10 best Chromebooks 2016: top Chromebooks reviewed

Techradar's top-ranking Chromebook reviews

Best Chromebooks

Unlike the PC versus Mac debacle, Chromebooks aren't exactly at war with anyone. In fact, Google's browser-based computer line somehow manages to complement your other devices rather than put them in their graves. Thanks to low starting costs and simplistic design, both hardware and software, Chromebooks are quirky and smart as well as both low impact and capable without breaking the bank.

Chromebooks run Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system that represents what computing has been all about since the late '90s: the internet and your web browser. Moreover, thanks to the introduction of Android apps for Chrome OS, you can reap the benefits of two different platforms in one affordable piece of kit.

Though most are baseline in terms of specs, sporting low-power processors and 1,366 x 768 resolution screens, Chromebooks are built for longevity. Almost every Chromebook claims between 7 and 9 hours of battery life, while most even deliver on their promises based on our testing.

As far as size goes, you can find a Chromebook screen measuring anywhere from 11.6 to 15 inches. Better yet, there are even a handful of 2-in-1 Chromebooks available if you want to switch between the comfort of a tablet to the productivity of a laptop at any given time. In this guide, we've handpicked our top ranking Chromebook reviews, from the pixel-dense Toshiba Chromebook 2 to the high-powered, high-performing Lenovo N20p.

best Chromebook

1. Toshiba Chromebook 2

Full HD on a Chromebook just got better

CPU: 5th generation Intel Celeron – Core i3 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 16GB eMMC

Gorgeous 1080p screen
Up to Core i3 power
Screen glare
Can't purchase new

Though we previously criticized it for clinging to a price tag comparable to an entry-level Windows 10 laptop, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 now sells for a significantly lower price on Amazon. Included in the package is more memory than the original along with a 1080p display, lining it up with rival, (pseudo-) premium models on the market like the Dell Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Pixel.

However, note: this low price only applies to Toshiba Chromebook 2 models that have been certified refurbished. That said, Toshiba has since released a 2016 model complete with a 2.16GHz Celeron processor that you can still buy new.

Read the full review: Toshiba Chromebook 2

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

Don't let the subtle looks deceive you. With the Chromebook 11, Dell stuffed in features that are typically reserved for more premium business notebooks in an effort to create a durable device for schools.

On the Chromebook 11, you'll find a 180-degree reinforced hinge, rugged design, sealed keyboard and trackpad and a punchy typing experience accompanying a portable package. In addition to using the Chromebook for school work, bass-happy students will appreciate the loud stereo speakers for music and videos.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11

Best Chromebook

3. Asus Chromebook Flip

A flipping premium Chromebook for almost nothing

CPU: Rockchip 3288-C | Graphics: ARM Mali T624 | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch | Storage: 16GB eMMC

Fully metal construction
Excessive battery life
Occasional crashes
Large screen bezels

The Asus Chromebook Flip isn't perfect, but it's an impressive little piece of kit. Plus, it's so affordable that you might want to pick one up just to have a Chromebook on hand – even if you already own a MacBook or Windows laptop.

Aside from the budget price tag, the Flip is one of the best-built Chromebooks to blaze the trail onward for more convertibles. Touchscreen functionality feels slightly more logical, with a screen that actually rotates for once.

All the while, the Flip meets all the core tenants of an ideal Chrome OS device, including stellar battery life. If you've been ho hum on Chromebooks before, this is definitely one to ... flip out about. (Sorry.)

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

best chromebook

4. 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 eMMC

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

With a rock-bottom starting price, this is an excellent value for those seeking a basic web browsing machine. It's cheaper than the Toshiba Chromebook 2 while offering a bigger screen.

And, while Acer's Chromebook 15 serves up equal components behind a larger screen for the same amount of scratch, HPs' 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot, if coffee shop appeal is crucial.

For a modest investment, you'll get a responsive, friendly-looking notebook that's actually fun to use despite some minor shortcomings.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14

best chromebook

5. 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

If you're mulling over the Acer Chromebook 15 for your next notebook, then you'd better have big ideas. Compared to most other Chromebooks, this one has more screen real estate, more processing power and unsurprisingly costs more as a result.

The C910 version took this series of laptops to two new places, as the first with a 15.6-inch screen and the first to introduce the fifth-generation Broadwell CPUs to Chromebooks.

