The 9 Best Chromebooks

Our experts tested the best budget-friendly alternatives to a PC or Mac

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If you need a cheap and versatile machine for routine tasks like checking email, doing schoolwork or streaming media and browsing the web, the best Chromebooks could be for you. They're affordable and offer access to almost everything you need, as long as you have a stable Wi-Fi connection (and a Google account).

For most people, our experts think you should just buy the Google Pixelbook Go - it's incredibly well designed, has an impressive camera, and a long-lasting battery that should get you through at least 12 hours of work or streaming. If you want a cheaper option, the Lenovo Flex 5 is the one to get.

Chromebooks run on a version of Google's Chrome browser rather than running Microsoft's Windows or Apple's MacOS. While you can’t install any software like Photoshop or Microsoft Word, Chrome extensions can make some of your most routine or favorite tasks easier. You also have access to the Google Play store and compatible apps. Crucially, they're also very reasonably priced—which makes them great laptops for college students and younger students as well. More advanced models enhance convenience with large, high-resolution displays, 2-in-1 convertibility, and stylus support for presentations and projects or streaming your favorite media.

The other top picks on our list of the best Chromebooks also excel for specific needs, whether that’s for business use, meeting a budget, or convertibility.

The Rundown
The lofty price is backed by some cutting edge features and technology.
The Flex 5 is an affordable compromise between a tablet and a laptop.
The Chromebook Flip C434 is Asus’ best foot forward for a Chromebook that checks all the boxes for most users.
One of the most affordable ways to get into a really capable Chromebook.
This 2-in-2 offers solid performance in a premium design and boasts a long-lasting battery life.
Lenovo is a brand that has long been focused on the professional market, particularly with the no-nonsense Thinkpad line.
This lightweight 2-in-1 boots in under 10 second and provides for great portable use on the go.
A truly premium option for those who want a portable device running on the Chrome OS.
Best for Students:
HP Chromebook 14 at Amazon
HP’s clamshell-style Chromebook line is a fantastic value.

Best Overall: Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go Lightweight Chromebook Laptop
What We Like
  • Premium, light form factor

  • Superb battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Pretty expensive

  • Only two color options

The Google Pixelbook Go is a smartly designed Chromebook that offers an above-average webcam and stellar battery life. Our tester Jonno described it as a "very solid, thoughtfully designed, and supremely portable device."

It’s also sleekly built, sporting a thin build that weighs just 2.3 pounds, a quality keyboard with whisper-quiet keys and backlighting, and dual top-facing speakers that deliver better sound quality than the more typical bottom-facing speakers.

The 13.3-inch high-definition display is great for media streaming and the 1080p webcam is an impressive upgrade from typical laptop webcams, which could be great for work meetings, class or catching up with friends and family.

In fact, the main criticism of the Pixelbook Go from our tester was the price, especially if you opt for an upgraded processor and more memory and storage. However, it’s difficult to beat the build quality of the machine and amazing performance of the battery. You’ll get at least 12 hours on a single charge and a quick 20-minute recharge will give you 2 hours of use in a pinch.

"If you’re confident your needs don’t exceed the capabilities of a Chromebook and you’re a fan of the design, I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed by the Pixelbook Go." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Google Pixelbook Go

Lifewire / Jonno Hill 

Best Budget: Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook
What We Like
  • Flexible, affordable form factor

  • Compatible with Lenovo digital pen

  • Narrow bezels

  • Front-facing speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Only 4GB of memory

  • Pen sold separately

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a nice compromise for shoppers who want the portability of a tablet and the stability of a laptop. The 13.3-inch FHD display is clear and wide and unimpeded by intrusive bezels, and front-facing speakers reduce the chance of muffled audio whether you’re in a video chat or streaming a movie. Although the Flex 5 has a limited 4GB of system memory, it does come with an abundant 128GB SSD, which should provide plenty of room for all of your regular computing storage needs.

