The best Chromebooks have gone from strength to strength over the years, improving as Chrome OS has advanced - making these Google laptops ideal for students looking for an affordable, reliable purchase.
The lightweight nature of Chrome OS - it's largely an in-browser based setup, with Google apps and phone-like Android apps also available - means these laptops last for an age on a single charge, so are ideal for working on the go.
So whether you work from home or travel a lot, there’s a Chromebook out there to suit your needs. We’ve selected a variety of options suited to all budgets and styles in this handy guide, starting with our top three picks:
Looking for the best budget Chromebook? The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is a real star for the money, offering a 2-in-1 style with a clip-on keyboard, so whether you want to use this as a tablet-like product, or rock that keyboard for work, it covers all avenues.
The best Chromebook for most people goes to the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. Its 360-degree hinge makes it versatile, its 13.5-inch screen is a great portable yet practical size, and it's well priced for all that's on offer.
The best premium Chromebook crown goes to the HP Pro C640 has various, as it offers various higher-power options that power users will find appealing. It's not got any 2-in-1 or flexible hinge extras, but as an alternative to a Windows laptop it's a great option.
The best Chromebooks you can buy in 2022
Although all Chromebooks are the same - as they all run Chrome OS - there's plenty of variety in terms of screen size, build quality, keyboard and trackpad performance. Acer's Spin 713 ticks all the right boxes, so we think it's the best all-round versatile Google laptop on the market today.
It comes with a high-resolution 13.5-inch screen that can be folded throughout its 360-degree hinge mechanism, meaning you can use it like a laptop, a tablet, or position it upright on a desk for watching shows. It's a 3:2 aspect ratio, too, which is unusual, but is great for looking over documents as it's closer to a sheet of paper than a wide-angle screen.
Not only that, this Chromebook has plenty of power, as you can specify Intel Core i processor options here, meaning power is never a problem. This means it'll be able to handle all the Chrome tabs and Android apps you throw at it - and then some.
Head to our full Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review for full info to decide if this is the Chromebook to make you flip out
When people think 'Chromebook', many think of budget laptops with little power. But the HP Pro C640 flips this idea on its head, presenting a strong case as to why you should consider spending a little more on your Google laptop.
Not only is the Pro C640 a sophisticated looker - as if it's dressed in business attire, almost - it can be specified with significant power options, all the way up to an Intel Core i7 processor. That means it'll never break a sweat when you throw demanding tasks its way.
Pair that with a lovely 14-inch display - which doesn't have any fancy 360-hinge or 2-in-1 design - and you've got a solid alternative to a Windows laptop that will make a lot of sense for those who don't want to spend four-figures on a machine with strong specification.
Read our full HP Pro C640 review to see if this sophisticated Chromebook is the one to win you over
The best budget Chromebook is Lenovo's Chromebook Duet. Sure, it's not got the bells and whistles power of some others in this guide, and its screen is a little smaller at 10.1-inches, but all considered it's an absolute bargain - and that's the key sell.
Principal to its design is the 2-in-1 setup, so you could use the Duet as a tablet-like product, then clip on the magnetic keyboard and get more productive as your needs dictate. Versatility is the name of the game, which is well handled.
Want to know more? Read our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review for a deep dive into its pros and cons
Best of the rest: Other Chromebook best-buys
The step-up model from our best budget Chromebook option, the more up-to-date Duet brings a bigger screen - which is now an OLED panel - that also makes it rather a lot more expensive. But it's well worth it, as these upgrades make it the best premium 2-in-1 Chromebook you can buy.
You still don't get top-of-the-line specs, but there's more than enough oomph here to run Chrome OS, while the battery life is excellent - lasting a full day, no problem, whether you're using it in tablet mode or clip-on that keyboard for extra productivity.
Does the OLED screen win you over? Read more about it in our full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook review
If budget is your ultimate goal and you need something cheap, then the Asus C523 is about as low-priced as they come.
Still, it'll do everything that you need a Chromebook to do, just not in as fancy a way as some others. The big screen, at 15.6-inches, is one example: it's expansive, but the resolution is a little low.
Considering the low cost, the Asus C523 Chromebook still manages to look the part, with a matte grey finish and a keyboard and a trackpad not unlike something Apple might produce.
This one is likely to be approaching end of life, though, so it's a case of grab now whilst stocks last.
Google doesn't only make Chrome OS for all Chromebooks, it produces its own Chromebook too: the Pixelbook Go.
Many tout this as one of the best on the market, too, with credentials powerful enough to take on fully-fledged Windows machines no problems. You can even spec out an Intel Core i7 processor and 4K screen resolution if you're feeling especially flush.
The Google hardware design team really hits its stride with the Pixelbook Go, too, from the slim bezels around the display to the textured rubber underneath the laptop, it's a well-designed and practical option.
Does Google do it best for you? Read our full Pixelbook Go review for the highlights and lowlights
If you're in the market for a Chromebook that combines a respectable level of performance with a price that isn't going to bring you out in a cold sweat, then perhaps you don't need to look any further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 – one of the more solid Chromebooks we've seen recently.
