With the rise of Android and Linux app support on Chrome OS, the possibilities for a high-end Chromebook have never been greater. Combined with the new tablet form factor, Chrome OS is becoming quite the all-in-one operating system. Let’s take a look at the best Chromebooks on the market today, as of June 2020.
BEST CHROMEBOOKS – June 2020
New for June:
Update: With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis forcing many workers and students alike to work from home, Chromebooks have become something of a hot ticket item for their affordability and flexibility. To help make sure you’re able to get a great Chromebook at a good price and in a reasonable amount of time, we’ve updated our list to reflect the changes in availability at retailers.
Another important thing to note while purchasing is that you may experience delays when ordering from some sites like Amazon, so be sure to check the shipping estimates of the available retailers or try to place an order for local pickup, if possible.
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet — New for June
The great and affordable Chrome OS tablet
Since the release of their first-party Pixel Slate, Google has been working to improve the tablet experience of Chrome OS. That work paved the way for more Chrome OS tablets to hit the market, including the hotly anticipated Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet.
With the IdeaPad Duet, Lenovo found the perfect mix of compromises to deliver “good enough” performance for the average person. To do that, Lenovo chose to forgo an Intel processor in favor of an ARM-based processor from MediaTek, and only included 4GB of RAM. These admittedly unimpressive specs still offer just enough for using the web and even gaming thanks to Android apps and streaming services like Google Stadia.
Where Lenovo did not compromise is in the IdeaPad Duet’s display. For your media streaming needs, the Chromebook Duet features a 10-inch 1920×1200 display — which is also compatible with the Universal Stylus Initiative — as well as a surprisingly powerful set of speakers.
Why it’s the best Chromebook you can buy today:
While there are surely better and more powerful tablets available, like the Google Pixel Slate, none of them deliver that experience at the IdeaPad Duet’s incredible starting price of $279. For that price, also you get a protective cover for the rear that also acts as a kickstand, as well as an attachable keyboard for those moments when you need to get a bit of work done.
No two ways about it, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet offers the best bang for your buck of any Chrome OS device on the market today. Unless you’re a developer or a web power user who requires more performance or you simply need something with better lapability, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is the Chromebook we would recommend for most people shopping in this price range.
Where to buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet:
Unfortunately, the problem with being both the best and the most affordable is that the IdeaPad Duet is hard to come by. The $279 base model, which only comes with 64GB of storage, has not yet been made available, while the $299 model with 128GB of storage is currently only sold at Best Buy and is frequently out of stock.
ASUS Flip C434
The sub-$600 Pixelbook contender
Almost since its release in 2017, the Google Pixelbook has been acknowledged to be the absolute best that Chrome OS has to offer. However, after nearly three years, that device’s specs and price point haven’t aged well, giving other OEMs time to shine. Last year, ASUS released the Chromebook Flip C434 as a successor to their beloved Flip C302 from 2017.
Why it’s the best Chromebook you can buy today:
The Flip C434 succeeds for many of the same reasons the Pixelbook did, offering solid performance in a perfectly portable 2-in-1 form factor, with no fan noise. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 packs an Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processor (just like Pixel Slate), 4 or 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage in a 14″ chassis with a 1920×1080 resolution display.
Another thing that really makes the C434 interesting is its hinge design, which slightly elevates the rear of the device while in a traditional laptop position. This is intended to deliver a more ergonomic typing experience. The hinge can also allow the device to fold completely over for a tablet-style experience.
Where to buy the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434:
For all the things we praised the Google Pixelbook for, one thing that it still doesn’t have, even after nearly three years, is affordability. ASUS has seized the opportunity to make a Pixelbook-killer out of the Chromebook Flip C434, which rings in at a retail price starting at $549.99, frequently discounted below $500, and is available from Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo.
If you’re looking to save even more, and can live without using your Chromebook as a tablet, ASUS also offers the nearly-identical but non-convertible Chromebook C425. You can get this model from Amazon and Walmart for $469, though it’s been seen on sale as low as $329.
OTHER EXCELLENT CHROMEBOOKS
Acer Spin 13
Spec for spec, the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 has models with some of the most high-performance options available in Chromebooks of its day. Intel i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM, 128GB of eMMC storage, the works. This means it can absolutely tear through anything you throw at it, better than most any other Chromebook on the market.
There are two key factors, though, that you may prefer about the Acer Spin 13. The first, of course, is that Acer has managed to pack everything into a far more portable 13-inch form factor, making its ability to convert into a tablet actually useful.
Second, despite the smaller form, some models of the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 come with a conveniently stowable stylus for the touch screen. This is a huge plus by comparison to the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate, for which you can pay $99 for a pen with no place to stow it.
Google Pixelbook Go
Before we talk about the good things the Pixelbook Go brings to the table, there’s one thing that needs to be addressed. Unlike the original Pixelbook which folded over into a tablet, and the Pixel Slate which was a tablet that could become a laptop, the Google Pixelbook Go is just a clamshell laptop, not a convertible in any way. Now that Chrome OS has become a truly dynamic experience, combining the best of the web, Android, and Linux, it feels like a major step backward to not offer a convertible.
Looking past that, the Google Pixelbook Go is a fantastic device that rightfully earns its place on this list. One of the most well-loved aspects of the original Pixelbook was the keyboard, and Google does not disappoint in that department with the Pixelbook Go. Google also improved on the weakest point of the Pixelbook, by offering dual front-firing speakers, which offer louder and higher-quality sound than any other Chromebook on the market.