As 2-in-1s do, the Flex 5 offers convenient flexibility between tablet mode with a compatible Lenovo digital pen (though you’ll have to purchase it separately), and straightforward laptop mode. This Chromebook also offers ample device connectivity with USB-C ports on either side of the body, a speedy USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a microSD reader. Lenovo estimates up to 10 hours of battery life, which isn’t the longest but certainly enough to get you through the day, whether you’re tending to work-related tasks in Google Workspace or catching up on the latest episodes in your streaming queue.

The Flex 5 is an affordable compromise between a tablet and laptop.” — Yoona Wagener, Tech Writer

Best Design: Asus Chromebook Flip C434

Asus Chromebook Flip C434
What We Like
  • Beautiful, versatile form factor

  • Bright LED display

  • Great RAM and CPU options

What We Don't Like
  • A bit pricey

  • Only one color option

  • No Intel i7 options

The stylish and versatile Asus Chromebook Flip C434 flexes to meet your needs. The completely flexible 360-degree hinge allows you to operate it in laptop mode, as a tablet, propped up at an angle with the keyboard underneath it, or in a tented orientation. The FHD 14-inch display is bright and generous, thanks to the ultra-slim bezels surrounding it, and it’s also touch-responsive, which is handy for using in tablet mode. One slight design drawback is that speakers are bottom-facing, so you won’t get a full-bodied sound from whatever you’re viewing or listening to.

But the all-aluminum build has an upscale feel that won’t weigh you down at a mere 0.6 inches thick and 3 pounds. The responsive keyboard, sizable trackpad, and decent 10-hour battery life are also the perfect complement to any workday. While it doesn’t feature the fastest Chromebook processor, the Core M3 processor with up to 8GB RAM and 64GB of flash storage should satisfy most shoppers’ storage and multitasking needs.

Best Connectivity: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i

IdeaPad Flex 3i
What We Like
  • Affordable price tag

  • Great-looking display

  • Solid I/O

What We Don't Like
  • Mid-range processing power

  • Slower-speed storage technology

If you’re looking for an affordable 2-in-1, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i fits that profile. While it’s not the most impressive option, the 1366 x 768 11-inch HD display also functions as a touchscreen when in laptop, tented, or tablet mode. The hinge is also capable of resting at a complete 180 degrees. While this convertibility comes in at slightly heavier and bulkier than other budget-minded 2-in-1s at 2.64 pounds, the adequate 10-hour battery life will get you through a day of work or leisure.

The hardware isn't quite the most rapid or capable in the world of Chromebooks—with a standard Intel Celeron N4020 processor, 4GB of RAM, and only up to 64GB eMMC—but the Flex 3i makes up for that with a generous bundle of ports for easier connectivity and accessory compatibility. You’ll get two USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD reader, and a headphone/mic slot.

Best 2-in-1: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
What We Like
  • Excellent build quality

  • 2-in-1 functionality

  • Great keyboard

  • Snappy overall performance

What We Don't Like
  • Kind of expensive for a Chromebook

  • Limitations of Chrome OS

With impressive build quality and a slick user experience, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a compelling Chrome OS-powered budget alternative to more expensive Windows and Mac devices.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 features a particularly excellent keyboard, paired with a decent touchpad and touchscreen. The screen is a 13.3-inch 1920x1080 QLED display that delivers deep blacks, bright colors, and crisp details. The laptop boasts an impressive 13-hour battery life and is powered by 4GB of RAM and Intel Celeron CPU5205U processor. The speakers are also worth mentioning for producing great sound in such a slim and light laptop.

Though it won’t win any awards for sheer brute force computing power, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is one of the best Chromebooks on the market.

