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Best student Chromebooks 2021: top picks for back to school season

Included in this guide:

A Chromebook in a classroom setting
The best student Chromebooks are affordable alternatives to laptops. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best student Chromebooks have taken center stage over the last year or so, thanks to all the online classes students have been taking. And, while most children are going back to in-class learning, they still need a laptop that can handle the workload, take a beating and, just as importantly, won’t cost an arm and a leg. 

TheChromebooks for students on this page are more than reasonably priced to fit your back to school budget. These notebook alternatives are a must because they are also easy to use and very secure while having the kind of battery life that can last all through the school day on a single charge. They should be able to take on most schoolwork and school projects, not to mention some casual entertainment.

So, it’s never been a better time to invest in a fantastic Chromebook for students in 2021 now that children are heading back to school. And, don’t forget about our price comparison tool to help you find the best Chromebook deals out there.

The best student Chromebooks of 2021

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook from behind on a white background

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a great 2-in-1 Chromebook. (Image credit: Lenovo)

A tablet and a Chromebook!

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 400 nits
Storage: 64 GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable+Long battery life+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Design can be a faff

Remember when tablets were going to take over the world? With the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook that might still happen! 

Using a hybrid tablet/snap-on keyboard design this is ideal for the classroom and students - combining easy tablet browsing for researching, easy Netflix fun when you kickback at home, but still offers a keyboard when you need one. 

With a powerful ARM processor that goes for 21 hours (yes you read that right) it’s an awesome computer package. The keyboard and trackpad let it down somewhat, but then you get that delicious Full HD+ display. Best of all it, all comes in at a price that’s as low as you could hope for. 

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

An open Acer Chromebook 314 next to a closed Acer Chromebook 314

The Acer Chromebook 314 comes close to a perfect Chromebook. (Image credit: Acer)

It’ll run all through the school day

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768) high definition
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life and performance+Bright, crisp screen
Reasons to avoid
-No touchscreen-Average power

Picture your perfect school Chromebook, and if it’s not the Acer Chromebook 314 then it’s pretty damn close, especially at this price. It’s not surprising if there’s one thing Acer knows, it’s how to build the best student Chromebooks. 

The only weak point – considering the price – is the processor, but for general school work and research the 1.1GHz Celeron is fine. It’ll struggle with lots of Chrome tabs but things are helped by the 4GB of memory.

We’re amazed there’s a Full HD 1080p display at this price, but the 314 range doesn’t offer touch, which can limit Android app use if that’s important. Another key student feature is the long battery life. Acer claims up to 14 hours and we recorded 13 hours of video playback making this a strong choice for school. 

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 314

The HP Chromebook x360 12 in white on a white background

The HP Chromebook x360 12 is tougher than it looks. (Image credit: HP)

A Chromebook too cool for school

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: : 12-inch HD (1366 x 921 3:2) touchscreen
Storage: 32GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+3:2 aspect ratio is good for productivity+Excellent value
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-Just HD display

Designed for the education market, the HP Chromebook x360 range is tougher than it might at first look, it’s also aimed at students on a budget. 

So this won’t eat into your pencil fund too much either. Costs are kept low with the affordable but dependable 1.1GHz Intel N4000 processor and 4GB of RAM. The balance extends to the 12-inch touchscreen that makes it portable, light but still perfectly usable. 

The main downside here is the HD-level 1366x921 resolution, but that’s offset interestingly with a 3:2 ratio that makes browsing and writing a more relaxed experience. It folds back into a tablet, offers a good range of ports and includes as an extra a dedicated stylus. While at this price still manages to look pretty funky.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook x360 12b

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 in stand and laptop modes on a white background

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is incredibly responsive. (Image credit: Acer)

An Evo-certified Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 13.5" (2256 x 1504) 3:2 Touchscreen
Storage: 256GB Flash Memory
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance with powerful specs+Gorgeous touchscreen display
Reasons to avoid
-No physical privacy shutter for webcam

Chromebooks don’t typically come with Evo-certification but the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is different. That certification means this portable meets a higher standard thanks to its 11th gen i5 CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and 8GB of RAM. That 13.5-inch display is also a higher resolution than the typical 1080p screen that most laptops come equipped with. Unfortunately, the Spin 713 is not the most exciting looking portable out there, not to mention missing some expected features like a privacy shutter for the webcam. But, considering how good everything else on it is, these missteps are easy to overlook.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 713 

An open Acer Chromebook 714 on a white background

The Acer Chromebook 714 is a premium and seriously solid chassis. (Image credit: Acer)

Seriously solid, if not especially stylish

Specifications
CPU: Intel Pentium 4417U – Intel Core i5-8350U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 610 – UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 – 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 Touchscreen
Storage: 32GB – 64GB flash memory
Reasons to buy
+Seriously solid metal chassis+Strong battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly dated styling-Keyboard a little mushy

