Wednesday, July 24, 2024

These are the best Chromebooks to buy for you and your family


The best Chromebook can provide a top-notch computing experience today and for years to come. They’re perfect for students, grandparents, and anyone looking for a trouble-free laptop with long battery life. We’ve reviewed and rated the absolute best Chromebooks so that you can find the best value at any budget. Our buyer’s guide will help you find the perfect Chrome OS laptop or tablet if you’re switching from a Windows or Mac, or if you’re buying your first laptop entirely.

What are the best Chromebooks you can buy today?

The beauty of the Chromebook market is that there are so many options to choose from. If you want something specifically for portability and battery life, there are numerous dependable choices. Similarly, if you don’t plan to move it from a desk and would prefer a big, beautiful display and plenty of CPU power to back it up, there are lots of options for you, too.

Our top pick is the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, which hits all of the right markets when it comes to a laptop, including build quality, performance, battery life, and longevity — all for a very fair price. The only problems with the Flex 5 were that it’s been selling out very quickly over the last few months (though supply seems to have stabilized) — and that it doesn’t have an 8GB RAM option for those who are more demanding on their system.

If you want an 8GB Chromebook that looks fabulous and won’t break the bank, grab the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which will run you a little more money but comes with a brighter 2K screen in a 3:2 aspect ratio. As a Project Athena Chromebook, the Spin 713 is powerful enough for gaming and running virtualization software like Parallels. Not everyone will need it, but if you do, this is the one to beat.

On the more compact and lightweight side of things, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an excellent companion device while the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is a good 11.6-inch Chromebook for students and light on-the-go work.


Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Best Chromebook Overall

Bottom line: With a powerful 10th Gen Intel Core i3 chip, a beautiful 13-inch 1080p touchscreen, backlit keyboard, and remarkably reasonable price, the Flex 5 is a great Chromebook for just about everyone. Despite a slim and lightweight build, the Flex 5 has a 360-degree hinge for easy conversion to tent or tablet mode, along with upward-firing stereo speakers, and support for both USI Stylus and Wi-Fi 6 for power-users.

Display size 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen
CPU Intel Celeron 5205U / Intel Core i3
Storage 32-128GB
Battery life 10 hours
Ports 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, microSD, audio combo jack
Weight 3 lbs
Colors Graphite Grey
Other features Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 720p camera, 45W charger
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028


  • Compact design
  • USI Stylus compatibility
  • Loud upward-facing speakers
  • Backlit keyboard


  • Limited configuration options
  • No 8GB RAM option

The best Chromebook you can buy isn’t necessarily the most powerful or the most expensive. It combines many features into a compact body that will appeal to almost all Chromebook users, from novices to experts, students to professionals. If your next laptop is here to work hard (and play harder), check out our favorite Chromebook on the market today, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook. Barely bigger than an 11.6-inch Chromebook — in both dimensions and price — the Flex 5 has the best blend of value and performance around.

The bezels around the Flex 5’s 1080p screen are quite slim — just enough for you to grip when flipping between laptop, stand, and tablet modes. That means you’ll get a compact laptop with a big enough screen for quite comfortable split-screening. You’ll also get a backlit keyboard that’s comfortable enough to type on for 10 hours a day — it’s what I’m using to write this right now — and sitting on either side of the keyboard are speakers that will get nice and loud (though a bit tinny when you start blaring).

The best Chromebook offers power and productivity for less.

This version comes with Intel’s latest 10th Generation i3 processor along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, plenty of power for today’s complex business tasks. Like many of the newer Chromebooks on this list, the Flex 5 comes with two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a single legacy USB-A port, as well as a microSD slot for expandable storage and a headphone jack. You get Wi-Fi 6 for faster, more reliable connectivity — and Bluetooth 5.0, so your headset won’t drop out as often — and the 45W charging brick in the box tops the 52.5Whr battery in just 90 minutes.

Chrome OS was built to run well on modest hardware, so on the Flex 5’s mid-range hardware, things are smooth and stable. While we’re not thrilled there aren’t larger storage and memory sizes. Would it kill Lenovo to offer 8GB models?! All that aside, there’s very little to otherwise complain about here. 4GB has been enough for all the work I’ve done, even when I’ve had multiple windows and Android apps open.

When I initially agreed to review the Flex 5, it didn’t seem all that amazing on paper, especially compared to the Project Athena Chromebooks that have come out in the last year. Once I’d spent a few days with it, though, the Flex 5 had completely won me over. It’s more than the sum of its parts — and way more than its modest price tag would have you believe.

One purchasing note to keep in mind: Lenovo does sell some Celeron versions of the Flex 5, but I highly, highly recommend the Intel Core i3 model instead, it will be more capable and will fare better during long sessions of schoolwork or actual work. If you can find a model with 8GB of RAM, that’s also a worthy upgrade, but it’s harder to come by.

Read our full Lenovo Flex 5 review now.

Best Chromebook overall

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5


$400 at Amazon

Lenovo already knows how to make a great small Chromebook, and with just a few small upgrades, it makes a Chromebook that can please just about everybody.


