If you spend all day in a web browser, use Google applications, and don’t require all the rest of the stuff that comes with Apple’s MacOS or Microsoft Windows, Google’s ChromeOS gives a sleek, all-you-need, nothing-you-don’t computing experience. Throw in the ability to run both Android and Linux applications and you just might be able to replace your old laptop with a Chromebook.
Chromebooks have a reputation as cheap and low. And, while they can be that, providing an exceptional bargain in many cases—that’s not the end of the story. Just because you strip away the software fluff it doesn’t mean you have to strip away the hardware power as well. There are very high-end Chromebooks that are very powerful, capable machines. In many ways, they’re the best of all worlds, with best hardware, lightweight software, and everything you require for web-based work.
Members of WIRED’s Gear team have tested many Chromebooks for almost a decade now. If you’re searching for a Chromebook, these are our best picks.
Google Pixelbook Go
Google continues its reputation of making the best Chromebooks. While its older Pixelbook used to occupy the best spot, it’s been replaced by Google’s latest Chromebook: the Pixelbook Go. This is a Chromebook that proves that these devices can be just as stylish and strong as traditional laptops, and the Pixelbook Go brings a lot of the original Pixelbook’s premium highlights to a more affordable device.
One of its most attractive features is the fantastic battery life, which can outlast many traditional laptops with ease, and means you can go a full work or school day without needing to charge it. We also like the fact that you can close the lid, leave it for a few days, and when you select it up again, it’s still a long life of battery – something Windows 10 laptops never achieve.
It has an excellent keyboard is also worth pointing out. It feels fantastic to type on, and makes working on it incredibly easy. In fact, this has meant we’ve stopped using much more strong in favor of the Pixelbook Go – it really is that best.
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook True to its name, this Chromebook gives two form factors in one, while utilizing the versatility of the Chrome OS and managing you back much less than many of the top tablets out there.
Of course, like all the best Chromebooks, its battery full of an incredibly long life of almost 22 hours, so you could finish your tasks, work through the day and late-night, and you’ll still pass out before it runs completely out of juice.
For this price, sacrifices have to be made, naturally – the keyboard is small, the trackpad isn’t as reliable, and the charger and headphones are sharing one port. However, if your pocket is your top priority, those are definitely not deal-breakers.
HP Chromebook 14
The best Chromebooks balance a price and efficient use of Chrome OS, the HP Chromebook 14 is the best example of that.
While it’s similar to the Acer Chromebook 15 in many ways, this 14-inch Chromebook is a tad more compact and looks better. Complemented by a bright blue finish and a screen made, the HP Chromebook 14 offer the best value of any Chromebook out there. Even if the battery life and performance are average, the HP Chromebook 14 is one of the best Chromebooks to date.
We were particularly impressed with how slim and lightweight this Chromebook is, and it means the HP Chromebook 14 is a great device for individuals who want a long-lasting laptop that they can comfortably carry with them. If you want a laptop to work on while lounging on a sofa, this is the best choice as well.
Also, unlike some other Chromebooks, the HP Chromebook 14 has plenty of ports, including HDMI-out, USB 3.0 and a microSD card slot, making this an excellent versatile Chromebook for the price.
Asus Chromebook Flip
The Asus Chromebook Flip is a good Chromebook that proves that these devices can be sleek, stylish, and premium and not just budget.
With an Intel Core processor and a full HD display, the Asus Chromebook Flip is a strong performer that will keep up with any day-to-day tasks you need it to perform and gives plenty of value without compromising on performance, a tricky balancing act that many other Chromebook makers fail to access.
This is a Chromebook that’s been out for a while now, but it still impresses with great performance and excellent build quality that’s thin and light and puts many more expensive laptops at aside. If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best Chromebooks to consider.
Acer Chromebook 314
If you’re searching for a Chromebook that really offers you excellent value for money, then the Acer Chromebook 314 is the best Chromebook for you. It’s easy to use, reliable and has a great screen and battery life (up to 12 hours), a 14-inch crisp and bright display that provide you more screen real estate for your productivity needs.