Specifically geared toward students and teachers – thanks to its durable frame and gorgeous visuals – the Acer Chromebook 15 is fine for any consumer who doesn't mind the extra weight slash inches.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

best chromebook

6. Google Chromebook Pixel

The end all, be all of Chromebooks.

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.85-inch 2,560 x 1,700 IPS touch | Storage: 32GB – 64GB SSD

Intel Core processor
Long, long battery life
Very expensive
3:2 screen hurts multitasking

Outfitted with an Intel Core i series processor, USB 3.1 (and USB-C) ports, a beyond-HD display and more RAM than it will ever need, the Chromebook Pixel sets a high bar for Chrome OS machines.

Hardware and performance aside, the Pixel is one of the few Chromebooks that seems like it has itself completely figured out. The build quality of this machine is superb, with a design that's nailed down to a science. A vibrant screen – plus the tactile keyboard and trackpad – helps round out the Pixel as one pretty, premium package.

That said, this one's quite an investment. At this price, you could buy several Chromebooks or a far more powerful Windows laptop. So, before you buy, we suggest you consider all the much more affordable (or better) options out there before plunking down so much money into the best Chrome machine.

Read the full review: Google Chromebook Pixel 2

Acer Chromebook R11

7. Acer Chromebook R11

360-degree flips for days

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 – N3150 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6" 16:9 HD (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Convertible
Good battery life
HD-only display
Terrible trackpad

The Acer Chromebook R11's minimalist design may not be the most enticing, but behind that shell is a surprisingly ready laptop that will last all day. Oh, and did we mention it can flip 360 degrees into a tablet? But never mind the small details.

Acer's R11 packs in day-long battery life, punchy performance and a 360-degree hinge with touchscreen into a subdued design. It won't break the bank, thereby making flaws, like an iffy trackpad and barely-HD touch display, a little easier to swallow. Plus, there's the incentive of Android apps, making it more useful than the Chromebooks without them.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11

Best Chromebook

8. Acer Chromebook 13

With incredible battery life, the Chromebook 13 is a winner

CPU: Nvidia Tegra K1 | Graphics: Nvidia Keplar | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, HD (1.920 x 1.080) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Battery life
Great speakers
Strange port locations
Lackluster visuals

Powered by Nvidia's powerful Tegra K1 chip, this Chromebook packs a lot of punch in a tiny frame. You're bound to fall in love with its 13.3-inch, 1080p resolution screen, as well as its portability. At 3.31 pounds, the Acer Chromebook 13 is a relatively feathery notebook.

This Chromebook does have some minor issues: it doesn't multitask very well, and the laptop itself only comes in one color. But, hey, for the price, you're likely to enjoy the simplicity and productivity as you learn to overcome its limitations.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 13

Best Chromebook

9. Asus Chromebook C300

A long-lasting Chromebook that just won't quit

CPU: Intel Celeron N2830 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Great performance under pressure
Battery life goes on and on
Divisive bright colors
Narrow viewing angles

After years of refinement, we're finally at the point of seeing bigger, better and bolder Chrome OS devices like the Asus Chromebook C300. This 13-inch Chromebook comes with a slightly faster processor than the rest of its cloud-based flock – all while ditching the fan simultaneously.

The TN screen unfortunately is awash, but this Chromebook simply goes on and on with its nigh excessive battery life.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook C300

Best Chromebook

10. Lenovo N20p Chromebook

A versatile Chromebook experience for a reasonable price

CPU: Intel Celeron N2830 – N2930 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768) multi-touch | Storage: 16GB SSD

Gorgeous design
Super fast
Poor viewing angles
Bad speakers

This is one of the "sexier" Chromebooks around, showcasing Lenovo's lust for style. However, the best feature is the N20p's 300-degree hinge, bending the N20p's display backward all the way into stand mode (or "tent" mode), which lends itself rather well to watching films or showing presentations.

The touchscreen controls also work in a snap for, say, watching shows on HBO Go or lurking around Pinterest. Still, there's some struggle when using it as a tablet, as Chrome isn't entirely made for touch as an almost exclusively browser-based interface.

It might lack fine-tuning for work use, but the Lenovo N20p offers great versatility best suited for leisure. Moreover, with two USB ports (one 3.0), an HDMI port and an SD card reader, this Chromebook delivers an excellent overall value.

Read the full review: Lenovo N20p Chromebook

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

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