Acer Chromebook 713

Best Chromebook for gaming & performance

Bottom line: If you need performance and power in your Chromebook, you’ll want to look at a Project Athena Chromebook so that you know it’s powerful, fast, and secure. This 13.5-inch 2-in-1 outdoes the rest of the current Project Athena crop in ports, durability, and value, giving you a robust laptop for hundreds less than its competitors. There’s even an HDMI port built-in, for professionals that are constantly hooking up to external monitors or the projector in the conference room.

Display size 13.5-inch 2256x1504px 3:2 touchscreen
CPU Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7
RAM 8-16GB
Storage 64-256GB
Battery life 10 hours
Ports 1x USB-A, 2x USB-C, HDMI, microSD, audio combo jack
Weight 3 lbs
Colors Silver
Other features Project Athena certified, backlit keyboard, 720p webcam, 45W charger
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028


  • Powerful futureproof specs
  • Bright 3:2 screen for productivity
  • HDMI port built-in


  • Speakers aren’t great
  • Limited availability

Like the Acer Spin 13 before it, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is one of the most powerful Chromebooks out there that doesn’t just go completely overboard in terms of price. Project Athena is a program started by Intel working with manufacturers to produce laptops that will be fast, powerful, and reliable. So, as a Project Athena Chromebook, there’s an expectation of speed and power that the Spin 713 absolutely delivers on.

Premium performance without an ultra-premium price tag.

Even with dozens of tabs open and a couple of Android apps, this Chromebook keeps crusing along, though the fan may kick on from time to time — yes, the i5 processor here needs a fan to keep it cool once you really get it going. The bottom of the laptop doesn’t heat up too much, so you can still use it in your lap pretty easily, but you will hear the fan now and then.

Acer differed the Chromebook Spin 713 from the first two Project Athena Chromebooks in two ways. Firstly, you actually have more than the USB-C ports. There’s also a USB-A port and an HDMI port on the 713, which means that you aren’t scrambling for a USB-C hub immediately. Secondly, while there are some more pricey configurations if you want an i7, the standard i5/8GB/128GB model is a completely reasonable price — and it’s even more reasonable for the newly announced $700 Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (3W), which adds Thunderbolt 4 and upgrades to 11th Gen Intel processors.

The 3:2 aspect ratio on the Acer Chromebook Spin 713’s screen is something many professionals swear by on their work machines. That aspect ratio isn’t as fun for watching movies, but it’s great for seeing more data on your screen at a time, especially while split-screening, and the 2K resolution gives you a more crisp image. USI stylus support also means you can use better Chromebook styli for sketching and signing on that vibrant screen.

Best Chromebook for gaming & performance

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

From $628 at Amazon
$629 at Best Buy

If you’re someone who loves a 3:2 screen and a beefy, beefy processor to power it, this Project Athena Chromebook is for you.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best Chromebook tablet

Bottom line: If you want a tablet that offers up the best of Google’s services and software without instantly falling behind on software updates the way Android tablets do, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is the perfect couch companion that can pull double-duty as a light-duty laptop while your kids co-opt the family desktop.

Display size 10.1-inch 400 nits 1920x1200px touchscreen
CPU Mediatek Helio P60T
Storage 64-128GB
Battery life 10 hours
Ports 1x USB-C (USB 2.0 + DP)
Weight 0.94 lb (tablet only) / 2.03 lbs (with cover & keyboard)
Colors Two-tone Ice Blue and Iron Grey
Other features USI Stylus compatibility, Included kickstand and detachable keyboard, 10W charger (max charging speed 18W)
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028


  • Excellent battery life
  • Kickstand and keyboard included
  • Bright 1080p screen for comics and videos


  • Too small for some
  • Only one USB-C port

Lenovo first debuted the Duet at CES and it gave us hope that we might see a Chromebook tablet finally done right. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet has a battery that goes on and on and on, especially if you’re just doing some reading and casual games, and the screen is nice and bright for videos and comics. The specs say the battery lasts 10 hours, but I’ve averaged 10-12 hours on an average charge.

The detachable keyboard can feel cramped if you’re using it for hours and hours on end — if you have larger hands, you’ll probably want to invest in a full-size keyboard for your desk to use instead for stationary use — but as a companion device or a couch computer, the Duet is perfect. The screen is bright, videos are crisp, and comics look lovely. The speakers are a bit on the quiet side, but as a slim 10-inch tablet, I’m fine with pairing headphones or a Bluetooth speaker to it for YouTube binges.

Since the day pre-orders opened, the Duet has been very, very hard to find in stock, so if this seems like the Chromebook for you, you’ll want to check back early and often to see if the stock has just been refreshed. It’s worth the wait for a Chromebook tablet that’s affordable, reliable, and fully-accessorized out of the box, having learned from the Google Pixel Slate’s mistakes.

There’s only one port on the Duet, one single USB-C port, so you’ll want to use Bluetooth for headphones and leave the port free for charging. The lack of a headphone jack is not a huge loss, but some will be turned off by it; I’m more disappointed there isn’t a USB-C port on both sides the way that basically every Chromebook released in the last two years has.

