Best Google Laptops

Updated February 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Google laptops

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.

Google laptops1
Google laptops provide peace of mind when it comes to security; Google automatically handles care-and-feeding tasks such as security updates.

Key considerations

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.

  • Chromebook: This is the standard Google laptop, running Chrome OS in a convention design.
  • Chromebook Duet: This is a Chromebook with a detachable keyboard, allowing the machine to be used as a laptop or touchscreen tablet.
  • Chromebook Flip, Spin, x360, or Flex: This Chromebook has a 360-degree hinge that allows the screen to flip into a variety of positions. These models can be used like conventional laptops or tablets and can even display in “tent” mode for watching videos.
  • Pixelbook: These models resemble standard Chromebooks, but they pack much higher performance and larger feature sets. The Google Pixelbook was the first laptop to be offered with Google Assistant built in.

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.

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Features

Screen size and resolution

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.

Processor

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

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.

Storage

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.

Battery life

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.

Google laptop2
DID YOU KNOW?
Want to move beyond your laptop’s built-in display? If you own a Chromecast-enabled TV or use Virtual Desks, you can project your Chrome browser tabs to a different device.
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Google laptop prices

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.

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Tips

  • Add extra security to your Google account. We recommend turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) in your security settings, which requires you to verify your account with your phone. This way, if your password becomes compromised, your account and details will be safe.
  • Purchase a padded carry case to protect your laptop. These offer invaluable protection from physical damage, and they also have convenient slots for mice, power cords, and other extras.
  • Double-check how long your machine will be supported. Google automatically updates machines running Chrome OS with new features and security updates, but not indefinitely. After an “update expiration date,” usually five or six years, the devices will stop receiving these updates. Google lists update expiration dates here.
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Google’s laptops get 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.

FAQ

Q. How do I switch from my old computer to a Google laptop?

A. Switching from a Mac or PC to a Google laptop is extremely simple.

  • Register for a Google account, if you don’t already have one.
  • Save your web browser bookmarks, apps, and extensions to Chrome. If you don’t use Chrome as your web browser, you’ll need to download it on your old computer first.
  • Backup your files, either to Google Drive or an external hard drive.
  • Set up your new machine by following the onscreen steps, and sign into your Google account. This will automatically import your bookmarks, apps, and extensions to Chrome for a seamless transition.
  • Access your backed-up files on your new machine. If your backups are on Google Drive, they will always be there at your convenience. If you stored your files locally, plug in your external storage device to access them.

Q. Can Google laptops be used offline?

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.”

Q. Which Google laptops are suitable for gaming?

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.

 

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