Discover the best Chromebooks you can pick up – find the best Chrome OS laptop for you and grab a great deal
Need a lightweight, low-cost laptop that just works? The best Chromebooks are now nearly as practical to use on a day-to-day basis as a regular Windows laptop or MacBook and they tend to be much less fussy to use as well. The best Chromebooks are ideal as main laptops for kids and students, too, especially as everyone begins to study from home a lot more.
Below, you’ll find our current pick of the best Chromebooks to buy, from the outstanding Google Pixelbook Go to cheaper options from HP and Acer. But first, a few tips on what you should look for when shopping for laptops based on Chrome OS because there are certain things you should bear in mind.
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How to choose the best Chromebook for you
What is a Chromebook and how does Chrome OS work?
Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which is a stripped-down operating system developed by Google. If you’ve used Google Chrome, you’ll be mostly familiar with how Chrome OS works: Chrome OS is just like the Chrome web browser we’re all familiar with except with a few extra bells and whistles thrown in, such as a file browser, an apps menu and Google Assistant. Essentially, there’s no learning curve; Chrome OS is very simple to get to grips with.
Instead of using conventional desktop applications, you’ll be using Google’s excellent web-based suite of apps. This includes Docs for word processing, Sheets for spreadsheets and Slides for presentations. You’ll be storing most of your stuff online, meaning every change you make is saved automatically. You will need a persistent internet connection to make the most of Chrome OS, but some features – all the aforementioned Google Apps, for instance – do work offline as well, which is handy in case of outages. Any changes you make are simply synchronised back to the online files when you reconnect.
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What else can I do with a Chromebook?
These days the more appropriate question to ask would be what can’t you run because there’s a wealth of options available to today’s Chromebook user. In terms of web-based apps, you can run all sorts of tools now on a Chromebook, even advanced stuff like RAW photo editing and compositing. Apps like Polarr or Pixlr Editor are both great choices and are surprisingly capable.
Chromebooks all have USB ports and some even have SD/microSD card slots, so you can transfer your media and documents around just like on a standard laptop.
Even if you can’t find a web-based app that fits your needs, there’s no need to worry. These days you can also run Android apps on a Chromebook. Just search the Google Play Store and you’ll find a wealth of apps to install and run, including a number of games and all your favourite smartphone software.
Finally, if that isn’t enough (and if you’re feeling confident) you can even install and run Linux on a Chromebook, meaning you can run full-fat desktop applications, too. For more on how to do this, read our Chromebook Linux installation guide.
What do I need to look for when buying a Chromebook?
There are all sorts of things to consider when making your Chromebook purchase. For starters, it’s worth bearing in mind that Chrome OS is categorised as a low-powered operating system, in that it doesn’t require top-end specs to run. Because of this, you don’t need a beefed-up machine to run it and so you can save a lot of money.
You ought to look out for size and weight; more often than not, a Chromebook serves as a secondary device that you’ll be using when darting in and out of the office. For the sake of your back, it’s best to get something light. On that note, build quality is similarly important, and Chromebooks are getting further away from the tacky, plasticky devices of old.
Second, a decent display is crucial. After all, you’ll be gawking at the screen the entire time you’re using it. Look out for Chromebooks with Full HD IPS screens as these will typically offer the best image quality.
The best Chromebooks to buy
1. Google Pixelbook Go: Simply the best Chromebook there is
Price: From £629 | Buy now from John Lewis
Google smashed it out of the park when it made the first Pixelbook but the follow-up is even more impressive. The Pixelbook Go is super slim, super light and has one of the best keyboards on any laptop we’ve ever tested. Couple that with a decent 13.3in 1080p touchscreen and supreme battery life and you have one of the best laptops it’s possible to buy below at the price.
The only problem – if you could call it that – is that the Pixelbook Go doesn’t make use of the very latest 10th generation Intel CPUs. Instead, the model we tested had an eighth-generation Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. However, it’s still perfectly quick and responsive for anything you’re likely to want to use it for and, with Chrome OS maturing nicely, it’s capable enough to be used as your main machine. And if you want something even more powerful and luxurious you can opt for the Core i7 model, which comes with an even sharper 4K display.
If you’ve already tried Chrome OS and want to stick with it, this is the natural step up from the myriad cheaper machines on the market. It’s simply brilliant.
Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review for more details
|Processor: Dual-core 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-8200Y (other options available)||Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080|
|RAM: 8GB (other options available)||Weight: 1.06kg|
|Total storage: 128GB SSD (other options available)|
Google Pixelbook Go – Lightweight Chromebook Laptop – Up to 12 Hours Battery Life – Touch Screen Chromebook – Just Black
$849.00 Buy now
2. Asus Chromebook Flip C436F: The fastest Chromebook ever
Price: £699 | Buy now from Currys PC World
If the Google Pixelbook Go is our favourite Chromebook of all time, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F runs it pretty close. With a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU at the helm, coupled with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, it’s the fastest Chromebook we’ve ever tested and it’s a lovely thing to use as well.
It has an incredibly slim and light chassis and a large 14in 1,920 x 1,080 display, weighs a mere 1.2kg and, like Like Asus’ other Flip devices, it has a 360-degree hinge that lets you fold the display all the way around. This means you can use the laptop as a tablet, or simply tuck the keyboard under and out of the way, bringing the screen closer to your eyes when you’re watching films and TV.
It is, quite simply, a brilliant Chromebook and well worth considering over a similarly priced Windows 10 machine. Look out for our full review very soon.
|Processor: 10th gen Intel Core i5-10210U||Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080|
|RAM: 8GB DDR4||Weight:1.2kg|
|Total storage: 256GB SSD|
3. Dell Chromebook 11 3100 2-in-1: The best Chromebook for battery life
Price: From £309 | Buy now from Dell
The Dell Chromebook 11 3100 2-in-1 was designed with schools in mind, hence the touch rubberised design and chunkier-than-normal design. Don’t let that put you off buying one, though, because it’s a great choice.
As with most 2-in-1 machines you can use it in various modes: like a laptop, a digital flipboard or tablet (although it’s a touch heavy for the latter). Because it’s been designed for the school environment it’s super tough: Gorilla Glass coats the display, the keyboard is spill-proof and Dell says it’s been tested beyond normal MIL-STD standards, too.
The display is a little on the small side at 11.6in and isn’t the best we’ve seen but it’s an IPS panel so viewing angles are great. There’s also plenty of power on offer and, in our tests, the 3100’s battery life proved epic, lasting nearly nine hours of video playback. Overall, a very good option, especially if your kids are prone to breaking things.
Read our full Dell Chromebook 11 3100 2-in-1 review for more details
|Processor: 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Celeron N4000||Screen resolution: 1,366 x 768|
|RAM: 4GB DDR4||Weight:1.41kg|
|Total storage: 32GB eMMc|
4. Acer Chromebook 14 CB514: The best Chromebook under £500
Price: £456 | Buy now from Amazon
The Acer Chromebook 14 CB514 is a premium laptop that somehow manages to sell for under £350. How? Well, the processor – a dual-core 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N3350 – is getting on for three years old, for a start. But unless you like to go heavy on multitasking or dabble in Android apps, you likely won’t be too held back by it.
Where the Chromebook 14 CB514 really excels is with its inputs. The keyboard and touchpad feel suitably premium, giving the illusion of browsing on a far more expensive MacBook. That makes it a pleasure to use, as long as your usage doesn’t go much further than emails, spreadsheets and Google Docs…
Read our full Acer Chromebook 14 CB514 review for more details
|Processor: Dual-core 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N3350||Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080|
|RAM: 4GB||Weight: 1.5kg|
|Total storage: 32GB|
Acer Chromebook 14 CB514-1HT – (Intel Pentium N4200, 4GB RAM, 128GB eMMC, 14 inch Full HD touchscreen display, Chrome OS, Gold)
£454.50 Buy now
5. Acer Chromebook 714: Plenty of power and a big screen to boot
Price: £467 | Buy now from Amazon
Chromebooks tend to err on the smaller side for the most part but, if you prefer working on a bigger screen, the Acer Chromebook 714 is a decent option. It has a sharp Full HD, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display with decent viewing angles, 4GB or 8GB of RAM and comes with either a Core i3 or Core i5 8th-gen Intel CPU. There’s also 64GB or 128GB of storage, although it’s only eMMC flash storage so is a touch on the slow side.
The laptop’s build feels a little on the rickety side and, at this price, the brightness and colour accuracy of the display could be better. Having said that, performance is great, the laptop feels nice and responsive and battery life is very impressive indeed, lasting more than 12 hours of video playback in our benchmark test.
Read our full Acer Chromebook 714 review for more details
|Processor: Quad-core Intel Core i3 or i5 (8th gen)||Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080|
|RAM: 4GB or 8GB DDR4||Weight:1.6kg|
|Total storage: 64GB or 128GB eMMc|
Acer Chromebook 714 CB714-1W (Intel Core i3-8130U, 8GB RAM, 128GB eMMC, 14 inch Full HD Display, Chrome OS, Iron) NX.HAYEK.007
£489.96 Buy now