It’s worth mentioning that the charger in the box here is a piddly little 10W USB-A charger — Hey, Lenovo had to cut costs somewhere — so you’ll likely want to swap that out for an 18W Power Delivery charger instead. The Duet still charges in less than 90 minutes, but I do wish it at least had 30W charging instead of the same 18W charging that most phones use.

Since there’s no microSD slot for expanding the internal storage, do yourself a favor and buy the 128GB version if you’re intending to download lots of videos and comics for those holiday trips home to see the family.

Read our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review now.

Best Chromebook tablet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet


  • $320 at Amazon (128GB)
  • $249 at Best Buy (128GB)
  • $249 at Walmart (64GB)

The Duet finally gives us the kind of Google tablet we’ve wanted for a decade. It comes with a keyboard for when you need it, but it works well all on its own.


Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-3H)

Best compact Chromebook

Bottom line: 11.6-inch Chromebooks still make up a massive section of the Chromebook market, and the best blend of power, portability, and price to be found right now is the latest generation of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. It sheds ports in exchange for lighter weight and battery that will go all day and then some.

Display size 11.6-inch 1366x768px IPS touchscreen
CPU Mediatek MT8183C
Storage 32-64GB
Battery life 14 hours
Ports 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, audio combo jack
Weight 2.65 lbs
Colors Pure Silver
Other features 720p camera, 45W charger
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028

We highly recommend purchasing the 64GB configuration due to the lack of microSD slot. Without a microSD slot, you can’t expand the internal storage without using the one and only USB-C port to plug in a flash drive.


  • Compact design
  • Good build quality
  • Long-term support


  • Limited ports / no microSD slot
  • No 8GB RAM option

Normally when you’re shopping for a new laptop, it’s easy to get caught up in specs and end up buying the biggest, most powerful laptop you can afford. However, for Chromebooks, that isn’t necessarily going to get you a better experience. Big screens and fancy features are all well and good, but most of the time when I leave my apartment to go do some writing in a brighter and more fun atmosphere, I bring a lightweight 11.6-inch Chromebook like the Acer Chromebook Spin 311.

Acer slimmed down the sides of the 311 and pared down on ports while it was at it, but you still get a USB-C port for 45W Power Delivery charging as well as using hubs, adapters, and external monitors, a USB-A port for legacy peripherals like wired keyboards and old flash drives, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. You may have noticed that list did not include a microSD slot, a rarity for a Chromebook in this price range, and yeah, it’s weird that we don’t have one. At least we have a 64GB version if you care about storage.

This new model is also slated for almost eight years of Chrome OS updates, with an AUE date of June 2028. It’s lightweight and highly portable, easy to slide into a bag as you move from meeting to meeting, and quick to wake back up once you get where you’re going. The bezels around the screen are large, but they come in handy when you flip it over into tablet mode, and the keyboard is easy to type on for hours at a time.

Speaking of hours at a time, Acer says that this Chromebook can last up to 16 hours in its spec sheet, and with real work use, I usually get 12-14 hours on a single charge depending on how much I crank up the screen brightness.

Best compact Chromebook

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-3H)

$254 at Amazon (32GB)
$329 at Walmart (64GB)
$300 at Target (32GB)

While light on ports, the next-gen 311 still has enough power and storage in a nice, lightweight package.


ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

Best balanced Chromebook

Bottom line: The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 is essentially a 14-inch Chromebook in a 13-inch shell, offering you a bigger screen while still being portable. Between its thin, solid construction, excellent battery life, and options for higher RAM and storage, the C434 is a Chromebook that can do it all. One of the few Chromebooks to offer a backlit keyboard, it’s perfect for long nights and dim offices.

Display size 14-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen
CPU Intel Core m3 / i3 / i5
RAM 4-16GB
Storage 64-512GB
Battery life 10 hours
Ports 1x USB-A, 2x USB-C, microSD, audio combo jack
Weight 3.30 lbs
Colors Spangle Silver
Other features Backlit keyboard, 720p camera, 45W charger
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2026


  • Exceptional aluminum design
  • Good backlit keyboard
  • High-quality display


  • The 8GB models are getting harder to find
  • Keys are difficult to see in certain lighting conditions
  • The model is almost two years old

ASUS is one of the most well-known Chromebook manufacturers and has been since day one. What sets the company apart from the competition is a focus on creating a premium hardware experience in as compact a shell as possible. With the the Chromebook Flip C434, ASUS crammed what is essentially a 14-inch Chromebook into a 13-inch body.

ASUS focuses on the fundamentals here, including a really high-quality 1080p LCD touch panel surrounded by slim bezels, along with an oversized precision trackpad, a backlit keyboard — a rarity at this price point — and a tapered aluminum design that’s reminiscent of the MacBook Air.

The hinge flips 360-degrees, which lets you set the Chromebook up in traditional, “tent”, and tablet modes — hence the Flip in the name — all in a body under three pounds. The included Intel Core m3-8100y processor isn’t the fastest one available, but it’s more than good enough for daily usage, especially when paired with the optional 8GB of RAM — which you should get if you intend to do a lot of multi-tasking during video calls. There’s also a model with an i5 processor and 128GB of storage, but those are so hard to find now that you’re better off getting the newer C436 instead.