On the higher end of the spectrum, the same ultra-portable Google Pixelbook Go will soon be available with an i7 processor, 4K display, and 16GB of RAM. However, this model rings in at $1399 which is more than double the base model and even $400 more than the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook above.
Lenovo Chromebook C340 (11″)
With the Chromebook C340, successor to 2018’s Chromebook C330, Lenovo was once again able to keep prices low while stepping up their overall build quality and introducing two gorgeous colorways — Platinum Grey and Sand Pink. With its combination of design and affordability, the Lenovo Chromebook C340 is a solid recommendation for students, children, or really anyone looking to get their feet wet with Chrome OS.
The Lenovo Chromebook C340 is a convertible equipped with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage space, further expandable via an SD card slot. It also comes with a simple 11.6-inch 1366×768 touchscreen display. While the C340 does not have the most impressive specs on this list, it’s well-rounded for its price bracket, with nothing too underpowered.
The Lenovo Chromebook C340 retails for $299 at Best Buy for the 32GB model, but has been seen as low as $259.
Samsung Chromebook 4 / 4+
Samsung has made a name for itself in the Android world by consistently making some of the best smartphones year after year. That being the case, it’s easy to imagine that their success would translate well into the Chromebook space, and to an extent, it has. This year hailed the release of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, which is in many ways one of the best Chrome OS devices ever released.
That said, the best bang for your buck of Samsung’s current offerings is the Samsung Chromebook 4 and Chromebook 4+. The smaller of the two is an 11.6-inch clamshell (non-convertible) with a 1366×768 screen, while the Chromebook 4+ has a 15.6″ 1920×1080 screen. Where the Lenovo C340 above has a flash of style and the ability to fold into a tablet, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is a plain jane clamshell, with its “Platinum Titan” colored exterior.
However, with a starting price of just $229, these shortcomings can easily be overlooked. The Samsung Chromebook 4 is the lowest-price Chrome OS device we can currently recommend, as anything more affordable is likely to be unusable or may soon stop receiving Chrome OS updates.
Google Pixel Slate
Despite being the latest (and last) tablet from Google, the Pixel Slate has some interesting flaws that currently hold it back from our top spots. If you can overlook these flaws, (or work around them using something like the Brydge G-Type keyboard) the Google Pixel Slate is an incredible piece of machinery, worthy of considering for its perfect portability and hardware befitting the “Google Pixel” name.
The Google Pixel Slate comes in a variety of models, recently reduced to a new starting price of $499 for one sporting an Intel Core m3 processor. While this model is worth considering, I personally would recommend the Pixel Slate equipped with a Core i5 processor ($599) as the best bang for your buck of the Pixel Slate models.
As of the latest price drops, the top Pixel Slate model, with an Intel Core i7 and a whopping 16GB of RAM, has also become a much better value, at just $899. With the newly reduced prices and higher demand for Chromebooks, the Pixel Slate has become harder to come by, with B&H Photo only having the Intel m3 model available.
You can pick up a Google Pixel Slate from B&H Photo and Amazon, and even get a matching Pixelbook Pen and the official Pixel Slate Keyboard for free. That said, B&H Photo seems to be back ordered on those accessories, so you may wish to buy without or see about having them shipped separately.
Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook
If you’re familiar with Dell’s product lines, you may recognize that Latitude is the name of their line of enterprise hardware. The Latitude 5300 Chromebook and its sibling the 5400 are Dell’s first enterprise Chromebooks, and the company has made them absolute spec sheet stuffers.
First and foremost, the Latitude 5300 comes with an NVMe solid state drive, instead of the usual, slower eMMC storage found on most Chromebooks. The only other Chromebook to have done this is the top-end ($1600) Google Pixelbook. You can also pick up the Latitude 5300 with up to a laptop-grade Intel Core i7-8665U processor, and up to 32GB of RAM.
What really makes the Dell Latitude 5300 (and 5400) special, though, is that, unlike any other Chromebook on the market, you can open it up and replace or upgrade some individual components like the memory, battery, and storage. If 8GB of RAM was enough when you bought it, but decide later that 16GB (or 32GB) would be better, you can simply buy another stick of memory from Dell and install it with little more than a screwdriver.
Despite being “enterprise” hardware, the Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 (and the clamshell Latitude 5400) are available for purchase by anyone from Dell.com. Unfortunately, Dell is asking quite a premium for this power-user Chromebook, with prices ranging from around $1000 for a base model to over $2500 at the top-end after discounts.
Since its debut in 2017, the Google Pixelbook has been the pinnacle of what Chrome OS can be. In the intervening two years, other OEMs have finally caught up with Google’s Pixelbook near-perfection, at a more affordable price point, like the ASUS Flip C434 above. Simultaneously, features once exclusive to the Pixelbook, like the Google Assistant, have become standard features of Chrome OS, available on any Chromebook.
That being said, the Google Pixelbook is still one of the best Chromebooks for the same reason the Pixel phones are the best Androids, in our opinions, and why Apple products are typically of such high quality. One company both wrote the software and designed the hardware, making them perfectly matched to each other.
With models ranging from the base model with an i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage for $999 (seen on sale as low as $699) to the top-tier packing an i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage at $1649, having the best Chromebook from Google comes at a steep cost.
At the time of writing, Best Buy has the i5 model marked down an extra $100, to $899. For those looking to really cut costs, though, you can now purchase a refurbished Pixelbook directly from the Google Store, for just $699.
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