The best student Chromebook to come out in 2020 might just be the Acer Chromebook 714 whose premium and seriously solid chassis is just the ticket for students who need just a bit more power and ruggedness. It’s not especially stylish, sadly, but that decent performance and strong battery life makes up for its lack of fashion sense. And, aren’t those all the more important if you’re meeting with clients, tackling paperwork and balancing the books all day? In fact, the quad-core processor is good enough for light content creation tasks, making it a boon for those photography and film students on the budget as well.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 714

The HP Chromebook 11 G7 on a white background

The HP Chromebook 11 G7 is rugged and low cost. (Image credit: HP)

6. HP Chromebook 11 G7

Small, but perfect for little students

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11-inch HD (1366x768) touchscreen
Storage: 16-64GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent price+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Average performance

We had to include the new HP Chromebook 11 G7 in our best student Chromebooks list, as it's effectively a rugged and lower-cost version of the HP Chromebook x360 12. While it has a similar and perfectly capable Intel Celeron processor with the 4GB of memory, the key change is to a standard HD 16:9 ratio display in a fixed laptop body. 

The rugged aspect comes in a military-grade build that offers IP41 dust and water resistance. Under testing we’d expect you to enjoy a good 12 hours of day-to-day use. The base model only offers 16GB of storage, but there are 32GB and 64GB options available.

An open Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 on a white background

The Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 is an excellent education-aimed Chromebook. (Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo Chromebook C340-11

A Chromebook that’ll turn heads

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11-inch HD (1366x768) touchscreen
Storage: 64GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Solid convertible design+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Wide bevels

With a large number of near-identical specified Intel Celeron Chromebooks you can’t blame Lenovo for offering a metallic pink Chromebook C340-11 as an option. If you want to standout in the classroom this is how to do it! To be fair, Lenovo have done a standup job of creating an excellent education-aimed Chromebook. 

At a budget price using the reliable Intel Celeron N4000 there’s enough power for your classroom needs. Importantly we measured 12 hours of runtime, so it’s going to keep you going all day. The toughscreen might just be HD but it’s touch, responsive and bright, the main downer is the wide bevel that feels dated now.

The Dell Chromebook 3100 from behind on a white background

The Dell Chromebook 3100 is solid and has a long battery life. (Image credit: Dell)

It’s black, rugged and made by Dell

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4020 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) screen (optional touch)
Storage: 16GB-32GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Solid and durable+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Can be sluggish-Heavy for its size

Dell has a dedicated line of education Chromebooks and the lower-end is the Dell Chromebook 3100 series, the next step up being its Dell Chromebook 3400 line.

With this entry-level model, Dell has embraced functional design, which means this isn’t a Chromebook to excite, it’s a Chromebook to educate. Two big pros are its rugged design with solid hinges that offer it fold-back two-in-one design and a long battery life so nothing interrupts studies.

The latest 2020 model features an updated Intel Celeron N4020 at 1.1GHz processor, backed with a healthy 4GB of memory. Storage is poor at 16GB and the 1366x768 screen is nothing to write home about. Also, if you want to get the most from Android apps on this ensure you get a model with the touch screen.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 3100

The 15-inch Acer Chromebook 15 on a white background

Students will appreciate the Acer Chromebook 15's larger display. (Image credit: Acer)

Bigger means better Chromebooks

Specifications
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Amazing battery life+Lovely big screen
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe too big-Not the best touchpad

There’s a lot to love about the Acer Chromebook 15 and that’s not just because it’s using a larger 15.6-inch display! 

To start, that display is a delight being IPS, Full HD, touch enabled and a decent size, though you have to keep in mind the extra weight lugging this will bring. 

We were also impressed by the budget Intel Pentium processor as it did a solid job of keeping up with our demands, a step up from the Celeron models. But perhaps the thing that could give this student Chromebook top marks in your book is the 14-hour battery life we recorded.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

The Asus Chromebook Flip in its different modes on a white background

The Asus Chromebook Flip balances portability, size and weight. (Image credit: Asus)

Turn classroom heads with this Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14-inch Full HD (1920x108) screen
Storage: 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Good performance+Premium build
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-Not very robust

The Asus Flip has been around almost as long as Chromebooks have, and each release has remained solid yet stylish workhorses. The latest Flip C436 updates the magnesium-clad chassis with the latest 10th-gen Intel processor, so this thing is fast. Backed with plenty of memory and storage, this is the best student Chromebook to crunch through classwork. The 14-inch display balances portability, size and weight perfectly.

It is expensive but you get a lot for your money, but is it the sort of thing you’d want to give to a young schoolchild? Probably not, but older students will get so much out of this and the extras like fingerprint security.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C436