As for inputs, you get two USB-C ports and a single USB-A port along with a microSD card slot. The laptop advertises eight to 10 hours of battery, and that’s around what we usually got, too. Ports are one of the reasons why I’m still recommended the C434 over the newer ASUS Chromebook Flip C436; the C436 only has USB-C ports and microSD, no USB-A port. Yes, USB-C hubs are plentiful, but having at least one USB-A port on a laptop is very useful, especially for a laptop this big.

The other main reason to go with the C434: price. Having been on the market for almost two years, sales are frequent and availability is plentiful, unlike newer models that had trouble keeping up with demand during the 2020 Chromebook shortage.

Best balanced Chromebook

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop


From $448 at Amazon
$534 at Best Buy
$570 at B&H

The 14-inch touchscreen excels at multitasking, and the backlit keyboard is easy to type on late into the night.


ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

Best Chromebook for students

Bottom line: Lightweight and portable, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is one of the most versatile Chromebooks out there. It’s got a spill-resistant keyboard and has been Mil-STD 810G certified, which means a drop from a bag or table won’t hurt it, making it perfect for a student of any age. Plus, the included stylus makes it school-friendly!

Display size 11.6-inch 1366x768px touchscreen
CPU Intel Celeron N4000
Storage 32GB
Battery life 12 hours
Ports 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, microSD, Audio combo jack
Weight 2.6 lbs
Colors Black
Other features 720p camera, 45W charger, optional built-in stylus
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2026


  • Durable, drop-resistant build
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Built-in stylus (on some models)
  • 360-degree hinge


  • Limited storage options
  • Almost two years old

The 11.6-inch ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 folds completely flat into a tablet with a high-strength zinc alloy hinge that shouldn’t wear out no matter how hard your kid — or you — are on it. With a channeled, spill-resistant keyboard, dropping a drink on it shouldn’t immediately send you to a repair store, just to the kitchen for a cloth.

ASUS has several student-friendly features on the C214, including a fully-articulating hinge, a built-in stylus on the premium model, and plenty of ports for plugging in accessories. The main draw here, though, is how portable the laptop is: it can fit in the smallest of backpacks, making it perfect for kids starting out bringing a laptop to school.

You’re also going to get a very school-friendly battery life of around 12 hours of use, which should get most people through a full day. Even better, ASUS has thought of every use case, adding a rubberized grip to the edges of the C214, ensuring that clumsy hands won’t drop it while toting it around the classroom, and the anti-scratch coating should keep it from looking too scuffed after months and years of constant attention.

There is only 4GB of RAM, which should be just fine for everyday homework and research. I would try to keep the amount of tab-switching while on video calls under control, but 4GB should be enough for most kids’ workloads. 8GB would be better, but there’s no option for it on this generation. Maybe in the next version.

The other problem facing the C214 isn’t a product issue, it’s a market issue. This year’s surge in distance learning and working from home led to a run on education-grade Chromebooks, so while you can find the C214 pretty easily, chances are the price will be marked up about $50-$100 by resellers. It’s a captive market and resellers are taking full advantage, but I wouldn’t go higher than $450 for the non-stylus version or $500 for the stylus version.

ASUS debuted the C214 in 2019, so we’re also due for a refreshed model soon. At that point, hopefully, prices will stabilize, but given the C214’s popularity, it might sell out completely first.

Best Chromebook for students

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 (C214MA-YS02T)


From $334 at Amazon (Non-Stylus)
From $370 at Amazon (Stylus)

Durable, dependable, and ready for the classroom, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is built to withstand the abuse of a younger user.


HP Chromebook x360 14c

Best business Chromebook

Bottom line: While there are flashier Chromebooks out there if you want an understated business laptop that won’t make you pay hundreds for a Chrome Enterprise upgrade or security features, HP has you covered with the HP Chromebook x360 14c. Just do yourself a favor and get either the Intel Core i3 or i5 models.

Display size 14-inch 1920x1080px IPS touchscreen
CPU Intel Pentium Gold / Intel Core i3 / Intel Core i5
Storage 64-128GB
Battery life 13.5 hours
Ports 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, microSD slot, audio combo jack
Weight 3.6 lbs
Colors Mineral Grey
Other features Wi-Fi 6, BT 5.0, backlit keyboard, fingerprint sensor, USI stylus support
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028


  • Solid build and performance
  • Large 2-in-1 Chromebook
  • Ample configuration options
  • Security features like fingerprint sensor, kill switch


  • Screen could be brighter
  • Heavy

One of the segments Chromebooks built their reputation on was enterprise because Chromebooks are affordable, reliable, and so drop-dead easy to deploy and manage. The deployment benefits aren’t all that useful to the everyday consumer, but the durability and ever-increasing amount of power and longevity that has been coming to business Chromebooks — especially in the last two years — is. Take the HP Chromebook x360 14c, for example. This isn’t the beefiest of HP’s business Chromebooks, but it offers a great amount of power and versatility while staying affordable for those working from home or at a BYOD (bring your own device) company.

