The best Chromebooks 2018

Best Chromebooks

Although Windows laptops are finally getting longer battery life, thanks to ARM support, the Chromebook continues to impress us with all day battery life, something that’s still out of the reach of most Windows 10 laptops. When Google revealed its original laptop lineup nearly seven years ago, we weren’t sure what to expect from the best Chromebooks. Now, in 2018, there are over 25 million Chrome OS users in the world who have embraced the world of Chromebooks.

The general rules that govern the best Chromebooks are speedy performance, low prices and long battery life. While this means you shouldn’t expect the best processors, the best Chromebooks don’t need them – they make the most of the hardware they do have at their disposal.

And, new features are being added to the best Chromebooks all the time. For instance, Google is developing a tablet mode for Chrome OS and AltOS – which will allow users to install a second operating system. Plus, at Google I/O, Google showed off a ton of new tricks in the works for Chrome OS, like Linux apps, SD card compatibility for Android apps, and better stylus support.

However, even with the best Chromebook, you’ll still be restrained to what your web browser (and Google’s own Android storefront) can do. So, you’ll want to look elsewhere for all of your gaming and media editing needs. Still, if you spend a large portion of your computer time in word processors, email clients and video streaming services, you might want to look into picking up one of the best Chromebooks.

1. Google Pixelbook

Making good on its Android promises

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8 – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB

Sublime design
Awesome keyboard
Pen sold separately
Poor audio performance

Shortly after declaring the end of the Chromebook Pixel, Google brought it back in a way nobody was anticipating before its announcement, and subsequent release back in October 2017. Now, it’s the Google Pixelbook, and it stands completely independently of its spiritual predecessor. That’s because, unlike the Chromebook Pixel, it can natively run Android apps, on top of building upon Chrome OS. And, when you add in the huge storage space, fantastic stylus and Google Assistant, it shouldn’t be surprising when we say the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook available in 2018.  

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip 
Asus Chromebook Flip

2. 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 calling, there really weren’t very many affordable Chromebooks rocking full-fat Intel Core processors and full HD 1080p displays. Backlit keyboards and even touchscreens were hard to find. Then, the Chromebook Flip arrived and changed everything. With this Chromebook, all of these facets and more were brought to life. Put simply, if you want the key features that the Pixelbook offers without selling a kidney, this is a great alternative. While its sound quality leaves a bit to be desired, the Asus Chromebook Flip is one of the best Chromebooks hiding behind an attractive price tag. 

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip 

3. Samsung Chromebook Pro

Cultivating the marriage of Chrome OS and Android

CPU: 0.99Ghz Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Stunning, gorgeous design
Stylus support on Chrome OS
Cramped keyboard
Weak speakers

When Google announced that Android apps would be heading to Chromebooks, it was only a matter of time before Samsung took its mastery of the two OSs and crafted something truly beautiful. Boasting a 12.3-inch QHD touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is widely acclaimed for its built-in stylus – the first of its kind to show up in a Chromebook. Not only does it show up a majority of laptops in its own category, but it’s better than most Android devices as well, our issues with the speakers and keyboard aside. 

Read the full review: Samsung Chromebook Pro

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302

Best Chromebook

4. 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

If the Samsung Chromebook Pro is all about versatility, the Dell Chromebook 11 is about value. Reinforced by a 180-degree hinge, sturdy design and a sealed keyboard and trackpad in addition to a punchy typing experience, this Chromebook is a perfectly portable package. Not only adequately suited for school and work, the Dell Chromebook 11 even packs a set of loud stereo speakers for listening to music or watching videos. Don’t worry about dinging it, either, as this device remains the most rugged Chromebook on our list.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11

5. Acer Chromebook 15

Favoring longevity over beefy specs

CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Unbelievable battery life
Attractive, fanless design
Trackpad feels clunky
Easy to weigh down with tabs

With the build quality of a MacBook, we can look past the Acer Chromebook 15’s aversion to 2-in-1 form factors. But, given that most Chromebooks releasing in 2018 are fully convertible due to the wide implementation of Android app support, the Acer Chromebook 15 had to prove itself to us with more than just a beautiful design. So, on top of its ability to lay flat using a 180-degree hinge, this 15-inch beauty makes great strides with its battery life as well, lasting nearly 17 hours in our own TechRadar battery life test.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Chromebook 14.
HP Chromebook 14

Acer Chromebook R11

6. Acer Chromebook R11

360-degree flips for days

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 – N3150 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Good battery life
HD-only display
Terrible trackpad

Though we don’t doubt that it will soon be replaced judging by the recent announcement of the Chromebook Spin 11, the Acer Chromebook R11 still holds up to this day as a formidable option for those on the prowl for the best Chromebook around. It isn’t the most powerful machine on the planet, but at least it gives you access to the complete library of Google Play Android apps. Better yet, it does so on a touchscreen display that can be cycled back into tablet mode, complemented by an all-metal finish that you won’t be embarrassed by.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip 
Asus Chromebook Flip C302

best chromebook

7. HP Chromebook 14

Striking optimal balance between value and design

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

The HP Chromebook 14 is practically the posterchild for Chromebooks. Its rock-bottom starting price and zippy interpretation of Chrome OS only begin to exemplify its appeal. While Acer's Chromebook 15 serves up similar components, HPs' 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot. Embellished with a bright blue finish and a screen devised to surprise, 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 remains a sublime value nonetheless.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip 
Asus Chromebook Flip

best chromebook

8. 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

The HP Chromebook 13 goes above and beyond what any of us would expect from a Chromebook. You’re guaranteed at least a 1440p screen, two USB-C ports and, if you're willing to shell out just a bit more cash, you can also snatch yourself an Intel Core-M processor rather than a Pentium. All of this is complemented by incredible style and a metallic design that exudes Pixel influence. Given that Google discontinued its own Chromebook earlier in the year, the HP Chromebook 13 is one of the few remaining alternatives. 

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 13

The 8 best Chromebooks today

Google Pixelbook
Asus Chromebook Flip
Samsung Chromebook Pro
Dell Chromebook 11
Acer Chromebook 15
Acer Chromebook R11
HP Chromebook 14
HP Chromebook 13

Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop. 

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