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7 Best Chromebooks That Are Affordable But Reliable Alternatives to a Laptop

Our top picks will give your current laptop a run for its money.

woman carrying google pixelbook go

Once reserved strictly for students, Chromebooks have evolved into highly capable laptops that are often a better alternative to similarly priced Windows or Mac notebooks. With cloud storage and services now being so prominent in our digital lives, these affordable laptops are rapidly growing in popularity, and deservedly so.

Best Chromebooks

The addition of support for Android and Linux apps makes Chromebooks an even more attractive option. Today's best Chromebooks have 360-degree touch-sensitive displays, which allow you to enjoy Chrome OS and Android apps to the fullest, in tablet- or laptop-style.

With a wide variety of entries to choose from, we've researched and compared more than 20 different offerings from ASUS, HP, and Acer, among others. We scoured the internet, reading reviews from other publications and consumers, and even tested a handful of them to find best picks for every size and budget.

Our recommended models are packed with the latest, most reliable processors, plus, they pack lengthy battery life and have strong builds. So, shop our seven favorite Chromebooks below!

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Best Overall
Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Acer bestbuy.com

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 proves that there’s no need to spend four figures for a laptop. This convertible 2-in-1 laptop is jam-packed with fast components, a large battery, and a stunning and spacious 3:2 LCD display. It’s a laptop that stretches your dollar further than other options, thanks to its high-end specs, excellent build quality, and incredible pricing.

The base model includes Intel’s latest Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of NVMe solid state storage. This Chromebook delivers similar performance to competing models that cost $800. It offers a generous selection of ports, too. There are dual USB-C ports, a USB-A jack, a headphone jack, microSD slot, and even an HDMI, which has become a rarity for slim laptops these days.

If you want a slim, portable, and reliable Chromebook that delivers premium performance without a premium price, you won’t be disappointed.

More: Prefer Windows to Chrome OS? Shop Our Favorite Mini Laptops Here!

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
Lenovo amazon.com
$329.99 (23% off)

Often priced below $400, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 15 gives you a zippy 64GB solid state drive, 4GB of RAM, a 360-degree rotating touchscreen display, and Intel’s powerful 10th-generation Core i3 processor. This one is even equipped with a backlit keyboard that’ll come in handy for late-night work sessions. There’s a fingerprint sensor for quickly logging in, too.

Compared to our best overall pick, this Chromebook has a smaller hard drive, a lower resolution 16:9 display, and fewer ports. On the plus side, it offers more powerful speakers, Wi-Fi 6 (just like the Spin 713), and 10 hours of battery life.

The Flex 5 weighs about 3 pounds and has two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, a headphone jack, and microSD card slot. We also appreciate that its webcam has an integrated privacy shutter.

If you’re willing to sacrifice storage space, memory, and the quality of the display in the name of an easier-to-swallow price point, the Chromebook Flex 5 is an excellent alternative to the aforementioned Acer Chromebook Spin 713.

Most Portable Chromebook
Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Acer amazon.com
$246.00 (51% off)

This 2-in-1 hybrid laptop sports an attractive and portable design. It's equipped with a better processor than the similar Lenovo Chromebook C330, weighs only 3 pounds, and is less than an inch thick.

The Chromebook is equipped with an 11.6-inch display that's large and bright enough to watch movies and shows. We also like that it’s made with Corning Gorilla Glass, which won't scratch as easily. You can use this versatile Chromebook in several different orientations: It can be displayed like a traditional laptop or touchscreen tablet, rotated for showing presentations, or propped up like a tent (pictured).

Despite being a budget laptop, Acer outfitted the Spin 311 with two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and a microSD slot for additional storage (the base configuration only comes with 32GB of storage). The computer has an impressive 10-hour battery life, making it a great option for those constantly on the go.

Best Cheap Chromebook
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Lenovo amazon.com

Editor’s Note: Lenovo recently announced a handful of new Chromebooks priced between $334 and $429 that will launch in May 2021. We plan to evaluate the new models soon.

