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Best school Chromebooks of 2020

Best school chromebooks
(Image credit: Google)

A Chromebook for school doesn’t have to be a powerful machine, but it needs to be properly functional. It also needs to be practical, with a decent battery life, and not so heavy as to be tiring to carry about the school campus all day.

The market for Chromebooks is pretty competitive, which means there are some simple but capable machines out there that will work well in a school environment. Additionally, there are some strong budget entries that should provide for more than enough, rising up to more expensive Chromebooks that are suited for more heavy-duty tasks.

These days Chromebooks also compare very well against school laptops, so don’t think you’re necessarily getting any less of a machine. Additionally, the fact that they tend to have smaller hard drives and a focus on online content makes them potentially more ideal for education, as there’s less likelihood of installing unnecessary games, movies, and similar distracting media.

Here therefore we’ll look at the best in Chromebooks for school.

Best Chromebooks for school - at a glance

  1. Asus C523
  2. Acer 315
  3. Acer Chromebook 14
  4. Dell Chromebook 14
  5. Google Pixelbook Go

Asus C523

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus C523

Good entry-level school Chromebook

Cheap but competent
Large screen
Decent memory
Simple processor

You might expect an entry-level Chromebook to be quite limited, with a small screen and limited memory, but the Asus C523 bucks the trend quite significantly and offers the most for your money without any obvious compromises.

It comes with a 15.6 inch screen, which is more than the 11.6 or even 14 inch sizes that are normal at this price range. Additionally, the Asus C523 comes with 64 GB hard drive, which although not huge is double what most Chromebooks at this price range offer.

The Celeron processor itself isn’t a particularly powerful one, but it’s more than enough for routine computing tasks and general schoolwork. There’s also a good 4 GB or RAM. This Chromebook is also reasonably lightweight at 1.4 kg and has a battery life of around 10 hours.

In terms of connectivity is comes with 2 x USB 3 and 2 x USB C ports, along with built-in Bluetooth, WiFi, a basic webcam, and an audio system.

Overall, so far as entry-level budget models goes this is a very decent machine for the price, and offers a lot more than most competitors at a higher price range.

Acer 315

(Image credit: Acer)

2. Acer 315

A strong budget school Chromebook

Improved processor
Improved graphics card
Heavy

The Acer 315 comes in a little more expensive than the Asus C532 above, and while many of the specifications are the same or similar, the Acer 315 has the advantage of a more powerful processor and graphics card to handle more demanding apps.

It also has a 15.6 inch screen and a 64 GB hard drive, along with 4 GB of RAM. At 1.8 kg it is slightly heavier than the Asus C523, even though it delivers a similar 10-hour battery life.

Connectivity is the standard Chromebook 2 x USB 3, plus 2 x USB C, with built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, though the webcam and audio system are a better quality than above.

It’s the AMD 4 dual-core processor along with the Radeon A4 graphics card that give the Acer 315 the edge, allowing it to do more without breaking the bank.

Overall, as an entry-level Chromebook the Acer 315 is a step-up from previous, and should be able to handle most routine school work tasks with ease.

Acer Chromebook 14

(Image credit: Acer)

3. Acer Chromebook 14

HD touchscreen school Chromebook

HD screen
Touchscreen
12 hour battery
Smaller screen

The Acer Chromebook 14 comes in a variety of forms, usually varying in small ways with regards to tech specs such as hard drive size. What they all have in common is a 14 inch HD touchscreen.

While having the smaller 14 inch screen may seem something like a trade-off, being able to view graphics in HD, as well as being able to use the touchscreen for apps, makes it a potentially more practical machine than the others above.

Expect the Acer Chromebook 14 to come with a relatively modest processor that should be able to handle routine tasks with ease, and aim for a model with 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD hard drive is possible - this will cost more, but make the Chromebook more versatile for use.

Connectivity includes the standard 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB C, as well as built in Bluetooth and WiFi. However, another advantage of the Acer Chromebook 14 is the battery life, which can last as much as 12 hours.

Overall, this is another step up in terms of functionality but also price than the previous models, and makes for a good mid-range school Chromebook.

Dell Chromebook 14

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell Chromebook 14

A strong workhorse for school and more

HD touchscreen
Good processor
128 GB memory

The Dell Chromebook 14 takes things to a higher level still, offering a good solid machine with decent technical specifications to create a strong Chromebook for school.

Again, the screen size is only 14 inches, but it’s a full 1080p HD touchscreen, making images and graphics clearer, as well. The processor is also a good Intel Core with an Intel Graphics card so that the Chromebook can handle many demanding applications as well as more routine ones.

In terms of memory, expect a good 128 GB SSD drive for fast and reliable storage, along with a standard set of connectors such as USB 3 and USB C for plugging in a smartphone, as well as built in Bluetooth and WiFi, of course.

As for weight, the Dell Chromebook 14 comes in at around 1.6 kg, so relatively mid-range for that, as is the battery life at around 10 hours.

All in all, the Dell Chromebook 14 is a solid all-round workhorse of a machine that is going to easily cope with a wide range of tasks, from  school work to college and more, and the price reflects that.

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Pixelbook Go

The best Chromebook available

Best tech specs
2-in-1
HD webcam
Expensive

The Google Pixelbook Go is a 2-in-1 device, allowing you to use this Chromebook as either a laptop or like a tablet with a slot-in keyboard. It’s stylish, sleek, and powerful - and is the best Chromebook currently on the market.

It is also the most expensive, with the price range starting from around $650 (£625) rising to $1399 (£1,300), depending on how powerful you want the internal processor to be.

The low-end specs are very strong as it is, with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, making it a very capable machine when it comes to more intensive tasks, as well as a 64GB SSD hard drive. However, these are variously upgraded through different price ranges to the high-end model, which can offer an Intel i7 processor with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage.

There are, of course, the standard connections, as well as an industry leading HD webcam built-in.

However, while the lower-end Google Pixelbook Go offers value for money compared to rivals, the higher-spec models might not be so effective if the Chromebook is only required for schoolwork.

Overall, though, the Google Pixelbook Go remains the best Chromebook on the market, let alone for school or any other use.

Check out our review of the Google Pixelbook Go here.