Our editors independently research and rate the best products. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through the links on our site. Learn more

best chromebooks

The Best Chromebooks in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Switching on in less than 8 seconds, that almost never works with a normal notebook. A Chromebook, on the other hand, has this capability and is precisely where it collects a lot of plus points from users. The Chromebooks from the test are very popular in mobile use.

The installation and management of these functional mobile devices is extremely simple, because here you hardly have to worry about anything.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop

 Our Pick
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop
8,125 Reviews
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop
  • Chromebook runs on Chrome OS – An operating system by Google…
  • All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every…
  • Get access to more than 2 million Android apps from Google…
  • Chromebooks come with built-in storage for offline access to…
  • Acer CP311-2H-C679 convertible Chromebook comes with 11.6”…

SAMSUNG XE310XBA-K02US Chromebook 4

 Our Pick
SAMSUNG XE310XBA-K02US Chromebook 4
3,730 Reviews
SAMSUNG XE310XBA-K02US Chromebook 4
  • JUST YOUR SIZE: Compact, light design with an 11.6-inch…
  • MILITARY-GRADE DURABILITY: Samsung Chromebook 4 is made to…
  • ULTRA-FAST CONNECTIVITY: With a lightning-fast Gigabit Wi-Fi…
  • ADVANCED SECURITY: Multiple layers of built-in virus…
  • POWER THROUGH THE DAY: 12.5 hours² of battery life, and a…

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop

 Our Pick
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop
2,112 Reviews
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop
  • 14 inch Touchscreen FHD 1920×1080 4-way NanoEdge display…
  • The FHD display has a durable 360 degree hinge that can be…
  • Powered by the Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor (up to 3.4 GHz)…
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM; 64GB eMMC storage and 2x USB Type-C (Gen 1)…
  • The lightweight (3lbs) all-aluminum metal body makes the…

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 2-in-1 Laptop

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 2-in-1 Laptop
448 Reviews
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 2-in-1 Laptop
  • 14 inch touchscreen Full HD 1920×1080 4-sided…
  • The Full HD display has a durable 360 degree hinge that can…
  • Powered by the Intel Core i5-10210U Processor (6M Cache, up…
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, 16GB RAM, and 2x USB Type-C (Gen 1)…
  • The lightweight (2.58 lbs) magnesium-alloy chassis body…

Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop

 Our Pick
Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop
2,289 Reviews
Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop
  • High performance laptop: The Chromebook S330 is equipped…
  • Sleek and stylish design: Sleek, stylish and secure, the…
  • Powerful processing: Perfect for all your daily computing…
  • Built to connect us: Full I/O support comes standard on the…
  • Easy to use: The Lenovo Chromebook S330 is easy to use,…

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

 Our Pick
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
3,135 Reviews
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
  • Work from home, school, or anywhere with the outstanding…
  • This 2-in-1 laptop combines a keyboard and touchscreen to…
  • The 13-inch FHD display in this slim, light 360°…
  • Use your Google account to easily access files, videos,…
  • Connect with the built-in webcam, 2 USB Type-C ports, a USB…

HP 14b-ca0010nr Chromebook X360

 Our Pick
HP 14b-ca0010nr Chromebook X360
2,276 Reviews
HP 14b-ca0010nr Chromebook X360
  • The performance you’ll applaud. The entertainment you’ll…
  • Thin and light with four versatile modes: easily convert…
  • Google play store: the millions of Android apps you know and…
  • Processor: intel(r) celeron(r) N4000, Dual-Core, 1.1 GHz…
  • Display: 14.0-Inch diagonal HD SVA micro-edge WLED-backlit…

Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop

 Our Pick
Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
8,779 Reviews
Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
  • Get high performance when you need it – The Chromebook…
  • Sleek, stylish, and secure, this 360⁰ convertible laptop…
  • The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is easy to use, offers built-in…
  • Built to connect, this notebook computer includes a variety…
  • Users love it; “High end features for a low price,” says one…

