- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Chromebook is the Acer Chromebook Spin 714.
- Chromebooks have long been viewed as inexpensive Windows and macOS alternatives that offer the majority of what the average computer user needs.
- If you don’t need a Windows or macOS computer, a Chromebook does everything you need to like going online, creating Word documents, and downloading files.
- Picking the best Chromebook is all about finding one with the right screen, long battery life, and if you have a specific purpose like gaming, one that supports cloud gaming services.
Chromebooks have come a long way since their release in 2011 when they were little more than a web browser. Today, Chromebooks have grown into full-fledged productivity machines available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are able to utilize a huge spread of Google’s Play Store to create a large app library. While Chromebooks still can’t duplicate the likes of PowerPoint or Excel, being able to utilize these tools in the browser has eliminated a lot of the original concerns over how powerful and functional a Chromebook can be.
Let’s take a look at the best Chromebooks available right now and see which one might be right for you.
- Best Overall: Acer Spin 2-in-1 714 Chromebook
- Best Battery Life: Acer Chromebook 514
- Best for Students: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
- Best for Gaming: Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE
- Best 2-in-1: Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
- Best Premium: HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
- Best Budget-Friendly: HP X360 14a Chromebook
Best Overall: Acer Spin 2-in-1 714 Chromebook
- 2-in-1 laptop
- 14" WUXGA touchscreen
- 12th gen Intel 10-core i5-1235U
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 256GB PCIe SSD
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Backlit KB
- Chrome OS
- BROAG USB extension cable
With this Acer model, you have any number of features that could be considered best-in-class in the Chromebook world. Along with its 2-in-1 design, the Spin 714 just feels solid in the hand, thanks to its all-aluminum build quality. The addition of an included stylus makes it easy to draw, write and play when the screen on the Spin 714 is folded backward.
Powered by a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the specs for this Chromebook read more like a Windows machine. Given that, you can expect nothing short of solid performance no matter how many Chrome tabs or Android apps you try and use at once. Regardless of what you do on screen, you’ll be doing it on a 14” Full HD IPS display that looks very sharp while you’re enjoying some Netflix downtime.
With up to 10 hours of battery life, there’s plenty of time for both work and play, and with Wi-Fi 6E built-in, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is future-proofed to give you plenty of longevity for the price.
|The 2-in-1 design gives you plenty of flexibility as a computer and drawing tablet.
|The webcam does not perform as well as the rest of the machine.
|Up to 10 hours of battery life ensures all-day use.
|Corning Gorilla Glass sounds tougher than it really is in real-world conditions.
Check out the Acer Spin 2-in1 714 Chromebook on Amazon. (Please note: As of July 19, 2023 this product is out of stock on Amazon. Please check back later.)
Best Battery Life: Acer Chromebook 514
In the world of battery life, Chromebooks have long tried to be amongst the most reliable as far as lasting all day long. The Acer Chromebook 514 is no exception with up to 15 hours of battery life during average daily use.
This is as long as many Windows machines promise and real-world reviews indicate that, with only a few tabs open, the 15-hour number isn’t too far off. No matter what you do to try and drain the battery, you’ll enjoy doing it on the 14-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 display, which includes Acer’s ComfyView technology for helping your eyes over lengthy use periods.
The Acer Chromebook 514 is powered by a MediaTek Kompanio 828 Octa-Core processor with 8GB of RAM that powers the aluminum-based hardware. The processor’s four Arm cores are great for multitasking so using both Chrome and a few Android apps in the background won’t make a dent in your daily usage.
Built right into the 514’s hardware, Corning Gorilla Glass on the touchpad provides excellent control as you swipe, scroll, or zoom. Add in a backlit keyboard, DTS Audio, and Wi-Fi for a fully rounded ChromeOS experience.
|The 15-hour battery life is best-in-class among Chromebooks at this price point.
|Acer’s ComfyView technology is more promising than practical when it comes to helping with vision.
|The inclusion of DTS audio makes both movie viewing and video calls sound great.
|This would be the #1 option if it included an Intel processor.
Check out the Acer Chromebook 514 on Amazon.
