Back to School 2016 Buying Guide: Top 10 Laptops/Chromebooks

The time for back to school is coming up rather fast and with that students will want to make sure that they have all the needed tools to start and finish the school year off right. For most, that means having a computer that will be able to serve their needs for anything from typing up term papers to simply browsing the web, and there are plenty of choices out there that are worth considering. While there are quite a few choices for traditional laptops that deserve a look, Chromebooks are also a good choice thanks to their affordability. If you’re considering a new laptop and aren’t sure where to start, here’s a list of our top 10 picks.

ASUS Chromebook Flip

Starting off this list is a rather popular Chromebook, the ASUS Chromebook Flip. While it is a bit on the smaller side coming with a 10.1-inch display, its ability to flip the keyboard upside down to be used in a tablet mode makes it versatile. It comes in two RAM variations of 2GB and 4GB, and it’s also fairly portable and lightweight making it easy carry to and from class.

Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-131

This next option is another Chromebook that is meant to be lightweight and portable. The Acer Chromebook 11 comes with an 11.6-inch screen and 2GB of RAM with 16GB of internal storage just like the ASUS Chromebook Flip. Since this is a Chromebook it also comes with free Google Drive space for storage in the cloud, making it easy to store all your class documents in one place.

Acer Aspire E 15

This next laptop is another option from Acer, but unlike the Chromebook 11 this does not run Chrome OS, and instead is one of the best laptop choices for those who are seeking a Windows 10 option. It comes powered by either an Intel Core i5 or an Intel Core i7 processor, and it comes with 8GB of RAM along with a 256GB SSD. It sports a 15.6-inch display and has up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge making it a great choice for carrying around campus even if you forgot the charger at home. It also has a backlit keyboard just in case it has to be used late into the night.

ASUS ZenBook Flip

This is similar to the first choice on the list, although instead of Chrome OS, it runs on Windows 10. It can be flipped around to stand on the keyboard and be used in tablet mode thanks to the touchscreen. It has a 13.3-inch display that’s full HD, is powered by an Intel Core M CPU, has 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and it’s incredibly slim and lightweight as it weighs under 3 lbs.

Samsung Chromebook 3

The Samsung Chromebook 3 is a solid choice for anyone looking to grab a more affordable Chromebook option. It’s Samsung’s third-generation Chromebook which comes with an 11.6-inch screen, 4GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage space. It weighs about 2.5 lbs., comes in black, and it’s also offered in a 2GB RAM model if you want to save a few extra bucks.

Apple Macbook Air

If you’re not hot on Chrome OS or Windows, there’s always the Apple Macbook Air, especially if you’re already more accustomed to a Mac OS laptop. This is the latest version of the Macbook Air and comes with a 13.3-inch screen. It’s powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, and it has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It has about 12 hours of battery life, and because it’s also lightweight it’s another ideal option for carrying around all day. This can also be picked up in a 128GB model.

Acer Cloudbook 14

This is somewhat similar to Acer’s Chromebook options, but running on Windows 10 instead of Chrome OS. It’s meant to be an ultra affordable Windows laptop option which is powered by Windows 10 Home, comes with 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. On the processor side of things it’s powered by an Intel Celeron N3050 CPU, and it carries a 14-inch HD display with a 12 hour battery life like some of the other options on this list, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not it will last all day if you forget to bring the charger with you.

Razer Blade Stealth

Those looking for an excellent mix of productivity and performance for both work and a little bit of play should look no further than the Razer Blade Stealth. This is one of Razer’s latest laptops, released earlier this year and is a true ultrabook, but also an ultrabook built for gamers. It’s incredibly lightweight coming in at just 2.75 lbs., and it’s deceptively powerful with an Intel Core i7 processor on the inside alongside Intel HD graphics. It’s capable of playing games just fine, but it’s the extreme portability and the capability to hook this up to the Razer Core external graphics enclosure that make this laptop a fantastic choice for anyone who needs both a laptop for school and a gaming machine for the free time. It also comes in several variants.

Acer Chromebook 14

If it seems like Acer is on this list quite a bit it’s because they are, and for good reason. They make quite a few Chromebook models and many of them have been very popular. The Acer Chromebook 14 here is no exception. It comes with a 14-inch Full HD display and is powered by Intel Celeron N3160 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It has up to 12 hours of battery life and a very slim profile, and unlike most other Chromebooks this particular model from Acer is built with an aluminum body for that extra slick design look.

Dell XPS 13 2016 Flagship Silver Edition

Rounding out this list is one of the latest Dell XPS laptops, the Dell XPS 13 2016 Flagship Silver Edition model. It comes running on Windows 10 Home and sports an InfinityEdge borderless display with a screen size of 13.3-inches and a resolution of Full HD. All of that is wrapped up into a laptop body the size of an 11-inch laptop making it ultra portable. It’s powered by the latest 6th Gen Core i5 processor from Intel and has 8GB of RAM with a 128GB SSD for internal storage, and it also features a backlit keyboard for late night study sessions where you might need to have the lights off but still need to see what you’re typing. It’s also got an 11 hour battery life meaning it can last all day on a single charge.

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About the Author

Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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