Fall is soon to arrive and the start of the next school year is quickly approaching. Simultaneously, Chrome OS has continued its forward march with improved support for tablet hardware and development, making this the perfect time to pick out a brand new Chromebook from the best in the business.
On the hardware front, coinciding with the increasing focus on serious productivity, most announcements and releases have come down to the enterprise side of things. That's thanks to Google's decision to finally support developers on the OS. There are a couple of exceptions to that but there aren’t many new consumer-level gadgets to select from just yet.
That should change once the winter season arrives following the remainder of this year’s big tech events, including IFA 2019 in early September. Most manufacturers hold off until around that time of the year for their best and biggest launches.
There will, of course, always be a market for budget-minded devices. But changes toward supporting more and better features are going to make more powerful Chromebooks all the more appealing for many users — and choosing a capable device all the more important. Fortunately, there are also a couple of ongoing sales and price drops, as of this writing, that should make picking up a great Chrome OS laptop or tablet that much more appealing.
Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro & Plus LTE
The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro have been long-standing staples on this list since the first configuration rolled off the line thanks to their reasonable price range and the quality the OEM almost always brings to the table.
Costing between $499 and $500 on average, with another cheaper variant of the Chromebook Plus sold as model number XE520QAB-K02US substituting plastics for some of its chassis’s metal, this is a mid-ranger Chrome OS gadget through and through. Its equipped with up to a Core m3 processor from Intel, available for both the Plus and Pro with up 64GB storage and 4GB RAM. Depending on the variant purchased, backlit keyboards and LTE connectivity aren’t out of the question either.
The biggest differentiator between the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro is in the size and resolution, although the Chromebook Plus also features a camera above the keyboard that acts as an outward snapper when folded into a tablet. For that gadget, the display panel is set at 1,920 x 1,200 resolution in a 12.2-inch form factor. The larger Chromebook Pro comes with a 12.3-inch panel and a 2,400 x 1,600 resolution.
The all metal build of these Chromebooks and their slim, light design makes them prime candidates for any user, as do their comparatively beefy specifications. As hinted above, they’re also built on a 2-in-1 platform for tablet, laptop, stand, or tent configuration use. Last but not least, both ship with an S-Pen stylus for improved productivity and creativity.Samsung Chromebook Pro - Samsung.com Samsung Chromebook Plus - Samsung.com Samsung Chromebook Plus (LTE) - Samsung.com Read More: Samsung Chromebook Plus v2 Read More: Samsung Chromebook Pro
Acer Chromebook 514
If a 2-in-1 configuration really isn’t needed and the best specs available aren’t either — without sacrificing too much — the Acer Chromebook 514 is just the first of a couple of Chromebooks from the OEM that’re well worth consideration.
Not only is the Chromebook 514 loaded up with a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display panel in a 0.7-inch thin lay-flat aluminum chassis with 6mm bezels, a backlit keyboard, and Gorilla Glass on both the panel and touchpad. A Noble lock slot, both standard ‘A’ and newer C-type USB ports, and a microSD card slot are part of the package too.
That’s an outstanding value already for between $349 to $499.
Inside, Acer has also equipped the Chromebook 514 with one of the best batteries in the business. That’s rated at 12-hours per charge and perfectly suited for whatever work needs to be done without the hassle of always searching for a charging port.
The processor found in this device may not be the most powerful around. But it does come with up to 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of storage — arguably the more important figures with Chrome OS — to back up the Intel Pentium N4200 chipset.
So, what buyers get is a solid design without the extra cost of a stylus, 360-degree hinge, and similar novelties. Instead, Acer has opened up for consumers who need a device that just works and works well, while providing some great amenities and features to meet just about every need of an everyday user.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
ASUS’s continuation of the Chromebook Flip lineup has been among the most popular series and that’s not without good reason. The most recent entry in the family brings a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display to the table in an ultra-slim-bezel-touting all-metal package that’s more about refinement than making massive changes to the series.
Dubbed the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, this laptop also packs in up to an Intel Core i7-8500Y chipset, coupled with 8GB of memory and 128 GB for files and apps. The base model, with a still-powerful Intel Core M3-8100Y Processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage starts out at a relatively low $489.99.
