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We’ve reviewed hundreds of laptops and tested them for key properties like performance, battery life, and display quality. And we’ve found that Chromebooks are characterized by performance and reliability.
Thehowever, is something special. It has fantastic performance even for a Chromebook, and while a little pricey, it can easily rival Windows and macOS alternatives.
We’ve also found some Chromebook deals for those looking for savings on some of the best laptops before Black Friday.
The best Chromebooks at a glance:
The best Chromebook: Pixelbook Go
Riley Young / Digital Trends
Why You Should Buy This: It’s the best Chromebook you can buy.
For who it is: Students, people who work on the go or have to travel with a laptop.
Why we chose the Google Pixelbook Go:
Chromebooks are known to be extremely affordable alternatives to Windows and Mac. But the Pixelbook Go doesn’t feel like a cheap imitation. A Windows laptop that costs roughly the same doesn’t offer anything like the build quality, portability, and performance that the Pixelbook Go can offer. Chrome OS’s efficiency has a lot to do with it, but it is also down to the Google hardware team. The Pixlebook Go is the complete package that increases the strengths of its platform.
With unmatched battery life, a gorgeous 13-inch screen, and fantastic battery life, theis a go-to place for students and the ultimate travel companion for those who need to get their work done on the go.
Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review
The best Chromebook under $ 500: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
Why You Should Buy This: It’s an affordable Chromebook in a slim, lightweight body.
For who it is: Students, families
Why we chose the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5:
Laptops under $ 500 are pretty rare, but Chromebooks under $ 500 are a dozen. None of them hold up as well as the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. It’s a 13-inch laptop that is very portable, weighing just under three pounds. It’s a pretty rigid and well-built laptop, unlike many other plastic options.
However, the best feature is its performance. Many Chromebooks have low-powered processors that suffer from higher loads, such as: For example, during a video conference or when many tabs are open. Not the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. It comes with the option of a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor – the same one you’ll find in many Windows 10 laptops. Because of the lightness of Chrome OS, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 feels quick and fast no matter how many tabs you have open.
Of course it isIt is also equipped with a 360-degree hinge and a touchscreen. This makes it suitable for Netflix and the use of Android apps as well as for doing tasks.
Read our detailed review of the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
The best Chromebook under $ 300: Samsung Chromebook 4+
Why should you buy this: It’s a cheap Chromebook with a MacBook-like design.
For who it is: Chromebook buyers on a budget.
Why we chose the Samsung Chromebook 4+:
You can buy a Chromebook for less than $ 200, but you will likely be disappointed with what you get. The displays are weak and low resolution, the chassis is ugly, and performance suffers. The Samsung Chromebook 4+ is only $ 299 and is still a very affordable laptop.
With thin bezels around the screen and a silver MacBook-like aesthetic, you’ll find it hard to find such an attractive laptop at this price point. It’s actually pretty light for a 15-inch laptop at just 3.75 pounds.
Of course there are compromises. TheThe screen is 1080p but not bright and the colors are saturated. The MediaTek processor is nothing special either. But if it’s value that you’re interested in, you won’t find a better option.
The best 2-in-1 Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
Why You Should Buy This: It’s a portable Chromebook that doubles as a tablet.
For who it is: Students, professionals and everyone in between.
Why we chose the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet:
Google has worked hard to make Chrome OS work as both a tablet and a laptop. All Chrome OS devices already come with Android apps, but Google has made further improvements to the tablet experience for touch users only. It can’t yet compete with the iPad in terms of software, but it has improved a lot.
In terms of hardware, no device could compete with the surfaces and iPads of the world like thisalthough. The price is the obvious appeal, starting at just $ 279. That’s cheaper than the iPad and Surface Go 2, especially since the kickstand cover and keyboard are included. As the prevalence of cheap Android tablets has waned, the IdeaPad Duet is one of the few solid tablet options in this price range.
Read our detailed review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
The best premium Chromebook: Asus Chromebook Flip C436
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
Why should you buy this: You want hardware comparable to Windows laptops.
For who it is: Pros, those who want serious performance in their Chromebook.
Why we chose the Asus Chromebook Flip C436:
Premium Chromebooks have resurfaced, offering higher build quality, faster performance, and even high resolution screens. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 is the best example of this new crop and has an extremely portable and high quality finish. From the all-aluminum body to the 2.5-pound weight, the Flip C436 could easily be mistaken for a $ 1,000 Windows laptop. That’s an achievement for a Chromebook.
Under the hood theContains a 10th generation Core i3 processor that is powerful enough for Chrome OS. The Asus’ only competitor is that . It’s even slimmer than the Flip C436, but it even improves the display to 4K. It’s much more expensive at $ 1,000 but is currently on trade-in for just $ 549.
Read our detailed review of the Asus Chromebook Flip C436
How we test
When laptops enter our labs, they undergo a series of tests designed to give us some insight into how each laptop is performing in different situations. We want to define their limits, find out what they can do in day-to-day use, and how they behave when pushed.
We test individual components like the display, the CPU, the GPU and the hard drive using specific benchmarks to see how they hold up against the competition. We test for speed, reliability and most of all we spend a lot of time with every laptop.
You can find out how individual components work on their own by reading the manufacturer’s specifications. However, we also test notebooks as a whole. Not only do we want to find out how fast each component is, we also want to see how they complement each other and how they work as a package. This way we can give you a comprehensive recommendation.
Before you buy a Chromebook, think about Android apps
Chrome OS isn’t the most rugged operating system, but it does the job for Chromebooks by providing essential information like how to surf the web, word processing and browsing basic file types. However, sometimes you need more than a Chromebook can offer. Does that mean you should jump the ship or skip Chromebooks entirely? No longer.
As of 2017, every new Chromebook model supports the Google Play Store and can run Android apps. No longer limited to the Chrome ecosystem, you can use just as many features on your Chromebook as you can on an Android phone or tablet.
Some earlier models also have Android integration. A complete and constantly updated list can be found here. For information on installing Android apps on your (compatible) Chromebook, see the official Google instructions here.
Is A Chromebook For You?
While they have many admirable properties, Chromebooks are not for everyone. Some users are frustrated with their lack of functionality, especially when transitioning from Windows 10 or MacOS. Others may not even notice that Chrome OS is a little more limited than traditional operating systems. If your internet speeds are less than great, you can run into frustrations with a Chromebook, too.
The way you perceive a Chromebook’s performance largely depends on how you are using your current laptop or desktop. When you need to run special applications like Photoshop or Illustrator, for example, Chrome OS can fall short. If you need the Microsoft Office suite and you can’t settle for Google Docs, a Chromebook is probably not for you. On the other hand, it could be the perfect solution for people who browse the internet most of the time or stick to other online chores. Knowing how you are using your current laptop or PC can help you decide whether Chrome OS can do your regular activities.
There are also reservations about streaming content – like Netflix – that are worth considering. However, the ability to download episodes of your favorite show could be a deciding factor.
Overall, Chromebooks are devices that stand out for their general use. Think of a Chromebook as a slightly more rugged tablet or a large smartphone with a keyboard. If you can or cannot perform a function in a web browser Android appA Chromebook probably can’t manage it either. However, if you need an affordable mobile device to bridge the gap between a desktop and your smartphone, a Chromebook might be the one for you.