Like many of the Project Athena and Enterprise Chromebooks that have arrived in 2020, the HP Chromebook x360 14c has a fingerprint sensor for easier log-ins after you’ve unlocked your Chromebook once earlier in the day. You also have a physical kill switch on the side of the laptop that disables the camera, not just some flimsy plastic slider that can get stuck or slide open at the slightest jostle.

HP has plenty of choices when it comes to processors for the x360 14c, but unless you absolutely have a hard budget, I recommend skipping the Pentium Gold models and instead grabbing the i3 or i5 models for more power during multi-window sessions and while using any Linux apps. The i3 and i5 models are also the only models that come with 8GB of RAM, which you should absolutely spring for if this is intended to be a full-time working laptop.

The 2-in-1 form factor might not seem like it’s all that useful for a laptop this big — and yeah, a 14-inch tablet is a bit much — but being able to flip it back into stand mode is wonderful if you have a workstation at work with an extra monitor or a mechanical keyboard. Stand mode allows you to get that nice big touchscreen closer to your hands so that it’s easier to tap on while hard at work, and after hours, you can kick it into stand mode again to keep the keyboard out of the way while you’re watching movies in bed, or playing Freecell while you wait for the next meeting to roll around.

Like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, HP updated the 14c from 10th Gen Intel Core processors to 11th Gen, but they’re not as widely available yet and you’ll have to be more mindful of the exact configurations since some of the i3 models are dual-core rather than quad-core. The 11th Gen models are priced at essentially the same level as last year’s, so as the 10th Gen models get discounts, that’ll be a good way to save some money on a quality Chromebook.

Best business Chromebook

HP Chromebook x360 14c (14ct-ca000)


$629 at Best Buy
From $530 at HP

From the premium finishes to the hardware and software focus on privacy, to the performance and specs, the x360 14c is great for work (and play).


Google Pixelbook Go

Best Chromebook for new features

Bottom line: Google’s own Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, is a traditional clamshell laptop with one of the best keyboards and trackpads we’ve ever used. It also has excellent integration with Google Assistant and may get new Chrome OS features before other Chromebooks. The magnesium body is light and strong, and even the entry-level model comes with 8GB of RAM for plenty of tab-hopping.

Display size 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen / 13.3-inch 4K touchscreen
CPU Intel 8th Gen Core m3 / i5 / i7
RAM 8-16GB
Storage 64-256GB
Battery life 12 hours
Ports 2x U SB-C, audio combo jack
Weight 2.3-2.4 lbs
Colors Just Black or Not Pink
Other features 1080p camera, 45W charger, Titan security chip
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2026


  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Incredible keyboard and trackpad
  • Best-in-class battery life


  • Limited port options
  • Pricey
  • Limited hinge range

While the 3:2 form factor of the original Pixelbook certainly had its fans, I’m pleased as punch that the Go uses a far more sensible 16:9 aspect ratio, which is better for split-screening and better for in-flight movies. The Pixelbook Go can’t fold back into tablet mode like the Pixelbook — and most other Chromebooks on the market — but that also means it didn’t need huge bezels with grips around the screen, allowing it to squeeze down into a slim footprint. This laptop, despite a spacious 13.3-inch display, only weighs 2.3 pounds.

Another great feature of the Go is a more functional design that’s still luxurious. The Go has rounded edges and a wavy ridged bottom that increases grip and stability. The Pixelbook Go has two colors — Not Pink and Just Black — quiet keys that are among the best we’ve ever typed on, and a lightweight magnesium body similar to that used by the Microsoft Surface line.

If you live for having the latest features, the Pixelbook Go is for you because, as Google’s branded Chromebook, this shiny baby gets all the new toys before anyone else does, especially once you hop onto the Beta or Dev channels. You’ll also want to invest in some USB-C hubs, as the Pixelbook Go only has three ports: a USB-C port on either side of the laptop and a headphone jack.

While Google charges a premium for this Pixelbook compared to our other top picks, the Pixelbook Go is one of our favorite traditional laptop designs. Every aspect of the design has been considered, from the quiet-close magnetic latch to the high-quality 1080p camera, so important in our current environment.

Thankfully, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, Google offers premium Pixelbook Go options that go up to a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage — though we recommend sticking with the Core i5 version that has a generous 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage.

Best Chromebook for new features

Google Pixelbook Go


  • From $649 at Amazon $1,000 at Walmart
  • From $649 at Best Buy

While not a 2-in-1, the Pixelbook Go is a powerful, premium clamshell Chromebook with a magnificent magnesium shell.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Best 4K Chromebook

Bottom line: If you want the absolute best screen you can get on a Chromebook, you know it’s got to be a Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is not only beautiful, but it’s also powerful, with a 10th Gen i5 processor and 256GB SSD storage. This is a super-thin, fanless laptop with an i5, so just keep in mind this laptop will get hot during longer sessions.