"The 13 hours of claimed battery life is no exaggeration, and this isn’t a laptop you have to worry about running out of juice during the course of a workday." Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Best for Business: Lenovo Chromebook C340

Lenovo Chromebook C340
What We Like
  • Large, vivid display

  • 2-in-1 versatility

  • Decent processing power

What We Don't Like
  • Limited RAM and storage

  • Lacks a bit of screen resolution

  • Only one full-sized USB port

The Lenovo Chromebook C340 is an appealing choice for shoppers who want a reliable machine for the basics. There’s enough power under the hood from the Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB RAM, and 32GB of flash storage to get you through spreadsheets, word processing, and presentations. Even better, the 2-in-1 form factor gives you the flexibility to work in a way that best suits your environment, whether that’s as a handheld tablet or in a tented or completely flat orientation for sharing with colleagues and collaborators.

Whatever you’re up to, this Chromebook will get you through it with an acceptable 10-hour maximum battery capacity. The 1368x768 HD display isn’t wow-worthy, but it’s bright and there are plenty of ports to support peripherals and the connectivity you need for the typical workday. It’s modest and understated all-around, but if you’re most concerned about a laptop that will help you get your work done, the C340 can do that.

Best Value: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet
What We Like
  • Rock bottom price point

  • Excellent screen

  • High-quality build materials

  • Attractive, light, and portable design

  • Good at simple tasks

  • Solid battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Not very powerful

  • Limiting software

  • Detachable keyboard is unreliable

  • Outdated Bluetooth hardware

  • No audio port

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a laptop/tablet hybrid that offers the low cost and high efficiency of Chrome OS combined with the flexibility of a 2-in-1 device. With a bright and beautiful 1920 x 1200 touchscreen display and an aesthetically high-end design, the Duet is one of the more attractive devices in its price range. 

It’s not that powerful, with only 4GB of RAM and a MediaTek Helio P60T processor, but that’s not a problem for the browser-based applications Chrome OS is intended for. You also get 128GB of solid-state storage and protective magnetic case that doubles as a stand.

However, the Duet is let down by the implementation of its detachable keyboard. I found it to be cramped and difficult to type on, and it has an annoying tendency to become partially disconnected from the rest of the device, resulting in malfunctions. It’s also really only usable on a desk or other flat surface in laptop mode, as it does not have a solid hinge mechanism and must rely on a stand for support.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is more of a tablet with an optional keyboard than a real laptop/tablet hybrid. When considered on its own, the tablet portion of the Duet is a remarkably good value, and because of this, it's seriously flawed detachable keyboard is not necessarily a dealbreaker.

“The screen is quite sharp, and very bright with excellent colors. No corners were cut with the Duet’s display, and it really stands out in such an inexpensive device.” — Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Andy Zahn / Lifewire

Best Splurge: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
What We Like
  • Beautiful display and design

  • Latest-gen processor

  • S Pen functionality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Only one configuration available

  • Lackluster speaker performance

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is a sharply designed 2-in-1 boasting impressive bells and whistles that many Chromebooks don’t offer. The first is a brilliant 4K AMOLED display that has a full 360-degree range and also operates in touchscreen/tablet mode. The built-in pen has a convenient resting place when you’re not using it to sketch or take notes, and the fingerprint reader provides another level of security and quick access to the device. It’s also incredibly thin (.39 inches) and lightweight (2.2 pounds) for ultimate portability.

While this model tends to be on the more expensive end for its sole configuration, it’s a solid one: Wi-Fi 6 network connectivity, a nimble Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. The battery is more of a mid-range performer at up to 8 hours, but if you value a premium display with multiple use modes and advanced features like biometrics and a stylus, the Galaxy Chromebook is an elegant and practical choice.c

Best for Students: HP Chromebook 14

HP Chromebook 14
What We Like
  • Reasonable CPU performance

  • Excellent I/O

  • Very affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Cheap-feeling peripherals

  • Washy, budget display

  • Low storage capacity

HP’s clamshell-style Chromebook line is a fantastic value. While the x360 options make it feel a bit more like you’re using a tablet, the standard 14-inch model here gives a ton of features for your price range. This particular configuration also features an AMD A4 processor, which isn’t quite as efficient as an Intel N-series, but gets the price well below the $300 mark. The 14-inch display sports a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is just sharp enough to give you a decent browsing experience, but isn’t winning any resolution awards. The IPS tech with WLED backlight should make it plenty light, but in our experience, that tends to wash things out—so you’ll find better performance if you tweak the color temperature when you get the laptop (found in the Night Mode settings menu).

