They all run the same software, but there are big differences between these Chromebook models
We've done our best to keep up with Chromebook coverage here at Android Central for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that we use these machines every single day. We spend time with every Chromebook model we can get our hands on, putting in full reviews whenever possible.
With the rapid pace of releases pumping out new Chromebooks on a regular basis it's hard to say what's "the best," but every so often we need to put our collective feet down and make a list — these are the best Chromebooks available as of November 2015.
Article updated in November, 2015
1. The best: Dell Chromebook 13
We can just come right out and say it — Dell has made the best non-Pixel Chromebook to date with the new Chromebook 13. This 13.3-inch Chromebook has a great metal build coated in durable soft touch material, along with a great backlit keyboard and a big glass-covered trackpad. The display is a 1920x1080 IPS panel that looks great in the non-touch matte version, but there are also models with a Gorilla Glass-covered touchscreen of the same resolution.
At its lowest configuration — starting at $429 — you'll be getting a new Intel Celeron processor that's plenty capable when paired with 4GB of RAM, but if you have a specific reason for higher specs Dell will oblige and sell you one of several other configurations. You can spec up a Core i3 or Core i5 processor, up to 8GB of RAM and a touchscreen, but you can start pushing $800 quickly here.
The Chromebook 13 offers fantastic battery life, is built super well and really checks all of the boxes aside from being a bit heavy at 3.23 pounds. If you're okay spending a little extra money to get something better than your standard cheap plastic Chromebook, this is the model to get — just make sure you choose the right configuration that works for your needs and budget.
2. Honorable mention: Toshiba Chromebook 2
We were extremely impressed by the first iteration of the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (in fact it was our top recommended Chromebook until the Dell was released), and Toshiba has made a simple refresh of the model late in 2015.
The latest Chromebook 2 bumped up to a new set of processors — either a new Celeron or Core i3) — and a backlit keyboard while keeping the same build, battery life and great IPS display. You'll get 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a Celeron processor in the standard configuration, while it starts $100 less (MSRP) than the Dell Chromebook 13.
It isn't made nearly as well as the Dell and the battery life is also a bit shorter on the Chromebook 2, but you may find it worth it to save the difference in price. For a great idea of what to expect from the Chromebook 2, be sure to read our full review of the previous model below.
3. On a budget: ASUS Chromebook C201 and Chromebook Flip (C100)
Both of ASUS' latest Chromebooks hit good price points, ranging from about $175 to $275 depending on the retailer. The cheaper of the two is the Chromebook C201, which is an 11.6-inch all-metal built laptop with a standard set of ports, a new Rockchip ARM processor (meaning it's finless) and a solid IPS display.
You can pick up a model with 4GB of RAM, which we recommend, for just $200 and get a great device that's built better than you'd expect for the price. If you're really tight on cash you can save about $25 and go with the lower model with just 2GB of RAM, but we recommend you put off buying a few coffees the next week and just bump to the higher model.
Stepping up the scale about $75 on each model is the Chromebook Flip (aka the C100), which is built much the same as the C201 but has a touch screen that's an inch smaller at 10.1-inches in total and is convertible into a pseudo-tablet with the screen flipping back completely.
It has the same metal build and internals as the C201, which are plenty usable, and while there are compromises made in order to make this Chromebook convertible it's a good option if you need a small machine with great battery life and want to be able to touch the screen directly.
4. Big screen: Acer Chromebook 15
Chromebooks are designed to be light and portable, but as the 11- and 13-inch segments have filled out manufacturers have started to move to larger screen sizes. If you need more screen real estate but still want some sort of portability, the Acer Chromebook 15 is the way to go.
It follows a very similar design to the 13-inch model, but this 4.4 pound behemoth has a nice 15.6-inch display and a pair of user-facing speakers flanking the keyboard. As is the case with the other Acer Chromebook models there are several different configurations to choose from, ranging from a low-end Celeron N2830 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 1366x768 display all the way up to a Celeron 3205U, 4GB of RAM and a 1920x1080 display.
Price points from $199 to $349 will help you decide which is for you, but if you can spring for it we always recommend a model with the latest processor and the most RAM you can afford.
5. Money's no object: Chromebook Pixel
If you're looking for the best possible Chromebook experience, and don't care how much it'll cost you, look no further than the new Chromebook Pixel. The 2015 refresh of the Pixel actually cut the price by a considerable $300 and still jumping to the latest Core i5 processor and improving the screen a bit, while keeping the same wonderful build quality and simplistic design.
You'll also be getting cutting-edge USB-C ports for charging and peripherals, which really is the way of the future. Spending $999 on a Chromebook really isn't advisable for most people, but if you're all-in on Chrome OS it may be worth consideration.
6. It's hard to go wrong with any of these picks
With these options, there's something to satisfy most any need that you may have when it comes to picking out a Chromebook. Whether you're buying for yourself, as a gift, or giving guidance to someone else for their own purchase, be sure to start here before making a buying decision. We'll be keeping up with this "best Chromebooks" list as new models come out, so you'll always be able to turn to it for the latest information.