Display size 13.3-inch 3840x2160px (4K) AMOLED touchscreen
CPU 10th Gen Intel Core i5
Storage 256GB
Battery life 8 hours
Ports 2x USB-C, microSD, audio combo jack
Weight 2.29 lbs
Colors Fiesta Red or Mercury Grey
Other features Project Athena certified, backlit keyboard, fingerprint sensor, fanless, built-in stylus, front and rear cameras, 45W charger
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2028


  • Best screen on a Chromebook
  • Super thin and beautiful
  • Built-in stylus for sketching


  • No fan means it gets hot
  • No configurations, only color choice
  • Meh battery life

Chromebooks with 4K screens are still a relatively small and elite group, and if you want a 4K Chromebook that’s actually light enough to carry around all day without having to blow an entire month’s rent, Samsung’s latest and greatest Chromebook is the one for you. The Galaxy Chromebook features a 4K screen, a 10th gen i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. This is the brass ring, folks.

As a Project Athena Chromebook, it is powerful and secure, offering a fingerprint sensor in the top right corner of the keyboard and Chrome OS’s sandboxed system for apps. The Galaxy also comes with a built-in, pressure-sensitive pen — similar to the ones we find on the Note series — and it’s a 2-in-1 so that you can turn it into a drawing tablet or prop it up in bed for a movie marathon.

The only downside to the Galaxy Chromebook — apart from that price tag — is that its thin profile means that the bottom of the Chromebook can get warm during intensive sessions. The battery is also a bit lower than we’d expect, but Google and Samsung have slightly improved battery performance since the buggy battery life we saw at launch 9 months ago.

Best 4K Chromebook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook


  • From $750 at Amazon
  • $1000 at Best Buy

Whether you want the latest specs for your work or the best screen around for watching movies, this gives you both.


Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook

Best Chromebook features

Bottom line: A big, beefy brick of a ThinkPad and a light, lithe Chromebook had a baby and it is glorious. The ThinkPad C13 has all the features you could want in a Chromebook from ample ports and a bright touchscreen to the classic TrackPoint, a built-in USI stylus, and the easiest-to-read keyboard on any Chromebook to date.

Display size 13.3-inch 1920x1080p (4K optional) IPS touchscreen, 300 nits (400 optional)
CPU Up to AMD Ryzen 7 3700C
Storage 64GB-256GB
Battery life 8 hours
Ports 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI, microSD, audio combo jack
Weight 3.3 lbs
Colors Abyss Blue
Other features 65W charging, backlit ThinkPad keyboard with TrackPoint, optional built-in stylus, optional fingerprint sensor, mil-spec durability,
Auto Update Expiration date (AUE) June 2029


  • Ryzen processors with Radeon graphics
  • Backlit large-font keyboard
  • Bright touchscreen
  • Durable, understated design


  • Expensive
  • Battery is just OK

Lenovo’s Chromebooks are durable and functional, but none quite so much as the ThinkPad series, including the newest ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook. While it’s not rubberized like the “rugged” Chromebooks aimed at classrooms and rugrats, the C13 has endured a dozen military-grade durability tests while keeping a more polished, presentable look with that beautiful Abyss Blue color. Can all Chromebooks come in this color, please?

The ThinkPad is face from just a pretty face, though, as the 13.3-inch touchscreen inside is brighter than the vast majority of Chromebooks with either a 300 nit 1080p screen or 400 nit 4K screen once you get up to the beefiest configurations. The keyboard here is also brightly backlit and better to read at night and in low-light situations thanks to the fact that rather than a standard Chrome OS keyboard with lower-case letters, the ThinkPad keyboard here has larger, upper-case letters that are easier to read. There’s also that classic TrackPoint nub in the middle of the keyboard if you’re still hardwired to use the pointer, and there are physical left/right-click buttons at the top of the trackpad. What a concept!

Performance for the ThinkPad C13 has been great so far; apps load smoothly, it can juggle multiple windows between two displays — thank you, HDMI port — and do it all we ease thanks to Ryzen processor and minimum 8GB of RAM. The model I reviewed — and am still using over a month later because I just love the keyboard and screen on this thing — had a Ryzen 5, but the Ryzen 3 should still be about on par with the Intel M3 in the ASUS C434 we recommended above.

The only area where the ThinkPad might disappoint is the battery, but it usually still gets 7 hours of use before I need to find a charger. It’s not nearly as high as the “up to 12.5 hours” that Lenovo said on the spec sheet, but between 7 hours of use and the 65W charger in the box for faster recharges, you won’t need to top off for long during your workday. Ryzen processors are still relatively new to Chrome OS, too, so there may still be some optimizations that come in the next few months.

Best Chromebook features

Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook


From $720 at Amazon
From $530 at Lenovo
From $530 at Walmart
$747 at Staples

A beautiful fusion of retro and cutting edge

ThinkPad is a brand that makes many of us nostalgic for the olden days when laptops were literal bricks, but the C13 is slim, powerful, and feature-packed.