Dual speakers and a microSD card slot round things out for this touch-enabled 2-in-1 but a slightly more expensive model begins adding in the features users love, beginning with a backlit keyboard. That keyboard is where the Chromebook Flip C434 really gains its reputation. The comfort and productivity-focused keys deliver 1.4mm of key travel and a unique ergonomic lift at the back of the board as the lid is opened up.Buy ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 More Info: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
Acer Chromebook Spin 512
Acer’s second entry in our list is a device that’s built with students in mind but will serve just about any need. The Chromebook Spin 512, on the student-friendly side of things, is a 12-inch 2-in-1 convertible laptop that features a microbe-resistant display coating and spill protection thanks to drain-through slots positioned over the keyboard.
Following in that same vein, this Chromebook can withstand a beating. Acer included a rubber trim and extra reinforcement with this gadget, so it’s going to survive falls from a reasonable height too.
The trim doesn’t take away from the aesthetics and the coating doesn’t interfere with touch interactions. On the former front, the ruggedization is melded into the build itself, keeping things slim and the overall bulk down. That means that although this laptop can be used without worry that it’ll be damaged by rough users, it also doesn’t take up a lot of room in a laptop bag or backpack.
The included EMR stylus makes productivity and creativity tasks a breeze, as does the up to 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, and the respectable quad-core Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor. The starting cost of $499 for the more budget-friendly but still quite capable models isn’t bad either, despite featuring a slightly lower resolution than others listed here — 1,366 x 912.Buy the Acer Chromebook 512 Read More: Acer Chromebook Spin 512
Google Pixel Slate
Google’s Pixelbook, approaching two years old at this point, is gone from this list and it’s Pixel Slate Chrome OS tablet hasn’t gotten rave reviews but changes being made to the underlying firmware have made the latter gadget a worthy entry nonetheless.
Priced to start at $799 and maxing out at just shy of $1600, the Google Pixel Slate stands as a testament to the direction Chrome was supposed to go — before the search giant moved all of its own hardware efforts back to laptops. That means it's an absolute powerhouse at any level and for any configuration and that's where it stands out from the rest.
Pixel Slate ships with up to an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 available, backed by 16GB RAM and 256GB of storage and packed into an all-metal frame. That's coupled with a fingerprint scanner built into the power button and a “molecular” 3,000 x 2,000 resolution touchscreen in a super-slim 12.3-inch format. An 8-megapixel camera sensor can be found at both the front and back.
A keyboard and pressure-sensitive stylus can be had for an additional $199 and $99, respectively, representing the only real drawback for those who really need this much power. For coding on the go or effectively anything else, the Pixel Slate is going to be a great option that's only going to improve further with updates that are already planned and in the works for the near future.Buy Google Pixel Slate Read More: Google Pixel Slate
HP Chromebook x2
The HP Chromebook x2 is, all things considered, almost as good as the Google Pixel Slate — with a generation older processor — and almost on a par with the budget-model Google Pixelbook. That’s largely thanks to an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of relatively fast RAM, and a respectable 32GB storage — expandable via microSD card slot.
In terms of aesthetics and build quality, it lands in similar territory too because of its dual-tone ceramic white on oxford blue aluminum frame. Where it stands apart and above is in the fact that this 2-in-1 convertible is a detachable device rather than a standard folder. That means that the Chromebook x2 ships with a full-scale EMR stylus and a keyboard. No need to pay extra.
The 12.3-inch, 2,400 x 1,600 display isn’t quite as high a resolution as that other device and the bezels are definitely thicker. However, in this case, that’s down to the inclusion of high-performance Bang & Olufsen speakers embedded at the outside edge to either side of the screen. Weight and thickness are comparable to the Pixelbook too, where it's overall design rests closer to a premium detachable Windows machine.
Setting aside the internal and external cameras, the comfortable-to-use-keyboard, and the two USB-C ports for charging, display output, and data transfers, the cost alone makes this a worthwhile device because of those above-mentioned attributes. The HP Chromebook x2 can currently be had for under $500 — as low as just under $480 — via a variety of online storefronts.Buy HP Chromebook x2 More Info: HP Chromebook x2 Review
Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14
The Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 is one of a select few devices that really calls forward just how far Chrome OS has come in a very short period of time — chiefly thanks to the similarities it bears to its top-tier namesake.
Dell has not just designed this all-metal “Urban Grey” laptop to blend seamlessly with others in the business-class Inspiron series. It’s designed to stand above other Chromebooks from the inside out, starting with an 8th-gen Intel Core i3-8130U Processor backed by 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage. Driving that is a 15-hour-rated battery.