Dell Chromebook 3120 Intel celeron n2840

 Our Pick
Dell Chromebook 3120 Intel celeron n2840
1,407 Reviews
Dell Chromebook 3120 Intel celeron n2840
  • 11.6-inch HD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit 1366 x 768…
  • 16GB SSD drive, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x…
  • Bluetooth 4.0, MaxxAudio Audio, 802.11 A/C
  • Chrome OS, Weighs 3.6 lbs, Gray Color

SAMSUNG XE350XBA-K01US Chromebook 4+

 Our Pick
SAMSUNG XE350XBA-K01US Chromebook 4+
3,794 Reviews
SAMSUNG XE350XBA-K01US Chromebook 4+
  • Large and immersive 15.6” display in a compact frame
  • Military-grade durability
  • Ultra-fast connectivity with Gigabit Wi-Fi
  • Advanced security with multiple layers of built-in virus…
  • 10.5 hours of battery life

Frequently Asked Questions: Chromebooks

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a special netbook that is equipped with a special operating system. Chromebooks are particularly easy to use with Google Chrome OS, a Linux distribution. Typically, the Chrome notebooks have a screen size of 12 to 14 inches. With the pre-installed Chrom OS operating system, they are immediately ready for use and are noticeable for their short switch-on time.

Compared to other notebooks, the Chromebooks don’t focus on the hardware. If necessary, it should be able to be easily exchanged without any changes or loss of programs or data. For this purpose, the Chromebook is usually connected to the Internet cloud.

Permanent online access makes it possible to use all functions. This guarantees the connection to the Google apps and to your own cloud data.

With a Chromebook, you’re usually always online. This makes it easy to check e-mails, do research on the Internet or play games. The exchange with colleagues and the updates in the calendar also work great.

The storage option in the cloud is particularly advantageous, even if some critics see a certain gap in the data protection system here. However, if you use different end devices, you will be happy about the simple synchronization that is possible through the cloud.

Small, lightweight and always on the ball: These are the characteristic features of the Chromebooks from the test comparison. The newer models even have the option of adapting Android apps. This means that the areas of application of the practical Chromebooks are multiplied. A few adjustments are sufficient to be able to use the Android programs in addition to the Chrome OS applications.

How does a Chromebook work?

A Chromebook is extremely user-oriented due to its special features. It can be operated intuitively and has a pre-installed virus protection. In addition, the Chromebooks from the test impress with their strong battery. This often lasts for several hours so that you can work or surf without interruption.

The connection to the Google account keeps users up to date. This means that they are always protected by the latest virus protection and can also always access the new functions.

The Chromebook maintains its fast speed no matter how long you use it. You only need to register once with a Google account and the applications can be started without unnecessary waiting. With Chrome OS you have permanent access to your cloud data and online programs.

Seen in this way, the Chromebook works in a similar way to its larger relative, the notebook, except that the programs are not installed directly on the device, everything runs via the Internet.

What are the advantages & use cases of a Chromebook?

The comparison with other notebooks shows how quickly the Chromebook starts. You have to wait a maximum of 8 seconds after switching on until the device is ready for use and you can access the Internet. The basis for this is guaranteed, among other things, by the pre-installed operating system. With Chrome OS you have a slimmed down version of a web browser.

This ensures that all applications run via Chrome: It is not necessary to install the programs on the mobile device. For this reason there is no need to update manually when a new program version is available.

The Chrome system also makes adjustments to the security settings unnecessary. All updates for your own operating system and for the browser take place automatically when the Chromebook is connected to the Internet. If the applications are updated, the update takes place via the corresponding servers of the app providers.

Because the Chromebook only works with web applications, you don’t need extensive hardware. Nevertheless, labor-intensive applications can be carried out well. Whether you are editing videos or editing pictures, you will soon have these activities done with the right web service. All you have to do is upload the data to be processed – a video or a graphic.

The Chromebooks from the test can be synchronized with smartphones, tablets and other devices. As soon as you have logged in to the relevant device with your Google account, the necessary access to the files in the cloud is possible. This practical functionality makes a Chromebook not only suitable for private surfing on the Internet, but also for work.

How are Chromebooks tested?

The Chromebook test is designed to help buyers find a suitable model. It is not just about presenting a Chromebook test winner, but rather a guide that shows which features are important. Depending on what you use the Chromebook for, a slightly larger memory or a longer battery life is worthwhile.