Best for Students: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Chromebooks have long been the ideal computer for students with great performance, strong battery life, and reasonable pricing. This triple combination is what makes the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 such a great option for students of all ages.
Even if you are not already invested in the Galaxy ecosystem, the Chromebook 2 is a great place to start with a QLED screen that produces over 16 million colors. Using the same technology Samsung includes in its popular 4K televisions, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 may very well have the best display on any Chromebook at this price point.
A beautiful screen demands power to make it go and with an Intel Core i3 processor, there is plenty of juice for browsing, multitasking, and flipping into 2-in-1 mode for entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, with up to 13 hours of battery life, you’ll have plenty of life for a full day of school plus some Netflix in the evening when you need a break.
Add in a premium sound that is 178% louder than normal Chromebooks, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and a comfortable backlit keyboard, and the Chromebook 2 is as well-rounded as a student can hope for.
|One of the best Chromebook screens ever with QLED technology
|Battery life promises up to 13 hours but is more likely closer to 10
|Excellent sound production with the included speakers
|Would be even better if it had military-grade protection
Check out the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 on Amazon.
Best for Gaming: Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE
- 16" WQXGA 2,560 x 1,600p
- 12th Gen Intel 12-Core i5-1240P up to 4.4GHz
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 256GB PCIe SSD
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- RGB backlit keyboard
Over the last few years, the idea of doing serious gaming on a Chromebook would have been an idea many thought was a joke. Today, the Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE is literally changing the game of what you thought a Chromebook can do.
Specifically designed for cloud gaming and using NVIDIA GeForce Now, the Chromebook 516 GE is powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 P-Series processor. Along with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, it makes for incredibly smooth gameplay.
Everything on the 16-inch 120Hz display looks good when taking full advantage of the 16:10 aspect ratio and WQXGA 2560 x 1600 IPS resolution with 100% sRGP color accuracy. A gorgeous screen demands similarly good sound, and Acer does not disappoint with DTS Audio and a smart amplifier built right in across four speakers.
Best of all, an RGB keyboard will make many Windows gamers feel right at home, and anti-ghosting technology ensures key combinations are at your disposal. Last but not least, when you are using Wi-Fi 6E or going directly into the 2.5G Gigabit Ethernet port, you can be sure that cloud gaming is stable so you don’t miss a headshot.
|The best cloud gaming Chromebook on the market
|The 16:10 aspect ratio is a little oddly shaped and takes some getting used to
|One of the only Chromebooks with an RGB keyboard
|The anti-ghosting technology isn’t as useful as it sounds
Check out the Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE on Amazon.
Best 2-in-1: Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
There is no shortage of 2-in-1 Chromebooks, so to stand out and make a best-of list, any model needs to be exceptional. This is exactly the case with the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5, which is highly regarded as not just the best 2-in-1 but a close runner-up for the best Chromebook overall.
Everything about the Duet 5 centers around the 13.3-inch Full HD multitouch screen, which adds OLED quality for a truly immersive experience.
Powering the screen and the Chromebook overall is a Snapdragon SC7180 octa-core processor which can more than handle a dozen browser tabs and a few Android applications without breaking a sweat. Throw in 8GB of RAM and the Duet 5’s multitasking skill is confirmed, and there’s enough room for multiple application downloads with 128GB of eMMC memory.
Where the Duet 5 really shines is with its detachable display so it can quickly convert from Chromebook to tablet and back again within seconds. Throw it into tablet mode and take advantage of the four speakers with smart amplifiers for enjoying a movie in bed and back into Chromebook mode for video calls with family.
|Outstanding hardware gives the Duet 5 a leg up against other 2-in-1 competition.
|The Snapdragon processor is good but how it will hold up over time is a concern.
|A detachable screen makes for an easy transition right to a tablet.
|Battery life could be better considering its form factor.
Check out the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 on Amazon.
Best Premium: HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
The idea of paying a premium price for a Chromebook over a Windows computer might have sounded crazy a few years ago, but no more. As soon as a computer user tries the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, they discover what Chromebook users have known for a long time — that ChromeOS is more powerful than they could ever imagine.