How to pick the best Chromebook for you

Chromebooks might get pegged as only being for students and salarymen. Still, there truly is a Chromebook for everybody these days, whether you’re just browsing email and social media or getting down and dirty with Linux apps and coding IDEs. While there are a lot of great Chromebook manufacturers out there, Lenovo and ASUS’s models seem to go harder and last longer than the competition, though Samsung, Dell, and HP can make some pretty premium Chromebooks when they put their minds to it.

Choosing your Chromebook is slightly different than picking a Windows or Mac laptop due to the standardized, cloud-centric nature of Chrome OS. Because Google controls the software look and update schedule for every Chromebook model, a Chromebook built by Lenovo should act the same as a Chromebook from Dell or Samsung. So what does that mean?

It means you can focus a little less on those core specs and focus more on what you want to do with the machine you choose. This process may seem slightly out of order, but trust me on this one:

Get one with a touchscreen — a 2-in-1 if you can

Touchscreens may be a luxury for other laptop systems, but on Chromebooks, I consider it a requirement. Chrome OS’s touch optimization is getting better every month, and since most of the Android apps Chromebooks can install via Google Play are optimized for touch, treat yourself to a touchscreen model!

Touchscreen models usually aren’t that much more expensive for Chromebooks in 2021 — many Chromebook models don’t even bother with non-touchscreen versions these days — but if you see a Chromebook that says it’s non-touch, walk away and don’t look back. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to tap on the screen when scrolling through Amazon, and after playing Solitaire on a touchscreen, you’ll never go back to using a mouse.

That touchscreen comes in even handier on 2-in-1s, the best form factor I’ve seen for Chromebooks yet. Being able to prop up your Chromebook in Tent mode for a movie, or fold it flat into Tablet mode for some in-bed browsing while down with the flu is amazing, but having a 360-degree hinge is excellent for everyday productivity, too. You can bend your Chromebook back to more angles when working in awkwardly-lit offices with weird light glare or propped in your lap at a ballgame because you didn’t forget those quarterly expense reports that were due tomorrow and refuse to skip the game for that.

Decide on the other features you want

Chrome OS is almost entirely the same on every device from a software perspective, which means that standout hardware features become paramount, and figuring out which of those features you want or need in a machine can help narrow the field and steer you to your perfect Chromebook.

As mentioned before, you want a touchscreen Chromebook — a 2-in-1 if you can swing it — but if you tend to do a lot of movie-watching, you may want a high-quality screen, or loud, front-facing speakers.

If you’re looking to be more productive with a multitude of open tabs and multi-window screens, you might want a 3:2 display that’s more suited to split-screening and a more powerful processor/memory configuration. Productivity-minded users should also pay special mind to the port configurations on their prospective Chromebooks, as USB-C starts to replace most other ports on more premium Chromebooks like the Pixelbook while more grounded models keep USB-A ports around alongside new USB-C charging ports.

Families with younger kids — or travelers that are prone to slips, spills, and accidents — might want to look to the growing number of Chromebooks with military-grade MIL-STD 810G durability or spill-resistant keyboards.

Pick your size

Chromebooks come in a variety of sizes, but they tend to gravitate to four sizes in general:

  • 11.6-inch models are portable and affordable. At their smaller size, their screens can look good, even if they’re less than 1080p native resolution — though screen resolution is handled a bit differently on Chrome OS; we’ll get to that a little later. Depending on the bezels on the screen, 11.6-inch Chromebooks can either have full-sized keys or slightly shrunken keys, though most manufacturers use full-size keys on 11.6-inch models.
  • 12.3-13.5-inch models are becoming more and more popular, especially with 2-in-1 models like the Lenovo Flex 5 and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. This screen size allows you to comfortably split-screen windows, enjoy a full-size keyboard, and you’ve got the room for more powerful components and more battery to power that bigger screen. These are portable but powerful, and I love them.
  • 14-inch models sit at the high margin for the portable category. Still, with thin bezels and proper engineering, these can be almost as portable and manageable as 13-inch laptops with 7-9 hour battery lives. If you need to display your text in a larger font — and yes, Chrome OS has a separate font scale independent of the display zoom — a 14-inch model is your best bet for a productive Chromebook that won’t strain your eyes, especially as most 14-inch models start at 1080p.
  • 15.6-inch models are made for desks and dining room tables. I lovingly refer to these as LIMOs — Laptop in model only — because while you can shove them into larger laptop backpacks for a vacation, these Chromebooks aren’t made for laps and tray tables. These are made for a standard office environment where they live stationary lives in peace. They are great for productivity because you can see more at one time, but they tend to have shorter battery lives and higher weights, which dissuade them from being dragged around daily.

In general, the bigger the size of your Chromebook, the more you can potentially fit on the screen, but it will also be less portable and shorter in battery life. The smaller it is, the less heavy and (usually) less expensive it will be. Still, smaller models can also suffer from lower resolution screens, though Chrome OS’s display zoom and font adjustments can somewhat offset it.

Memory and storage — what do you really need?

RAM — Random Access Memory — is a critical spec for computers of all sizes and shapes, from phones and tablets to desktops and laptops. It’s used by your computer’s processor(s) to hold your current tabs, apps, and execute the commands, clicks, and operations that make your Chromebook work.

