The 6 best Chromebooks of 2017: the top Chromebooks ranked

TechRadar's top-ranking Chromebook reviews

Update: We’ve gone ahead and re-ordered our selections of the best Chromebooks you can buy, reflecting changes indicated in our revised buying guide ranking methodology.

Though it’s been all but confirmed at this point that Microsoft is working on its own lightweight operating system to challenge Chrome OS, using Windows proper on a cheap laptop or tablet is a historically frustrating experience. Besides, Microsoft tried this before with Windows RT and lost out to none other than Google’s Chromebook lineup.

Not only are they powered by one of the best browsers in the business, but every new Chromebook that releases will ship with Android app support via the Google Play Store out of the box. Some offerings even boast premium features, such as touchscreens and versatile form factors, without administering highway robbery, making Chromebooks perfect for everyday, casual PC use.

Although they don't approach the imposing specs of some of the best laptops on the market, Chromebooks are exceptional in their own right. In many instances, they pack little more than 720p screens and basic Intel Celeron processors. At the end of the day, however, Chromebooks are designed with accessibility and portability in mind, extensive battery lives being a priority.

Speaking of which, Chromebooks usually claim somewhere between seven and nine hours of battery life on a single charge, whereas screen size can fall anywhere between 11.6 and 15 inches. Some even shake up conventional notebook design by taking on the role of a 2-in-1 convertible laptop, complete with 360-degree hinge rotation and often even styluses.

Here we've gathered the best of the best Chromebooks and lined them up in a list for your convenience. Everything from the pixel-dense HP Chromebook 13 to the handsome, new Asus Chromebook Flip  has been considered. Without further ado, let’s explore the options!

1. Asus Chromebook Flip

Premium Chromebook specs, economic Chromebook pricing

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Tactile keyboard
No out-of-box Android app support
Middling speakers

Before the Asus Chromebook Flip came around, pickings were slim when it came to affordable Chromebooks with full-on Intel Core processors and full HD 1080p displays, not to mention touchscreens, backlit keyboards and USB-C ports. It may take advantage of an Intel Pentium chip on the low-end, but the Asus Chromebook Flip is by means low-end. Compared to what’s offered by the competition, the Asus Chromebook Flip’s value is unparalleled, and that’s without getting into its pristine tablet mode, which blows other hybrids completely out of the water.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip 

Best Chromebook

2. Dell Chromebook 11

Dell's updated Chromebook is a star in almost every regard

CPU: Intel Celeron N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HD, 1366 x 768 touchscreen | Storage: 16GB SSD

Rugged design
180-degree barrel hinge
Touchscreen not standard
Small keyboard

On this Chromebook 11, you'll find a 180-degree reinforced hinge, sturdy design, sealed keyboard and trackpad and a punchy typing experience accompanying a perfectly portable package. In addition to using the Chromebook for classwork, bass-happy students will appreciate the loud stereo speakers for music and videos. Everyone else will appreciate the Dell Chromebook 11’s ability to lay flat using a 180-degree barrel hinge, an effective inclusion for touch-based activities. Don’t worry about dinging it, either. This device remains the most rugged Chromebook on our list.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11

best chromebook

3. Acer Chromebook 15

The colossus of Chromebooks

CPU: Intel Celeron – Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768) – FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Fast processing speed
Long battery life
Very heavy
Awkward keyboard

Rather than “Think Different,” Acer's spin on Apple’s catchphrase would be “Think Bigger.” Unlike most in its class, this Chromebook is blessed with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen made better only by its optional Intel Core i5 processor. You probably won't need all that power on a Chromebook (luckily, there’s a newer, even cheaper model that’s been added recently), but it sure is nice to have the option. When it comes to larger Chromebooks, there isn’t much selection, but luckily, Acer has devised a no-brainer.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

Acer Chromebook R11

4. Acer Chromebook R11

360-degree flips for days

CPU: Intel Celeron N3150 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HD, (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Convertible
Good battery life
HD-only display
Terrible trackpad

The R11's minimalist design may not win any fashion shows, but behind that plain shell is a surprisingly fit laptop destined to endure an entire day's work. It’s even among the first Chromebooks to support Android apps by way of the Google Play Store. So, if you’ve ever wanted to use Firefox on a Chromebook, well, now you can. The R11 packs day-long battery life, punchy performance and a 360-degree hinge with touchscreen. It won't break the bank, thereby making flaws, like an iffy trackpad and barely-HD touch display, a little easier to swallow.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11

best chromebook

5. HP Chromebook 14

A well-balanced Chromebook

CPU: Intel Celeron N2840 – N2940 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 14-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) BrightView | Storage: 16GB – 32GB eMMC

Excellent keyboard, trackpad
Crisp, vivid screen
Slower than some rivals
Average battery life

With a rock-bottom starting price, the HP Chromebook 14 is the best choice for those seeking a basic web browsing machine. While Acer's Chromebook 15 serves up similar components (save for SSD storage rather than eMMC), HPs' 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot. The HP Chromebook 14 sports a bright blue finish and a screen devised to surprise. Overall, this machine boasts the best value out of every Chromebook you could buy. Albeit average in both battery life and performance, the HP Chromebook 14 is a sublime offering considering the cost.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14

best chromebook

6. HP Chromebook 13

Flashy and functional, this Chromebook means business

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) – QHD (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Ultra-thin and sharp design
High-resolution display is a beauty
Lacks touchscreen
QHD+ display hikes price and lowers battery life

This Chromebook offers a handful of distinct features from what you might find on a comparable Windows laptop. You’re guaranteed at least a 1440p screen – above average for a Chromebook. Even better are the not one, but two USB-C ports. And, if you're willing to shell out just a bit more cash, you can also nab yourself an Intel Core-M processor rather than a Pentium. All of this is complemented by incredible style, a metallic design that exudes Pixel influence. Given that Google discontinued its own Chromebook earlier in the year, the HP Chromebook 13 wins the best high-end Chromebook position handily.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 13

Juan Martinez and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe has worked in games and technology media for nearly a decade for several publications. His writing has been featured in PC Magazine, AOL's Games.com, Laptop Magazine and Tom's Guide among others. Currently, Joe serves as TechRadar's Senior Editor, leading computing coverage specifically. Yes, that means he uses both macOS and Windows – every day.