The Acer Chromebook 14 is not only the best-performing Chromebook of 2016, but also the best-looking
2016 has been another great year for Chromebooks and has helped to build on the consumer awareness that Chromebooks are a great alternative to traditional laptops. An alternative which while lightweight and portable, are also considerably more affordable. A combination which now means that Chromebooks are quickly establishing themselves as one of the fastest-growing markets. Of course, this was also the year in which Chromebooks become more powerful than ever, as they also gained access to Android apps. While not all Chromebooks can now run Android apps, the list of compatible Chromebooks is growing on a weekly basis. As to be expected with such a fast growing market, the actual quality of the Chromebooks that have come through in 2016 has also massively increased compared to previous years and you can now find some extremely well-built and premium designed Chromebooks. Speaking of which, here is our pick for the best Chromebook of 2016.
WINNER: Acer Chromebook 14
Congratulations Acer. This is a company who is no stranger to creating Chromebooks and Acer has already established itself as one of the most prolific Chromebook manufacturers to date. However, the newer range of Chromebooks coming from Acer are really started to highlight their experience and know-how and this has resulted in some excellent new Chromebook options coming through. One of the very best being the Acer Chromebook 14.
On paper, the Acer Chromebook 14 might not look all that special. After all, much of the tier 1 Chromebooks now come with the same (or a very similar) spec sheet. However, the specs are only one part of the package that is on offer with the Chromebook 14 and what is far more apparent with this Chromebook, is its design and general build quality. Chromebooks tend to be cheaper-priced items and therefore, made of cheaper materials and with a cheaper build quality. While the Chromebook 14 does comply with the general Chromebook ethos of being affordable, the design of the Chromebook 14 is nothing short of excellent. By just looking at a closed Chromebook 14, it would be difficult to know or guess that this was a Chromebook, due to its heightened and premium design. And this is where the Chromebook 14 distances itself from most of the rest of the Chromebook pack. It is one which not only comes packing ultra-competitive specs, but also a build quality and design that is as sleek as it gets.
Another big selling point with the Acer Chromebook 14 is that it is a Chromebook which literally hits the sweet spot in terms of size. Chromebooks do struggle to find the right size with most of the larger options coming in at 13.3-inches and the smaller ones being around the 11.6-inch marker. Acer by contrast, were the first to introduce a big Chromebook - one which came with a 15.6-inch display. Although as you might expect, that one is limited in how portable it can be. However, the Acer Chromebook 14 is one that literally hits the nail on the head. Coming in at 14-inches, this one offers the user a Chromebook screen which is not only portable, but big enough to provide full functionality. So generally speaking, there are few, if any Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 14. It is one which has carved out its own niche and looks to combine all the right aspects, in all the right places.
In the very shortest of terms, the Chromebook 14 is the best-sized Chromebook of 2016. It is also one of the best spec Chromebooks of 2016 and certainly, one of the best-designed Chromebooks of 2016. A combination which coupled with its overall affordable and highly-competitive pricing makes it the Chromebook to beat this year - and easily, our pick for the best Chromebook of 2016, overall. If you want to more about the Acer Chromebook 14, read our full review.
RUNNER-UP: Acer Chromebook R 13
Now some will argue that the Chromebook R 13, which also happens to be from Acer should be the best Chromebook of the year. And that would be a valid argument and there certainly is nothing wrong with this one. The Chromebook R 13 does follow the design trend set from the Acer Chromebook 13 and even excels in some places as it is one which can better adopt a tablet level of usage due to its more 2-in-1 nature. So while it is one of the best Chromebooks of the year, it is still a smaller Chromebook than the Chromebook 14 and while Android app support has made Chromebook 2-in-1s more useful, Chrome OS as a whole is still not quite optimized for tablet usage. It will be and in 2017 2-in-1 Chromebooks will be the ones to look out for, but for now, the Acer Chromebook 14 just pips the Chromebook R 13 to the post as an overall product.
HONORABLE MENTION: ASUS C202
To be quite honest, there could be a number of Chromebooks that would be worthy of an honorable mention, as 2016 has seen a very good selection of very well-priced Chromebooks coming through. The Lenovo 100s and the Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-131 being two prime examples. However, one Chromebook which deserves a specific mention is the ASUS C202 Chromebook. While this is a Chromebook that might have passed many by, this is one which is ultra-affordable, while also being fairly unique in its design. For one thing, this is a Chromebook which comes with a very rugged and durable build and will easily be able to withstand the daily hustle and bustle. Not to mention this is a Chromebook which also comes with a hinge which is able to rotate 180-degrees. So for the cost of this Chromebook and what it offers in terms of base specs, features and design points, it is a Chromebook worth considering and certainly, one worth an honorable mention.