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Best Dell Chromebooks 2021

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While Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS may rule the roost among the best Chromebooks, Dell does offer a small collection of Chromebooks for consumers, businesses, and schools. Dell’s Chrome OS portfolio isn’t as pronounced as other manufacturers, but if Dell is your manufacturer of choice, these are the best Dell Chromebooks available today, whether you need a top-of-the-line, business-grade laptop or a travel-friendly lightweight laptop for vacations and weekends on the couch.

Best Dell Chromebook: Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1

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This is the oldest Chromebook in Dell’s current lineup, but it’s still the best one for most Chromebook buyers. How is that possible, you ask? The Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 is portable, long-lasting, and affordably priced. While not bleeding edge, Chrome OS runs quite well on the 3100’s hardware, and it’s one of the few 11.6-inch Chromebooks to offer an 8GB RAM option.

8GB of RAM is absolutely an asset worth upgrading for, as Chrome uses a fair amount of RAM, and so do video calls. So if you or your child will be taking plenty of video meetings for school or work, 8GB is essential. The 11.6-inch screen isn’t FHD, but it is a touchscreen that you can use to tap through Solitaire or flick through social media with ease. This particular hardware configuration aims for efficiency, which helps it get 10 hours before you need to go plug in, and 45W Power Delivery charging means charging is quick, and you can find spare chargers easily and affordably.

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Dell nailed the details with the 3100, from the sculpted edge of the microSD slot to the super-bright charging LED you can check from clear across the living room and the reinforced USB-C ports. As an education-focused Chromebook, the 3100 is a sturdy little laptop with a spill-resistant keyboard that can withstand 12 ounces of liquid (an entire soda) and is pick-proof so your kid can’t start prying the keys out when they’re bored. While rubberized, ruggedized plastic doesn’t look nearly as striking as, say, the Lenovo C340-11, it’ll age better as scuffs and scratches blend into the texturing on the 3100’s charcoal lid.

I first reviewed the Dell 3100 2-in-1 back in the summer of 2019, so this is by no means a brand-spanking-new laptop with brand-spanking-new features like an 8-year support life or USI stylus support. However, the Celeron N4020 inside the 3100 is still fine for casual browsing and doing your homework wherever you find Wi-Fi. Dell even announced an 3100 with LTE at CES 2021, but that model is only being sold directly to schools right now.

Dell hasn’t discounted the 3100 much in 2 years — matter of fact, it spent most of 2020 with multi-month backorders as school districts rushed to get laptops to all of their kids. This means you’ll be paying full price for a previous-generation laptop, but it still justifies its price tag much, much better than the rest of Dell’s Chromebook collection.

Pros:

  • Well-designed for kids’ carelessness
  • 8GB RAM option
  • 10-hour battery life

Cons:

  • 2021 price for a 2019 laptop
  • Only 32GB of storage
  • Celeron can slow down more easily

Ready for school

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1

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From $319 at Dell

Dell durability and portability at its best

While the 3100 might be a few years old, it’s still one of the best student Chromebooks around, with Dell’s trademark toughness and enough power for homework and casual computing.

Dell’s Premium Chromebook: Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise

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This is Dell’s top-of-the-line Chrome OS offering, which starts at $1,200 and goes way, way up from there. There’s plenty of ports — (though I do wish the USB-C ports weren’t right next to each other Macbook-style) and power, but it can’t live up to its potential. The Dell Latitude 7410 is last winter’s slight upgrade of the Dell Latitude 7400 released in 2019. We’ve still got the same 10th Gen Intel Core processors, still got 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage, which means that it should work just fine. That said, specs can be deceiving.

The 14-inch 1080p screen on the Dell Latitude 7410 isn’t a great panel: viewing angles aren’t what they should be, and the screen feels dim no matter your brightness level. Things get even worse when you realize that the touchscreen models start at $1400 and go up from there, and the one 4K panel option is non-touch and adds $400 to the price. For these prices, the screens should be as amazing as those found in the XPS series, but nope.

