Help Me, Laptop: What's the Best Touch-Screen Chromebook?

If you've ever gone to college, you might know the pain of being a broke college student. That pain gets even sharper the moment your professor tells you need to cough up several hundred dollars for a super-specific textbook.

Now replace "textbook" with "laptop," and you know how our forum member The Phoenix is feeling.

The Phoenix writes, "I'm looking for a somewhat decent touchscreen Chromebook. I need one for school next year and [I'm] trying to save up over the summer to get one. I don't really want to cheap out because I'll be needing it for college the following year. [...] My budget i[s] $400 for a Chromebook.

Aside from the touch screen and price limit, The Phoenix has a few more requirements for their notebook. They also want a system with at least a 2.0-GHz dual-core or 1.6-GHz quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD with upgradable storage.

MORE: Which Laptop CPU is Right for You?

The Phoenix, we have to talk. There are a couple of issues with your checklist. First, very few Chromebooks sport SSDs. And those that do, like the Google Pixelbook, cost upward of $899 and don't allow for upgrades. Most Chromebooks are outfitted with eMMC flash storage and lack upgradability options, with speeds that fall somewhere between those of an HDD and SSD. And a quad-core processor isn't feasible for your budget, especially when you add a touch screen. However, you can get a dual-core CPU with a respectable 2.0-GHz clock speed, such as an Intel Core i3-6100U processor.

Our suggestions

But I do have a few  suggestions, starting with the $389.99 Asus Chromebook Flip C213SA. It has the touch screen Phoenix is searching for and packs a dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 (1.1 GHz to 2.4 GHz) processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage and an Intel HD 500 graphics card. It doesn't have everything you want, but the Flip C213SA is durable, has a decent display and sound, and comes with an optional stylus. Not to mention, it's capable of running Android apps as well.

If you're willing to give up the touch panel, another option is the Acer Chromebook R 13 ($351.66), which gives you a 2.4-GHz quad-core MediaTek MT8173C processor. It has the same amount of RAM and storage as the Flip C213SA, but suffers with the Imagination PowerVR GX6250 graphics card. It produced slightly over half of the Intel HD 500’s score on the Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics synthetic benchmark test. Yet, the R 13 has a neat design, a comfortable keyboard and great battery life. Similar to the Chromebook Flip, it can also run Android apps.

And this one is a little over your budget, The Phoenix, but if you're willing to spend a bit more, you'll get a lot of power with the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook. For $452, you get a dual-core 2.3-GHz Intel Core i3-6100U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. It also comes with two USB Type-C ports for a bit of future-proofing, a great keyboard and over 9 hours of battery life.

While we couldn't completely fulfill your request, The Phoenix, we hope one of these three Chromebooks will help you in your collegiate endeavors.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.