Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Get down to business with the best Chromebooks for office workers



The best business Chromebook isn’t always the best Chromebook for everyone — we often need more powerful specs for Linux applications or longer-lasting machines that will make the most of your IT budget — but thankfully there are some great Chromebooks out there for when you need to get to work. Whether you need a big screen for your multi-tasking or a durable little laptop to take from meeting to meeting, there’s a model here for everyone! If you want the best of all worlds, I recommend going with the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, a powerful Project Athena Chromebook with a gorgeous 2K screen — and a 3:2 aspect ratio for better productivity — and all the ports you need including HDMI.

Best Overall: Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Business Chromebooks need power, stability, and longevity, and Acer delivers all three in a sturdy, portably package with the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which is the best Project Athena Chromebook on the market today as well as the best blend of power and price in the premium segment. What’s Project Athena and why does it matter? Glad you asked.

Project Athena was devised as a specification for Intel laptops — both Windows PCs and Chromebooks — with certain standards in regards to power and speed. They’re also supposed to offer great battery life alongside that great power, but the early models suffered from some bugs there. Thankfully, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 bucked that trend as a Project Athena Chromebook that not only lives up to its battery life claims but also has plenty of ports rather than forcing you to go find a USB-C hub.

Like the Spin 13 before it, the Spin 713 is an adaptable 2-in-1 with a gorgeous 13-inch 2K screen that uses the 3:2 aspect ratio so that you have more vertical space when split-screening your windows. Being able to flip it into stand mode while I’m using it at my standing desk is a wonderful blessing, allowing me to keep the screen closer and more easily use the touchscreen. The backlit keyboard on the 713 is easy to use for hours on end, though that taller screen means I’m having to deal with bigger palm rests than most 13-inch Chromebooks.

Unlike the ASUS Chromebook Flip 436 and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, the Acer Spin 713 does lack a fingerprint sensor, but I’m okay with that because about the only time you can use them on a Chromebook right now is when you’re logging in. The Spin 713 also sports an HDMI port and USB-A ports, which the C436 and Galaxy Chromebook lack.

The Spin 713 has been on the market for roughly half a year now, and in that time we’ve seen it routinely get sales for the standard i5/8GB/128GB configuration at Best Buy. There’s also an Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 713 if your company wants the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade built into the cost of the laptop, but for most of us, the consumer version is everything we need for hundreds less.


  • 8GB RAM for productivity
  • Beautiful 2K screen
  • Excellent price for an i5
  • HDMI port


  • No fingerprint scanner
  • Keyboard sits further back from the edge

Best of Project Athena

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

From $620 at Amazon
$629 at Best Buy

Powerful specs at an impressive price.

If you prefer tall Chromebooks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 harnesses the power of Project Athena and a bright 2K screen.

Best on a Budget: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5


As someone who works full-time on a Chromebook, the Lenovo Flex 5 has been the most compelling Chromebook I’ve used in quite a while, which is part of why it’s our overall Best Chromebook. It has the same depth and thickness as the 11.6-inch Lenovo C340-11 and is just barely an inch wider despite housing a 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen inside.

The 2-in-1 form factor is great for the office: you can use it as a normal laptop while you’re sitting in a conference room, lay it back into tablet mode for signing documentation or annotating agreements, and use it in stand mode when you’re showing off materials to a client. The 16:9 aspect ratio on the screen is great for video conferences, and when you’re not on a video call, there’s a physical cover for the webcam that you can slide into place for privacy.

Paired with the bright touchscreen is a backlit keyboard with nice, loud, up-facing stereo speakers on either side. This makes the Flex 5 great for listening to music while you work — or watching movies in your hotel room after a long day of meetings. And underneath that backlit keyboard sits a 10th-gen Intel i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. I wish 8GB models were more widely available, but at least it comes with 64GB of storage by default so you have plenty of room for apps and offline documents.

Wi-Fi 6 is something that isn’t too useful in the home environment yet, but for businesses that have upgraded to handle increased user loads, Wi-Fi 6 on the Flex 5 means you should see stronger connections and fewer dead spots, and Bluetooth 5 is here to help you keep a solid connection on your Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth mouse.


  • Excellently priced
  • Well-designed and portable
  • Privacy switch from webcam
  • Bright 13-inch touchscreen


  • 8GB model is very elusive
  • Sometimes sells out

Best on a Budget

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5


$407 at Amazon

Great performance for a great price.

Lenovo makes great small Chromebooks. With just a few small upgrades, it also makes Chromebooks perfect for business.

Best 14-inch: HP Chromebook x360 14c


HP has a half-dozen Enterprise-geared Chromebooks on the market today, but its best entry is by far the HP Chromebook x360 14c, the goldilocks between the ridiculously overpriced and ultra-premium HP Elite c1030 and the underwhelming HP Pro c640. The x360 14c’s 2-in-1 form factor makes it more adaptable to a wider array of workspaces and it’s packing 8GB of RAM to go along with the Intel Core i3 processor.