So how much RAM do I need? 4 GB of RAM in a Chromebook is okay, 8 GB is better, and high-end Chromebooks can come with 16 GB or more, but 4 GB of RAM is enough to run Chrome OS with a couple of apps and a dozen Chrome tabs.

If you’re a long-time Windows user — or a long-time computer user of any kind — looking at the storage on most Chromebooks will seem confusing at first because it’s not going to sound like enough. Chrome OS is based around cloud storage — Google Drive is integrated directly into the Files app — but local storage is still essential for things like Android apps from Google Play, offline documents, and downloaded music/movies for those horrible Wi-Fi-less flights.

You can also expand the storage on many Chromebooks with an SD or microSD card, but there’s no beating proper local storage to start with. 32 GB of storage is workable, but I’d recommend going with a model with at least 64 GB of storage. Finding 128 GB or more is usually reserved for premium Chromebooks with heftier price tags, but 64 GB Chromebooks are pretty widely available and offer more than enough storage for some Drive offline syncing and some emergency entertainment.

Always check the expiration date!

Chrome OS is developed, managed, and updated by Google for all Chromebooks, but Google doesn’t want to be stuck supporting every random budget chipset and driver set forever, so each Chromebook has a shelf life and an expiration date, just like the milk in your fridge! This is the Auto Update Expiration date, and it can be found for every single model on this handy dandy support page, which I have bookmarked because I am a freak and you should check often while you’re shopping for Chromebooks.

Now, a Chromebook doesn’t turn into a pumpkin on its AUE date — assuming your Chromebook lasts three to six years until that date — but it does stop receiving those system updates every Chromebook gets every four to six weeks that contain bug fixes, security patches, and new features. If your Chromebook is still running decently at that time, you’re a champ, and with a teeny bit of know-how, you can reformat it to run one of a dozen Linux distros instead.

That said, four to six years is a long time for any laptop and chances are yours will be getting long in the tooth by then, but right now, when shopping, always check the AUE to see how long your Chromebook will get updates. Some Chromebooks have shorter lifetimes than others if they’re built on the same platform as a previous Chromebook — AUE is based on the hardware platform, not individual model, which is also why many Chromebooks have the same AUE dates — so it’s something you’ll always want to check before buying, even if the model itself is brand-new.

What is Chrome OS?

Chromebooks run Chrome OS, the Google-managed version of Chromium OS, a free Linux distribution that is open-source, lightweight, and web-centric. Chrome OS does not allow you to install regular applications and programs the way you would on Windows PCs; instead, Chromebooks rely on web-based applications, Android applications installed and managed via Google Play, and Linux apps, which are slowly rolling out to more and more Chromebook models.

Chrome OS’s biggest strength lies in its lightweight stability and reliability. On computers with specs that barely support other operating systems, Chrome OS runs adequately and often excellently, meaning that for lower-end laptops, Chromebooks rule! That said, Chrome can take advantage of the most potent components available — from latest-gen multi-core processors to 4K displays — to create a super-smooth, super-powered premium experience.

Chrome OS is designed in large part for education and enterprise, which means the system is hard-to-break, easy-to-manage — all updates are handled in the background by the system itself — and wonderfully secure, with a lucrative bounty program, including a huge standing bounty for anyone who finds ways to compromise Chrome OS in its extra-locked-down Guest mode.

In short, Chrome OS is a lightweight, high-security system that’s great for users with any level of technical know-how. Chromebooks are easy enough for school children to use and powerful enough for bigshot businesspeople, which means that they’re great for everyone that doesn’t need system-specific high-intensity programs like video editors, CAD rendering, and PC gaming — and even that’s coming to Chromebooks soon with Stadia.

What are the best Chromebooks for students?

For students — and younger users in general — you’ll want to look for a rugged machine that’s a portable size. 11.6-inch Chromebooks and 10-inch Chromebook tablets dominate the space, with slightly older/lower specs to help offset their robust requirements and cut-throat pricing.

You should check out our full rundown on the best Chromebooks for students for our favorites.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214


$334 at Amazon

This new model improves on the C213 in just about every way: the secondary camera is in a better position, the rugged body is slightly slimmer, and the performance and battery are still rock solid.

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1


From $339 from Dell

With two USB-A and USB-C ports, a keyboard that can withstand 12 ounces of liquid, and configurations available for 8GB of RAM or 64GB of storage make this a pricier Chromebook — but one that’s built to last.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5


$400 at Amazon

If your kid is old enough that you trust them not to drop their Chromebook, the Flex 5 offers some nice upgrades in terms of screen quality and performance. The backlit keyboard’s nice for late-night homework, too.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet


$249 at Best Buy

For younger users that are consuming content more than writing it, this Chromebook tablet with its detachable keyboard is perfect for watching videos, drawing in art apps, and easing children into Chrome OS before they start using regular Chromebooks in school.

Once you’ve got your priorities straight and pick the Chromebook that’s perfect for you, you’re ready to enter a new world of light, secure computing with the handy productivity of Chrome and Android apps from Google Play. Welcome to the club, and enjoy!

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.

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