You're not interested in a cheap Windows laptop. Been there, done that. The entry-level specs couldn't handle the demanding performance requirements of full-fledged Windows 10. Instead, you would rather have the Linux-based Chrome OS in your grasp, Google’s notebook operating system that represents what computing has been all about since the mid-90s: the internet and your web browser.
Although they don't approach the imposing specs of some of the best laptops on the market, Chromebooks are exceptional in their own right. With little more than 1,366 x 768, WXGA resolution screens and low-power Celeron processors, Chromebooks are built with longevity, portability and affordability in mind rather than sheer clout.
Most Chromebooks on the market claim somewhere between seven and nine hours of battery life on a single charge. Screen size, on the other hand, spans 11.6 to 15 inches. What's more, some even shake up the expected Chromebook form factor by drawing influence from an increasingly popular array of 2-in-1 laptops.
Here we've taken 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 inexpensive Asus Chromebook Flip has been considered…
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
For the price, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 might seem like a steep investment, but wrapped up in that slim, silvery package are the specs of a top-of-the-line Chromebook. Featuring a brilliantly vivid 1080p screen, a nifty backlit keyboard and the option of an i3 processor configuration, there's little to complain about here. Although, we could do with a matte display option – just food for thought.
Read the full review: Toshiba Chromebook 2
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
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
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
Aside from the budget price tag, the Asus Chromebook 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
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
With a rock-bottom starting price, the HP Chromebook 14 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 similar components save for SSD storage rather than eMMC, HPs' 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot, for when coffee shop appeal is crucial.
Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14
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
Rather than "Think Different," Acer's spin on the classic Apple catchphrase is "Think bigger." Unlike most in its class, the Acer Chromebook 15 is blessed with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen made better only by its optional Core i5 processor. Sure, 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 for once.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
6. HP Chromebook 13
A flashy and functional Chromebook for business
CPU: Intel Pentium – 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
For the price, the HP Chromebook 13 offers a handful of distinct from what you might find on a comparable Windows laptop. Even at the baseline, you're guaranteed a 1440p screen that's far above average for a Chromebook. Even more unusual is the inclusion of not one, but two USB Type-C ports, and if you're willing to shell out just a bit more cash you can also nab yourself a Core-M processor rather than a Pentium. All of this is complemented by the HP Chromebook's outward appearance, a metallic design that reeks of Pixel influence.
Read the full review: HP Chromebook 13
7. 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
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
8. 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
The Acer Chromebook R11's minimalist design may not be the most enticing, but behind that shell is a surprisingly fit laptop that will endure an entire day's work. 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.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11
9. 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
Powered by Nvidia's powerful Tegra K1 chip, this Chromebook packs a lot into its 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 feather on the outside, a powerhouse internally. 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
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
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. Unfortunately, using a Chromebook as a tablet isn't exactly ideal, but the range of ports certainly makes up for the oversight.
Read the full review: Lenovo N20p Chromebook
Juan Martinez and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.