Like the Lenovo Flex 5, HP opted for upward-facing speakers on each side of the keyboard, meaning that it’s easier to listen to live streams and press events on the 14c, though the 14-inch 1080p screen here isn’t quite as vibrant as the Acer Spin 713. It is a nice big screen that’s perfect for split-screening research and reporting — like I’m doing right now to write this guide — and the battery is big enough to keep that screen on for up to 10 hours before you need to go find a Power Delivery charger.

HP included a fingerprint scanner on the 14c, making re-opening your computer after your lunch break quick and painless, and there are physical kill switches for the cameras. There are not as many ports here as the Acer Spin 713, but it’s nice to have at least one USB-A port here, and while there isn’t a stylus built-in, USI stylus support is welcome to see here.


  • Capable power with plenty of RAM
  • Beefy hinge design
  • Sturdy construction


  • Not as pretty
  • Mediocre screen
  • Can get pricey

Best 14-inch

HP Chromebook x360 14c


$449 at Best Buy $560 at Newegg

Balance play and work with this large 2-in-1.

HP puts its Enterprise expertise on full display with the 14c, giving you a durable and understated design with plenty of power.

Upgrade Pick: Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook


The ThinkPad brand is far older than Chromebooks — it’s almost as old as I am! — but few brands have such an enduring legacy of durability and practicality. While there have been a few ThinkPad Chromebooks in the past, this is the first to be available in both consumer and Enterprise variants, with powerful configurations available for both. Powered by AMD Ryzen 3000-series APUs, the C13 is powerful without making you shell out as much as Intel Core chips do.

The TrackPoint is here with the three buttons sitting just above the trackpad, but the best ThinkPad feature on the C13 is without a doubt the keyboard. Most Chromebooks have lowercase letters on the keyboard because of Google’s education requirements — because younger students just learning to write recognize the lowercase letters easier — but the ThinkPad is squarely aimed at adults and as such has nice large uppercase letters instead. Paired with strong backlighting, this makes the C13 the best keyboard to use at night by far.

Not all configurations have the fingerprint sensor or the built-in USI stylus, but it’s nice to see a built-in USI stylus on an Enterprise-grade Chromebook rather than being forced to try and hunt down a third-party USI stylus. The screen here is 13.3 inches and is available at either 1080p with 300 nits brightness or a 4K screen with 400 nits brightness, meaning the C13 is also one of the better Chromebooks to use outside.

For all these features, you’re going to end up paying extra. Lenovo has already put the ThinkPad C13 on sale once, and I’m hopeful we’ll see them frequently because the list prices here will far exceed the budget of most Chromebook users.


  • ThinkPad tough
  • Built-in USI stylus
  • Large-font keyboard
  • Powered by Ryzen APUs


  • Expensive

Upgrade Pick

Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook


From $584 at Lenovo

Nothing beats a ThinkPad for business

From that rubbery little TrackPoint amid the easier-to-read keyboard to the powerful Ryzen internals, the C13 is worthy of the ThinkPad name.

Best Keyboard: Google Pixelbook Go


If you’re someone who is writing morning, noon, and night, you’ll appreciate a keyboard that’s quiet and meticulously crafted. To borrow from our own Jerry Hildenbrand’s Pixelbook Go review:

“The keys provide just enough travel and are just stiff enough to feel responsive under your fingers. Combine this with the perfect (for me, anyway) sweet spot where the key itself actuates and it makes typing enjoyable. You almost get the same satisfaction as you would from a loud clackity mechanical keyboard and this alone makes it better than any other Chromebook on the market to me.”

It’s accurate, key travel is excellent, and the matte finish feels amazing to type on for hours on end. This might seem like a lot of gushing for a keyboard, but if you do a lot of typing for your job, this is an essential component that you shouldn’t overlook. This Chromebook is also uber-comfy to use in your lap while you’re waiting in airport lounges or waiting rooms if you tend to work away from a desk.

Besides the wonderful keyboard, the Pixelbook Go has some cutting-edge spec options — including a 4K screen if you’re willing to shell out for it — and as Google’s own Chromebook, it’s the first to get new features and you know it’s absolutely made to last. You’ll pay more for the Pixelbook Go, but if you need the best of the best, it will absolutely deliver.


  • Outstanding keyboard that’s comfortable and accurate
  • Speakers and trackpad are top-notch
  • Well-built, lightweight design
  • Excellent performance
  • Great battery life


  • Doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor
  • Expensive
  • 18 months old

Best Keyboard

Google Pixelbook Go


  • From $633 at Amazon $1,200 at Walmart

Spoil your fingers

You probably type a lot for work, and if you do, the Pixelbook Go is worth splurging for. Seriously — the keyboard is that good.