There are no options for the operating system. Prospective buyers can only use Chrome OS. This is a special “Operating System” (OS) based on Unix / Linux. This system is reduced to the essentials due to its minimalist orientation and is particularly suitable for a targeted connection to the Internet.

It is not possible to install Windows software on the Chromebook. Instead, the entire work environment is integrated directly into Chrome. If you want to access additional functions, you can access numerous apps. accessible through the Chrome browser.

Storage

The storage capacity of the Chromebooks from the test comparison is usually between 4 and 32 GB. This capacity seems to be rather small, but there are hardly any restrictions due to the access to the online cloud storage.

Hardware

When it comes to the hardware of the Chromebooks, the manufacturers also seem reluctant. A tablet processor is partially integrated, which is not exactly impressive due to its performance. Because Chrome OS is very frugal, the relatively weak hardware components are not noticeable negatively.

Mobility

If you want to use a Chromebook primarily on the go as a mobile device, you should ensure a long battery life. So it is no problem to use the Chromebook all day long to access work documents or to surf the web. Compared to other notebooks, the Chromebooks from the test comparison have very powerful batteries. At the same time, the hardware does not require as much energy.

An anti-glare screen also ensures better mobility of the device. Such a display is also known under the term non-glare. The display can also be seen well in bright rooms or outside without being disturbed by reflections.

The size and weight of the Chromebook can be adapted to individual requirements: If it fits in the shoulder bag, there is nothing to prevent you from taking the Chromebook with you to the city or on a short trip. The standard dimensions are usually no more than 13 inches, with an average weight of 1.5 kg.

Display

As already explained, anti-glare displays are particularly suitable for use outdoors and on the go. In comparison, the glossy displays impress with their crystal clear images, especially when used indoors.

The display size is between 10 and 15 inches, with the majority of Chromebooks having a screen size of 11 to 13 inches. The resolution of the display can be 1,280 x 800 or 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The response time, which should not exceed 5 milliseconds, is also interesting. Further parameters for the display are more for the IT experts.

For the average consumer, it is enough to focus on a high resolution that suits the screen size. If the resolution is relatively low, the display can appear grainy. However, this reduces the computing effort, so that the battery life is extended.

With an IPS display you benefit from a very good color representation. It is also advantageous that the monitor can also be seen from the side. This effect is important when sitting with a group in front of the Chromebook, for example during a sales pitch or at a meeting.

Connectivity

Whether the Chromebook test winner is to be connected to a projector or to a smartphone, at least the appropriate USB ports are required. Often an HDMI connection is also available.

When more connections are possible with the Chromebook, it can be particularly versatile. With the right connectivity, the Chromebook becomes a practical addition to the TV or other IT components.

What should I look out for when buying Chromebooks?

If you want to buy a Chromebook, you should know about the various apps and the differences to the classic laptop. The Chrome OS operating system works a little differently than Windows, so you have to rethink the programs. On the one hand, this makes it easier to use because you don’t need to install any software. Instead, you set up the apps via an online connection. Above all, the Google services are available here. With Google Mails and the Google Play Store you have access to all important programs.

The Chromebooks do not need a high capacity for storage either. Just like when using the programs, you simply go to the Internet: The cloud storage is always available here to safely store the files.

If you choose Google Drive, you will receive free cloud storage with 100 GB capacity for 24 months. Other offers are also available so that you can order the appropriate version and the necessary storage capacity.

Thanks to the wide range of apps, the Chromebooks from the test can be tailored precisely to everyday and special needs. You can use it to learn and read, chat or carry out various work and games.

How to setup a chromebook?

A Chromebook is considered a particularly quick starter. Even the older, often used models only need 7 or 8 seconds after being switched on until they are ready for use. Classic notebooks take a lot longer, especially if you have installed various programs.

As with a Windows operating system, multiple users can share a Chromebook and access their own data while using it. The Chrome OS system helps with online access to the cloud and with the activation of the applications.

But how does it work exactly? Do I have to install certain software or do other preparations in order to use the Chromebook? The necessary steps for activation are explained in more detail here.

