Best Chromebooks - January 2018

2017 was a good year for Chromebooks and Chrome OS and with a new year now here there has never been a better time to get more involved with the platform. In fact, 2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting one as in spite of the year only being a few weeks old there has already been a number of new Chromebooks announced. Between Acer and Lenovo alone, six new Chrome OS devices were announced within the last week. Announced is not quite the same as available though so for those looking for a new Chromebook now - here are our top 10 best Chromebooks picks for January, 2018.

10. Acer Chromebook Spin 11

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is a fairly new addition to the Chromebook scene having only become available towards the end of last year. On the surface this is not the most premium-looking Chrome OS device to come from the house of Acer, although that is one of its selling points. As the Chromebook Spin 11 is designed to be a durable option. Resulting in a device that is likely to be more beneficial to students and those just generally looking for a more protected product. In spite of the lack of a premium look, however, this is a device packing in the features, including a rotatable hinge, USB Type-C connectivity, and even support for a stylus.

As for the more general specs, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 features an 11.6-inch display along with a 1366 x 768 resolution. Inside, expect to find as much as 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor. As well as front and rear cameras, a 4,870 mAh battery, and an SD card reader.

9. Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook

The Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook is another one that could be more attractive, although again this is a Chromebook that is more designed with durability in mind than anything else. So for those looking for a rugged option, this is another one worth considering. Also like the last option, this is one of the smaller sized Chromebooks resulting in a unit that is not only protected, but also highly portable. Although, it still remains to be a little more bulkier than some of the other smaller options. While this is something that arguably further adds to its durability, it is something to keep in mind.

As for the specs, there is nothing too exhilarating or disappointing here with the Flex 11 Chromebook adopting a tried and tested 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage combination along with a MediaTek 8173C processor. The display comes in at 11.6-inches and makes use of a 1366 x 768 resolution. A 360-degree rotating hinge is also included for good measure, so this is another option that can be used in a number of positions, including a tablet mode.

8. Samsung Chromebook 3

In many ways the Samsung Chromebook 3 is unlike most Samsung devices as it does not sport any new or novel design traits. Likewise, it is fairly minimal on features so there is nothing really standout about this Chromebook. Which is why you might actually want to consider it. As Samsung has brought to market a Chromebook which offers a solid, albeit basic, Chrome OS experience in a price that makes the platform accessible to everyone. For those looking for an affordable and entry-level option, this is one of the best options to go for.

In spite of being super affordable Samsung offers this Chromebook in two versions which are identical in nearly all respects. The only main difference to note is the level of RAM as those looking for a slightly more powerful option will want to go for the 4GB RAM model (compared to the 2GB RAM option). Otherwise, both versions include an 11.6-inch display (with a 1366 x 768 resolution), 16GB storage, and an Intel Celeron N3050 processor.

7. ASUS Chromebook Flip C101

The ASUS Chromebook Flip line is easily the best choice for those looking for the best in portability as there is few, if any, Chromebooks smaller than these. The newest version is the C101 and this continues to offer a powerful device within a small body as the displaying measures a mere 10.1-inches. Which does make this Chromebook highly comparable to a tablet in terms of size and portability. Of course, if you are after a bit more screen real estate then this is unlikely to be the option for you.

Adding to its portable nature, the C101 also continues the Flip’s trend of employing a rotatable hinge resulting in a device that can be manipulated for use in different forms and to match different environments. Inside, the Chromebook Flip C101 comes loaded with 4GB RAM, 16GB storage, and is powered by a Rockchip RK3399 quad-core processor.

6. Acer Chromebook 14

While the Chromebook Spin 11 is about being small and flexible, the Acer Chromebook 14 is not. In fact, you can consider this to be the exact opposite of the Spin 11 and therein is its selling point. As this is a Chromebook that is far more suitable for those in need of a traditional laptop-like experience. Not only does the Chromebook 14 lack the flexibility and adjustment found with the Spin 11, but the display is significantly larger coming in at 14-inches. The upside here is not only are you getting more viewing and work space, but also a higher 1920 x 1080 resolution. Again, resulting in a device that is more suitable for those transitioning over to Chrome OS from a traditional laptop. For many, this will actually be the sweet spot in terms of size - even more so considering the increase in size and resolution is not coming with an increase in price.

