Though it’s been all but confirmed at this point that Microsoft is working on its own lightweight operating system to challenge Chrome OS, using Windows proper on a cheap laptop or tablet is a historically frustrating experience. Besides, Microsoft tried this before with Windows RT and lost out to none other than Google’s Chromebook lineup.
Not only are they powered by one of the best browsers in the business, but every new Chromebook that releases will ship with Android app support via the Google Play Store out of the box. Some offerings even boast premium features, such as touchscreens and versatile form factors, without administering highway robbery, making Chromebooks perfect for everyday, casual PC use.
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Although they don’t approach the imposing specs of some of the best laptops on the market, Chromebooks are exceptional in their own right. In many instances, they pack little more than 720p screens and basic Intel Celeron processors. At the end of the day, however, Chromebooks are designed with accessibility and portability in mind, extensive battery lives being a priority.
Speaking of which, Chromebooks usually claim somewhere between seven and nine hours of battery life on a single charge, whereas screen size can fall anywhere between 11.6 and 15 inches. Some even shake up conventional notebook design by taking on the role of a 2-in-1 convertible laptop, complete with 360-degree hinge rotation and often even styluses.
Here we’ve gathered the best of the best Chromebooks and lined them up in a list for your convenience. Everything from the pixel-dense HP Chromebook 13 to the handsome, new Asus Chromebook Flip has been considered. Without further ado, let’s explore the options!
Before the Asus Chromebook Flip came around, pickings were slim when it came to affordable Chromebooks with full-on Intel Core processors and full HD 1080p displays, not to mention touchscreens, backlit keyboards and USB-C ports. It may take advantage of an Intel Pentium chip on the low-end, but the Asus Chromebook Flip is by means low-end. Compared to what’s offered by the competition, the Asus Chromebook Flip’s value is unparalleled, and that’s without getting into its pristine tablet mode, which blows other hybrids completely out of the water.
The Samsung Chromebook Pro is the result of Google’s efforts in converging Android and Chrome OS. With the Google Play Store now supported on every new Chromebook that comes out, it only makes sense to design a Chromebook with a 12.3-inch QHD touchscreen, a 360-degree hinge and stylus support to boot. It may have a keyboard that’s too compressed for comfort, but the Samsung Chromebook Pro more than makes up for it doubling as a tablet that puts most Android slates to shame. It even managed to nail pen input on the first go, which took Microsoft three tries to get to that point with the Surface Pro.
With a rock-bottom starting price, the HP Chromebook 14 is the best choice for those seeking a basic web browsing machine. While Acer’s Chromebook 15 serves up similar components (save for SSD storage rather than eMMC), HPs’ 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot. The HP Chromebook 14 sports a bright blue finish and a screen devised to surprise. Overall, this machine boasts the best value out of every Chromebook you could buy. Albeit average in both battery life and performance, the HP Chromebook 14 is a sublime offering considering the cost.