We’ve reviewed hundreds of the best laptops over the years, testing for important qualities like performance, battery life, and display quality. And we’ve found that Chromebooks consistently excel at performance and reliability. The best Chromebooks we’ve assembled here are something special, however. They offer solid performance, excellent functionality, and enough diversity to handle just about any need.
|Best Chromebook||Google Pixelbook Go|
|Best 2-in-1 Chromebook||Acer Chromebook Spin 713|
|Best Cheap Chromebook||Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5|
|Best Premium Chromebook||Asus Chromebook Flip C436|
Google Pixelbook Go
|CPU:||Intel Core m3|
|GPU:||Intel UHD Graphics 615|
|Screen:||13.3-inch full HD|
|Dimensions:||12.2 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches|
If you’ve been learning all about what Chromebooks vs laptops and contemplating what a reliable brand to go for is, you can’t really go wrong with a Google Pixelbook Go. After all, who could be better than Google, creators of the Chrome OS, to know how to get the best out of it? The Google PixelBook Go is a super efficient demonstration of the popular operating system. It has a great Intel Core m3 processor along with 8GB of memory and 64GB SSD for storage. While other Chromebooks might favor the cheaper (and slower) eMMC format, the Google Pixelbook Go gives you an extra boost of speed.
Such a speed boost means during your downtime, you might even wish to consider checking out the best games for Chromebooks, giving you a fun break from work. Elsewhere, its 13.3-inch full HD display is a touchscreen display so you can get more hands-on with what you’re doing. That goes for whether you’re creating a presentation or opting to find your favorite shows on a streaming service to indulge in. The latter will benefit from the Chromebook’s dual front-firing speakers so you get a better surround sound style effect leading to a less tinny sounding experience.
The little attention to details continues with how the Google Pixelbook Go packs in a lot of premium features. It has both wired and Wi-Fi options so you can hook it up via Ethernet as well as Wi-Fi. It also has a backlit keyboard so you can see it more clearly in dim lighting. A spacious touchpad helps you get things done more effectively too, while Hush Keys keep the experience quieter than average as well.
The bezels of the Chromebook may be a little chunky but other than that, the design is highly portable with fantastic battery life that easily lasted over 12 hours in our tests. If you’re looking for something reliable that will last you all day, this is the one you want and need. Outside of there being no fingerprint scanner for security, the Google Pixelbook Go has all the essentials.
Read our Google Pixelbook Go review.
Acer Chromebook Spin 713
|CPU:||Intel Core i5|
|GPU:||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Dimensions:||11.8 x 9.3 x 0.67 inches|
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 Chromebook that’s also powerful, you need the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. We described it as supremely powerful thanks to being one of very few Chromebooks to be Evo certified. This isn’t cheap by any means so steer clear if you’re looking for one of the best budget laptops. For everyone else though, it’s a delight to use.
An all-aluminum chassis reaches near premium laptop levels in terms of build quality, reminding you that you’ve bought something classy. Impressively, it has Thunderbolt 4 support which you don’t normally see on Chromebooks along with the usual selection of USB ports, a full-size HDMI port, and 3.5mm audio jack. It’s powerful too with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of SSD storage. Many Chromebooks stick with a lower amount of storage space so 128GB is great to see if you’d prefer to store more files on the laptop itself rather than the cloud. As a guide, many regular Windows laptops have this amount of space so you know what to expect. It’s speedy too with our tests finding it able to handle all the Android games we threw at it and a ton of browser tabs too.
The display is slightly different from others being taller and offering a 3:2 aspect ratio. A resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 is useful providing you with sharp text and images. It’s ideally suited for working on presentations and other projects, ensuring you gain clear insight into what’s going on. Don’t count on it being an ideal display for working outdoors under a bright sun but for everything else, it’s good quality with colors that seem natural and not oversaturated. The downside? Speaker quality is a little weak for listening to music but it’s adequate.