Best Compact: HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE


If spilling coffee on your laptop is a semi-regular occurrence or you’ve dropped laptops multiple times in the past, do yourself a favor and look at the higher end of education laptops rather than directly at business laptops. Any laptop designed to withstand a classroom should be able to put up with clumsy employees or more chaotic workspaces. The HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE (EE is the Education Edition) is one of the Best Chromebooks for Students that still has the memory that a business Chromebook deserves.

HP just announced the successor to the x360 11 G3 EE — the x360 11 G4 EE — but until it’s out, the G3 is your best bet for a rugged Chromebook that can still get things done. The Celeron N4120 inside isn’t as beefy as an Intel Core processor, but it’ll get lightweight to regular workloads done, and the 8GB of RAM will give you a little more breathing room to have more tabs open at one time during a video call. 8GB of RAM is still somewhat rare among 11.6-inch Chromebooks like the x360 11 G3, but 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is available here and is absolutely worth the price.

An 11.6-inch touchscreen is going to feel cramped to some users, but if you need a rough-and-tumble Chromebook for your always-on-the-go job, the x360 11 G3 is ready to escape the classroom and travel the world with you.


  • Mil-spec, classroom-tested durability
  • Compact, lightweight form factor
  • 8GB RAM for more tabs


  • Small, low-res touchscreen
  • About to be replaced

8GB RAM Upgrade

HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE


$399 at HP
$399 at B&H

For long days of video calls and multi-tasking.

If your kid is fed up with their video call crashing while they were pulling up notes or assignments during class, this is the perfect solution.

Catch it on sale: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434


The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 used to rule the roost in this roundup, and even at two years old, it’s still a decent Chromebook for business if you can find it on sale. It features a shiny aluminum shell, a backlit keyboard, and decent specs under the hood, with even the m3 models being more than enough for my multi-tasking madness. There’s also a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen in this nifty 2-in-1, which gives you just a little more real estate for your split-screening work and play— I mean work and work, boss!

I still prefer the ASUS C434 over its newer, sleekier successor, the Project Athena-certified ASUS Chromebook C436, because the C434 has a USB-A port, a more dependable battery, and a much lower price. That said, as it is two years old, only has an AUE date of June 2026 — most Chromebooks released today have dates in 2028 or 2029 — and the C434 can’t justify its list price when newer, shinier, longer-lasting Chromebooks are around for the same price (or lower).

If you can find the C434 during a sale, it’s a good Chromebook, but please don’t pay 2021 prices for a 2019 Chromebook!


  • Gorgeous aluminum design
  • Keyboard is backlit
  • 14-inch Full HD display
  • 10-hour battery life


  • No fingerprint sensor
  • Getting harder to find
  • Sales are fewer and farther between

Catch it on sale

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434


  • From $514 at Amazon $528 at Walmart

A good Chromebook that deserves a good sale

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 has a backlit keyboard, a bright 14-inch screen, and a decent value if you can find it discounted.

Bottom line

To be perfectly honest, any of the Chromebooks mentioned here would make a great addition to your workflow. However, if we had to pick just one, we’d recommend you buy the Acer Chromebook Spin 713

It’s a 13.5-inch Chromebook with a 2K resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio for seeing more on the screen at once, and being able to flip the screen all the way back for a tablet form factor is a great convenience. The backlit keyboard and 10-hour battery life make for a great experience when you’re working late into the night. There’s also nothing to complain about for the specs, either, with a 10th-gen Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage.

If you need something a little more affordable but still plenty capable, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 has an Intel Core i3, a backlit keyboard, a compact profile, and a very, very reasonable price now that it’s not selling out every other week the way it did during the 2020 Chromebook shortage. Lenovo also has the premium business Chromebook market locked down with the brand new ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook, which has options for a 4K screen, up to a Ryzen 7 APU, and a built-in USI stylus for easily signing documents.

What About Enterprise Chromebooks?


There’s another category of Chromebooks to consider for business users: Enterprise Chromebooks are Chromebooks that come with the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade. Both our best Business Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, as well as the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga and HP Chromebook x360 14c are available as standard consumer models or as Enterprise models with extra features and the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade built into the price.

Unless your business is a Chrome Enterprise customer — and if it is, chances are you’re not buying your own Chromebook, the company is buying in bulk and issuing them out to employees as needed — Enterprise Chromebooks aren’t usually worth the upgrade, especially when the consumer versions have the same hardware for hundreds of dollars less.

Chrome Enterprise Upgrade is supposed to help the IT department of a larger business manage and deploy Chromebooks more easily, which means that for those of us working somewhere with a Bring Your Own Device environment, the Enterprise Upgrade doesn’t do much. After all, all Chromebooks support G Suite accounts and services. I work full-time from a Chromebook and have never found a consumer-grade Chromebook to be lacking for my work for anything other than video editing.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide


Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.


Joe Maring is Android Central’s News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He’s been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to [email protected]!

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