The best Chromebooks aren’t just laptops that run a few Google apps anymore. Chromebooks can cover a wide variety of computing needs now, and a good Chrome OS laptop or two-in-one can be more useful than a mediocre Windows or MacOS laptop. That’s why our pick for the best Chromebook of 2021 is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which does just about everything right.
The best Chromebooks are known to deliver good value. The message that many people actually want good Chromebooks — rather than just cheap ones — has gotten through to manufacturers. Many are around $500 or $600, though there are good options in the higher and lower ranges as well. The extra money goes a long way toward getting something you’ll be happy with.
For the first time, the quality of the best Chromebooks in this range has been consistent. There are so many similarities between the offerings from Asus, Lenovo, Google, HP, Dell, and Samsung that a conspiracy-minded person might suggest they’re all sourcing their components from the same factory. That’s great news if you’re comparison shopping; the majority of this list would be good buys if you can find them at a discount. They can even rival some of the best laptops, best budget laptops, and best student laptops on the market.
Our pick for the best Chromebook is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and we’ve selected the Lenovo Chromebook Duet for shoppers on a budget. Other picks for the best Chromebooks of 2021 include the Google Pixelbook Go, the Google Pixelbook, the HP Chromebook x360, and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.
What most buyers want in the best Chromebook are likely the same things they want in any laptop: a good keyboard, solid build quality, long battery life, a nice screen, and enough power to do the things you want. More Chromebooks can meet those qualifications than ever before, but these are the ones that rise above the rest.
Best Chromebook of 2021
Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 is, hands-down, the best Chromebook you can buy. With a gorgeous 3:2 screen that rivals some more expensive competitors, you’ll have a ton of extra vertical space for your work and multitasking.
The keyboard is excellent with a comfortable, quiet feel, and nice backlighting. There’s even an HDMI port, which you don’t see on a thin Chromebook every day. And (most importantly) the 10th-Gen Intel processors can handle a heavy load of tabs with no problem. The Spin’s speakers aren’t great, and there’s no biometric login, but those are reasonable sacrifices to make for a laptop of this quality at this low of a price.
In a market where the main differences between Chromebooks in this price range boil down to their screens and maybe an included stylus, Acer sets itself apart by making an affordable laptop that’s excellent in almost every way.
Best Chromebook on a budget
If you’re looking for an affordable device for on-the-go work, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet delivers excellent value for its low price. It’s an ultra-portable 10.1-inch 2-in-1 device with a detachable keyboard and kickstand cover.
The Duet contains a MediaTek Helio P60T processor, 4GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage, and it performs well if you’re just browsing and don’t plan on using a super heavy load. It also uses a version of Chrome OS that’s made for its convertible form factor, including the first version of Chrome that’s optimized for tablet use. When detached from its keyboard, the Duet supports an Android-esque gesture navigation system that makes switching between apps a breeze. But the most impressive feature is battery life; I got close to 11.5 hours of fairly heavy use.
Of course, there are drawbacks. The touchpad and keyboard are quite small, there’s no headphone jack (and only one USB-C port), and the 16:10 screen is a bit dim. But those are reasonable trade-offs to make for such an affordable price. It makes a great secondary device for schoolwork or on-the-go browsing.
3. HP Chromebook x360 14
Powerful Chromebook with a sleek design
If you’re looking to get more power and you don’t mind getting a slightly larger laptop, the HP Chromebook x360 14 is a great choice. HP has several configurations that fall under this name, but we suggest the model we tested with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage to go along with the i3 processor.
While we picked the Asus because of its elegant design, there isn’t much to complain about on the slightly larger HP. It has the same ports, RAM, and storage. The keyboard is great, and it also sounds slightly better because the speakers are up on the keyboard deck instead of on the bottom.
Best midrange Chromebook
Samsung’s first Galaxy Chromebook shot for the moon, with a $1,000 price tag, an OLED display, a packaged stylus, and a premium build. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 isn’t so much a sequel to that device as it is a pared-down, more affordable alternative. There’s no fingerprint sensor, no stylus, and no OLED — but it’s quite functional, and with a sub-$600 starting price it’s a much more reasonable purchase.
The Chromebook 2’s highlight feature is its finish: It comes in a bright “fiesta red” that will certainly stand out wherever you’re using it. (There’s a gray option as well, if you’d prefer something subtle.) It’s also the first Chromebook ever to feature one of Samsung’s QLED panels. QLED isn’t OLED — it’s just a fancier LED — but it still makes for one of the most gorgeous displays I’ve ever seen on a Chromebook.
