8 Best Chromebooks | March 2017

We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When you need an economical device for Web browsing, video watching, word processing and more, you're in Chromebook territory. Our selection of models offer greater performance and versatility than a tablet and a bit less than a full-scale laptop, though it's a pretty close call in some cases. Skip to the best chromebook on Amazon.
8 Best Chromebooks | March 2017


Overall Rank: 2
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
★★★★
8
For those who don't mind the small 10.6" display, the impressive battery life and full rotation screen of the ASUS FlipC100PA makes it a handy little device to have. Not to mention it weighs just 2 pounds, making it one of the lightest Chromebooks around.
7
The Dell XDGJH offers worry-free computing, which is perfect for busy students. It features wide angle viewing for easy screen sharing while working together on homework, and a 180-degree LCD hinge that lets it lie flat for gaming or group activities.
6
The Acer C720P allows you to tap, swipe, and pinch your way through the digital world swiftly and quietly thanks to the SSD drive and touchscreen display. With integrated Bluetooth and Intel HD graphics, it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
5
The ASUS C300SA-DH02 is a good option for the budget-minded consumer who wants something that can get the job done without breaking the bank. It features two USB 3.0 ports for fast data transfers, a non-glossy 1366 x 768 HD screen, and high quality speakers.
  • integrated camera is good quality
  • starts up in seconds
  • crisp keys are good for typing
Brand Asus
Model C300SA-DH02
Weight 4.7 pounds
4
With its sleek silver 100% aluminum housing, the Acer 14 looks like a high end Mac, yet costs a fraction of the price. It has 32 GB of onboard storage, which beats out the average of 16 GB found on many other Chromebooks, and its processor can clock speeds up to 2.24 GHz.
  • 1920 x 1080 full hd display
  • allows for wide angle viewing
  • impressive 12-hour battery life
Brand Acer
Model NX.GC2AA.007
Weight 5.1 pounds
3
If you are looking for something small and affordable that is great to travel with, the Samsung 3 fits the bill. It has an 11.6" screen and weighs just 2.54 pounds, yet still manages over 10 hours of battery life and has 4 GB of RAM.
  • spill-resistant keyboard
  • airdroid for android connectivity
  • hdmi port for big screen viewing
Brand Samsung
Model XE500C13-K02US
Weight 3 pounds
2
The HP 14-ak050nr has a quad core Intel Celeron N2940 processor that clocks speeds of up to 1.83 GHz, which beats out most budget Windows 10 laptops. It also features a 14" full 1920 x 1080 HD display, making it great for watching movies and surfing the web.
  • less than 1 inch thick when closed
  • has a truevision hd webcam
  • matte finish screen reduces glare
Brand HP
Model 14-ak050nr
Weight 5.2 pounds
1
The Toshiba 2 is the best option when it comes to productivity. Its 13.3" screen means that having multiple windows open at the same time isn't a problem, and 4 GB of RAM with an i3 processor allow for quick multitasking without lagging.
  • convenient backlit keyboard
  • extremely bright display
  • silver housing has a premium look
Brand Toshiba
Model CB35-C3350
Weight 4.7 pounds

The Invention Of The Chromebook

The Chrome OS was designed by Google in 2009 and released to the retail market in 2011. It is based on the Linux kernal, which is a streamlined OS that many programmers prefer over Windows. Like the Linux OS it is based on, the Chrome OS is also streamlined and can perform a number of tasks quicker than Windows or Mac operating systems. Chromebooks use the Google Chrome web browser as their main user interface and support mostly web applications with a few native programs such as an integrated media player and file manager. Chromebooks are thin clients, which means the majority of the applications and user data is stored in cloud servers.

A Chrome-like OS was first under development by Jeff Nelson, who was a developer at Google, in 2006 and he even received a patent for it in 2008. It took a few years for Google's management to stand behind the idea of a new operating system, which is why it wasn't announced until 2009. The first actual Chromebooks were released in 2011 by Acer and Samsung. The original Chromebooks were all laptop versions, but in 2012 a desktop version known as a Chromebox was released. In 2013, Hewlett Packard and Lenovo entered the market, along with Google who started manufacturing and selling Chromebooks under the own brand name. They were followed in 2014 by LG who created an all-in-one model.

Critics of Chromebooks were skeptical at first, but as the prices of the devices came down and their functionality improved, they have proved to be extremely popular with consumers. To date they have sold millions of units and have even begun to eat into Microsoft's market share.

Chomebooks Versus Laptops

Many people are conflicted about whether to buy a traditional laptop or to go with a Chromebook. One of the immediate benefits anybody searching for one of these two options will notice is that Chromebooks are cheaper, often by hundreds of dollars, than the average Windows 10 laptop, but this price cut does come with some drawbacks. Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily when connected to the Internet. While they do still have some functionality when offline, like using the Gmail app, Google Drive, and Pocket, user will notice their ability to run the majority of the apps significantly hampered.

On the other hand, nearly every Chromebook gets outstanding battery life, in the 9 to 12 hour range, which is something often found only in high end Windows laptops that cost $800 and up.

If you normally use Google apps throughout your day, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar, you will most likely find the deep integration of the native Google apps on a Chromebook a welcome addition. If you use other services like Yahoo Mail, One Drive, or Microsoft Word, you may find adjusting to a Chromebook a problematic experience. Luckily there are new apps coming out everyday designed for Chromebook that help users overcome some of these issues, like the newly released Microsoft Office Online, which is a cloud-based version of their popular software that can be used on the Chrome OS. Chrome also offers its own photo editors, but users who prefer Adobe Photoshop will be out of luck as they cannot run it on a Chromebook.

In addition to all of the native Chrome apps, Chrome OS is beginning to support most Android apps as well, opening up a whole new level of gaming and productivity possibilities.

How To Pick The Right Chromebook

One of the first decisions you should make when looking for a Chromebook is how big, or small, you want it to be. The size of your laptop display can make or break a user experience, so choose carefully. For the most part, Chromebooks come in 3 sizes; 11.6", 13.3", and 15.6". Many adults find that an 11.6" screen is too small for work functionality, so unless the device is being purchased solely for entertainment purposes, most would do well to steer clear of the smallest size. If you want something functional, but also easily portable, 13.3" Chromebooks are a good choice. If you don't plan on taking your Chromebook on the go too often, you may appreciate a 15.6" screen, especially if you will be using it for watching movies or working on multiple programs at the same time. You should also take into account screen resolution. Generally speaking, the higher the resolution the better. When considering size and portability, don't forget to check the weight and thickness as well.

Storage isn't that big of a deal when it comes to Chromebooks as the majority of their data is stored in a cloud server. That being said, if you believe you will want to store some data locally, like pictures and movies for those times Wi-Fi is unavailable, then consider a model with a 32GB hard drive.

As with any laptop or computer, choosing a model with a SSD is preferably over one with an HDD. HDDs are slower, louder, and use more battery power than SSDs. Because the hard drives in all Chromebooks are relatively small, one with an SSD won't cost much more than a model with an HDD. Along with the type of hard drive, you should consider the processor. The newer the processor the better as it will help future-proof your device. Ideally you should buy a model with a 5th or 6th generation Intel processor.



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Last updated: 03/29/2017 | Authorship Information

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