Ready to run Android apps or plenty of browser tabs, the Chromebook Flip C302CA offers a premium aluminum chassis, zippy performance and solid battery life, all in a bend-back, 2-in-1 package. Its bright, 1080p screen is great for watching videos today and for playing your favorite games from the Google Play store when it becomes a standard part of Chrome OS tomorrow.
|Best Chromebooks 2017|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA||Best Overall||4 out of 5|
|Samsung Chromebook Pro||Best 2-in-1 Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Dell Chromebook 3189||Best School Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Acer Chromebook 14 for Work||Best Chromebook for Business||4 out of 5|
|Acer Chromebook 15||Best 15-inch Chromebook||3.5 out of 5|
|Lenovo N22 Chromebook||Budget Pick||3 out of 5|
Samsung's Chromebook Pro is the first step towards the future of Chrome OS. The convertible 2-in-1 has an aluminum metal body, a 2400x1600 display with 3:2 aspect ratios (which feels natural when using it like a tablet) and an integrated stylus pen for notetaking and drawing. It's among the first work with Android apps from Google Play out of the box, but Google really needs to take some time to iron out the issues with them.
Students will need a robust set of tools for the new school year, such as the touch screen in the Dell Chromebook 3189. Once Google brings Android app support to this Chrome OS machine, its touch screen will come in handy to make the most of photo editing apps such as Adobe Photoshop Express. Starting at $329, this notebook lasts more than 9 hours on a single charge and offers a durable chassis that's ready for the classroom.
Not only does the first Chromebook with a 6th generation Core i5 CPU get impressive performance and a solid 8 hours and 33 minutes of battery life, but it's also an IT administrators dream. The chassis is sexy enough to turn some heads and so rugged that it can survive being dropped from four feet Plus, it comes with some helpful tools for companies such as TPM, SAML support, and remote configuration through the web-based Chrome Device Management panel.
The 15-inch display is still the most popular screen size for any laptop, and Chromebook shoppers will soon have an option that's sized just right. The $249 Acer Chromebook 15 sports an Intel Celeron CPU under the hood and will come with either 2 or 4GB of RAM and a 16GB or 32GB SSD. That should offer plenty of processing power, now with the real estate people want. It even looks great, with your choice of a white or black fabric-like finish.
This education-focused Chromebook has a couple of interesting features, especially considering its affordable $155 price. A handle in the back of the notebook makes the 11.6-inch notebook simple to carry, and you can turn the webcam around 180 degrees to take pictures or share video of more than just your face. It's not the most powerful notebook out there, but its Celeron processor will handle a couple of Chrome tabs at once for simple work. It's a cheaper version of the N22 Touch Chromebook we review, sans the touch display.
Chromebooks have become familiar sights on best-selling laptop lists thanks to their low-prices, long battery life and an internet-focused operating system that's easy-to-use. But don't rush right into buying one; there are plenty of questions to ask first, including whether or not a Chromebook is right for you. Here's a brief guide to finding the right Chromebook.
Chrome OS: Google's Chrome operating system provides an inexpensive alternative to Windows for users who just want to get online, but it does so by stripping away a lot of what makes Windows such a versatile tool. With Chrome OS you'll get just enough operating system to support web browsing, lightweight apps and some basic laptop functionality.
It's perfect for the user familiar with Google Docs or who only wants to check Facebook and Twitter, but power users may find the limitations frustrating, and offline use is far less capable than mainstream operating systems.
Android Support and 2-in-1 Designs: To offer greater flexibility to the Chrome ecosystem, Google is rolling out support for Android apps across all of its newest Chromebooks. Along with these new apps is an increased focus on touch support and 2-in-1 designs, effectively making new Chromebooks into highly capable Android tablets, as well.
While the expanded ecosystem of the Google Play Store brings with it apps for popular programs like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office, these won't be the same as the full software you run on a Windows PC. And while Google wants to make this new capability standard for all new Chromebooks going forward, many of the systems already on the market won't support the expanded capabilities.
Budget: As a rule, Chromebooks are much less expensive than their Windows or Mac counterparts. At the low end, you can find Chromebooks selling for less than $200, like the Lenovo N22 Chromebook. As you get more premium designs and more powerful hardware, the prices creep up higher, and you can spend $500-600 on systems with Intel Core processors and premium metal construction. But even for these more expensive models, you'll likely spend far less than you would on most comparable Windows laptops.
For more help selecting the Chromebook for you, check out our Chromebook Buying Guide.