10 best Chromebooks 2016: top Chromebooks reviewed

Techradar's top-ranking Chromebook reviews

Best Chromebooks

You're not interested in a low-end Windows laptop. Been there, done that. The entry-level specs weren't enough to handle the demanding performance requirements of full Windows 10. Instead, the Linux-based Chrome OS piques your interest, an operating system representing what personal computing has been all about since its induction: the internet and your web browser.

You're not interested in a budget Windows laptop. Been there, done that. The entry-level specs couldn't handle the demanding performance requirements of Windows 10 proper. Instead, you would rather have the Linux-based Chrome OS in your grasp, an operating system that represents what computing has been all about since its induction: the internet and your web browser.

Although they don't approach the imposing specs of, say, a Surface Pro 4 or a Surface Book, Chromebooks are exceptional in their own right. With little more than 1,366 x 768 resolution screens and low-power Celeron processors, Chromebooks are undoubtedly built for longevity, portability and affordability rather than sheer might.

Most Chromebooks on the market claim somewhere between 7 and 9 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 Toshiba Chromebook 2 to the high-powered, high-performing Lenovo N20p has been considered.

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

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

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 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

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

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.

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

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 are a handful of Celeron and Core i3 models to choose from too), but it sure is nice to have the option for once.

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

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 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

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 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

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. 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.

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