This year has been an absolutely great year for Chromebooks. The industry really turned a corner over the last twelve months and saw a much greater and wider level of adoption for Chromebooks and one which further helps to establish their place in the market. With a rise in adoption in the education, consumer and business markets, Chromebooks are certainly carving out their position and it not that surprising when you consider these devices do bridge the gap between affordability and function and offer those who are willing to work and use a device online, far more than they would likely get if they were to invest in a more traditional laptop or desktop. Although, this year also saw Chromebooks developing a much wider ability to be used offline as well, which has further added to their appeal and functionality.
The major benefit from the consumer point-of-view though, is that 2015 was the year in which a massive amount of choice became available for those interested in Chromebooks. While these are devices which are traditionally affordable by nature, the sheer rise in variety has led to a widening of the price spectrum within the Chromebook sector and now there is almost an option for every budget and most needs. While, this has been great for the market and consumers, it does mean that a number of really great Chromebooks are now available and although it has been hard to narrow them down, here are our top three Chromebooks for 2015.
3rd Place – ASUS Chromebook Flip
When it comes to the Chromebook market, there are quite a few options which could have taken the third spot place. As such, many will likely have their own opinion on what should be in third place and it would be hard to argue against most. However, when we looked at this, we settled on the Chromebook Flip by ASUS. This is not the most spec-heavy Chromebook, this is not a vastly premium Chromebook and this is not the most impressive Chromebook that has come through. That said, while the Chromebook Flip is not a Chromebook that will win any best category award, it does tick all of the boxes when it comes to Chromebooks. If you are looking for a Chromebook which is affordable, this is an option which comes priced at under $250. If you are looking for a Chromebook which comes with decent specs, this is an option which comes equipped with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, a Quad-core Rockchip (RK3288C) processor, as well as 2 USB ports and a micro HDMI port. If you are looking for portability, this is an option which comes with a 10.1-inch display. And if you are looking for a 2-in-1 Chromebook, then this is an option as the Chromebook Flip comes with the ability to use the device in a number of positions and uses. So, whichever way we look at it, the ASUS Chromebook flip is an affordable, decent spec, decent built, decent priced and portable Chromebook. One which deserves the position of third place.
2nd Place – Google Chromebook Pixel/Dell Chromebook 13
If deciding on what should be classed as a third place Chromebook was hard enough, then second place has proved to be even harder. In fact, so hard that in the end, it had to be awarded as a joint award to the Chromebook Pixel from Google and the new Dell Chromebook 13. Here is the issue. Undoubtedly, the Chromebook Pixel is the better machine. In fact, it probably should take first place too. However, this is a proof-of-concept device and one which comes with an astonishingly un-Chromebook like price. So while the build is there, the specs are there, the Google name is there, the price simply makes the Pixel an unobtainable device to a lot of consumers and breaks one of the Chromebook rules of engagement – affordability. On the other hand, the latest Chromebook by Dell is the exact opposite. Again, the build is there, the quality is there, the specs are there and this one is far more affordable price which starts from $399. Under half of that of the Chromebook Pixel. If you have at least a $1000 to drop on the Chromebook Pixel, then you're getting a superb machine. If you do not want to spend so much on a Chromebook, then the Dell option will offer you a really good unit and with the ability to choose your RAM and processor configuration to match your price. Either way, both of these are top of the line Chromebooks and easily two of the best Chromebooks currently available.
Winner – Acer Chromebook 15
When it comes to 2015 and the Chromebook market, there has been one Chromebook which has continually offered exceptional value and this is the Chromebook 15 from Acer. While there are better built Chromebooks available and even ones which are more spec-heavy, there are few which can claim to offer the value on offer with this Chromebook. First and foremost, this is one of the biggest Chromebooks on the market as it comes with a 15.6-inch display and as a result, if you are looking for a Chromebook which offers you more of a laptop-like experience and screen real estate, then this is the one.
However, where the Chromebook 15 really shines is in its availability. This is an extremely affordable Chromebook for the money and one which is customizable to make it even more affordable. As such you can pick up a 2GB version with 16GB storage, or 4GB version with 16GB storage or a 4GB version with 64GB storage. While the likes of the Dell Chromebook 13 offers the same configuration choices, the difference here is that the top end price of the Acer Chromebook 15 (4GB, 64GB variant) is lower than the starting price of the Dell Chromebook 13 (2GB RAM, 16GB storage. Making this a much better value for money option and when taking into consideration specs, price, quality and durability, the Acer Chromebook 15 is a real winning Chromebook. In fact, for those looking for a very well priced, nicely performing and decent sized-screen Chromebook, you are unlikely to find better than the Acer Chromebook 15.