Since their introduction in 2011, Google Chromebooks continually revolutionize the laptop industry.
By offering an affordable, highly portable option, the Chrome OS swept through schools, workplaces, and homes.
However, since their creation, different PC companies introduced many variations of Chromebooks on the market.
Today, in addition to the standard, barebones Google Chromebook, there are also more advance two-in-one tablets with foldable keyboards and touchscreens.
To help you decide which Chromebook is right for you, we compiled our favorite ones for both adults and children.
Our Picks for Top 5 Chromebooks
#1: ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip
The fully adjustable ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 4.1 allows you to switch from a laptop to a tablet in seconds.
You can type away at the keyboard, play mobile games on the touchscreen, or set it up as a movie or television player in tent mode. While it might be more expensive than the average Chromebook, it is easy to see why.
Right off the bat the ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 4.1 differs from other Chromebooks with its extensive storage and RAM capacity.
It also has two USB ports, which might not seem like a lot, but this is a significant benefit on a Chromebook.
The backlit keyboard is another nice touch, as is the aluminum metal construction of the laptop.
Unfortunately, with the added touch screen and storage space comes an increase in price.
The ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 4.1 is located toward the more expensive spectrum of Chromebook related products. You will also need adapters for any non-Type-C USB port needs you to encounter.
If you need to use old chargers or other USB A ports, we recommend buying some adapters like Aukey.
Typically, there is a minor discount if you buy off sites like Amazon, but for the most part, the retail value stays the same wherever you buy Chromebooks. Walmart, Best Buy, and Target offer similar pricing.
#2: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01
For the accident-prone individual in all of us, there is the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 4.0. This version of the Chromebook is a slightly modified version of the C302CA-DHM4.
Instead of 360-degree folding capability, this version can fold back 180 degrees making it ideal for group study sessions.
The spill-resistant keyboard, solid grip handles and outer rubber guards make this Chromebook one of the safest designs yet.
The extended battery life and fold back setting make it an ideal fit for the classroom, since lots of students can gather around it. The laptop is also very reasonably priced, and easy to repair if it does get too damaged.
Unlike the C302CA-DHM4, the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 4.0 does not have a touchscreen, which cuts back substantially on its usability with many apps. It also is a reasonably slow when multiple browser tabs are open, which makes it a bit of a pain for extended projects.
The trackpad can even get a little finicky after six months, but as we said, it is easy to get repaired if you have a warranty or repair shop nearby.
The Leelbox Smart Plug is a helpful feature for an internet-dependent product like the Chromebook.
The Smart Plug picks up wireless Internet signals and redirects them with the control of a smartphone or Chromebook. It can be beneficial when multiple devices need connecting.
Though the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 4.0 usually is priced around $200 at retail value, you can find it for 25% off on Amazon.
#3: Samsung Chromebook 3
While the Samsung Chromebook 3 4.1 may not be as flexible as the ASUS model, it is still an excellent choice for college students and frequent travelers.
With a robust memory and keyboard, it is superb for notetaking and on-the-go writing.
The Samsung Chromebook’s impressive RAM capacity make it a snappy machine, ready whenever you are.
This smooth and steady performance is the best benefit. The display is also perfect for a cheaper Chromebook: bright and precise.
In addition to its low price, the Samsung Chromebook 3 4.1 also offers an exceptional battery life compared to other Chromebooks.
One of the drawbacks with the Samsung Chromebook 3 4.1 is it’s cheap; plastic exterior feels a bit more delicate than other Chromebook models. The built-in speakers on this model of Chromebook are also far from superb.
A poorly designed cooling system also makes the Samsung Chromebook 3 4.1 get hot very quickly, which can be inconvenient for people who use it on their lap.
The Samsung External Video Adapter is an excellent product for anyone that wants to hook their Chromebook up to a projector, or other video outsource. It contains an ethernet port, USB A port, and HDMI port. The built-in webcam is also a nice extra feature for web chatting or taking pictures.
Though the Samsung Chromebook 3 prices around $219.99 at retail value, you can find it for 17% off on Amazon.
#4: ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA-DB02
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA-DB02 3.9 is a combination of the
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 4.0 and the ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip. It has a 360-degree folding setting with a touchscreen but at a much cheaper cost.
The touchscreen is probably the most significant benefit here — but it also helps that it comes at such an affordable price compared to the ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 4.1. The keyboard on this model is responsive and active.
The Chromebook also comes with multiple USB 3.1 ports, which help for docking and various adapters if the case calls for it.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA-DB02 3.9 does not have as much battery life as the other Chromebooks on this list. It is also one of the smallest models on this list, so if you are a larger adult, you may find it hard to use the keyboard and see the screen properly.
It also comes with much less memory than the first model, which may or may not be a big deal for some buyers.
Since no Chromebook is capable of genuinely staggering sound, it is worth it to invest in a good Bluetooth wireless speaker. We recommend the Sony SRSHG1/BLK Hi-Res Wireless Speaker for a speaker that combines functionality with elegance.
Though the ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA-DB02 3.9 prices around $299.99 at retail value, you can find it for 16% off on Amazon.
Best for Kids:
Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible
While children can operate all Chromebooks, we believe the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible 4.1 is one of the best options for kids that you can find.
It combines the usability of a tablet with the sleek design of a MacBook Air.
In addition to a diverse I/O port— especially for a Chromebook — the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible 4.1 also comes with a touchscreen and convertible-like flipping system. Its long battery life makes it especially valuable in the classroom, and the Chromebooks design lends itself group projects and activities.
