When Google launched the original Chromebooks, it was a simple solution to a simple problem. They were cheap laptops with minimal capabilities—perfect for education and business.
However, it didn’t take long for Chromebooks to become something else entirely. The designs started getting sharper and more premium-looking. Materials went from plastic to aluminum, displays went HD, and battery life went through the roof. All of a sudden, Chromebooks were becoming more and more enticing for the average laptop buyer—especially if you were on a budget.
The change that put Chromebooks’ desirability over the edge was the porting of Android apps over to Chrome OS. You can now run every Android app from the Google Play Store right there on your Chromebook. All of a sudden, Chromebooks have become a very reasonable purchase.
Here are the five best Chromebooks you can buy right now:
There are very few things put against the Dell Chromebook 13. It’s got a fantastic trackpad, a great display, and impressive performance. The catch? It’s not made out of aluminum like some other Chromebooks—and it’s not quite as thin as those either.
It’s getting a little old at this point, but every time I return to the Dell Chromebook 13, I’m reminded of how great a laptop this computer is. It’s not flashy, but it doesn’t make compromises in any particular area—and that’s impressive for a laptop that costs under $500.—Luke Larsen
Big Chromebooks don’t have a great reputation—and in case you didn’t know, that includes anything over 13 inches. But Acer has somehow made a large Chromebook that isn’t embarrassing to bring out in public.
The Chromebook 14 is a very good Chromebook, potentially great once the addition of the Google Play Store comes later this year. Whether the machine is ready for Android apps is unclear, given its lack of a touchscreen, and if you fall on the same side as others who’ve reviewed this device, you might want to look elsewhere knowing the Play Store is on the horizon. If you simply want a Chromebook with better-than-average hardware, a good screen, solid performance and substantial battery life, Acer’s latest is a great choice.—Eric Walters
Yes—it’s made out of plastic, has a poor trackpad, and is a Chromebook. However, the R11 has enough positives to overshadow those downsides. It’s definitely the best convertible Chromebook we’ve seen yet—and one of Acer’s best attempts at nailing the Chromebook formula. It’s got a great display, a nice touchscreen, and impressive battery life, but most importantly, it comes ready to run Android apps right in Chrome OS. With its $299 pricetag, it’s one of the cheapest Chromebooks you can buy—and just happens to be one of the very best.—LL
Designed to be the laptop that replaces your Android tablet, Samsung’s Chromebook Pro will even give more expensive Windows-powered convertibles a run for their money. With support for Android apps on top of Google’s Chrome OS, the Chromebook Pro comes packed with a swiveling 360-degree hinge, allowing the Chromebook to convert to tablet mode. Pen support is also included, which is a perfect complement to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps for Chromebook.
The Chromebook Pro sports a high resolution QHD screen with the same 3:2 aspect ratio that Microsoft uses on its Surface line. USB-C ports, Intel Core m3 processor and 4K streaming help ensure that your investment in the Chromebook Pro stays future-proof.—Chuong Nguyen
Not only does the HP Chromebook 13 look stunning, its performance shows that at $499, the laptop can go toe-to-toe with $1,000 Ultrabooks and still hold its own. HP defied expectations by delivering a premium notebook with solid performance at a price point that no one else is able to match.
With a build quality that rivals the $1299 MacBook, the Chromebook 13 manages to beat Apple’s laptop in many ways while coming in at a $499 starting price. Compared to the MacBook, you’ll find more ports, a higher resolution display and a more usable keyboard on the Chromebook 13 in a package with a similar all-metal build quality. For Chromebooks on the higher end of the price scale, the HP Chromebook 13 just might be the new standard.—CN