It has Google Assistant on board, so you can ask for any information you need via voice command. It’s got plenty of RAM and storage, and the CPU makes it incredibly fast. 13.3” HD touchscreen display.
Like all Chromebooks, it can’t do very much without a WiFi connection.
The all-metal body makes the Flip durable, not to mention light (at 2.5 lb,). The built-in hinge allows the touchscreen to flip all the way around for a more tablet-like experience.
Screen resolution is limited to 1920 x 1080, which is great for movies, but it can make reading documents or web pages a challenge.
360-degree hinge for laptop, tablet, and display modes. Lightweight. Appealing aluminum frame. 10 hours of battery life. HD webcam.
Its audio system isn’t particularly impressive.
Cutting-edge technology includes efficient Intel Core M3 processor, HD graphics, built-in digital pen, and 360-degree rotating touchscreen.
Tends to run slightly hot. Touchscreen can be overly sensitive. Pricey, yet build doesn't feel as durable as less-costly models.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Lightweight, fast, and affordable. These are just a few of the advantages of a Chromebook. For those who aren't aware of why these devices are so different, Chromebooks run apps on a cloud-based system that keeps your computer clean and virus-free.
Even though a Chromebook has much less memory than other types of laptops, you don't want to skimp on the RAM. The best models have 8GB of RAM, feature an Intel processor, and have a touchscreen. A Chromebook is not suitable for gaming, but you will still be most satisfied with a model that has full HD resolution.
Chromebooks are made by a number of manufacturers and we've listed several of the top models in this article. You can either pick one of our favorites or continue reading to learn more about how these laptops work, what kind of apps are available, and how compatible different peripherals are with Chrome's operating system.
First things first: What is a Chromebook and how is it different? Most laptops run on Windows, and those made by Apple run on Mac OS, but Chromebooks run on Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is just another operating system, but if you're used to Windows or Mac OS, the look and feel will be different. Rather than programs, Chrome OS has apps, and it runs mostly online, with most of your documents stored online, in the cloud.
Let's take a look at the good and the bad things about Chromebooks.
Chromebooks are extremely affordable, with most models under $300, and many between $100 and $200.
Since Chromebooks rely on cloud storage, you can access your files from other computers and devices, as long as you have an internet connection.
Many users report Chrome OS is fast, stable, clean, and easy to use.
Chromebooks are thin and lightweight compared to similar laptops.
Due to their lightweight operating system and SSD hard drives, Chromebooks take as little as eight seconds from being switched on to being ready to use.
Although some apps can be used offline, you need to be connected to the internet to get the most from your Chromebook. It's not ideal if you like to use your laptop on the go in places with no Wi-Fi.
You can't use your existing software – such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office – on a Chromebook, although you will find alternatives.
You'll probably end up paying for cloud storage. Google gives all Chromebook owners a free 100GB of Google Drive storage, but only for two years. After that you're downgraded to the usual 15GB free storage, unless you're willing to pay for an upgrade.
You can't use the full Microsoft Office suite on a Chromebook, but you can access an online version of Office. However, Google has its own Office-like suite, which many users find just as good – and it's free.
You’ll find a few important features to weigh when choosing the best Chromebook screen for your needs.
Screen Size: Chromebooks are generally designed to be small and portable for maximum convenience. As such, the most common Chromebook screen sizes fall between 10 and 15.6 inches. You likely won't find any 17-inch behemoths just yet.
Resolution: Lower-end Chromebooks tend to have 1366 x 768 pixel displays, but if you're willing to spend a little more, you'll find plenty of models with a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. At the top of the range, you’ll find options that offer crystal clear 2,560 x 1,700 resolution.
Touchscreen: If usine a mouse gets you down, look for a Chromebook with touchscreen capability. You'll pay more than you would for an equivalent model without a touchscreen, but many people are more than happy to pay that premium for speed and convenience.
The CPU, i.e. the central processing unit or processor, is the "brain" of a computer, and helps determine how quickly and smoothly your Chromebook operates. The faster the CPU runs (measured in GHz), the more processes it can run at any given time.
Chromebooks either have Intel processors or Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) processors. ARM processors are energy efficient, powerful, and more optimized for Android apps, but Intel processors generally perform slightly better and allow you to access closed-source software like Steam and all of its games. Plus, Chromebooks with Intel CPUs allow you to more seamlessly install a Linux distribution operating system for more functionality.
Random access memory (RAM) is another factor that influences how quickly your computer runs. It’s essentially active memory for running programs.
Most Chromebooks come with 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of RAM, however there are high-end models with 16GB of RAM.
If you're going to multitask frequently, we definitely recommend opting for a faster 4GB or 8GB model. 16GB versions are very capable, but unless you’re installing additional operating systems or playing demanding games, that amount of RAM is overkill for a Chromebook.
Historically, Chromebooks have included little internal storage compared to other computers.
This is because your documents, photos, media, and other files are stored in the cloud rather than on your computer (although you can opt to store a limited amount of data on your hard drive).
Most have between 16GB and 64GB of internal storage, which should be sufficient for the majority of users and can be expanded by using a microSD card. That said, there are top-flight models available with laptop-rivaling levels of storage. For example, the Google Pixelbook offers up to 512GB of internal storage.