It is important for the users to know that the interface of Chrome OS is similar to the Windows system. The background image can be adjusted and the Chrome logo with which you can start the browser can be seen where the Windows start button is located.

If you switch on your Chromebook for the first time, you can immediately access the Chrome browser and use the various Google services and apps. Access to CloudReady, Chrome apps and GoogleMail is open at all times. In order to be able to use all functions, proceed as described below.

Set up the Google account

With your own Google account you have access to your own bookmarks, contacts and other entries. If you already have a Google account, all you have to do is log in using the Chrome browser. Otherwise you have to set up the account first.

Adjust the app permissions

To adjust the permissions for the apps, go to the account settings. Here you click on the button from the Google Play Store and on the option “Manage settings”. You can then select the app to be adapted. This process can also work for Android apps, depending on the type of Chromebook.

Download apps

In order to be able to download and use the apps based on the Android system, the first thing to do is to update the Chromebook’s software. Android apps can only be downloaded from version 53.

Switch to CloudReady

CloudReady offers the possibility not only to use the usual adapters for Ethernet and WiFi, but also to handle multiple displays. This means that there are more working windows available. Switching to CloudReady makes perfect sense.

Use a file manager

An integrated file manager on the Chromebook supports users in managing hard drives and connected media such as USB sticks or SD cards. Chrome OS also recognizes a paired smartphone with an Android system.

Chromebook Accessories

There are various accessories for using the Chromebooks from the test comparison. External devices such as a computer mouse and keyboard can be connected to it via the USB port. USB sticks are also always useful, whether you use them to save data or to forward videos and photos.

By coupling an external keyboard and mouse, it is possible to work more comfortably at a stationary desk. If necessary, you can also connect a larger screen to the Chromebook. The Chromebook itself becomes a kind of workstation, while the devices connected via USB simplify operation.

USB Ethernet adapters are also available for Chromebooks. These replace an internal connection and make it possible to access the corresponding network. Such a component can, for example, be a plugable Gigabit Ethernet adapter with a USB 2.0 connection. Or you can opt for a stronger LAN network adapter.

All of the current Chromebooks from the test do not support coupling with a docking station. For this reason, you can only use docking stations with a USB connection for stationary use.

With this USB docking station, the connection is made via a USB port. Once this connection has been made, the stationary docking station can be used extensively so that you have access to all connected peripheral devices. When looking for a suitable docking station, the supported operating mode (MacOS or Windows) must be checked. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to find out, as the Chromebook test shows.

Docking stations from the brands i-tec, Fujitsu and Delock come into question. These are based on the DisplayLink system, for which an Android driver exists. The convergence of Chrome OS and the Android operating system could improve the situation for Chromebook users.

An external monitor can be used as an extension to the Chromebook and is generally connected with an HDMI cable. This extends the system. By leaving the mouse or the browser window on the screen to the right, one arrives at this second screen.

A mobile hotspot can be used as a substitute for a built-in SIM card. Such a hotspot is a practical additional device. It serves as a mobile modem that is available in the form of a USB stick or as a WiFi router. With the separate devices, you have to pay attention to the battery life, which should match the capacity of the Chromebook

Chromebook Alternatives

The Chromebook is a special type of notebook. You can also use a classic notebook instead, but this is not a real alternative to the Chromebook test winners. The notebooks are characterized by more powerful hardware and a significantly larger range of functions.

If you choose a netbook, you get a mobile and inexpensive device. However, you have to make certain compromises in terms of capacity.

The performance of the small netbooks is limited, although their mobility was actually developed for use on the go. The integrated modem for cellular communication leaves a lot to be desired in most netbooks.

In relation to this, the Chromebooks from the test are significantly faster and more effective, as they only have weak hardware, but also carry little “luggage” with them.

Tablets are very popular because of their ease of use, but they have different properties than the Chromebook. They combine the advantages of small end devices such as smartphones with the functions of a notebook. However, when it comes to operation via the touchscreen and the operating system, it turns out that they cannot be compared directly with the Chromebooks.

Last product update on 2021-09-23 | Source: Amazon Affiliate