The 4GB of DDR4 RAM should be plenty for basic browsing and entertainment, and the 32GB of storage space is about the minimum you’d expect for a Chromebook. Thankfully there’s a microSD card slot to expand the storage, though, because it will go a long way toward making sure you don’t outgrow the system. While the device runs a bit thick, that size allows HP to put in a lot of ports, including two USB-C ports featuring USB 3.1 tech and two full-sized USB-A ports. HP has also enlisted the help of B&O for the speakers, tuning them to give you a better sound stage and a fuller response. The keyboards and trackpads on these budget HP laptops tend to show the price point a bit with cheap-feeling plastic and clunky key/click travel. But if you’re looking for something that will get most of your basic needs done without breaking the bank, then this laptop is a great place to look.

Final Verdict

The Google Pixelbook Go (view at Amazon) is the top-rated Chromebook on our list because of its long list of valuable features. It’s sleekly designed yet lightweight, offers a high-quality webcam that’s a rarity in Chromebooks, solidly speedy all-around performance, and stellar battery life.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (view at Amazon) shares similar strengths with our top pick. The Flip C434 boasts a large display and 360-degree flexibility for multiple use modes and a sleek aluminum build with respectable day-long battery power.

  • What is a Chromebook?

    First launched in 2011 by Google, a Chromebook is a laptop that instead of using a traditional operating system like Microsoft Windows uses a specially adapted version of Google's Chrome browser. It uses Google's applications like Gmail, and stores your information on Google's cloud servers rather than on a hard drive like a traditional computer. It's extremely popular in schools due to the low cost of Chromebook devices.

  • What can't a Chromebook do?

    For power users who use specific macOS or Windows applications frequently, or for heavy gamers, a Chromebook probably won't work

What to Look For In a Chromebook 

Today, with more people working remotely, Chromebooks are an increasingly choice option for business professionals working from the home office or coffee shop. These more than capable laptop computers aren’t all work and no play by any means. Many of the latest Chromebook iterations on the shelves also serve as versatile multimedia platforms, easily transitioning from a standard clamshell laptop to a lightweight tablet in no time. This makes 2-in-1 laptops ideal for more casual offerings such as streaming your favorite shows and app play.

Before going all-in on a particular Chromebook, it’s best to understand your exact wants and needs. As an impulse shopper knows, a hasty decision during the shopping process could leave you with a woefully insufficient machine. Personal preferences and computational needs will play a key role in the decision-making process, so know what you need first and foremost. For example, busy college students on the move who are perpetually stowing their Chromebook in a backpack or satchel may prefer a compact, lightweight model. If this computer is for a child, it may be wise to shop for a durable model with thoughtful design touches such as drop protection and a reinforced exterior.

With these concepts in mind, we’ve boiled down the basics and curated this buying guide to assist you during the shopping process and help you make the right decision when you buy your next Chromebook. Without further ado, let’s take a digital dive into our definitive Chromebook buying guide.

Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA
Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Form Factor: What Do You Plan To Do?

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a regular electronic version of the Cambrian explosion within the niche laptop computing market. As consumers have added dedicated ebook readers, tablets and more to their portable electronics quiver, manufacturers have looked to entice consumers by offering various 2-in-1 and even 4-in-1 models. That said, there are numerous nimble and capable multi-purpose Chromebooks on the market today.


For those looking for a Chromebook with tablet potential, some models include 360-degree hinges allowing the Chromebook to put the roof back and go full convertible. There are even Chromebooks with entirely detachable displays to help lighten the load when it’s tablet time. At the upper tier of maneuverability (and also price), the Pixelbook can quickly transition from tablet to laptop to entertainment mode in a snap. Then again this eye-catching model does cost nearly a grand, far more than affordable 2-in-1 options like the Chromebook Flip series.

