Students, kids, and budget-minded folks have been gravitating towards the best Chromebooks for good reason. These alternatives to traditional laptops come at an incredibly affordable price while still offering great performance, phenomenal battery life, and the kind of reliability that you don’t always get with more complicated (and more fully-featured) machines. They also often come with touchscreen capabilities and a versatile 2-in-1 form factor.
Part of that is because Chromebooks use Chrome OS as their operating system, which may not have all the extra features of macOS or Windows 10, but is lightweight and stripped down so it can run seamlessly on underpowered hardware and still take care of everyday computer work. And, since Chrome OS is essentially the same as the Chrome browser, it offers integrated apps and cloud storage like Google Drive by default.
While they’re not for everyone, the top Chromebooks especially in 2021 are an excellent proposition for those who prioritize value more than anything. That’s all thanks to their reliability, portability, and affordability. If you’re in the market for one, we’re here to help you find the perfect one for you.
- 1. Google Pixelbook Go
- 2. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
- 3. Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
- 4. HP Chromebook 14
- 5. Asus Chromebook Flip
- 6. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- 7. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
- 8. Asus Chromebook Flip C436F
- 9. Acer Chromebook 15
- 10. Acer Chromebook 714
- How to choose the best Chromebook for you?
- How we test Chromebooks
Google continues its tradition of making the best Chromebooks in the world. While its older Pixelbook used to occupy the top spot, it’s been replaced by Google’s latest Chromebook: the Pixelbook Go. This Chromebook proves that these devices can be just as stylish and powerful as traditional laptops. In addition, it brings a lot of the original Pixelbook’s premium features to a more affordable device.
One of its most impressive features is the fantastic battery life, which can outlast many traditional laptops with ease, and means you can go a full work or school day without needing to charge it. We also love the fact that you can close the lid, leave it for a few days, and when you pick it up again, it’s still got plenty of battery life left – something Windows 10 laptops never achieve.
Its brilliant keyboard is also worth pointing out. It feels fantastic to type on and makes working on it incredibly comfortable. In fact, this has meant we’ve stopped using much more powerful (and expensive laptops) in favor of the Pixelbook Go – it really is that good.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go
Is it a Chromebook or is it a tablet? Well, luckily, you won’t have to decide with the brilliant Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook. True to its name, this Chromebook delivers two form factors in one, while utilizing the versatility of the Chrome OS and setting you back much less than many of the top Windows tablets out there.
Of course, like all the best Chromebooks, its battery packs an incredibly long life of almost 22 hours – so you could pull an all-nighter, work through the day and mid-afternoon, and you’ll still pass out before it runs out of juice.
For this price, sacrifices have to be made, naturally – the keyboard is tiny, the trackpad isn’t as reliable, and the charger and headphones share one port. However, if budget is your top priority, those are definitely not deal-breakers.
Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
The Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook lands straight in our best Chromebooks list due to the fact that it is one of the most powerful Chromebooks money can buy in 2021. While you’re going to pay extra for this kind of horsepower, especially if you want some of the best features that come with the high-end models, it’s well worth it if you’re looking for something future-proofed. Based on the Chromebook reviews we’ve done, we can tell that this one is going to last you for years to come.
As a 2-in-1 device, it’s got the flexibility that many other Chromebooks lack, and the screen on this thing is stunning. Best of all, it comes packing the new AMD 3000C-series processors – starting with an Athlon 3150C and scaling up to a Ryzen 7 3700C – and this means you’ll get more processing power out of this Chromebook than many of it’s competitors.
For students especially, then, this is one of the best Chromebooks money can buy right now.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
The best Chromebooks balance a bargain price and efficient use of Chrome OS – and the HP Chromebook 14 is the perfect example of that.
While it’s similar to the Acer Chromebook 15 in a lot of ways, this 14-inch Chromebook is a tad more compact and looks slightly better. Complemented by a bright blue finish and a screen made to astound, the HP Chromebook 14 offers excellent value – that’s based on the many Chromebook reviews we’ve ever done. Even if the battery life and performance are average – the HP Chromebook 14 is easily one of the best Chromebooks to date.
We were particularly impressed with how slim and light this Chromebook is, and it means the HP Chromebook 14 is a great device for anyone who wants a long-lasting laptop that they can comfortably carry around with them. If you want a laptop to work on while lounging on a sofa, this is a great choice as well.
Also, unlike some other Chromebooks, the HP Chromebook 14 comes with plenty of ports, including HDMI-out, USB 3.0 and a microSD card slot, making this a brilliantly versatile Chromebook for the price.
Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14
The Asus Chromebook Flip is a brilliant Chromebook that proves that these devices can be sleek, stylish and premium – and not just budget.
With an Intel Core processor and a full-HD display, the Asus Chromebook Flip is a powerful performer that will keep up with any day-to-day task you require it to perform, and offers plenty of value without compromising on performance – a tricky balancing act that many other Chromebook makers fail to achieve.