For business users in particular, HP’s enterprise-grade security makes the Dragonfly a great use case for functioning in work environments where a 2-in-1 machine can come in handy.
With AI noise cancellation, a 5-megapixel camera, and Wi-Fi 6E, you get exactly what you pay for with the latest features and future-proofed internet for long-term use. Also ensuring long-term use is the inclusion of a battery that can last around 8 hours on a single charge.
You’re going to need every bit of the battery to help power the 1000-nit display, which is about as bright as any Chromebook has ever been on a 13.5-inch display. Add in the latest Intel Core i5 processors, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, and you’ll quickly see the appeal of a premium Chromebook.
|The 1000-nit display is one of the brightest ever put into a Chromebook.
|Very pricey for what it is when compared to Windows 11 laptops
|Truly premium bodies make up the overall hard and help justify the price tag
|Almost too pricey for businesses to consider when compared to Windows
Check out the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook on Amazon. (Please Note: As of July 16, 2023, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is currently unavailable on Amazon. If you cannot find the product elsewhere, please check back later.)
Best Budget-Friendly: HP X360 14a Chromebook
There are dozens of budget-friendly Chromebooks on the market and for good reason. The ChromeOS software is perfect for use cases that don’t demand powerful CPUs or GPUs or even 32GB of RAM. The HP X360 14a Chromebook is the perfect example of a Chromebook that offers enough computing power for the average user without asking for hundreds of dollars.
The Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor that powers the 14a is good enough for multiple tabs and a few Android applications but won’t give you the same level of gaming power as, say, the Chromebook 516 GE.
If you are okay with that tradeoff, you’ll find up to 12 hours of battery life with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5 ensure strong connectivity and a 14-inch HD touchscreen with a 360-degree hinge for a true 2-in-1 hardware switch help tie everything together.
Even with its budget-friendly price, you are not missing out on any features such as a webcam, digital media card reader, touchscreen, and Google Play support. Additionally, the HP X360 14a weighs just under three pounds so it’s good for carrying on the go.
|The budget-friendly price is going to appeal to anyone who wants a second computer.
|The Intel Celeron processor can slow down pretty easily if too many tabs are open.
|The promised 12 hours of battery life isn’t far too from the actual time.
|The webcam could be better as it’s just okay for use with video calls.
Check out the HP X360 14a Chromebook on Amazon.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Chromebooks: Step-by-Step
As you look to buy your first or fifth Chromebook, price is still very much the biggest consideration. The best part about buying a Chromebook is that it is often significantly cheaper than comparable Windows machines. For casual users who just need web browsing, some light document editing, or want to stream some movies every now and again, there is little to spend more on a Windows or macOS machine.
It’s also worth noting that like Windows computers, the more you spend, the more you get. Some of the best Chromebook laptops include similar Intel processors that run powerful Windows computers. Any Chromebook that has at least 8GB of RAM is bound to help you navigate as many Chrome tabs at once as you can imagine. Thankfully, size isn’t really a factor in price but knowing whether you want a 2-in-1 or a regular laptop can and will impact price.
Also worth knowing is that Chromebooks are slowly becoming something of a gaming machine in the case of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE. Even if Chromebooks never become true competitors to Windows-based gaming hardware, if you are sold on cloud computing through GeForce Now, you’re in luck.
Using the Best Chromebooks: What It’s Like
Five years ago, using a Chromebook full-time might have been an inferior experience full of compromise. Today, Chromebooks are just as good, if not often better than other computer options, especially when your needs are limited.
Chrome is the world’s most popular browser and ChromeOS is entirely centered around it. Given that, if you already use Chrome and have all of your favorites and bookmarks ready to go, setup is easy and you can start using a Chromebook right away.
What is best about Chromebooks is also their excellent portability and strong battery life. This makes them ideal travel laptops whether it’s going back and forth to an office or traveling cross-country. As Chromebooks have also started to move into the gaming world, they have become even more attractive as cloud gaming machines and at a much lower cost than many comparably priced Windows computers.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Savusia Konstantin.