August has seen the launch of several new budget-minded Chromebook series and been filled with news about new code commits and features headed to Chrome OS. For example, the past 30 days saw the developer channel of the OS received support for downloading and installing Linux applications. It also saw the further indication that a more pure synchronicity is on the way between Android and Chromebooks, including native SMS support and more. Beyond that, the strength was added to the speculation that Google may have two new Pixelbooks - our current and long-standing top Chromebook - in the works. That could ship as either a tablet or detachable in addition to its current standard hybrid design. News surrounding that device has all but dominated the landscape as it is suspected that will deliver both a display and keyboard with built-in auto-brightness features. Meanwhile, our list of top Chromebooks has undergone a bit of a shuffle this month in response to the developments.
10. Dell Chromebook 11 & 11 2-in-1
This month, Dell quietly launched a new series of Chrome OS devices in the 11.6-inch range marketed as the Inspiron Chromebook 11 and Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1. As implied by the names these two devices cover a variety of options from standard clamshell machines to 360-degree hinge-enabled convertibles. In terms of what's shared in common, aside from screen size, each features an Intel Celeron processor backed up by 4GB of RAM. Starting at just $179.99, the former of the two styles comes in two configurations with either 16GB or 32GB of flash storage. Meanwhile, the folding variant starts at $100 more and adds a touchscreen and spill-resistant keyboard. It's also available in two configurations with either 32GB or 64GB storage. The price of Dell's new Chromebooks only increases by around $20 from one configuration to the next in either series and both have a third configuration which ships with a protective sleeve. Although there are some trade-offs such as no USB Type -C ports and AC-based charging for the 10-hour rated battery, the pricing and hardware are more than enough to earn a spot on this list.
9. ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA
ASUS’s Chromebook Flip C101 is a 10.1-inch Chromebook featuring an all aluminum frame. It's 360-degree hinge and support for Android apps makes this a solid choice for those who want a laptop experience sometimes or a tablet under other circumstances. Moreover, it's 2.0 GHz Rockchip SoC is OP1-rated so those apps should run as smoothly as possible and large apps won't be a problem thanks to its 16GB or 32GB configuration. Sold under the C101PA model designation and with a battery rated to last nine hours, it's also just over a half-inch thick and weighs under two pounds. So it shouldn't be too heavy or large to comfortably use in bed, at a desk, or during a commute.
8. Acer Chromebook R13
The Acer Chromebook R13 mostly remains low on our list due to its use of a comparatively lackluster MediaTek SoC, the MT8173C. However, that doesn't mean the quad-core 2.10GHz processor isn't going to be well-suited to almost any task thrown its way. It's backed up by 4GB of RAM and users have a respectable 32GB of storage at their disposal. The 13.3-inch display is also fairly large for a laptop-like Chrome OS device in the sub-$300 range and is set to a resolution of 1920 x 1080 to ensure that wayward pixels don't bother the eye whether showing media or Android apps. The back of its aluminum body features a 360-degree hinge, just as most other entries here. Battery life is a claimed 12-hours.
7. Acer Chromebook Spin 15
Acer Chromebook Spin 15, is the latest in the 'Spin' family and sold under model number 'CP315-1H-P1K8' and for $450 directly from the OEM. It features an Intel Pentium N4200 at its core. That's a quad-core processor an backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. One of the most intriguing aspects of this Chromebook is its touch-capable 15.6-inch display. That's not only larger than other Chromebooks but embedded in an aluminum frame with a 360-degree hinge. Battery life is also set at around 13-hours of average use so there will be plenty of time to take advantage of the included Android app support. Bluetooth 4.2, meanwhile, ensures that users can play Android titles with a Bluetooth game controller or watch movies with a wireless headset - allowing buyers to get even more out of that screen real estate.
6. Acer Chromebook Tab 10
Now that Acer's Chromebook Tab 10 is finally available from Amazon resellers, the world's first dedicated Chrome OS tablet can be picked up by anybody for under $350. The device isn't moving up our list since it doesn't come with a keyboard case and because this is one Chrome OS device that buyers will want to pick up a screen protector for as well. Moreover, it's cameras are not well optimized. However, keyboard cases and others are available too. So there are a lot of good reasons to love this tablet. It essentially brings together the best of both Chrome OS and an Android tablet under a single purchase. Everything's powered by a 2.0GHz hexacore OP1-rated processor. A solid 4GB of dual-channel RAM and 32GB of micro SD expandable eMMC flash storage are part of the package and it's rated to provide up to 9-hours of battery life. The 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 panel is packed into a less-slippery plastic materially and is a great size for use with the internally stored Wacom EMR stylus.
