We've given this list a major overhaul this month following the announcement of several 'gaming Chromebooks' and the sad demise of the Google Pixelbook Go - check out our new top picks!
Christian Guyton, Computing Editor
The best Chromebooks offer students, casual users, and budget consumers capable laptop options that are more affordable than their full operating system-powered counterparts. Chromebooks are such good value for money that they're the way to go if you don't really need a Windows- or macOS-powered machine.
Chromebooks routinely make it onto our best laptop and best 2-in-1 laptop rankings. All Chromebooks use the ChromeOS, which focuses more on the use of cloud computing rather than locally installed files and software. This helps keep Chromebooks cheap since the demands on the system's hardware are lower than other operating systems and allows for lower-end hardware to run smoothly.
Virtually every major laptop manufacturer produces multiple different Chromebooks at this point. With such a wide range of products available, we're here to make it easy for you to pin down the best Chromebook for you. We've tested dozens of Chromebooks, and we've put our expert knowledge to work here to compile the most ideal for your needs and budget.
Before you hit buy, it's vital to remember that they aren't necessarily the best device for all users. Those who need more power or more software functionality than a Chromebook can provide may want to look elsewhere. However, if you're sure that a Chromebook will serve you well, take a look at our top picks below.
The best Chromebook 2022
The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is not for everyone, at least not the high-end configurations. While this is the most premium Chromebook we've ever laid our eyes on, it does have more affordable entry configurations that make this a more compelling student Chromebook rather than just one for the bosses and organization fleets.
It's by far the most powerful Chromebook we've ever tested, and the entry-level 12th-gen Core i3 configuration still packs some seriously solid specs that would make a lot of other Windows and macOS laptops blush.
Featuring some of the best security features we've ever seen on a Chromebook, including the first Chromebook to ever come powered by Intel vPro, this is the perfect lightweight and portable productivity Chromebook, though be prepared to spend a whole lot of money for the privilege.
Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook review
If you want a super-cheap laptop, it can be difficult to know what to buy. Yes, you can find Chromebooks for as little as a hundred bucks, but be wary - these won't be speedy, sleek machines that can comfortably carry you through a workday. The ultra-budget models are better suited to kids and older, tech-averse relatives.
If you want a cheap, capable Chromebook for work or school, though, the Acer Chromebook 314 Touch is a sound choice. The display is a tad weak with its 768p resolution, but that won't make a difference in everyday tasks such as web browsing and word processing, and just about everything else this Chromebook has to offer is fantastic for the $300 asking price.
The chassis is compact and lightweight, without the chunky screen bezels found on many budget laptops. 64GB of local flash storage isn't a lot, but Chrome OS is designed to rely on cloud computing, so you'll have far more space in Google Drive to store all the files you want.
The Intel Celeron processor powering the Acer Chromebook 314 Touch obviously isn't the most powerful CPU in the world, but it can run Chrome OS smoothly and the Intel UHD 600 integrated graphics mean you can run some games from the Google Play Store too - Pokemon Unite, anyone?
Our full Acer Chromebook 314 Touch review will be arriving soon.
Since Google designed the Chrome operating system itself, it should be no surprise to anyone that the search engine giant makes one of the best Chromebooks on the market. The original Pixelbook previously held the top spot on our list, but the newer Pixelbook Go is even better, proving without a doubt that Chromebooks can hold their own against mainstream Windows laptops and MacBooks without sacrificing style or value.
The Pixelbook Go's standout feature is its truly incredible battery life, which comfortably outlasts many competing laptops. This means you can go a full day at work or school without ever needing to charge your device. It also holds charge admirably when not in use, meaning you can close the lid and leave it in your bag for a few days, then come back and pick up right where you left off.
It also boasts an incredible 'Hush' keyboard that feels amazing to type on and lives up to its name with zero key clatter even for speedy typists. The Pixelbook Go is so good, we've even taken to using it over more powerful Windows laptops when we need to get some work done on the go.
Sadly, the Pixelbook team at Google was recently disbanded, so don't expect any new models in the future. The good news is that the Go is still available for purchase at the moment, and will probably remain on sale until Google has cleared out its remaining stock. The only downside - and perhaps the cause behind its untimely demise - is that the higher-end configurations can get quite pricey.
Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review
The Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is the first of a new breed of Chrome-powered laptops. Acer revealed its first Aspire Vero laptop earlier this year, produced using post-consumer-recycled plastics and a sustainable design ethos in a time when eco-friendly tech is something we - and the planet - sorely need.
The Chromebook Vero 514 was wonderful to see, a much-awaited confirmation that Chromebooks wouldn't be left behind as Acer leads the charge on sustainable hardware. With recycled ocean-bound plastic used in the construction of its chassis, keycaps, touchpad, and even speakers, the Vero 514 is inarguably the most environmentally conscious Chromebook money can buy.
It's a tad on the expensive side as Chromebooks go, starting at $499 for the base model, but the specs are impressive. You can get up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU with Iris Xe integrated graphics, and a proper M.2 SSD (rather than slower flash storage) of up to 512GB to install all your favorite apps locally on the device.
Did we mention that it's got a slick 1080p display and a fast-charging battery, too? And a 1080p webcam? Oh, and Wi-Fi 6E with a tonne of physical ports to boot? The Vero 514 really does have it all, and we think it might even be a better laptop than its Windows-equipped Aspire predecessor.
Our full Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review will be arriving soon.
We're always learning, but some of us are learning more than others. Younger students are sure to benefit from the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3, which packs a rather rugged build quality that is well-suited for users who want to quickly stuff everything in their backpack or are likely to drop things on the floor. The keyboard base is solid and the hinge is very robust, enabling it to survive any amount of careless handling.
This isn't the most powerful Chromebook, but students need reliability more than power - especially if they're only really using it for homework, note-taking, and perhaps the occasional bit of Netflix. Fortunately, the IdeaPad Flex 3 has a seriously impressive battery life – our testing yielded a whopping 16-hour-and-20-minute result – which will allow them to make it through a whole day of school without needing to plug in. It's also very affordable, which should provide a nice bit of financial relief for parents who need to buy their kids a school laptop.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook review
Asus's Chromebook Flip line has consistently put out solid workhorse laptops for a long time, and the latest 2022 model of the excellent Flip CX5601 is no exception. With an LED-backlit keyboard and slender but robust external casing, the new CX5601 feels like a premium product - even in its lower-powered, more affordable configurations.
You can get this Chromebook in a variety of flavors, from the cheaper Intel Core i3 model to much more powerful i7 models equipped with 16GB of RAM and a speedy drive with up to half a terabyte of storage. This is great news for buyers with any budget.
As the name suggests, this is a 2-in-1 laptop, with a sturdy two-point hinge that lets you swap between laptop, tent, standing, or tablet mode. Naturally, the display is a touchscreen - and while the maximum brightness isn't that impressive, we do love the full HD panel with its tall 16:10 aspect ratio for squeezing more of web pages and text documents onto the screen.
The screen has a pleasingly small surrounding bezel - a must-have for any hybrid laptop-tablet, in our opinion - and a 1080p webcam with a physical privacy shutter sits on top. If you're an artistic type, some models come with an optional garaged stylus too!
Our full Asus Chromebook Flip CX5601 review will be arriving soon.
A Chromebook with an OLED screen is a relatively novel idea, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook executes that idea to perfection, making a significant improvement to an already-impressive laptop. On top of that gorgeously colorful OLED display, it also packs a nifty detachable keyboard that has been enlarged from previous models.
There are a few things that a regular laptop user might find a bit of an adjustment here. During testing, we found that its keyboard and kickstand still feel a little flimsy - not to mention, not the most seamless to handle. Surprisingly, a stylus is still not included as standard (though Lenovo does sell one separately).
However, that phenomenal battery life of up to 19 hours (our own battery life test gave a little over 16 hours) more than makes up for these shortcomings.
Wrapped up in an affordable package, you've got an absolute ace that we feel comfortable calling the best detachable tablet laptop on the market right now, with the best battery life to boot.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook review
'Gaming Chromebooks' are still a topic of some debate. Many will argue that they're not truly gaming devices, since they rely on cloud-based game-streaming services - such as Nvidia GeForce Now - to actually run the latest games without the need for powerful local hardware. By this metric, any Chromebook can be a gaming Chromebook.
