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 November 2020.
BEST CHROMEBOOKS — November 2020
New for November:
Update: With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis having forced 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, 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
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 “real 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 the performance of an Intel/AMD processor 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:
For a time, in addition to being one of the best and most affordable Chromebooks, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet was also one of the hardest devices to find at retailers due to high demand. Lenovo seems to have ramped up production since then, putting more units in stores as well as online retailers.
The base model IdeaPad Duet comes with only 64GB of storage, but carries a lower retail price of $289. This model is primarily available from Amazon.
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 — new for November
High-end performance for mid-range price
With the addition of Android and Linux apps support to Chrome OS, the possibilities for a high-performance Chromebook have greatly increased. From that perspective, the best Chromebook for the job, in our opinion, is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which packs a 10th-generation Intel i5-10210U processor.
Backing up that processor, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 starts at 8GB of RAM and 128GB of blazing-fast NVMe SSD storage. You’ll also find a 13.5-inch 2256×1504 display, complete with the Chrome OS fan-favorite 2:3 display ratio. Despite these high-end specs, the Spin 713 can manage as much as 10 hours of battery life.
Why it’s the best Chromebook you can buy today:
Between the excellent backlit keyboard, large trackpad, and 2:3 display ratio, Acer has managed to tick almost every box that a Chrome OS fan would want from a Chromebook. In particular, we believe the Spin 713 is one of the best devices for a developer, as the included NVMe storage — undoubtedly a premium spec — is typically faster than the usual eMMC storage of most Chromebooks.
What really sets the Acer Spin 713 apart from other Chromebooks and makes it one of our top recommendations is the pricing. You can get the Acer Spin 713, which offer specs comparable to — and in the case of battery life, miles better than — the $1,000 Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, for as low as $629.
Yes, there are higher models available, but the best bang for your buck, by far, is the base model. The next model up, at $699, actually takes a significant step down by using an Intel Core i3 processor, with the only upgrade being the increased storage space.
Where to buy the Acer Chromebook Spin 713:
ASUS Flip C434 / C425
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 never had, even after three years, is affordability. ASUS has seized the opportunity to make a Pixelbook-killer out of the Chromebook Flip C434, which rings in with 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 retail, though it’s been seen on sale as low as $329.
OTHER EXCELLENT CHROMEBOOKS
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 — and Chromebooks in general — by offering dual front-firing speakers, which offer louder and higher-quality sound than any other Chromebook on the market.
Importantly, with the base model ringing in at $649 from Best Buy and the Google Store, Google has brought their quality hardware to the mid-budget market. Stepping up from there is a $999 model with a Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM, available at B&H Photo, Best Buy, and the Google Store
On the highest end of the spectrum, the same ultra-portable Google Pixelbook Go is 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 down below.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook has all of the trappings of a top-notch, flagship Chrome OS device — 4K display, stowable stylus, 10th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor, proper SSD storage, etc. Samsung has taken their years of experience in the field of flagship Android phones and clearly applied it to the creation of the Galaxy Chromebook, their first Chromebook fitting of the “Galaxy” name.
Unfortunately, what keeps it from the top spots of our Best Chromebooks list is that the device has been found to have truly abysmal battery life, no doubt due in part to the 4K display. Samsung has promised to fix the Galaxy Chromebook’s battery life, but nothing firm seems to have come of this in the last few months.
Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is the perfect device for the Chrome OS power user who is willing to sacrifice some usability in order to get the best and nicest looking hardware available for their favorite OS. For most folks though, the Galaxy Chromebook is overkill and you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 — new for November
Since 2018’s Chromebook C330, Lenovo has managed to craft a range of incredible low-end and mid-range Chrome OS devices, and the Flex 5 Chromebook is no different. This particular Chromebook riffs on the design of the Pixelbook Go and the Macbook with front-facing speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard. As somewhat implied by the “Flex” name, the Flex 5 is a convertible laptop complete with support for USI styluses.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is equipped with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage space, further expandable via a microSD card slot. It also comes with a simple 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touchscreen display. The one thing that holds the Flex 5 back from being our top pick in the sub-$500 price range is that mid-range laptops should come with a minimum of 6GB of RAM.
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 some regards, one of the most interesting 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 Galaxy Chromebook has a bold flash of style and the ability to fold into a tablet, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is a plain jane clamshell, with a traditional “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 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 a solid machine, 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 a bit harder to come by. You can pick up the Intel i5 model of Google Pixel Slate from B&H Photo for $599 or any of the three models from Amazon, starting at $439.
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 Chromebooks to have done this are the top-end ($1600) Google Pixelbook and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. You can also pick up the Latitude 5300 with up to a laptop-grade Intel Core i7-8665U processor, and as much as 32GB of RAM.
What really makes the Dell Latitude series Chromebooks special, though, is that, unlike any other Chromebook on the market, you can open them up and replace or even 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 and some know-how.
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.
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