Rounding things off on a better note, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 has a great large touchpad which combined with the super responsive touch display means you’re always in control. Reasonable battery life of 8.5 hours works well with a system that’s more powerful than the average Chromebook so you get a decent experience throughout the day.
Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
|CPU:||Intel Core i3|
|GPU:||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Screen:||13.3-inch IPS full HD|
|Dimensions:||12.2 x 8.34 x 0.7 inches|
The laptops under $500 market is usually pretty flakey and not exactly what you want from a Windows 11 machine. That’s why something like the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is perfect if you’re willing to switch to the Android world.
As with the other Chromebooks here, Lenovo has packed in a processor you’ll see on Windows systems — a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor. It also has 4GB of RAM. That might not sound like much but Chrome OS runs fast on here, even for a system that’s nearly three years old now. Gaming is out of the question even when it comes to Android games, but performance for work tasks is respectable enough. You’ll be able to have a number of Chrome tabs open without suffering here. It’ll also work well with Google apps even if it won’t wow you. Similarly, battery life is also respectable if not amazing. It offers about six to seven hours which isn’t far off a working day if you factor in breaks. Crucially, at this price, it’s a fairly respectable figure even if it’s not exactly exciting.
Its 13.3-inch IPS LED touchscreen display offers a standard 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It doesn’t include the sharpest of color quality and it only brightens up to 250 nits so it’s not great for outdoor use or even sitting by a window. Its upward-firing speakers are similarly ‘fine’ and nothing more but again, this is a budget Chromebook. On the plus side, you do get a great typing experience. Keycaps are large with plenty of travel and responsiveness. It’s also a backlit keyboard and its touchpad is large if a little sloppy at tracking. You can always switch over to the touchscreen if that feels more comfortable.
For anyone on a tight budget, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 may never truly excite but it gets the job done. Perhaps best suited for a student, it works well on the move if you don’t mind not quite having a full day’s worth of battery life.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.
Asus Chromebook Flip C436
|CPU:||Intel Core i3|
|GPU:||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Screen:||14-inches full HD|
|Dimensions:||12.6 x 8.1 x 0.54 inches|
Anyone who’s been reading up on the differences between Chromebooks and laptops might be worried that they’re getting an inferior product by steering toward Chromebooks. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 demonstrates that really isn’t the case. A truly premium product, its only real rival remains the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. It’s the kind of Chromebook you could mistake for a Windows-based system. A flagship model, it offers phenomenal build quality. Its aluminum shell looks great while also feeling solid in your hands. Even its hinge opens smoothly with one hand and feels solidly reliable. It doesn’t even shake when you switch it to clamshell, presentation, tent, or tablet modes — something you’re likely to do often thanks to the touchscreen. Reasonably small bezels with an 85% screen-to-body ratio proves useful too when it comes to good looks.
Elsewhere, port options are a little limited with just two USB-C 3.1 ports and no Thunderbolt support. There are also no HDMI or USB-A ports so you’ll need to add on a dongle or two. However, there is a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard feels great too with oversized keycaps, 1.2mm of travel, and a snappy feeling while you use it. A wide touchpad further helps with responsiveness. The 14-inch full HD display is sufficient with decent contrast although it’ll struggle under direct sunlight. It’s matched up with some reasonable speakers for all your streaming needs.
Performance-wise, an Intel Core i3 processor isn’t the fastest but with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage, this is a Chromebook that can keep up with most of what you’re doing. You’ll be fine to open plenty of Google Chrome tabs at once as well as switch between many different apps without an issue. Gaming is pretty smooth too.
Depending on what you’re doing, you should be able to count on about 10.5 hours of battery life. For the average working day, you should be happy with these results even if it’s not quite as impressive as the Google Pixelbook Go. For anyone that needs a more high-end Chromebook, this is a great option.
Read our Asus Chromebook Flip C436 review.
First published on June 26, 2015.