Laid out over top is an EMR stylus-compatible 14-inch 1,980 x 1,080 TrueLife touchscreen linked via a 2-in-1 hinge to a keyboard that both comfortable to use and backlit. There’s an EMR stylus garaged within that portion of the frame to match the screen, alongside two ports each for USB and USB-C as well as a lock slot.
The price for all of that, for now, is down from around $600 to just $549.99 and Dell will toss in an extra wireless mouse for just $20 more or a year of its Mail-in Service and Accidental Damage Service for just $30 more. The latter is, in fact, another area where the Inspiron Chromebook 14 will undoubtedly stand out.Buy Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 More Info: Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14
Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630
Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook C630 is going to have to be the stopping point for any user looking for a large device in a 15.6-inch format with a 4K panel and at a real steal of a price. For just a while longer, the premium variant of this gadget, with a new Intel Core i5-8250U processor that’s boostable up to 3.4GHz with 8GB DDR4 2400MHz and 128GB storage, is only $629.99. That’s down from nearly $900.
An identical variant, with a 1080p IPS touchscreen instead but with the same internal specs, is down from $720 to $599.99 too — as of this writing. For those who want to spend a bit less, there is an Intel Core i3-8130U processor version available that boosts to the same clock and only abandons the backlit keyboard for $499.99 — down from $600.
Each variant offers a smooth Chrome OS experience and is more than capable of handling whatever a user might throw at it.
In fact, "future proof" may be the best term to describe the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 and the remaining devices on this list. The biggest drawback is that there’s no stylus here. With that said, coupled with a 10-hour battery, and packed into an all-aluminum frame at 4.2lbs and 0.7-inches thin, there aren’t going to be any better options at all in the 16-inch category.Buy Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 More Info: Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630
HP Chromebook x360 14
HP’s Chromebook x360 14 is an anomaly in that it brings both the stunning aesthetic of the HP Chromebook x2 as well as a more powerful build, sacrificing the detachable design for a 2-in-1. There’s no pen here either but users do get to keep the Bang & Olufsen speakers found on that other gadget.
The bezels to either side of the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution touchscreen too, providing for a lot more display in a relatively small, lightweight package.
The real selling point for this $599 Chromebook, however, is its high-clocked 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-8130U chip that’s boostable up to a whopping 4GHz. 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 RAM back that chipset up and it’s equipped with a UHD-capable graphics chip too, for better display output over USB-C. So there’s plenty of power despite the 13.5-hour-rated battery.
Storage falls in at 64GB, coupled with Chrome OS’s cloud-centric nature, meaning there’s enough room for apps, files, games, or whatever else might be needed.
HP’s Chromebook x360 14 is a medium-to-large sized laptop that has a lot of bang for the price and lasts all day with extra to spare. Better still it goes a long way to catching attention thanks to its two-tone ceramic white on mist blue design. So if those things are important, this is the one to buy.Buy HP Chromebook x360 14 More Info: HP Chromebook x360 14
Acer Chromebook Spin 13
Another great value in the 14-inch range at $739.97, Acer’s Chromebook Spin 13 is still likely the very best Chrome OS gadget that money can buy. The slightly higher pricing, relative to its contemporaries aside from Google’s devices, is derived from the fact that this is not an everyday Chromebook. Instead, normally priced at just shy of $900, this Chromebook is ready-made for business use.
That includes up to an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage with an 10-hour battery life in spite of those specs but it also includes its somewhat more durable build. Gorilla Glass is used on the touchpad and display while the rest of the somewhat flashy Steel Grey exterior is made of aluminum.
This is also a 2-in-1 foldable laptop, packing in a garaged EMR stylus co-designed with Wacom for more productivity when placed in tablet, stand, or tent configuration while a keyboard that features adjustable LED backlighting makes typing great in even the darkest rooms. The 13.5-inch display panel sits right in the middle between 4K and most other Chromebooks with a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 pixels.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 13's webcam, speakers, and mics are all perfectly tuned for video calls or chats, if not perfect for music and other media.
Taken collectively, there's simply not a whole lot of anything this Chromebook can't do at the same time it's doing other things and it's going to look both serious and seriously good while it's doing it. Acer's Chromebook Spin 13 would likely be the most recommendable Chrome gadget here anyway but the present price cut places it as a device that shouldn't be overlooked by anybody who's looking for the best Chrome OS can offer.Buy Acer Chromebook Spin 13 Read More: Acer Chromebook Spin 13