As for other design specifications, parents, in particular, may want to look for a Chromebook engineered to take a beating and keep on computing. Some models on the market are built with spill-resistant keyboards and rubberized exterior components. Other rugged extras include drop protection and Gorilla Glass casings for added durability. If a Chromebook is going to be in-and-out of a child’s backpack multiple times a day, take a long look at a Chromebook constructed to effectively absorb the inevitable drop. (In all fairness, many of us are guilty of eating lunch at our laptops every now and then, so the spill-resistant keyboard is virtually a must for most at this point.)

Additionally, there is also an aesthetic element involved in the purchasing decision for some shoppers. And while most Chromebooks have largely plastic exterior shells there are more elegant models on the market with MacBook-esque aluminum builds like the Asus Chromebook Flip we recently reviewed. Regardless of your general preference, the overall design and functionality portion of the decision is a great starting point for shoppers, as this will help streamline the rest of the process and save invaluable time.

Acer Chromebook R 11
Lifewire / Jordan Provost 

Size and Weight

Whether you’re a busy business professional or a college student going from classroom-to-classroom, in the realm of laptop computing, portability is key. Larger screens will make far better personal home theaters for media viewing, however, these exceptionally bulky builds can be a pain to lug around, even in the most ergonomic backpack. Smaller lightweight 2-in-1 devices may be more appropriate for younger children, especially if these units are also intended for use during the school day. In general, slimmer convertible 2-in-1 Chromebooks make far less cumbersome tablets for casual use around the home. Again, this is a largely preferential detail, but one that is certainly worthy of note nonetheless.

Screen features (touchscreens, resolution, display types)

Choosing the right screen is one of the most crucial decisions for anyone shopping for a new laptop. Some Chromebooks on the market today have massive 15-inch displays, perfect for gaming or use around the home as mobile mini-home theaters. Larger full HD screens will offer beautiful high-resolution clarity for stunning media viewing, however, these units aren’t exactly the most portable laptops out there. As a result, many will prefer a smaller screen and there are plenty of travel-friendly 10-inch displays to do the trick.

Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 3181
Lifewire / Jordan Provost 

There are other more technical factors to keep in mind as well. For example, to reduce glare some devices, like the Samsung Chromebook 3, include anti-reflective displays. Smaller Chromebooks often come with rather lackluster resolutions and those looking for a sharper display may prefer to make the leap to a model with 920x1080 resolution. To accommodate multiple viewing angles and for greater clarity in direct sunlight perhaps consider an in-plane switching (IPS) panel. Lastly, Chromebooks with 2-in-1 versatility as touchscreen tablets are very popular, especially among children. Some of these touchscreen models have reinforced Gorilla Glass screens to reduce the risk of scuffs, scratches and all-out shatters.


The evolution of the personal laptop has seen quite a bit of change over the last decade. Manufacturers slowly transitioned from the classic USB-A to slimmer USB-C ports to accommodate increasingly more compact laptops. Can you manage without USB-A ports? Do you absolutely need a microSD slot? Expanded storage ports a la microSD are ideal for convenient plug-and-play maneuverability with downloaded Google Play apps and other media files. Either way, be sure to check the spec sheet before you smash the “Add to Cart” button, as a missing port or two could be a major deal-breaker for some.

Overlooking these specific specs can be a fateful error that will quickly transform your Chromebook into a regular dongle party in no time. Those who want to utilize dual monitors many want a dedicated HDMI port although this isn’t completely necessary with the Chromebook “cast.” This feature allows you to “cast” your full screen or an individual tab to a compatible TV. In general, understand your port needs upfront and then shop with these in mind. 

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02
 Lifewire / James Huenink

Hardware: How Much Power Do You Need? 