With the 516 GE, though, Acer is making a surprisingly strong case for this new breed of Chromebooks. GE naturally stands for 'Gaming Edition', and this is just that: a solid Intel-powered Chromebook, with some slick new features added in to appeal to the gaming audience.
Chief among these is this display, a crisp and colorful QHD panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio to provide more screen real estate. With 100 sRGB color reproduction and good maximum brightness, it's one of the best screens we've ever seen on a Chromebook. The 120Hz refresh rate is also vital for ensuring a smooth framerate during intense gameplay.
The speakers have seen an upgrade, we've got Wi-Fi 6E and a physical Ethernet port to ensure a speedy connection, and the keyboard has been given a gamer-inspired RGB makeover. The only real downside here is that you'll need to pay for a subscription service like GeForce Now or Amazon Luna, but there's some good news - Google is handing out three-month subscriptions for free with gaming Chromebook purchases!
Our full Acer Chromebook 516 GE review will be arriving soon.
Sometimes you need a device that can pull double duty as a compact laptop and a tablet, and the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a great choice for this. Unlike many hybrid Chromebooks, this 11-inch unit is actually a very manageable size, closer to an iPad or Amazon Fire tablet than a beefy laptop. It's ideal for getting work done with the keyboard cover attached, then converting to tablet mode for some relaxing streaming.
Despite its small size and tablet design, this is just as capable as the rest of the mid-range options on this list. It's powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c chip, which is comfortably powerful enough to handle whatever you throw at it on Chrome OS. We ran 20 Chrome tabs on the x2 11, five of which were streaming content from various services, and we didn't experience any noticeable slowdown.
It's the 1440p display that really sets it apart from the rest, though. That 2160x1440 native resolution means that despite the smaller 11-inch form factor, the fidelity of this display is top-notch, and all your favorite Play Store games will look great.
Read our full HP Chromebook x2 11 review
The Asus Chromebook CX1700 might not be the most powerful laptop on the block, but it's an excellent pick of Chromebook for anyone who prefers a nice large screen for maximum productivity. This is a more conventional laptop offering without any fancy bells and whistles; there's no 360-degree hinge here, nor a touchscreen or stylus.
No matter though; for a straightforward laptop experience, the CX1700 is hard to beat. The screen is wide and bright with a small bezel, and the larger form factor has allowed Asus to fit in a comfortable full-size keyboard including a numpad - a rarity on Chromebooks that some students and professionals are sure to find useful.
Performance-wise, the Asus Chromebook CX1700 isn't going to win any awards for speed, but it can happily handle everyday workloads like documents and spreadsheets without much difficulty. Finally, its traditional laptop form factor makes it an easy, user-friendly entry into the world of Chromebooks for Windows refugees.
Our full Asus Chromebook CX1700 review will be arriving soon.
How to choose the best Chromebook for you
When it comes to choosing the best Chromebook, price is most people’s first consideration. That’s because a lot of these laptop alternatives end up in the hands of more casual users who don’t need a whole lot from their PC. In such a case, a cheaper yet still capable option is the better value – one of the best cheap Chromebooks, perhaps.
Of course, if you have more demanding needs, there are pricier options as well, and they will come with higher-end specs like more RAM, better processors like Intel Core CPUs, and perhaps more storage space. So, if you want to save more files, do some light photo editing, or play some games, you’ll want to splurge a little for better specs.
It’s not just the reasonable price tag that most Chromebooks have that make them top contenders, especially as laptops for kids and as student notebooks. You have to consider its design. Most boast impressively long battery lives while some are built to withstand abuse better than others – any gear you put into a kid’s hands needs to be able to absorb some bumps, after all. Others come with that 2-in-1 form factor and touchscreen capability that makes them so versatile.
Just like with the laptops, size is a crucial factor as well. You might want a larger display for more screen real estate or you might want something smaller for easier portability. Since most of these portables fall somewhere between 10 to 15 inches in terms of screen size, they’re all going to be easier to lug around than the competition.