The specs aren't record-breaking, but then they don't need to be, and the device is priced accordingly. What you do get is a great screen, a pleasant typing experience, and battery life that means you don't need to worry about being away from a mains socket all day: Acer reckons you can get almost 14 hours between charges, and our testing backs that up.
Then there's the best part of the Spin 513 – as the name suggests, the screen folds right round against the keyboard, if you need it to. That means you can use it as a makeshift tablet, or prop up the screen without a stand if you want to sit back and enjoy some movies on your Chromebook.
With its elegant looks, and a screen that you can flip around, the Flip C434 is undoubtedly one of the best Chromebooks money can buy.
The 87 per cent screen-to-body ratio is worthy of a premium laptop and looks great running Chrome OS, while the internal specs can be configured as required, with Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 processor options available.
The 14-inch display is also touchscreen-enabled, thereby unlocking that secondary tablet functionality, and delivers a decent Full HD resolution.
Overall, this is a very strong all-round product - one that not only delivers laptop functionality but tablet power also.
Head to our full Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review for more info
If you are looking for the best Chromebook in terms of value for money then the HP Chromebook 14 sits in the sweet spot. It packs a strong 14-inch screen and sports an overall thin, light and stylish aesthetic.
This is a system that can easily be slipped into a bag and then used in a coffee shop, at a friend's house, or even on a train, before then being easily stashed away again and you not feeling like you are lumbered with it.
Yes, there are higher-specced Chromebooks in this guide, but if you just need a streamlined laptop for work and entertainment, then you'll struggle to find a better-priced option with a screen of this size.
If you're in need of the very best components inside your Chromebook, and you have a decent budget to spend on one, then consider the Asus Chromebook Flip C436.
We like the form factor too: as with other Asus Flip models, you can fold the 14-inch screen right back and set it up in tent mode or use it as a tablet. Handy!
Battery life could be better, though, and it is expensive, but otherwise this is a Chromebook that really looks the part and that's going to last you for years to come.
Read our full Asus Chromebook Flip C436 review to get the thorough lowdown on this versatile option
Is a Chromebook and laptop the same thing?
In almost all respects, yes they are. They deliver a portable computing experience that allows people to work and be creative wherever they might be, and often for significantly less money.
Where Chromebooks differ to laptops is in their operating system, apps, and internal components. The operating system, for example, is Google's Chrome OS - it's not Windows, Linux or macOS - while the apps that Chromebooks use are from Google's G-Suite of software and Android mobile app downloads.
Chrome OS is the major difference between a Chromebook and Windows or Apple laptop. Chrome OS is a very streamlined OS that is designed to work completely in sync with Google's suite of applications, such as Google Mail and Google Docs, and while offline work is of course possible, Chromebooks are really designed to be used while online.
Not sure exactly what device you need? Jump to the bottom for an explainer on the differences between a Chromebook and a laptop (and head to our best laptop or best cheap laptop guide if you decide on the latter).
How to choose the best Chromebook for you
If you've established that Chrome OS will suit your needs, then the next steps are just as they would be with any laptop: what size screen will best suit you?; do you want a laptop-only design or a 2-in-1 or 360-hinge product for versatility?; will you need a little power for basic tasks or a bit more for more demanding operation?
One of the key specs to look out for is screen size, as this will determine how much room you've got for webpages and apps, and how easy (or otherwise) it is to lug your Chromebook around. Don't get too low a resolution as the quality will lack, but we'd also avoid a 4K resolution because it'll drain the battery - and longevity per charge is one thing Chromebooks excel at.
Ultimately the reasons to buy a Chromebook are that they offer secure, lightweight systems that are always kept right up to date. Say your Chromebook gets stolen – replace it with another, log in, and everything will still be where you left it in the cloud.
Chromebooks have also become hugely important for students in education. That long battery life, the typically low cost, and a decent suite of office apps mean that cash-strapped buyers in need of a reliable work computer have an absolutely ideal option.
How we test Chromebooks at T3
Testing Chromebooks at T3 is very similar to how we test our laptops: we live with them as if they're our own, ensuring we put them through the rigours of everyday life.
When testing a Chromebook, T3 starts as we would for any laptop, in judging its design and build quality. For Chromebooks, as systems that are designed to be portable, this is very important, as a weak fit and finish can lead to rapid deterioration.
This stage also includes analysing the system's display, as well as its capabilities such as a touchscreen. Many Chromebooks today come with flexible screens that can be orientated for slate usage, so ascertaining the quality of the touch interface is very important.
We then move onto judging the Chromebook's hardware and performance. Unlike Windows 10 laptops, for example, this doesn't lean on benchmark scores as much as it does experiential usage, and specifically usage of Chrome OS and its stable applications.
Finally, and this is very important for Chromebooks, we test out each system's battery life. Chromebooks are designed to be portable, use-anywhere-with-internet devices, and that means running them without a power supply. Here we see just how far a system can go in the real world before it needs plugging in.
We then rank it out of 5 in terms of a star score. If a system reviews well, we then consider it for entry into our best Chromebooks buying guide.
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