on an Internet connection. While you can sign in to Chrome OS as a guest, we recommend that you sign in to the system with a Google Account for the best experience.
The history of apps on Chromebooks has gotten a lot better in the last year, but these machines were still originally optimized for Google apps, like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. This deep integration can be positive or negative, depending on how you use a PC. Setting up Chromebooks is easy if you’re already using these apps. And if you need help using incognito windows, we have a guide so too.
Android apps are available on all new Chromebooks and most users in the market can access the Google Play Store right now. This gives Chromebooks access to more games, productivity options and other applications to make these machines more versatile, although the applications appear to be run through an emulator with varying results. Check out our guide to best Chromebook games for more.
It may be better to use Office Android apps or Office Online if you already have a lot of Office files you’re bringing to your Chromebook. There are usually formatting issues when importing third-party documents into Drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to save documents in Microsoft formats, so you can still share files with non-Chromebook users.
On the other hand, there are some photo editors available for Chrome OS, including Pixlr (free), which looks a lot like Photoshop. But those with existing files are out of luck – there is no Chromebook app that can edit Adobe’s .PSD files.
If you know Linux applications, you will soon have more options. In the beginning, the pre-release versions of Chrome OS revealed that Chromebooks support Linux programs, satisfying the demand of some of the most tech-savvy Chromebook owners. Pixelbook is the first to have this option, and others will gain this feature later.
Chromebooks are designed to rely heavily on the Internet, which means that many apps just don’t work if you’re out of Wi-Fi range. There are more than 200 offline Chrome apps that can work without Internet connectivity, including Gmail, Pocket and Google Drive, and several Android apps also work offline.
O Chrome Online Store offers casual titles like Bejeweled and Cut the Rope, but you won’t have the same selection as you would on a Windows or Mac machine. Fortunately, Chromebooks with Android support get more modern titles like Fallout Shelter, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Minecraft, so check out our best Chromebook games summary of some of the main titles out there.
Chromebooks generally have limited graphics processing power, so you should pay attention to less demanding titles. However, the next Google Stadia The platform promises to stream AAA games like Assassin’s Creed and Doom to any device with a Chrome browser, which makes Chromebooks much more formidable.
Google Assistant landed on the Chrome OS platform on the Pixelbook. Although you can activate it with the Pixelbook Pen, this $ 99 accessory is not necessary when you have the dedicated Assistant key on your laptop’s keyboard. While the launcher is currently integrated with Google Now, providing information cards about current weather and local news, we can see it switching to Google feed.
Google redesigned the on-screen keyboard for use on the touch screen, making it easier to use in 2 in 1 like the Asus Chromebook Flip. With a minimalist design, the on-screen keyboard recognizes your squiggles and offers text options for input. When we tested this feature, it was almost always necessary to recognize our writing.
Google debuted a new webpage dedicated to the new Chrome OS feature ads, titled “What’s new on your Chromebook”.
Chromebooks typically offer exceptional battery life, but not as long as before. Of the 10 Chromebooks we reviewed last year, we saw an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes of resistance on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi.
At the top, you’ll notice highlights like the Acer Chromebook R 13the run time is 11:00, although the average is below the 9:59 time found previously. From Google itself Pixelbookdisappointingly, it offers 7 hours and 43 minutes of relatively short juice. On the other hand, the Pixelbook Go, an arguably better value than the more premium Pixelbook, lasted an excellent 11 hours and 29 minutes.
We recommend shooting for at least 9 hours of juice, which half of the Chromebooks we reviewed offer. While some notebooks accessible for Windows 10, such as the Lenovo Miix 310 (12:24) and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (13:39), offer incredible battery life, the average ultraportable notebook is 8 hours and 21 minutes shorter.
Similar to business notebooks designed to survive falls and other minor disasters, Chromebooks for Work are designed to withstand falls, scratches and similar punishments. In our tests, the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work proved to be durable, survive risk-free and fully functional after our Dropbot 5000 test bench dropped it from a height of 48 inches on a plywood plank.
The next Chromebook Enterprise Latitude 5400 and Chromebook Enterprise 5300 2 in 1 and the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work are certified by MIL-STD-810G, which means they are able to pass the durability tests required by US military equipment. The Acer Chromebook 14 For Work can survive extreme temperatures (minus 20.2 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit), humidity, vibration, rain, sand and dust.
Durable Chromebooks are not just for adults. Ideal for children Acer Chromebook 11 N7 C731T survived a glass full of water being spilled on your keyboard, as well as the 48-inch high drops of our Dropbot 5000. It may have been dragged along the way, but it is a good option for clumsy users.
Management and security
Chrome Enterprise models also offer tools that IT administrators need to manage laptops in and out of the office.
The Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebooks and HP Chromebook Enterprise x360 14E G1 are among the first true corporate Chromebooks with a complete set of security features, including a Reliable platform module (TPM), a security chip that helps keep malicious attackers away from your passwords.
What screen size do I need?
Most Chromebooks are between 11 and 13 inches. This means that you will have no problem choosing a smaller model, like the 11-inch Acer Chromebook 11 N7, the 12.5-inch Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA and the 13-inch ThinkPad 13 Chromebook.
These models usually weigh less than 1.5 kg, making them the most portable and great options for children. However, the size of the screen and keyboards may seem small to adults.
Those looking for more properties to browse the web, do jobs, watch movies and play games can take the 14-inch or 15-inch Acer Chromebook 14 Acer Chromebook 15, Some of the few notebooks with Chrome OS above 13 inches. Lenovo has gone a step further with the Yoga C630 Chromebook, a 15.6-inch laptop with a 4K screen.
unfortunately, there’s not much demand for large Chromebooks. Don’t even look for a 17-inch Chromebook. they are not out there.