This is a Chromebook that’s been out for a while now, but it still impresses with brilliant performance and an excellent build quality that’s thin and light, and puts many more expensive laptops to shame. If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best Asus laptops to consider.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
Easily one of the best Chromebooks we’ve ever gotten our hands on, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 takes everything great about the versatile Spin form factor, like its 3:2 display ratio, and combines it with some seriously powerful hardware like the Intel Core i5-1135G7, which honestly blows just about every other Chromebook out of the water when it comes to performance. That said, the design is pretty basic for such a potentially beautiful device, which is a shame, as is the lack of an included stylus at all when other Acer Spin 2-in-1s actually have a garaged stylus as a major selling point. Still, it’s hard to beat the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 if you’re looking for the best 2-in-1 Chromebook on the market right now.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
If versatility is a top priority, then look no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. This all-rounder has all the makings of a great Chromebook, from its good battery life to its robust build and solid usability.
However, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 takes it further with its impressive levels of versatility, thanks to its abundance of ports considering its size, 2-in-1 design, portable size and excellent touchscreen display. It also boasts a keyboard and a touchpad that are not only reliable, but also satisfying to use. That’s a rare thing in a machine at this price point.
The small size of this Chromebook means it’s really easy to carry around with you, so if you’re looking for the best Chromebook for travelling with, this is it. However, that small size may mean some people find it uncomfortable to use for long periods of time, especially if you’re more used to larger laptops.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Premium Chromebooks occupy their own space in the laptop market, bridging that gap between powerful traditional laptops and super lightweight Chromebooks.
And, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is perhaps one of the very few examples of these out there, with its combination of superb power, terrific feature set, premium build and a price tag that’s cheaper than its rivals.
During our time with the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F, we were really impressed with its gorgeous design, with a magnesium alloy body, stunning 1080p screen, and wonderful keyboard. This could easily rival premium laptops like the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook, and it even comes with features like Wi-Fi 6 support and a fingerprint sensor.
If you’re looking for a lightweight OS machine that touts more power than the rest of the clan, this is one of the best Chromebooks on offer.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C436F
With a solid build quality that rivals a MacBook, it’s easy to excuse the Acer Chromebook 15’s aversion to 2-in-1 form factors. Still, given that the best Chromebooks rolling out this year are fully convertible, thanks to the wide adoption of Android app support, the Acer Chromebook 15 had to prove itself with more than great style. Beyond its aptitude for laying flat using a 180-degree hinge, this beautiful 15-inch Chromebook also makes a great impression with its battery life, lasting nearly 17 hours in our battery test.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
The best Chromebook for professionals currently available might just be the Acer Chromebook 714 whose premium and seriously solid chassis is just the ticket for the business-oriented bunch. It’s not especially stylish, sadly, but that decent performance and strong battery life make up for its lack of fashion sense. And, aren’t those all the more important if you’re meeting with clients, tackling paperwork and balancing the books all day? In fact, the quad-core processor is good enough for light content creation tasks, making it a boon for those starting out in the content creation industry as well.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 714
How to choose the best Chromebook for you?
When it comes to choosing the best Chromebook, price is most people’s first consideration. That’s because a lot of these laptop alternatives end up in the hands of more casual users who don’t need a whole lot from their PC. In such a case, a cheaper yet still capable option is the better value – one of the best cheap Chromebooks, perhaps.
Of course, if you have more demanding needs, there are pricier options as well, and they will come with higher-end specs like more RAM, better processors like Intel Core CPUs, and perhaps more storage space. So, if you want to save more files, do some light photo editing, or play some games, you’ll want to splurge a little for better specs.
It’s not just the reasonable price tag that most Chromebooks have that make them top contenders, especially as laptops for kids and as student notebooks. You have to consider its design. Most boast impressively long battery lives while some are built to withstand abuse better than others – any gear you put into a kid’s hands needs to be able to absorb some bumps, after all. Others come with that 2-in-1 form factor and touchscreen capability that makes them so versatile.
Just like with the laptops, size is a crucial factor as well. You might want a larger display for more screen real estate or you might want something smaller for easier portability. Since most of these portables fall somewhere between 10 to 15 inches in terms of screen size, they’re all going to be easier to lug around than the competition.
How we test Chromebooks
Testing Chromebooks isn’t too different from testing laptops and gaming laptops, though perhaps the paces are a little less intensive or game-heavy.
Since Chromebooks rely heavily on the Chrome browser, we push that browsing prowess to its limits, opening 20 or more browser tabs on different types of websites, from productivity ones like Google docs to streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. For good measure, we try to play media on those streaming services simultaneously. Because Chromebooks are now much more capable of running apps, we also open and use several apps at the same time.
Because a Chromebook is only as good as its peripherals, we take a look at its display, keyboard, availability of ports, and how good its overall design is. We also test its webcam and touchscreen capabilities, if they’re on hand.
We then take everything we’ve learned about the gaming laptop and compare it to its price – whether or not it’s performance and features are worth that price tag, and whether or not it offers the best value to customers.