While you’ll get the most out of your Chromebook by connecting to the internet, offline functionalities are constantly being added. If you save your media locally, you can play back movies, watch TV shows, read your Kindle, and listen to music offline. There are countless offline apps available as well, including games, photo editors, word processors, and more.
If you do want to go online, you’ll have to use Wi-Fi unless you purchase a USB Ethernet adapter. Additionally, you can surf the web using 3G or 4G, but you will need to set up and pay for a cellular data plan.
If your cell phone includes a mobile hotspot feature, you can provide internet access to the Chromebook through the cell phone. Remember, though, doing this may incur data charges on your cell phone bill.
Chromebooks produce significantly less heat than laptops and desktops due to their solid-state hard drives and power-efficient processors. That’s why many, but not all, Chromebooks offer fanless designs that are quieter, less prone to breaking, and more energy efficient than their more powerful cousins. Some Chromebooks, such as the Yoga C630 and Acer Spin 13, do include cooling fans though.
A file “stored in the cloud" is actually saved in a datacenter, rather than on your computer. You can access it anytime, as long as you're connected to the internet.
If your Chromebook runs on an Intel processor, the Intel Core CPU is superior to the Intel Celeron, but it does come with a higher price tag.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your Chromebook:
All Chromebooks made from 2017 onward – as well as some earlier models – will be able to run Android apps.
Chromebooks sync your bookmarks, passwords, and apps. So, if you're using Chrome and your Google account on another device, you'll have all your bookmarks and other preferences replicated to your Chromebook.
Parents can create supervised accounts for their kids to use, which track and limit online activity, and block certain sites.
Not all printers are compatible with Chromebooks, so it's worth checking if yours is before you buy.
Once you’ve picked out your Chromebook, don’t forget to pick up the gear you’ll need to keep it safe and get the most out of it.
Laptop backpack - Tzowla Water-Resistant Laptop Backpack
If you plan on taking your Chromebook with you anywhere, you’ll need a bag to keep it in. We like Tzowla’s Water-Resistant Laptop Backpack because it’s got the features of backpacks that cost twice as much. It’s got extra pockets on the inside, including a hidden pocket; it’s got straps for attaching to rolling luggage; and it’s even got a lock for the main compartment that requires a passcode to open. If you need to buy a budget backpack but you don’t want to skimp on features, this is the backpack to get.
Screen cleaner - Screen Mom Screen Cleaner Kit
Keeping your Chromebook’s screen clean is essential for seeing everything clearly — especially if yours features a touchscreen. Keep a screen cleaning kit around and make sure you’re wiping away dust at least every few days. We recommend the Screen Mom Screen Cleaner Kit because it’s got everything you need, and the cleaner spray is safe for all types of screens (even your TV).
USB-C hub - Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Adapter
If your chromebook has a USB-C port and not many others, getting a USB-C hub that adds additional ports is a must. One of our favorite hubs is the Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Adapter because it allows you to add a gigabit ethernet port, an HDMI port, and three additional USB 3.0 devices. Anker’s hub has the right features, but more importantly, the brand also has the right reputation — there are hundreds of similar models available, but many are flimsy and made by no-name manufacturers. Anker has made a name for itself as a designer of reliable tech.
You'll need to install drivers or add-ons in order to use some apps offline, and you will normally need to do so when you're connected to the internet, so plan ahead.
One of the great things about Chromebooks is their reasonable price. While you can find pricier models out there, an average user can find a great Chromebook at a bargain price, compared to other laptops.
A very basic Chromebook with a smaller screen size, usually 11 inches, and 2GB of RAM should cost just $100 to $150.
Spend a little more, about $150 to $250, and you can find Chromebooks with larger screens, better resolution, 4GB of RAM, and faster CPUs.
While you can find some very basic models for slightly less, most touchscreen Chromebooks start around $250 and can cost over $500 for high-end models with lots of extra features.
Mid-range Chromebooks cost roughly $250 to $400. They should have good HD screens, decent CPUs, and at least 4GB or RAM. You can also find fanless and touchscreen models in this price range, if desired.
High-end Chromebooks cost between $400 and $600. You can find the odd Chromebook for over $600, but we wouldn't recommend spending this much. For this price you should get 8GB of RAM, at least 32GB internal storage, the best CPU available, a 13- to 15-inch screen, HD resolution, and all the bells and whistles you could hope for.
Q. Can I use my Chromebook when I'm offline?
A. You can use your Chromebook while you're offline, but you won't be able to enjoy its full functionality. In addition to accessing locally stored files (for instance, play movies or edit photos you have stored on your hard drive), you can use Google Drive to create documents or spreadsheets, read saved articles in Pocket, and play various games.
Q. Are Chromebooks suitable for gaming?
A. Unfortunately, Chromebooks aren't a good choice for gaming. While you can download game apps, these are generally basic games of the sort you could play on a smartphone, rather than sophisticated video games. Because you can't run and install programs on a Chromebook, you can't install your favorite video games.
Q. Can Chromebooks get viruses?
A. The unique selling point of Chromebooks is that they almost exclusively run online and you can't download or run any executable programs (only apps), which means they can't get viruses. You can, however, download a bad Chrome extension, but once you remove the extension, everything will go back to normal.
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