The 2-in-1 form factor means you can work in a wider array of environments, but given most models are non-touch, it makes tablet and display modes a bit useless without a wireless keyboard and mouse to keep moving things on the screen. There’s ample battery inside the Dell Latitude 7410, so you can move about your house looking for some peace and quiet to work in, and typing on the keyboard is actually pretty good. Just don’t expect much of anything from the speakers. They don’t hold a candle to the up-facing speakers from Lenovo and HP.

This is an Enterprise Chromebook, though you can thankfully save a few hundred bucks ordering it without the Chrome Enterprise upgrade. Although the wide configurations make sense, the price is just too high for a consumer to consider unless you get a whopper of a discount at Dell. If you were hoping for a great business Chromebook, look at the Acer Spin 713 or the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga.

Pros:

  • Good battery life
  • Solid specs
  • Thunderbolt 3 port

Cons:

  • Screen’s lackluster and touchscreen costs too much
  • Configurations get expensive quickly
  • Speakers and trackpad are awful

Dell’s Premium Chromebook

Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise

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From $1,189 at Dell

A great laptop on paper, but not in practice.

This laptop will give you the power you need, but the display leaves something to be desired, and pricing can get out of hand if you’re not careful.

Mid-range mediocrity: Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise

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Like the Dell Latitude 7410, the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise is another Chromebook aimed at the business sector to the exclusion of all else. Pricing starts over $600, and that’s for the Celeron model, not the Intel Core models. Processors are also 8th Gen, rather than the 10th Gen in the 7410 or the 11th Gen processors inside the newer Chromebooks that arrived this year like the ASUS Flip 536, and the refreshed HP x360 14c.

If you need more proof of the 5400’s outdated hardware, you need only look at the ports. While Dell included USB-C Power Delivery on the 5400, there’s still a DC barrel plug for the old Dell chargers (or those torrid universal chargers that came with dozens of interchangeable tips). You do get three USB-A ports and an Ethernet port — which is admittedly rare in newer Chromebooks — and the battery should keep your Chromebook alive for an entire workday. The keyboard is comfortable and backlit for late nights of finishing reports or arguing in the MCU subreddit.

The Dell Latitude 5400 is a purely okay Chromebook, but you deserve much better for $600-$1000. If you’re looking for a mid-range Chromebook, you can get newer processors, touchscreens with better brightness and resolution, and more storage for significantly less money. From the Lenovo Flex 5 to Acer Spin 713, you have better options under $600, and I highly recommend you seek them out instead rather than paying 2021 prices for a 2018-level Chromebook.

Pros:

  • Backlit keyboard
  • SSD storage
  • DC and Power Delivery charging

Cons:

  • Low-resolution non-touch display
  • Outdated processors
  • Too expensive for the specs

Mid-range mediocrity

Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise

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From $619 at Dell

Dell covers the fundamentals but never goes overboard.

While the older hardware doesn’t entirely derail the goldilocks of the Dell Chromebook family, the pricing and the screen very well might.

Bottom line

While Dell makes bigger, stronger Chromebooks, the Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 is indeed the best Dell Chromebook for most of you looking for a new Chromebook. One of Chrome OS’s major draws has long been its affordability, and the 3100 is the only affordable model Dell currently has. Still, even without that, the Dell 3100 offers the most well-rounded experience and the best durability, two other tentpole features of the Dell brand. All models have touchscreens, there’s an 8GB model for smoother multi-tasking, and even if it’s a few years old, it will get Chrome OS updates until June 2026. For a grab-and-go laptop, the Dell 3100 2-in-1 is great, which is why it’s one of the best student Chromebooks on the market.

I sincerely wish I could recommend more Dell Chromebooks to you. I do. But Dell’s focusing on a smaller number of models rather than trying to flood the market with dozens of variations like Lenovo and HP. Dell also keeps names blissfully simple, allowing you to easily distinguish business-grade laptops from consumer-grade. Hopefully, Dell will bring some pizzazz to its next-generation after two years of iterative updates, but we’ve no idea when that will be. In the meantime, if you need a good business Chromebook, there are plenty of options to consider.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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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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