The best Chromebooks
- The early generations of Chromebooks were lackluster laptops, but since then, they just keep getting better.
- After much research and testing, we found that the Google Pixelbook Go is the best one you can buy.
Chromebooks, since their arrival on the shelves of stores and online retailers, have evolved quite a bit. Today, they've become increasingly capable of operating close to that Windows laptops or MacBooks
We've used a number of different Chromebooks over the years and conducted lots of research to find the best ones you can buy. There are plenty of great options for students, professionals, and anyone who needs a cheap laptop - or even a decently high-end machine.
Our picks here range in price from around the $150 mark for the most basic models to around $900 or higher for the premium powerhouse Chromebooks.
A note about Chromebooks and Chrome OS
Chromebooks aren't designed like Windows or Mac machines. Instead of using an operating system (OS) with software that resides on the computer, Chromebooks run on a cloud-based OS called Chrome OS. It's very simple and easy to use. In place of a productivity suite like Microsoft Office, you get Google's services like the Chrome web browser, Gmail (email), Docs (documents), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentation), and Drive (cloud storage); all these applications and others are accessed via cloud.
This means all of your files will save to the cloud in Google Drive, so you never have to worry about losing them or saving a physical copy to your Chromebook's storage. As you can guess, much of Chrome OS's core functions work through the Chrome web browser.
Although Chromebooks are cloud-based laptops, they can work offline. There are some Chrome OS apps and programs you can download; Google's office suite has an offline mode; you can read or save files locally on a local solid state drive (SSD), external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card (if the Chromebook has a memory card reader); and even install Android apps from the Google Play store (Chromebooks released in 2017 or newer), but most of your activity will be online through Google's apps or the Chrome web browser. If you need specific, special programs, like Adobe Illustrator, Premiere or Logic Pro X, that are only available for Mac OS or Windows, then a Chromebook isn't the best buy for you.
Some of the newest Chromebooks are quite high-end, with sharp, vibrant screens, comfortable keyboards, latest ports (USB-C and USB 3.0), and fast processors (CPUs). Couple that with the fact that just about any Chromebook available today supports the majority of Android apps through Google Play, and you have some awfully capable machines. However, not all Android apps perform well on a Chromebook, and we recommend using the web-based option instead, if there is one. For example, streaming Netflix through the web browser is preferable to using the Netflix Android app.
Here are the best Chromebooks you can buy
- Best Chromebook overall: Google Pixelbook Go
- Best value Chromebook: Samsung Chromebook 4+ (15-inch)
- Best 2-in-1 Chromebook: Google Pixelbook
- Best 11-inch Chromebook: Lenovo 100e
- Best 13-inch Chromebook: HP Chromebook 14
- Best 15-inch Chromebook: Lenovo Yoga Chromebook (15-inch)
Updated on 01/14/2020 by Joe Osborne: Added the Google Pixelbook Go, Samsung Chromebook, Google Pixelbook, Lenovo 100e, HP Chromebook 14, and the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.