Works as a 2-in-1 computer, as you can flip the screen to use it as a touchscreen tablet or as a laptop with a keyboard. Only weighs 2.65 pounds, making it extremely portable. Battery life lasts up to 10 hours. Fast-starting laptop with 64 GB SSD storage and an excellent processor.
Questionable quality of parts. Carries a high price point versus similar units.
Those who need a low-priced Chromebook will love this unit. Most of the laptop's components offer at least an average quality of performance, which is better than what you usually find in this price point. Above average battery life at 11 hours. Unit weighs only 2.54 pounds.
Small display screen at 11.6 inches. Only 16 GB of storage space in SSD.
Body of the laptop consists of aluminum, which allows for durability and a lightweight unit. Offers up to 12 hours of battery life. Includes 32 GB of SSD storage. Full HD resolution in a 14-inch display screen, which is not common in Chromebooks. Works with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands.
Lacks some processing power versus standard laptops.
The display screen is a little small for a laptop at 10.1 inches, but it's a good size versus tablets. Touchscreen and 2-in-1 capability is nice to find in this price point. Offers up to 9 hours of battery life. Extremely small and lightweight at just 2 pounds, which makes it very portable.
Cost is a little high for a Chromebook, but it does have 4 GB of RAM.
Designed for use in tough conditions with rubber guards and spill resistant keyboard. Offers 16 GB of SSD storage and 4 GB of RAM, which are good features for a Chromebook in this price range. Lightweight laptop at 2.2 pounds. Measures only 0.9 inches in thickness.
Slower processor than some other models. No full HD on 11.6-inch screen.
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The world of laptops is always changing. Each year, manufacturers bring new platforms and technologies to the table, allowing these portable machines to pack more power and house new features. Complexity isn’t always the goal, though. In fact, laptops are often designed with simplicity, value, and ease-of-use on the forefront, and there’s no better example than the Google laptop.
Google debuted its first laptop, the Chromebook, in 2011. In doing so, Google helped redefine what a laptop was, moving toward a cloud-based plug-and-play system that’s as easy to learn as a web browser. This made the Chromebook the perfect choice for casual activities like browsing the web, streaming media, and using productivity apps. Chromebooks aren’t powerful enough for serious gaming, and they require an internet connection to do their job best, but they remain a fast, intuitive, and cost-effective way to accomplish the majority of your daily tasks.
Since 2011, Google has expanded its laptop catalog by offering laptop/tablet convertibles, high-performance Chromebooks, and several other models. Looking to narrow down your choices? Scroll through our Google laptop buying guide to learn more.
There are several varieties of Google laptops available. The hardware manufacturers may differ — which is why you see Chromebooks from brands like HP, Dell, Acer, and Samsung — but they all run the browser-based Chrome operating system. Here are the main categories of Google laptops.
Google laptops utilize remote cloud storage for most applications, meaning your files and progress are automatically saved online. You don’t have to stress about hard drive space or corrupted files. However, select models boast a healthy amount of local backup storage.
In terms of Google laptops, screen quality can be divided into two categories: screen size and resolution. Gaming-centric machines take refresh rate into the equation, but that’s not exactly the wheelhouse of a Chromebook or Pixelbook.
Screen size is obviously how physically large the screen is. Measured diagonally, Google laptops are offered in sizes ranging from 11.6 inches to 15.6 inches. Larger screens can fit more things on them at once, maximizing productivity, but they are less portable than more diminutive models. Choose the balance that’s right for you.
Screen resolution determines how crisp and detailed the picture will be. Resolution is listed in pixels, width by height. For example, a resolution of 1920x1080 measures 1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels high. This is also known as 1080p, which is an extremely common resolution due to its balance of clarity, performance, and cost. Google currently offers everything from 720p all the way up to stunningly clear 4K.
The processor (central processing unit or CPU) is the “brain” of a laptop, determining how efficiently the computer can run programs and execute commands. A processor’s speed is measured in GHz. The higher the GHz, the quicker it can send, receive, and interpret instructions.
Memory (random access memory, or RAM) is another extremely important factor in laptop performance. The more RAM a machine has, the more responsive it will “feel,” particularly when playing a game or engaging in resource-intensive processes. Google laptops are currently available with anywhere between 4GB and 16GB of RAM. We recommend at least 8 GB if you plan on gaming or doing multiple tasks at the same time.
Google laptops lean on online cloud storage for the majority of their applications, so local storage is not as large of a concern as it would be with a desktop PC. However, redundant storage is never a bad idea, as it gives your machine more utility if the internet goes down and safeguards your files if your account becomes compromised. Google laptops are offered with huge ranges of local storage, so choose one that fits your needs.
Google’s laptop lineup gets high marks for battery life, as the machines use few moving parts and are very efficient, power-wise. Chromebooks commonly boast 10 to 13 hours of battery life or more.
Inexpensive: Google laptops are simplified high-value machines, so entry-level models can be acquired for $150 to $200. Expect basic Chromebooks in this range, with 720p screens measuring 11 to 12 inches and memory around 4 GB.
Mid-range: Jump to the $250 to $500, range and you’ll enjoy laptops with larger 1080p screens, more memory, and beefier processors. You’ll also find convertible touchscreen laptops in this segment with ample local storage.
Expensive: At the top of the range, expect to pay between $550 and $1,000 for high-end Chromebooks and Pixelbooks. These boast the most impressive specs in terms of CPU and RAM performance, with high-definition screens that can spin to display in unique ways.
Google laptops are designed to cut back on superfluous space to improve portability. Because of this, their ability to be upgraded is hindered, meaning you will likely use the same core components for the device’s life. Depending on the model, though, storage and RAM can be added.
A. Switching from a Mac or PC to a Google laptop is extremely simple.
A. The first Chromebook was designed primarily with online utility in mind, but since then, Google’s array of laptops have become more and more capable offline. Files can be stored locally now, allowing you to play videos, listen to music, and edit photos offline, and Google Drive’s offline mode gives you access to documents and spreadsheets. Even some games are available offline. So while Google laptops are still at their best when connected to the internet, they’re more useful than you might expect when “unplugged.”
A. Chromebooks, Pixelbooks, and other Google laptops aren’t designed to be high-end gaming rigs, so they will always fall behind dedicated gaming laptops and desktops in that regard. Newer models have access to the Google Play Store as well as the Chrome Web Store, providing access to myriad Android apps and games for users to enjoy.
If you’re set on a Google laptop and gaming is something you’re still interested in, prioritize models with at least 8GB of RAM. These machines will be faster and more responsive than less-costly models, loading games faster and handling multiple concurrent processes with efficiency.