O Acer Chromebook 715 and 714 recently announced 15.6-inch and 14-inch aluminum laptops with fingerprint readers. The Chromebook 715 also has a numeric keypad.
What specifications do I need?
Since Chromebooks are primarily for online use, specs are not as important as for Windows laptops, but you’ll still want to know how much power and storage you’re getting for your money. Here’s a quick guide.
When it comes to RAM, Chromebooks come with either 2 GB or 4 GB. Although 4 GB models are more expensive, we found that this difference is worthwhile for multitasking.
Both the HP 14 Chromebook (4 GB of RAM) and Lenovo 100S Chromebook (2 GB of RAM) featured the same Celeron N2840 processors, but the HP notebook handled more than a dozen open tabs without a problem, while Lenovo stuttered with 10 open Chrome tabs and Spotify playback. Our tests of the Windows version of Lenovo Ideapad 100S ($ 180) show that PCs with similar specifications can handle a larger stack of tabs.
The processor on your Chrome OS computer helps determine your Chromebook’s performance, especially when you have multiple tabs open and are streaming video or playing games.
We find Intel Celeron chips on many Chromebooks, and they generally offer acceptable speed. The $ 229 Acer Chromebook 11 N7 C731T (Celeron N3060, 4 GB of RAM), for example, could run 8 simultaneous Chrome tabs, but it stuttered after we opened another one.
You can get a Windows 10 laptop with similar specifications and prices, like the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 ($ 229), but may not be as capable. This machine has the same processor and memory, but while it lasts more than 13 hours, its performance was less than that of the 11 N7.
If that doesn’t seem like enough, some Chromebooks offer Intel Core CPUs for even greater speed. The biggest drawback of these top M Chromebooks, like the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA ($ 499) and Samsung Chromebook Pro ($ 549) is the highest price. Don’t worry about the powerful CPU that affects battery life, as the Samsung Chromebook Pro (Core M3) provides more power and longevity (8:05) than its weaker brother on the Chromebook Plus (ARM MediaTek; 7:46 ).
If you want a Chromebook fast enough to run your favorite Android apps, consider laptops with Core i5 and Core i7 processors, like the Pixelbook. Leaked specifications show that Pixelbook’s successor, codenamed ‘Hatch’, should ship with the same three processor options, in addition to 8 GB of RAM.
If you want a Chromebook without an Intel chip, there’s always 2014 Acer Chromebook 13, the only Chrome OS machine with an Nvidia chip (the Tegra K1). Although it offers excellent graphics performance, it does not offer a touch screen.
Because Chrome OS is so lightweight, Chromebooks generally don’t need a lot of storage. Most include only 16 GB of built-in storage, and that’s probably all you need at this stage. When Android support arrives on the platform, users will find ways to use the SD card reader in notebooks like Acer Chromebook 14, where you can expand storage up to 64 GB.
Spring for a 32 GB model now, if you are shopping with Android apps. Windows laptops of a similar price usually include 32 GB by default, but this operating system takes up so much space that you get a similar amount of free storage as a 16 GB Chromebook.
Google offers 100 GB of free Google Drive storage on all Chromebook purchases, although this will only last for two years, after which you will have only 15 GB of standard free space.
The size of the screen is not the only thing that matters. While enjoying the bright, color-accurate panel at $ 179 Samsung Chromebook 3, its dimensions of 1366 x 768 pixels mean that it is better for writing and reading. But if you want clearer images, videos and graphics, choose one with a full-HD screen (1920 x 1080 pixels), as the price of $ 359 Acer Chromebook R 13.
Windows 10 is designed for touch screens, but you can get the same functionality in Chrome OS. You just need to know which one to get – and expect to pay a $ 100 prize. The $ 280 Acer Chromebook R 11 can be folded into a tablet using the IPS touch screen. O HP x2 Chromebook detachable design, which means you can remove the keyboard as you would on a Microsoft Surface and use the screen as a standalone tablet.
The $ 449 Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA it also has a touchscreen and is one of the few that currently supports Android apps, although others will receive support later this year. If the prospect of using What’s App, Super Mario Run and other apps on a Chromebook seems like an option to you, make sure the next Chromebook includes a touch screen.
Pixelbook offers one of the best screens we’ve seen on a Chromebook, with a QHD resolution of 2400×1600 pixels and 421 nits of brightness.
Who are you buying from?
In general, the best way to know if someone likes to own a Chromebook is if you know they’re spending most of their time on the Chrome browser. These users will take it to the notebook naturally.
If you’re buying this Chromebook for someone else, think about how they’ll use the device. Chromebooks are especially good for younger students, as they are easy to use and are very secure. It is also very easy update your Chromebookand, even better, these laptops usually do this alone.
Children who are still learning to use computers may be more receptive to learning how a new operating system works, and while there is no official Minecraft title for Chrome OS, Minecraft: Pocket Edition based on Android will be available on select Chromebooks yet this year .
Some older relatives may never have really understood Windows enough to use their PC often, but others who have learned enough to recover may be frustrated because they need to relearn where downloads go or that their favorite application is not available for them. Chrome.
But if your office supports Chrome OS, it’s a good idea to get your company to jump to Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook, a suitable commercial laptop with excellent battery life and high performance.
Chromebooks are affordable and offer decent performance, and the introduction of Android apps is increasing their capabilities. Microsoft is fighting back with allegations that Windows 10 S mode it will give laptops better performance and battery life, but if you’re looking for a simple way to get online and prefer Google services, you can safely answer the question “Should I buy a Chromebook?” with a bold “Yes!”