It also has a keyboard that is satisfying and a joy to use, as well as a touchpad that interacts very well with all your fingers’ movements and commands. More importantly, it keeps a great balance between design, usability, features, battery life and performance, while being comfortable with its own limitations.
Acer Chromebook Spin 311
If versatility is a top priority, then search no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. This all-rounder has all the makings of a great Chromebook, from its long battery life to its robust build and solid usability.
However, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 takes it further with its impressive levels of versatility, thanks to its ports considering its size, 2-in-1 design, portable size and great touchscreen display. It also boasts a keyboard and a touchpad that are not only reliable but also comfortable to use. That’s the best thing in a machine at this price.
The small size of this Chromebook means it’s really easy to carry with you, so if you’re searching for the best Chromebook for traveling with, this is it. However, that small size may mean some individuals find it uncomfortable to use for long periods of time, especially if you’re more used to larger laptops.
Asus Chromebook Flip C436F
Premium Chromebooks occupy their own space in the laptop market; fill that space between strong traditional laptops and super lightweight Chromebooks.
And the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is perhaps one of the fewer examples of these out there, with its combination of excellent power, terrific feature set, premium build, and a price tag that’s cheaper than its rivals.
During our time with the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F, we were really impressed with its great design, with a magnesium alloy body, a stunning 1080p screen, and an amazing keyboard. This could easily rival premium laptops like the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook, and it has features such as WiFi 6 support and a fingerprint sensor.
If you’re searching for a lightweight OS machine that touts more power than the rest of the clan, this is one of the best Chromebooks to offer.
Acer Chromebook Spin 11
The best Chromebooks make the most compelling student laptop, and that’s exactly where the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 reaches. Whether you’re a student or a parent, this is a cheap, capable, and durable laptop that will let you get some schoolwork done while traveling.
You might not get any hardcore gaming or video editing is done on it. However, if you only require writing up some documents and stream videos or shows in your downtime, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 should be at the first of your list.
People are impressed with how sturdy it is, despite its plastic body. It means that it’s the light and affordable price, but it’s going to withstand knocks and bumps as well. Add in a amazing keyboard that’s comfortable to work on and a decent collection of ports, with two USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports and a MicroSD slot, and you’ve got a winner.
Acer Chromebook 15
With a solid build quality, it’s easy to excuse the Acer Chromebook 15’s aversion to 2-in-1 form factors.
Still, offering that the best Chromebooks rolling out this year are fully convertible, thanks to the wide range of adoption of Android application support, the Acer Chromebook 15 had to prove itself with more than a god style.
Beyond its aptitude for laying flat using a 180-degree hinge, this great 15-inch Chromebook also makes a good impression with its long battery life, lasting nearly 17 hours in our battery test.
Acer Chromebook 714
The best Chromebook for professional use to come out in 2020 might just be the Acer Chromebook 714 whose premium and seriously solid chassis is just the entry ticket for the business-oriented bunch. It’s not especially stylish, sadly, but that decent performance and powerful battery life make up for its lack of fashion sense. And, aren’t those all the more important if you’re meeting with peoples, tackling paperwork, and balancing the books all day? In fact, the quad-core processor is best enough for light content creation tasks, making it a boon for those individuals starting out in the content creation industry as well.
Most of the early limitations of Chromebooks, such as poor software support, and the requirement for an always-on internet connection, have now been overcome. And with business users able to run native Microsoft Office applications that provide them to share their information with Windows-based colleagues, there are few reasons why Chromebooks should be second class citizens in the modern BYOD workplace.
The less storage of most Chromebooks might deter some users, but this is easily upgraded, and the free online storage given by Google is a valuable and useful added extra, especially for those who require syncing documents and data across multiple devices.
The current generation of Chromebooks are also adapting to the requirements of different industries. Models such as the Lenovo 14e Chromebook offer an affordable, rugged design that’s great for use in warehouses or outdoor locations.
No longer just for use in homes or schools, the Chromebook is growing up and ready to start work.