Nice screens sometimes wreck battery life, but that’s not the case here. I averaged about seven hours and 21 minutes of continuous work on the Chromebook 2, which means you shouldn’t need to plug it in too too often. And while the Core i3 processor isn’t the most powerful chip you can get in a Chromebook, it’s just fine for everyday work use.
Best Google Chromebook
The Google Pixelbook Go is a handsome, no-nonsense 13.3-inch laptop that weighs just 2.3 pounds. It has a sturdy magnesium chassis, and a ridged grip on the bottom to keep itself from slipping on slanted surfaces.
Not only is the Pixelbook Go portable and stylish, but it delivers solid performance, and supports fast charging through either of its USB-C ports. Battery life is also impressive. The Go lasted over eight hours in our testing, and it should get you through a full workday with no problem. But its standout feature is the keyboard, which is quiet with good travel and a springy feel. Verge editor Dieter Bohn found it to be his “favorite thing to type on by a long shot.”
The Go is an expensive product, as Chromebooks go, and it doesn’t top our list because the Chromebook Flip C434 offers similar specs and features for a slightly lower price. But we think plenty of shoppers who value long battery life and lightweight build might prefer to spend a bit more on this device instead.
Thin Chromebook with beautiful hardware
Google hasn’t updated the Pixelbook since its 2017 release, but if you’re looking for a convertible premium Chromebook, it’s still competitive. It has a beautiful design, combining aluminum and Gorilla Glass with silicone palm rests, and sports a bright touchscreen with 2400 x 1600 resolution. The 3:2 aspect ratio offers extra space compared to 16:9 panels and makes it more comfortable to work in multiple apps and windows without having to zoom out.
The Pixelbook doesn’t have the latest Intel processors since it’s an older product. Still, its Core i5 and 8GB of RAM should be able to handle everyday browsing and multitasking just fine. We also got around eight hours of battery life under a fairly heavy load. The keyboard and touchpad are both fun and comfortable to use — and as a neat bonus, the speakers fire up through the hinge, so audio sounds clearer than it does on many convertible laptops.
Note: Google appears to be discontinuing the Pixelbook, but some models are still available through Google’s store and other retailers.
7. Dell Inspiron 14
Premium 2-in-1 with a built-in stylus
It’s a bit heavy as Chromebooks go, but the 3.99-pound Inspiron 14 is still a sturdy convertible device with brushed aluminum chassis that gives it a premium look. It has a spacious backlit keyboard and a nice 1920 x 1080 display with accurate colors. With an 8th Gen Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, it delivers snappy performance for streaming, browsing, multitasking, and even more demanding artistic tasks.
Speaking of artists, the Inspiron 14 comes with a stylus, which lives in a dedicated socket inside the chassis so you don’t have to worry about losing it. Thanks to electromagnetic resonance technology (EMR), it doesn’t need batteries or any kind of charge.
8. Samsung Chromebook Plus v2
Best Samsung Chromebook
The convertible Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is far from a budget purchase. But it does offer a lot for its price, including a built-in battery-free stylus and an extra front-facing camera for quick photos of blackboards or job sites. (The camera above the keyboard is also surprisingly high-resolution — it’s a 13-megapixel sensor with autofocus.)
The V2 also has a nice design on par with that of other premium Chromebooks, including an aluminum lid and a sturdy hinge. It’s fairly portable at 2.9 pounds, and it has a microSD slot in addition to its two USB-C ports and headphone jack.
A pricey, premium Chromebook
Disappointing battery life (just over five hours of multitasking and seven hours of looping video) and a hefty price tag keep the Chromebook Flip C436 from topping this list, especially considering the lower price but similar offerings of its predecessor, the Chromebook Flip C434.
Still, if money isn’t an object for you, there’s a lot to like about the 2-in-1 C436. It has a nice, compact, convertible chassis — unlike many convertible devices, it’s actually light enough (2.4 pounds) to feasibly be used as a tablet for an extended period of time. Inside, it has a comfortable and snappy keyboard and a fingerprint reader in the top corner of the deck. The audio is good: there are two Harman Kardon-certified speakers in the hinge, as well as one on each side of the cover. And it’s powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 that performs quite well under a heavy browsing load.
The C436 is a pricey Chromebook, but it certainly looks and feels premium.
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