The 7 Best Chromebooks and Netbooks to Buy in 2016

Shop for the top chromebooks and netbooks

Chromebooks and netbooks are small yet powerful, and can stand in for a tablet, a laptop or even a desktop under some circumstances. Chromebooks run on the Chrome OS, which is not for everyone and takes some getting used to (and it doesn’t run most software, including applications like Adobe Creative Suite). But if you're after something that runs with a bit more oomph, you may want to spring for a netbook. These devices are almost identical to Chromebooks, but run Windows OS. To help you decide which machine would be best for you (as well as flesh out the differences between both), we've compiled the top Chromebooks and netbooks on the market.

Best Chromebook Overall: Toshiba Chromebook 2

Toshiba Chromebook 2
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The Toshiba Chromebook 2 strikes the perfect balance between performance and value, offering up a device that has gorgeous HD display and respectable hardware, all in a lightweight and attractive package.

The LED screen is 13.3 inches with a true HD max resolution of 1920 x 1080, which will play movies and display websites with unrivaled vibrancy and clarity for the price point. Toshiba wanted to have the best looking screen in this class and the Chromebook 2’s contrast ratio happily achieves that.

You also get a more powerful processor than most Chromebooks pack. While the 4GB of RAM and 16GB of memory are par for the Chromebook course, the Chromebook 2 comes with an Intel Celeron 2.1 Ghz 3215U processor. While by no means the fastest chip on the market, it is still enough to browse through demanding webpages and streaming sites. And the latest 802.11 A/C wireless adapter helps to deliver a speedy performance.

Finally, the Chromebook 2 looks and feels better than its competitors. There’s no lackluster chassis here. The Chromebook 2 has a matted ice silver body that is sleek and stylish. The backlit keyboard and responsive trackpad round out an impressive package weighing less than three pounds. Buy from Amazon »

Best Budget: Dell Chromebook 11

Dell Chromebook 11
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The 2015 Dell Chromebook 11 packs in an Intel Celeron N2840 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD hard drive. Its dimensions are 16.2 x 11 x 2.9 inches with a max resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.

The real advantage of this device is its quality construction. Chromebooks have the tendency to look and feel "cheap," but this is one of the sturdier Chromebooks on the market, passing military specifications for spill protection and durability. It has rounded edges and rubber bumpers to protect it during transit, all in attractive black frame that looks and feels like a laptop twice the price. The screen is bright and the trackpad is responsive, another reason it separates itself from other entry level models.

The drawback is that it weighs almost five pounds, which is double the weight of other Chromebooks, and it does not have the latest WiFi technology, so it can lag a bit compared to other equipment.  Buy from Amazon »

Best 2-in-1 Chromebook: ASUS Chromebook 10 Flip

ASUS Chromebook 10 Flip
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Although the Asus Chromebook Flip isn’t equipped with the same processing power as other Chromebooks on this list, it stays true to the original idea of the Chromebook – a lightweight, portable device that offers a battery life other laptops can’t match. The Chromebook Flip does all this at under $300, with an efficient Rockchip RK3288C processor keeping the machine spritely yet giving you over 11 hours between charges. It has a 16GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, which does make the device a viable option for streaming over WiFi. It also comes equipped with the 802.11 A/C, the latest and fastest wireless type. 802.11 A/C really makes a difference when you are using public WiFi and it is something most budget Chromebooks lack, so it is a very nice feature to have included.

The Asus Chromebook Flip design is reminiscent of a MacBook, with an attractive silver chassis that’s contrasted with a black frame around the screen and it’s easily convertible to a touchscreen tablet with its slick multimode hinges. Weighing less than two pounds, it is smaller and lighter than any other laptop in its class. A 10.6” screen outputting just 1280x800 is perhaps a little minuscule for constant use, but for a travel laptop, the Asus Chromebook Flip is hard to beat. Buy from Amazon »

Best Netbook Overall: Lenovo ThinkPad 11E

Lenovo ThinkPad 11E
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The Lenovo ThinkPad 11E is one of the finest netbooks ever produced, and it includes a powerful Intel Celeron Quad-core N2940 1.83 gigahertz processor with 4 GB of RAM (which can be expanded to 16 GB) and a 128 GB SSD. The generous 11.6” screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768 and has an anti-glare coating. The lithium-ion battery provides up to 6.6 hours of life when not connected to a power source and it's just 0.72” thick (and weighs less than three pounds), so traveling with it is a breeze.

Unlike other netbooks, it comes equipped with a wide array of connectivity options, including a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI, and RJ-45. The 802.11A/C wireless connection gives you fastest wireless connectivity, rivaling laptops at much higher price tags. This Lenovo is well worth the money, especially considering the durability of the model.  Buy from Amazon »

Best Budget Notebook: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook Aspire 11-A01

Acer Aspire One Cloudbook Aspire 11-A01
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This little number is the best deal out there, and is loaded with more features than one might expect for the money. It features Windows 10 Home, a fast Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3050 processor for speed and power, and for extra storage ability, Acer offers two free years of 200 GB OneDrive Cloud storage. These features alone are worth the price of admission on this model.

The Aspire One Cloudbook can be powered by battery for up to six hours. It features an 11” HD 1366 x 768 LED-lit display screen, and includes HDMI-out and a variety of useful ports including Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and an SD card reader. All this in addition to 2 GB of RAM and a 16 GB eMMC SSD drive make this inexpensive model versatile and useful in many capacities, although multitasking large applications might be too much for this machine. Buy from Amazon »

Best Netbook for Business: HP Pavilion 11-P110nr X360

HP Pavilion 11-P110nr X360
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The Pavilion 11 netbook has a dark, elegant look that’s perfect for business use. This model is packed with features, and it would make a reasonable small replacement for an office laptop or other workstation. One of the main features that make the HP Pavilion 11 the choice for business use in 2016 is the keyboard; it has an easy-to-read keyboard that’s nearly as large as a standard laptop keyboard, and the touchpad recognizes various multi-touch movements. This model is one of the larger netbooks on offer, but remains light at 3.2 pounds.

At the heart of the Pavilion 11 is an Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 gigahertz processor, with an 11.6” LED-lit 1366 x 768 resolution touchscreen, a full set of ports and connections including Bluetooth, SD card reader, 2 USB 2.0 ports and a USB 3.0 port and WiFi. The 32 GB SSD drive offers sufficient storage space for a netbook and the processor is supported by 2 GB of DDR3L SDRAM. Buy from Amazon »

Best 2-in-1 Netbook: Lenovo Flex 3

Lenovo Flex 3
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The Flex 3 is a versatile machine that takes care of many needs. With its 360-degree hinge, it can be folded into a slate tablet or placed in almost any position. Windows 10 is standard on this model, and the 11.6” 10-point multi-touch screen allows for quick and easy use.

The 1366 x 768 pixel display screen is powered by Intel HD Graphics and there’s a built-in HD Webcam for impromptu meetings or presentations from remote locations. It also weighs just three pounds and is only .86” thick. The Intel Celeron N3050 processor is working with with 4 GB of DDR3L memory and the Flex 3 sports a generous 500 GB 5400-rpm hard drive, which is above-average storage capacity for a netbook but can be slower to access files compared to the netbooks featured with SSD drives. The Flex 3 supports WiFi connections and Bluetooth 4.0 and has two USB ports - one of them USB 3.0 - making this entry valuable for many different applications. Buy from Amazon »


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