The Best Chromebook

The Best Chromebook

Unfortunately it’s extremely difficult to find a decent Chromebook in stock anywhere right now, as parents scramble to equip their kids for remote learning. We recommend setting up stock alerts using Nowinstock.net or browser extensions like Keepa. If you can’t find a new one anywhere, consider a used Chromebook—but double check the official end of support date before you buy. You can also turn an old Windows or Mac computer into a Chromebook, if you have one lying around.

Our pick

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″)

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″)

The best Chromebook

With excellent performance for its low price, a great keyboard and trackpad, and a compact, light body, the Lenovo Flex 5 is the Chromebook to buy.

Buying Options

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-10110U Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 2.97 pounds
Storage: 64 GB SSD Tested battery life: 10 hours

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″) is an exceptional Chromebook—on top of being an all-around great laptop, our recommended model offers faster performance than do most Chromebooks under $500. Most cheap Chromebooks feel slow with just a handful of tabs open, but the Flex 5 can handle everyday workloads with aplomb. Lenovo also sells a slightly cheaper model with a Celeron 5205U processor and half the local storage, but most people are better off spending a little more for the faster performance and double the storage. The cheaper model is a good option if the i3 model is out of stock or backordered, though.

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Runner-up

Acer Chromebook 714 (CB714-1W-P5SR)

Acer Chromebook 714 (CB714-1W-P5SR)

The second-best Chromebook

From performance to build quality, the Acer Chromebook 714 is good enough to get work done, but the Lenovo Flex 5 is better in every way except battery life.

Buying Options

$600* from Newegg

*At the time of publishing, the price was $517.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Pentium 4417U Screen: 14-inch 1920×1080 non-touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.53 pounds
Storage: 32 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 13 hours

If the Flex 5 is unavailable, we recommend the Acer Chromebook 714 (CB714-1W-P5SR). It’s good enough for everyday office tasks and schoolwork thanks to its solid performance and its decent keyboard, trackpad, battery life, and screen. But the Flex 5 is better in every way except battery life—it’s sturdier and more compact, the screen looks better, and it’s more enjoyable to type on—so we recommend the Chromebook 714 only if you can’t find our top pick anywhere.

Upgrade pick

Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go

Faster, smaller, and lighter

The Pixelbook Go is smaller, lighter, and faster than the Flex 5 and lasts hours longer on a charge, but it’s quite a bit more expensive.

Buying Options

$650 from Best Buy

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core m3-8100Y Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.3 pounds
Storage: 64 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 14.5 hours
We tested the Pixelbook Go with an Intel Core i5 processor, not the Core m3 processor we recommend. Battery life may differ, but we expect it to be in the same ballpark.

If you’re willing to pay more for a smaller, lighter, and faster Chromebook with longer battery life, get the Google Pixelbook Go. The Flex 5 is more than good enough for most people, but if you frequently have dozens of tabs open, run multiple Android apps, or use Linux on your Chromebook, the extra memory is worth paying more for—as a Chromebook enthusiast, I’d have to say the Pixelbook Go is the one I’d buy. Unlike our other picks, the Pixelbook Go has only USB-C ports. If you own older peripherals that use USB-A, you’ll need a dongle or dock to accommodate them.

Also great

Acer Chromebook 712 (C871-C85K)

Acer Chromebook 712 (C871-C85K)

Durable for kids

The Chromebook 712 is the ideal Chromebook for young kids, as it’s cheap and durable, and it has a spill-resistant keyboard. Its availability is spotty, but you don’t have any other good choices if you value durability.

Buying Options

$300 from CDW

May be out of stock

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Celeron 5205U Screen: 12-inch 1366×912 non-touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 3.31 pounds
Storage: 32 GB SSD Tested battery life: 12 hours

If you want a Chromebook for young kids and need it to be cheaper and more durable than our other picks, we recommend the Acer Chromebook 712 (C871-C85K). It should feel just as fast as our top pick for remote schoolwork and video chats—unlike most Chromebooks in this price range, which are painfully slow—and it has a durable body and a spill-resistant keyboard. It suffers from a terrible, low-resolution, non-touch screen, and its keyboard is mediocre, but despite those flaws it’s still the best, most durable choice for young kids.

Also great

HP Chromebook 15 de000

HP Chromebook 15 de000

A bigger screen

The HP Chromebook 15 has a large, vivid screen that’s great for watching Netflix and working in multiple windows, but it weighs quite a bit and takes up a lot of space.

Buying Options

$1,400* from HP

*At the time of publishing, the price was $450.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Pentium Gold 4417U Screen: 15.6-inch 1920×1080 non-touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 3.99 pounds
Storage: 32 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 14 hours

If you want a big, beautiful screen and don’t need to carry your laptop around often, get the HP Chromebook 15. It’s larger and heavier than our other picks, but it offers solid performance and frequently costs less. We recommend the de000 model for its low price, but if you prefer, you can get the de0010nr model with a touchscreen and 64 GB storage, typically for $70 more. We don’t recommend spending more for the de0015nr and de0517wm models—both have a Core i3 processor, a touchscreen, and 128 GB of storage for around $500, and the de000015 has 8 GB of memory—unless you need a 15-inch screen and faster performance for Linux apps.

source: hafta-ichi.com/wirecutter/

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