5. Lenovo 500e Chromebook
Like the previous entry, Lenovo's 500e Chromebook ships with a handy stylus for use with its 11.6-inch display. However, an apparently permanent price drop to just $309 and its Intel N3450U processor, backed by 4GB RAM and 32GB storage make this one of the best value devices available. That's before taking into account its 360-degree hinge. However, it just doesn't have the display resolution to push it higher. The 500e Chromebook has a resolution of 1366 x 768 resolution. That's partially offset by its MIL-STD-810G shock and drop resistance and protection from spills of up to 1.3 cups of liquid. It's simply a spectacular product for the price. Meanwhile, there are two more affordable variants - which also drop a few features but keep the Lenovo-quality build and value. Those are sold under the model designations 300e and 100e.
4. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
While ASUS's Chromebook Flip C302 is not the newest Chromebook on the block, it is still a great value. Starting at $449, the most affordable model ships with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. Behind that, ASUS has chosen to include an Intel Core m3 CPU. That can be bumped to 8GB of RAM and 128GB, in addition to either an Intel Core m5 or Intel Pentium 4405Y processor, for a slightly higher cost. It's a bit larger than other Chrome OS convertible laptops at 12.5-inches, with a Gorilla Glass display set at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. That's squeezed into a 2.65-pound aluminum frame that's just a half-inch thick alongside a 10-hour-rated battery. Android apps can be downloaded from the Play Store here as well so there's not much there to hold back the average user.
3. Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro
The second generation of Samsung's Chromebook Pro hasn't quite made it to market but its latest Chromebook Plus and previous 'Pro' model are still well worth the purchase price. The new Chromebook Plus (XE521QAB-K01US) sets the bar as the "lower-end model" of the two at $499 with a 12.2-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution display and an Intel Celeraon 3965Y CPU. That's got a base clock speed of 1.5GHz and is backed by 4GB of RAM. With the updated hardware, the Plus also featues a rear-camera for when it's 360-degree hinge has been used to put it in tablet mode. That's placed at the top of the keyboard on the left-hand side. On the other hand, the Chromebook Pro is expected to be replaced at some point this year with a new model but currently features a 12.3-inch panel. That's got a resolution of 2400 x 1600 and the package is driven by an Intel Core m3 processor backed by 4GB of RAM. It includes a 360-degree hinge too. Both offerings ship with 32GB of onboard storage and support for Android apps as well as an S-Pen Stylus. The Pro currently costs $599 an option including a backlit keybaord is available for the same price.
2. HP Chromebook x2
The HP Chromebook x2 is still, as of this writing, primarily found at only Best Buy or the HP web store. That means it could be somewhat difficult for a prospective buyer to get their hands on. Having said that, it's is certainly worthy of its number two spot on this list, coming very clost to offering similar performance as Google's own Pixelbook 2. The 12.3-inch display on this Chromebook can completely detach from the keyboard for a sleeker tablet experience and a pen-sized active stylus is part of that package. The latter of those slips into a loop on the keyboard for storage. Purchasers get a 2400 x 1600 display and a 7th Gen Intel Core m3, backed by either 4GB or 8GB RAM and expandable 32GB storage. The current price of $649 - or $599 from HP's storefront - is also significantly lower than the Pixelbook, although there are reasons that other device still takes the top spot. Future versions could steal away the crown but it remains in the number two slot for now.
1. Google Pixelbook (NOTE a new version expected to arrive soon)
The pricing of Google's Pixelbook has remained held at $749, nearly $250 cheaper than the $999 price from two months back. That could be due to the fact that a new version is on the way and there have been a number of leaks, code commits, and other reports to support that. The new device will undoubtedly be much more expensive but the original is definitely nothing to scoff at. Its placement on our list comes down to its specs and design. Bearing in mind everything else that's on the market, the low-end model of Google's Chrome OS reference laptop starts out with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage, with more expensive models going up to 16GB RAM and a choice between 256GB or 512GB storage. That's on top of its 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and Intel HD graphics. Meanwhile, the 2,400 x 1,600 12.3-inch display panel is packed into an all-metal package weighing just 2.45lbs and just 10.3mm in thickness. That's only slightly thicker than the average flagship smartphone. The hardware also houses a total of four microphones and dual speakers, with everything driven by a 10-hour-rated battery. A full-size high-quality active stylus is available for an additional $99, which feels like a bargain at the current cost.