The attractive design also gives it an air of delicacy, even though it is powerfully built. This way, kids will learn to respect it, instead of throwing it around like a toy.
The trackpad on the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible 4.1 can often be very unresponsive. It does not have a ton of memory, which may be a problem if multiple students are sharing the same laptop.
The HD-only screen is also not compatible with many lower definition media players which leaves some video sources unusable.
Since the Acer Chromebook R111 Convertible 4.1 does not have a great trackpad, it may be helpful to get a wireless mouse of some sort. A Chromebook protective sleeve is also vital if kids are going to be frequently handling the device.
Unfortunately, there is not much of a discount available online for the Acer Chromebook R111 Convertible 4.1, so if it is more convenient to go into a store like Walmart or Best Buy, feel free to do so.
Also, be on the lookout for educator discounts if you are buying a mass order for your classroom or daycare center.
Frequently Asked Chromebook-Related Questions
Now that you are familiar with the best Chromebooks on the market, you probably have a few questions about the Chrome OS in general.
To help you understand the intricacies behind the Chromebook and the way it operates, we have included some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to understanding Chrome OS.
So first thing is first:
What is Chrome OS?
Chrome OS is an operating system created by Google in 2011 with the goal to navigate Google-related applications.
Chrome apps, as they are known, allow for media playing, file storage, internet navigation and word document applications, as well as many other web apps — like Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Calendar.
What Is the Difference Between Regular Laptops and Chromebooks?
Chromebooks are a stripped-down version of a regular laptop. As such, they are much more affordable — usually between the $100 and $500 price range.
Compared to regular laptops Chromebooks are much more durable, and can generally handle falls and other wear and tear.
However, they do need a constant internet connection and offer fewer features than traditional laptops.
Why Is Constant Internet Connection Important for Chromebooks?
Google designed Chromebooks to connect to the internet at all times.
This online necessity is because the Chromebook stores its applications and documents in the cloud. So, to access them, you will need a consistent internet connection.
What is the Difference between Windows 10 and Chrome OS?
It used to be that all laptops under $200 were considered Chromebooks. However, in recent years Microsoft offered a competitive product for Chrome users.
Windows 10 provides a similar line of stripped-down, affordable laptops that are customizable for each user.
Generally speaking, Windows 10 machines offer better gaming, video playback, and photo editing add-ons.
Can You Use Microsoft Applications on Chrome OS?
Unfortunately, you cannot run most Microsoft applications on Chrome OS.
However, if you have a newer model of a Chrome OS, you can download Microsoft Office for Android devices and then run it on your Chromebook.
Are Chrome OS and Android the Same Thing?
No, Chrome OS and Android are two different operating systems run by Google.
Android operating systems, previously reserved for smartphones and tablets, is now converging with Chrome OS — especially with the convergence of the Google Chromebook and tablet-like touchscreen technology.
As the two operating systems grow, they continue to evolve together. As a result, you can use many Android apps on Chrome OS now.
What Are Some Chrome OS applications?
There are many apps to take advantage of as a Chrome OS user.
The best one is probably Google Now — the Siri-like device that can answer basic commands and functions. Compared to the Cortana — a similar Windows 10 application — Google Now is much more responsive and user-friendly.
Chrome OS security is also equally unmatched.
It avoids the luring eyes of any hackers with continually updated security patches and a system that saves everything. It also does not have a flash system, so it avoids any viruses associated with this problem — but make sure to keep your password to yourself.
Gaming is possible on a Google Chromebook, but your options are severely limited compared to other laptops on the market.
You will be limited to apps found on the Chromebook store, like Angry Birds, Fallout Shelter, Bejeweled, Minecraft and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. However, the portable nature of the product does allow for a more relaxed gaming experience.
Who Can Benefit the Most from Chromebooks?
Chromebooks benefit people who need a no-frills form of laptop and tablet technology.
Writers who only need to access word documents or frequent travelers that require light and the replaceable device should consider getting a Chromebook.
As we mentioned, the tool is also excellent for children or students. Since the Chromebooks often do not feature video or app technology, there are no distractions to get in the way of children using the device to work at school.
Essentially, the people who benefit the most from Chromebooks are people that do not need the unnecessary distractions of a regular laptop.
What to Look For When Buying a Chromebook
There are many factors you should pay attention to when buying a two-in-one laptop like a Chromebook.
We’ve listed what we think are the most important features to have.
How will you be using your Chromebook?
Writing word documents and sending emails?
Or intensive movie watching and game playing?
Depending on your answer you may desire a simpler, original Chromebook, or the more advance two-in-one convertible tablet.
Larger adults beware: some of the Chromebooks are exceptionally small. If you have large hands, the keyboard may be too small for you.
Similarly, poor eyesight may not jive well with tiny screens. If you are an adult with accessibility problems, try to find a Chromebook that is over 11 inches. Anything smaller might cause problems.
While the decision is not the most important feature to look for when shopping for the Chromebook, it still is essential.
Try not to dip below 1280 x 800 when looking at the different resolution on the laptops.
Battery life is usually pretty consistent with most Chromebook devices. Most of them last around 10 hours typically — though this varies from model to model.
If battery life is crucial to you, look for the models which offer 11+ hours of battery life.
Does your work require offline storage? Or can you take advantage of the massive cloud memory?
If you do not need offline storage, you can save a lot of money by relying on the cloud storage.
As such, you cannot go wrong when buying one. Regardless, we hope our buying guide was helpful for narrowing your search parameters.