The central processing unit (CPU) known more colloquially as simply the “processor” is essentially the brain of your Chromebook. The necessary sophistication of this brain will squarely depend on how you plan to use the computer on a typical day or even during infrequent bursts (we’re looking at you seasonal binge gamers). For example, more advanced Intel Core processors are better suited for that HD streaming video session. Individuals looking for more of a bare essentials processor will be just fine with a slower CPU. Many people simply need a Chromebook for the basics such as web browsing, some word processing action and the occasional streaming video, however, those looking to utilize the ever-expanding list of compatible apps will need a more powerful processor.


The amount of RAM (random access memory) is also a major consideration for anyone in the market for a new Chromebook. Many of the models included on this roundup come with 4GB of RAM which is enough for standard web browsing and streaming, however, those who regularly play more intensive games will consequently require more RAM (typically 12GB minimum) on their devices to optimize performance and minimize frustrating lag times. (Take it from us, don’t “pwn” yourself by either short-changing or overlooking your RAM needs.) Video editing programs will also perform much more swimmingly with more RAM available onboard. Connoisseurs of browsers brimming with bountiful open tabs will also greatly appreciate the enhanced performance of a Chromebook with ample RAM.

Internal storage

One of the more well-known “perks” of choosing a Chromebook is the included 100GB of Google Drive storage. Regardless, many individuals will still prefer to store media and other files locally and this magic gigabyte number will vary for each user. For a regular comparative digital vault, the aforementioned Google Pixelbook touts 128GB of internal flash storage, far more than the average Chromebook on the market. Many of the models included on this list have either 32GB or 64GB of available storage. In general, 64GB of internal storage may be a bit light for some, but this, of course, depends on your digital appetite. It’s important to remember that larger downloads will quickly gobble up this limited space. Those who need to regularly access and store massive media files such as graphic illustrators will also need more room to work with.

Lenovo Chromebook C330
Lifewire / Andy Zahn 

Battery life

How long will the Chromebook last between recharges? That’s an important question for many consumers, as most of us know all-to-well the despair that is needing to painstakingly lug a computer over to the nearest outlet for a little juice. Thankfully, many of the Chromebook models available today offer exceptional battery life, allowing you to easily power through a full workday with enough energy left to wind down with a little streaming in the evening on a single charge.
In fact, one of the models we tested touted more than 13 hours of use on a single charge. Again, not everyone will need this kind of stamina some, but some folks will definitely appreciate it. With ample battery life, parents can rest assured their child’s computer will accommodate a full school day even if they forgot to pack the charger.


For those who want to sync all of their wireless gadgets to their laptops, Bluetooth connectivity is imperative. That said, most Chromebooks will work with Bluetooth, however, not all devices on the market do. Again, Chromebooks are heavily reliant on the Internet, so, of course, Internet connectivity is important. Fortunately, many models come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi offering blazing fast speeds compared to some other models with 802.11n.


At one point in time, webcams were a tremendous novelty component for desktop and laptop users. However, in a world where an increasing number of us are working remotely and using different apps to interact with our friends in different cities, webcams are a necessity for many consumers. Unfortunately, not all Chromebooks come with a webcam. If you are telecommuting to the office or looking to interact face-to-face over the interwebs, a webcam is a must. Make sure to check the specs on these cameras as well. Some cameras can only muster grainy, low-quality video while models with more advanced HD webcams are better suited for professional settings.

HP Chromebook x360 14 G1
Lifewire / Andy Zahn

About Our Trusted Experts

Yoona Wagener is a technology and commerce writer. She has tested wearables, peripherals, and laptops for Lifewire, including the HP Chromebook 11 and Samsung Chromebook 3.

Jonno Hill is a writer who covers tech such as computers, gaming equipment, and cameras for Lifewire and publications including and

Andy Zahn has written for Lifewire since 2019 and covered a wide range of products including laptops and Chromebooks. As an avid outdoorsman, he was a fan of the extra portability offered by several of the devices on this roundup.

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