The Chromebook Duet is the best cheap Chromebook that you can buy. This 2-in-1 computer has a detachable keyboard, meaning you can use it as a tablet or a laptop, and it also offers 11 hours of battery life. It sports a unique adjustable back fabric cover that will protect it from drops. The cover even features a kickstand, which makes it easy to prop the Duet up to watch YouTube or have video calls. Our only complaint is that it only has one USB-C port.

The Chromebook Duet’s 10.1-inch touchscreen is sharp and bright. Plus, its included keyboard will come in handy for all of your typing needs. Although the computer doesn’t have the most powerful or up-to-date processors, it’s still fast enough for web browsing, using social media, responding to email, or doing light photo editing.

For those who are looking for a cheap Chromebook that’s less like a tablet and more like a laptop, consider shopping for the Lenovo Chromebook S330, instead.

Best for Students
HP Chromebook x360
HP amazon.com
$312.00 (26% off)

The HP x360 is an elegant and incredibly versatile Chromebook with a premium build. It has a 360-degree hinge, so you can fold it back and use it as a tablet.

The notebook comes with the lesser Intel Celeron N4000 processor and only 4GB of RAM. More RAM means better, less sluggish multitasking. Because of this, we prefer Chromebooks with Intel Core processors, but this laptop should be plenty capable for students who do light web browsing, quick photo editing, and need something for schoolwork and the occasional Netflix binge.

Our only complaint is that the base model has a measly 32GB of storage onboard. HP sells a variant with double the storage, double the RAM, and a better processor, but it’s oftentimes out of stock or overpriced.

Fortunately, all models have a microSD card slot handy for expanding storage when you need to load up on movies before a long road trip. Even better, you can average about 13 hours of battery life on a single charge — an impressive feat for a laptop this portable.

If a touchscreen isn’t important to you, consider the HP Chromebook 14 Series, which has similar specs for a lower price point.

For the Best Keyboard and Battery
Google Pixelbook Go
Google bestbuy.com

Google’s very own Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, is arguably one of the best Chromebooks money can buy. It’s a premium-feeling and incredibly nice-looking laptop that only weighs 2.3 pounds. The Pixelbook Go has a grippy texture on its bottom, which is not only cool-looking but also handy in preventing it from accidentally slipping out of your hand when you carry it. The magnesium body of the Chromebook is lightweight and thin, yet impressively durable.

Although the Pixelbook is pricier than other Chromebooks we recommend, it delivers blisteringly fast performance, a fantastic keyboard, more than 12 hours of battery life, and 16GB of RAM. We think most buyers should opt for the configuration that’s powered by Intel’s Core m3 processor — which is equipped with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. The base model is plenty powerful enough to operate several apps simultaneously without any sluggishness.

Since this one comes directly from Google, you can guarantee that it’ll always run the latest and greatest versions of Chrome OS. It’s worth mentioning that the Pixelbook Go only has two USB-C ports, so you’ll likely need to purchase a USB-C adapter to use older USB-A peripherals.

The Colorful Pick
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Samsung bestbuy.com

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is an affordable update to the previous model. Gone are its Intel Core i5 processor, 4K OLED display, fingerprint reader, and S-Pen. Despite losing all these features, the newest iteration manages to prove that less is more.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2, which is available in bright red and orange builds, costs nearly two times less than the original Galaxy Chromebook. However, it brings significantly better battery life, a slim design, and the same 2-in-1 functionality that allows you to fold it up into a tablet or stand it on a table like a tent for watching videos.

Like the Pixelbook Go, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 only has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. It also is equipped with a microSD card slot. Although the newest Galaxy Chromebook isn’t a powerhouse like its predecessor, the laptop still offers plenty of performance for the price.

Its entry-level configuration packs the Intel Celeron 5205U processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. We think most buyers should splurge for the $699 model, which has the more powerful Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. That should be plenty of power for juggling multiple apps simultaneously, taking video calls, playing games, or editing photos.

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