What is a Chromebook?
But, what is a Chromebook exactly, and how is it different from other notebooks? A Chromebook is a device that runs the more lightweight Chrome OS. This Linux-based operating system relies heavily on Google’s Chrome browser and connectivity to the Internet for most of its tasks, which means that it requires less power and storage space when performing those tasks.
It isn’t as robust or comprehensive as Windows 10/11 or macOS. However, it’s just as capable of seeing its users through their daily multi-tasking needs, no matter if it’s to do productivity work all day while streaming shows and movies, getting through a bunch of school assignments, or even some photo editing and gaming.
More recently, it’s even expanded to run Android and Linux apps without internet connectivity, which means that its users are no longer limited to the Chrome browser. Finally, the lightweight nature of the operating system also lets the best Chromebooks beat out traditional laptops in some key areas, like portability and battery life.
Which is better, a Chromebook or a laptop?
Knowing which is better, a Chromebook or a laptop with a more traditional OS like Windows or macOS, really comes down to your needs and how you intend to use your laptop.
If you do almost all of your work and play online using web apps like Google Docs, SalesForce, GeForce Now, or other similar products, then a Chromebook is just as good at handling that kind of work as a more traditional laptop, since all of the actual application processing takes place in the cloud, which then displays the contents in a browser.
If you have a fast enough internet connection, you're not going to tell the difference between a Chromebook and a fully-featured Windows laptop or a MacBook.
If you plan on using locally installed apps like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or Steam, then you're going to find Chromebooks simply can't do that. The Android apps available through the Google Play marketplace are great, but they aren't as fully featured as similar desktop software. In most cases, Chrome OS simply can't run most of the installable software you'd find on a Windows laptop or a MacBook, so a Chromebook would be a bad choice for anyone hoping to use major flagship software offline.
How is a Chromebook different from a laptop?
A Chromebook is different from a laptop in a few key ways, but it’s important to note that Chromebooks are laptops, they just function differently. What you’re using a laptop for will ultimately determine whether or not you should invest in a Chromebook or something more powerful with better processors and graphics cards.
Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, which is a web-based operating system very similar to Google Chrome, so if you’re familiar with Google Chrome, a Chromebook might be a good option for you. Traditional laptops typically run the Windows operating system, and Macbooks run macOS, and will usually be full of RAM to make sure the laptop runs without lag or performance issues - something Chromebooks don’t have to worry about.
If you’re going to university, you may want to consider getting the best Chromebook as a student laptop because it’s lightweight - plus the cloud storage means you won’t have files clogging up your computer. However, if you’re planning on studying something like graphic design you’ll want to invest in something more powerful than a Chromebook that can handle design software.
A slight drawback to Chromebooks is that they don’t have the same programs available as other laptops, so for example you can’t get the full Microsoft Office suite, but you can open, edit, and convert files to and from Microsoft Office with Google Drive apps, or use Microsoft’s own Office web apps. Skype will work on a Chromebook because it’s available as an app on the Google Play Store, but iTunes will not work.
If you tend to want to play PC games on your laptop or do more energy-consuming tasks like photo and video editing, you may want to look into other laptop options like gaming laptops. But, if you’re in the market for the best Chromebook to help you accomplish daily tasks or business-related tasks, check out our list on this page.
How we test Chromebooks
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Testing Chromebooks isn’t too different from testing laptops and gaming laptops, though perhaps the paces are a little less intensive or game-heavy.
Since Chromebooks rely heavily on the Chrome browser, we push that browsing prowess to its limits, opening 20 or more browser tabs on different types of websites, from productivity ones like Google docs to streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. For good measure, we try to play media on those streaming services simultaneously. Because Chromebooks are now much more capable of running apps, we also open and use several apps at the same time.
Because a Chromebook is only as good as its peripherals, we take a look at its display, keyboard, availability of ports, and how good its overall design is. We also test its webcam and touchscreen capabilities, if they’re on hand.
We then take everything we’ve learned about the Chromebook and compare it to its price – whether or not it’s performance and features are worth that price tag, and whether or not it offers the best value to customers.