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Laptops & Portables

Best Chromebook

Many casual computer users are discovering that they do not need the power, functionality, or expense of a full-fledged laptop. Meanwhile, a tablet lacks the large screen and dedicated keyboard needed to consume different types of media or to browse the internet. A Chromebook splits the difference neatly, and may well be the best choice for most consumers looking for a more affordable device.

What started out as an underpowered curiosity has evolved into a category of its own. Chromebooks typically cost less than a Microsoft Surface or MacBook, but the primary drawback is that Chromebooks are limited to Chrome OS. Start-up times are a snap thanks to the light interface, but Microsoft or Mac programs won't work outside of the Chrome browser unless there are online app versions available. Another reason to recommend a Chromebook is because they are not as susceptible to viruses and malware thanks in part to continuous automatic updates to Chrome OS. If you are looking for a Chromebook, keep reading for the best Chromebooks we recommend for every budget.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434

The Asus Flip C434 may be the best Chromebook for most people. It's a little on the expensive side, but given its upscale feel and speedy performance compared to Chromebooks costing much more, Asus has found the sweet spot between premium design and outright value. The all-aluminum build feels great in the hand and isn’t flimsy as other plastic-intensive alternatives. Even the hinges are strong and sturdy, and the 360-degree articulation allows the 14-inch screen to fold against the body to be used like a tablet. Despite the large display, the Flip C434 weighs in at a mere 3 pounds - light and slim enough to carry around in your backpack all day. The battery should last all day as well, with around 10 hours of run time. This should get you through a full days' workload without needing to reach for the charger. The Flip C434 is equipped with a single USB Type-A port and 2 USB-C ports; beyond USB connectivity, it features a MicroSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard offers a notably excellent a 1.4mm key travel distance, making it comfortable to type on with just the right amount of resistance. Like all Chromebooks, the Flip C434 runs on Chrome OS; it comes standard with 4GB of RAM (8GB optional) and an Intel Core m3-8100y processor that provides the flexibility to keep things running smoothly - even with multiple tabs open. Although there are more affordable Chromebooks, the superb quality and 2-in-1 flexibility of the Asus Flip C434 makes it our top recommendation for Best Chromebook.

  • All-day battery life
  • 2-in-1 flexibility
  • Great keyboard
  • Pricier than competitors
  • Key travel may be too short for some users
  • No stylus

Samsung Chromebook 4+

The Samsung Chromebook 4 and 4+ are hands-down the best Chromebooks under $300. We like the 4+ because of the larger 15.6” screen but Samsung also offers the Chromebook 4 with a 11.6” screen (see below). The 4+ offers a much larger screen for less than $100 more and gets our nod first, especially if you consume a lot of media. The older Intel Celeron processor doesn't have the muscle of the Core m3-8100y found in the Asus, but given the nature of Chrome OS and what a Chromebook is essentially for, it should be more than enough for browsing the internet, watching online media, and taking notes. As an added convenience, saying "Hey Google" will call up the built-in Google Assistant. Battery life is rated at 10.5 hours, and the 3.75-pound weight is very light considering the size of the screen and chassis.

  • Very affordable
  • Rugged build
  • Large display
  • Not a spec powerhouse
  • No touchscreen
  • Can be bulky to carry

Samsung Chromebook 4

Even though we're big fans of the larger screen of the Chromebook 4+, we feel that the 11.6-inch Chromebook 4 has its own merits. Despite the smaller size, the 4 matches the technical specifications of the 4+ model. It's also more affordable, even if it's not by a huge amount. The smaller screen size helps with battery life, with a claimed 12.5 hours of run time compared to 10.5 on the larger model. The smaller screen also gives the 4 a major advantage when it comes to weight - at only 2.6 pounds, the Chromebook 4 is lighter than its bigger sibling by over a pound.

  • Even more affordable
  • Just as rugged
  • Better battery life
  • Also not a spec powerhouse
  • No touchscreen
  • Large bezels

Acer Chromebook Spin 13

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 13 has a few tricks up its sleeve compared to others on this list. The first thing you’ll notice is the 3:2 screen aspect ratio, which is unusual for any consumer-grade computer. This ratio creates a taller screen which, in turn, makes it feel noticeably bulkier than traditional laptops. Once you get past the shape and larger bezels, you’ll be rewarded with a screen optimized for scrolling through webpages. The screen itself is a gem with a vibrant 2256x1504 QHD resolution. The integrated stylus is a welcome addition and responds well to inputs on the touchscreen. Both the screen and trackpad are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass, adding to the premium feel of the Spin 13. Performance stands heads and shoulders above other Chromebooks thanks to the "real computer" Intel Core i5 processor; despite the added power consumption, the Spin 13 can still boast all-day battery life. Unlike many other Chromebooks, the keyboard on the Spin 13 offers great feel and "normal" spacing. Taking ergonomics one step further, there's a dedicated volume rocker on the side panel. With the flexibility of a 360-degree screen, a built-in stylus, and a unique 3:2 display, the Acer Spin 13 is a great Chromebook that stands out among similarly-priced laptops and tablets.

  • Premium aluminum-intensive construction
  • Snappy performance
  • Integrated stylus
  • Expensive for a Chromebook
  • Taller screen adds bulk
  • 3:2 screen not ideal for video
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