The Acer Chromebook 14 pads out its spec list with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and an Intel Celeron N3160 processor. While an aluminum chassis offers a more premium look and feel and the inclusion of a 3,950 mAh battery will offer up to 12-hours of battery life

5. Acer Chromebook R 13

If you like the idea of the Chromebook 14 but would like just a little more flexibility, and are willing to pay a little more, then the Chromebook R 13 from Acer will be one to check out. In most respects this one is directly comparable to the 14 with the difference being the inclusion of a 360-degree rotating hinge. As a result, the R13 can be adjusted for use in various positions including a tablet mode although due to its overall size it won't feel so much like a traditional tablet. While comparable to the 14, this one is that little bit smaller and this does mean it is also that little bit more portable, resulting in a solid catch-all option for many buyers. Otherwise, the design and general level of performance on offer with the R 13 will be very similar to the Chromebook 14.

In terms of its numbers, the Acer Chromebook R 13 features a 13.3-inch display along with a 1920 x 10980 resolution. Inside, the R 13 manages to pack in 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and a MediaTek (MT8173C) quad-core processor. Built-in stereo speakers are also included, as is one USB Type-C port.

4. Acer Chromebook 15 (2017)

Highlighting the dominance Acer now seems to have in the land of Chrome OS is another model from the company, the Acer Chromebook 15. And like the other Acer options, this one is almost tailor-made for a certain type of user. Namely, those looking for as much screen real estate as possible as the Chromebook 15 is by far the largest Chromebook on the market. This is due to the inclusion of a 15.6-inch display. In spite of a display which eclipses all other Chromebook display sizes, Acer has managed to refine the design with the latest model so that it does not feel as large as its predecessors might have. This refinement goes well beyond the slimness as well, with Acer attempting to bring a more premium look and feel to its super-sized Chromebook line.

Other than its 15.6-in IPS display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, the Chromebook 15 also comes loaded with 4GB RAM, as much as 32GB storage, and is powered by an Intel Pentium N4200 quad-core processor. As well as a brushed aluminum finish.

3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C101 is designed for those who love the form factor on offer with the original Flip model. For those who are less keen on such a small device and display, ASUS has you covered with the Chromebook Flip C302. As this model looks to offer all of the Flip's flexible benefits but in a size that is more accommodating to larger display users. Making this a very good option overall. Not only does it remain portable and benefit from multi-form use due to its inclusion of a 360-degree rotating hinge, but it also offers a much-improved work space through its 12.5-inch display.

Besides the display, the Flip C302 also features a general spec list which makes it directly comparable to (and in some cases exceeding) other premium Chromebooks, including 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and an Intel Core m3 processor. Overall this is one of the few Chromebooks which weill tick most boxes, for most consumers. The only downside however, is the price. As the Flip C302 is not a cheap Chromebook and for the cost there are better options - like the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro.

2. Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro

While the Samsung Chromebook 3 is not such a typical Samsung product, the Chromebook Plus and Pro are. As these two options come loaded with premium design traits and features, resulting in what is clearly two of the best Chromebooks now available. For example, both come with a premium build quality, both come with a size that while on one hand remains small enough to be classified as ‘portable,’ is also large enough to offer a greater work space to those who need it. Likewise, both also come with a rotating hinge for use in various positions, and both also come with support for a stylus. So these really are full-featured Chromebooks and while priced in the premium range, they are competitively priced.

In fact, the two Chromebooks are largely interchangeable as their general spec lists are also fairly identical. The main difference being how one model (the Pro) comes equipped with a more name-recognizable processor - although both processors are more than capable. Otherwise, both models feature a 12.3-inch display (with a 2400 x 1600 resolution), 4GB RAM, and 32GB storage.

1. Google Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook is the best Chromebook you can buy. It just is. In many ways it was designed with this purpose in mind and as a means to showcase what the Chrome OS experience can offer and how it can compete with other OSes at the ultra-premium level. So there is little discussion to be had about whether or not it is the best Chromebook. Where a discussion can be had, however, is on the topic of whether you should buy this Chromebook as the price alone will immediately factor out a lot of buyers and especially those who are thinking of turning to Chrome OS as an affordable option. For reference, the most affordable Google Pixelbook will cost you $999.

For that price, though, you are not only getting a super premium build quality and design, but also a spec list that overshadows everything else on this list. For example, the baseline version comes with 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. And this is just the baseline model with other options offering even greater core specs. In addition, a 12.3-inch display (with a 2400 x 1600 resolution) is also included, as is a 360-degree rotating hinge, Android app support, built-in Google Assistant, and more. This one is also compatible with a Pixelbook-designed pen, although this is not usually included with the starting price.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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