Chromebooks are excellent, cost-effective alternatives to Windows PCs and MacBooks. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pick the best Chromebooks for your needs. Most Chromebooks have eerily identical names (the Google Pixelbooks are the exception), and only a few have truly unique features. And, in some ways, that’s the point: Chromebooks provide a minimalist alternative that has struck a chord.
This is why Toms Guide tests them to determine the difference between good Chromebooks and bad Chromebooks, which are typically priced similarly. Chromebooks are a popular choice among students and instructors, and anyone who spends a lot of time online. Many have excellent battery life and, because of Chrome OS’s compatibility with the Google Play Store, most can run Android apps. Oh, and if you’re unfamiliar with Chrome OS, it’s a breeze to get used to because it’s a much lighter version of Windows 10 and macOS.
The Best Chromebooks 2021
1. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The best thing Samsung could have done to make the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook a hit was to remove the 4K display. It’s now significantly less expensive, yet it still has a fantastic QLED display and a longer battery life (7:50 vs. 5:55 in the previous generation). It’ll also sound amazing, and the Core i3 configuration will provide Chrome OS with a lot of speed. The keyboard’s vertical travel is a little shallow, which we didn’t like. This results in a small learning curve that you’ll become used to overtime. But to get a Chromebook that looks this amazing, wow. In a sea of silver Chromebooks and PCs, the Fiesta Red colour option stands out.
CPU: Intel Celeron | Core i3 processors RAM: 4GB, 8GB Storage: 64GB, 128GB Display: 13.3-inch QLED (1080p) Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 0.6 inches Weight: 2.7 pounds
2. Samsung Chromebook 4
Thanks to its long battery life, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is the finest Chromebook for consumers on a budget. On a single charge, this laptop lasted more than 10.5 hours of web browsing. Although it has a plastic base, the Chromebook 4’s aluminum top gives it the appearance of a much more costly computer. However, the performance of this Chromebook is another plus, allowing for much faster multitasking than I expected, given the price. The Chromebook 4 is also slimmer and lighter than comparable 11.6-inch Chromebooks. However, we wish the display could allow touch input and rotate.
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 RAM: 4GB Storage: 32G B Display: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel Dimensions: 11.3 x 8 x 0.7 inches Weight: 2.6 pounds
3. Lenovo Chromebook Duet
It’s remarkable how much you can buy for $300 or less on occasion. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet, for example, is a 2-in-1 Chromebook that includes a keyboard by default, something that Microsoft’s Surfaces and Apple’s iPads do not. Not only do you get that price, but the Chromebook Duet’s tablet display is also fantastic, with a surprising amount of colour and a clear 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution. It’s so fantastic that it earned the Tom’s Guide Award for Best Budget Laptop in 2021. The Chromebook Duet’s keyboard maybe a touch cramped for smaller hands, but any keyboard is a surprise and a deal at this price. Even better, the Chromebook Duet comes with ChromeOS tablet optimizations that have been long overdue, allowing it to utilize its screen space fully.
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T RAM: 4GB Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB eMMC Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200 pixels Dimensions: 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches (docked) Weight: 2 pounds (docked)
4. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
You’re always seeking an affordable (enough) blend of performance, design, and longevity while looking for a fantastic Chromebook. That’s thanks to its Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, which delivers plenty of speed for Chrome OS (anything more would be overkill), as well as 8GB of RAM for managing all of your Chrome tabs.
It also has a crisp 2256 x 1504-pixel screen that produces bright and colourful images. Furthermore, our web-browsing-based battery test lasted 11 hours and 54 minutes. The Spin 713’s sole major flaw is its size, which is a problem with all 13-inch laptops.
Display: 13.5-inch, 2256×1504 CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U GPU: Intel UHD RAM: 8GB Storage: 128GB SSD Size: 11.8 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches Weight: 3.0 pounds
5. Acer Chromebook R 11
The Acer Chromebook R 11 is a best-seller with excellent battery life, making it one of the best Chromebooks for the money. It has expected features, such as a flexible hinge, touch screen, and Android app emulation. Still, it also has a remarkably vibrant screen with a 73.2 percent sRGB spectrum rating, which outperforms many inexpensive laptops. Make sure you get the one with 4GB of RAM, as it offers surprisingly good performance for the money. For $199, Acer sells a non-rotatable version of the R11, which may be suitable for folks who don’t use Android apps and can get by with just the Chrome browser. Another advantage of the R 11 is its comfy keyboard, ideal for cramming papers and emails.
CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 RAM: 4GB Storage: 32GB Display: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel Dimensions: 8 x 11.6 x 0.8 inches Weight: 2.8 pounds
6. Google Pixelbook Go
Google has returned with one of the best Chromebooks ever, the Pixelbook Go, after hitting a home run with the extra expensive Pixelbook. This Chromebook is a case study of why spending more and investing in your future laptop can be worthwhile. It is more competitively priced (although still on the high-end of this list). With a compact frame and grippy ribbed underbelly, this Chromebook is not only stylish, but it also features a brilliant screen that’s brighter (368 nits) and more colourful (108 percent sRGB rating) than others. Plus, the Pixelbook Go has a fantastic, clicky keyboard that makes typing a pleasure. Furthermore, a single charge lasted nearly 11.5 hours.
CPU: Intel Core i5-8200Y RAM: 8GB Storage: 128GB Display: 13.3-inch, 3840 x 2160-pixel Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches Weight: 2.3 pounds
7.Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
It may not have the battery life you’d expect from a Chromebook, but that’s forgiven when you consider how the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook defies so many other expectations of what a Chromebook should be. Its Fiesta Red chassis is drool-inducing before you can say, “wow, that’s a Chromebook?” It even comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, which works best in tablet mode.
Its Core i5 CPU is so quick that I tested it by watching four 1080p YouTube videos without stuttering. Oh, and it’s insanely small and light, rivalling the MacBook Air and the Dell XPS 13 in terms of size and weight.
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD RAM: 8GB Storage: 256GB Display: 13.3-inch, 4K AMOLED Battery: 5:55 (tested) Size: 11.9 x 8 x 0.4 inches Weight: 2.3 pounds
8. Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630
If speed is important to you, and you want to keep all of your tabs open and save many files locally, the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 is the finest. Its Intel Core i5-8250 processor is speedy, and its 8GB of RAM allows you to keep all of your tabs open without worrying about your system becoming clogged.
Also, this laptop has an exquisite aluminum frame, and its large 15.6-inch screen will be ideal for binge-watching YouTube, Netflix, and whatever else you need. With two USB-C ports and one older USB-A port, the Yoga Chromebook C630 has an excellent port selection.
CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U RAM: 8GB Storage: 128GB Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel Dimensions: 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches inches Weight: 4.19 pounds
9. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Thanks to its long battery life and an excellent keyboard, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 stands out in a market flooded with compact, budget-friendly Chromebooks. It’s good enough to earn a recommendation in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for the best budget laptop.
The Spin 311’s keys have a 1.6mm travel distance, making them surprisingly comfortable to type on for long periods of time, and the battery lasted nearly twelve hours in our tests, making it a perfect pick for youngsters, students, and anyone looking for a cheap 2-in-1 Chromebook to do some writing. Unfortunately, anyone else should seek elsewhere, as the Acer Chromebook Spin 311’s 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display tends to wash out and darken videos.
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek MT8183 Graphics: ARM Mali-G72 MP3 Display: 11.6 inches, 1366 x 768 Memory: 4GB Storage: 32GB eMMC, 64GB eMMC Size: 11.7 x 8.1 x 0.74 inches Weight: 2.65 pounds Ports: USB-C, USB-A Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11ac