They all run the same software, but there are big differences between these Chromebook models

We've started to increase the pace of our 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. We're purposely omitting the Chromebook Pixel, however. It's a great device, for sure, but at $1,299, well, yeah. Sucker's just too expensive for most folks.

So with that caveat, this is our list of the best Chromebooks available as of November 2014.

Read on.


Reader comments

The best Chromebooks, as of November 2014


Patiently waiting on your Toshiba Chromebook 2 review. I'll most likely be picking one up in the next week or two.

I absolutely love my Toshiba 1. My only regret is how quickly the 2 came out after it, but I'm very satisfied with the 1 and will upgrade when the 3 come out. Solid machines.

You're writing the review Andrew? If so, that's awesome, I like your reviews. I'll keep an eye out for it. I have a Dell XPS 15z and a Note 2 (soon to be Note 4). Don't really see the need for a tablet, but this machine is intriguing. Fanless, supposed great battery, and in a package similar in size to the MacBook Air, all seem like great reasons to check this out. Considering 90% of computing on my laptop is done via Chrome anyways, an affordable, well built chromebook is exactly what I've been looking for.

I have the C720P, but I never, ever use the touch screen. I'd trade the touch screen for an extra 2GB of RAM in a heartbeat.

Sent from my Nexus 5, behind six proxies

Yes, you definitely want at least 4 GB RAM; I take more if there was a way to do it! With 4GB, I regularly have 12 to 15 tabs open all the time and sometimes well over 20. Once in a while it hiccups and I realize I need to close a few. Sometimes I extensively edit 20 to 40 page documents (usually in Google docs) with a dozen tabs open without hiccups.

I ran across a way to turn some of the SSD into a swap file on Google. Its actually a developer option but it seems to be helping me with my tiny/old Samsung XE303.... Its not a perfect fix but it apparently will reduce the amount of tab reloading....

my girlfriend picked on up last week. got to play on t for a little bit and i was overly impressed. Everything opened up pretty smoothly and the screen it just gorgeous! we just happened to be lucky and were looking at chromebook at our local Best Buy and the sales man said he had another one but wasn't on display. bought it without even trying it out and have no "RAGRATS"..... GO GET ONE IF YOU CAN!!

Clearly the Toshiba Chromebook 2 will be a great option, when we see it in the UK. I still wonder about Chrome OS, but would like to try it and see if I can live with the limitations. How about printing?

How? I have tried every idea/suggestion I could find on the internet for about a year - nothing works. My HP OfficeJet 6500 printed fine over my wireless LAN from my old laptops. Nothing I've tried gets it to print from my Chromebook (I am not willing to keep a PC running all the time just to be able to print - that's going backwards).

Ah, since I am also running Seti@home calculations 24/7 its no problem to use Googles cloud printing. If I had a wireless printer there is apparently a way to set it up with Googles cloud printing without needing to have another PC on.

The build quality on my HP Chromebook 14 is terrific. Add in free 200MB/mo for life from TMobile where streaming Pandora doesn't count against me and the only thing I wish it had is an IPS display.

Yeah, but after reading some guidance on it, it seems I may be slipping under the radar somehow versus being the standard expectation.

Yeah I love the c720p. Well I would if I could reclaim from my wife who constantly uses it (her nexus 7 discarded to the side)

Via a cool AC App on a great Nexus 4

How long before Zig is here talking about how useless Chromebooks are?

I recently got the Acer Chromebook 13, it's a great machine.

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I have no use for a chromebook currently I have a laptop that works BUT I bought the Hp chromebox for a “desktop setup” and I love it, that thing is so smooth and runs like butter. It is just perfect for what I need it! A Student with online HW.

I bought my C720P about a month ago and absolutely love it. Speakers are awesome, its fast enough to keep up with what I do (which is pretty normal usage, nothing crazy), and the battery life is awesome. I spend an hour or 2 on it at a time and can easily go a week without putting it on the charger. The touchscreen is what sold me and has become VERY convenient for me. I'm surprised its not talked about up there.....

I would love to see more "Best (fill in product line here) articles that are easily accessible from the site and are regularly updated as new items come out. So Best Chromebooks like you have here and you just incorporate new models as they come out. Best Android phones for picture, best android phones for batter life, etc. Nice article.

Any of these have celluar service options, it been a big help for my HP14 a few times.

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Personally, I think spending the extra money to buy a Chromebook with built-in cellular is a waste of money, if you have a decent plan for your smartphone (and it's not labotomized by your carrier). On the few times that I've been out with my Chromebook, and needed to surf away from wifi, I just turn on the hot-spot function on my Nexus 5. My Chromebook automatically connects and I never miss a beat. Works beautifully. I already pay a cellphone bill. I don't want another monthly bill to pay additionally for a service I already have.

+1 on the HP14, love using it. Built in cellular is a plus based on the fact that my carrier, VZW, won't allow me to hotspot with my phone. Having unlimited data though is hard to pass up to switch.....

The C720 is being phased out. I just recently got its replacement the Chromebook 11 CB3-111 at Best Buy for $199 and it's awesome. Looks identical to the Tegra based 13, but had the popular Celeron Bay Trail found in the new Toshiba, Asus, etc. Not a powerhouse by any means and could benefit from 4gb RAM instead of 2, but it's perfect for my needs and has excellent battery life, between 8-9 hours, and better build quality and design than the C720. It's on preorder on Amazon and in store at BB. They said the base model C720 is discontinued at BB now.

I love the acer cb3. I recently picked it up for 199. And best buy said they will price match. Well its going down to 149.99 black friday. It's a great machine. Runs and feels great. It's perfect for what I use it for.

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I'll likely be grabbing the Toshiba Chromebook 2 when supply is a bit more widespread, mostly for my 1st grader to do her online homework assignments. I wouldn't have minded a bit more processing power but the trade-offs (quiet, cool and superior battery life) are worth it for my family's use.

I have been using the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (1080p with 4gb of ram) for the past week. Overall, it is a great machine. The screen is amazing, as is the build quality. My only complaint is the processor. Coming from the celeron powered acer c720 (also with 4gb of ram), the toshiba is noticeably "slower". Everything from rendering web pages, starting an album on Google play all access, to starting an android is just not as fast as the c720. However, the toshiba is 100% silent and battery life is pretty damn good, which is an improvement over the acer.

Looking forward to when i can get a Chromebook with an IPS display (even in a lower resolution), 4gb of ram, and a celeron processor.

I'm kind of in love with my Toshiba Chromebook 2. I bought as my secondary computer, but thanks to the amazing battery life, the fantastic screen, fast boot and slim/light design, I find my desktop is getting less and less use.

My primary quibble is that remote access to my work computer is a little sketchy. It works, but doesn't play all that nicely with my dual monitor set-up at work. I've fooled around with the settings for display, but haven't cracked the code on getting my whole desktop showing on the Chromebook. Also, pointer behavior has been inaccurate (not by millimeters, but by an inch or more) during some sessions. And I'm still not having luck using the Chrome Citrix receiver - though this may be as much due to my IT dept's internal settings as it is Chrome. Believe it or not, I've had my best remote desktop access results by remoting into my home computer then remoting in with that to work!

But for $330? Hard to go wrong.

I had the same issue connecting to my work computer via Teamviwer. I use two monitors at work and it doesn't play nice with my c720. I can connect to my home computer with ease however.

Every evening, before heading home from work, I turn on "Mirror Displays" so that all my external monitors show the same content. That way, when I'm home and try to Chromote into my work computer, I see only one screen!
It's definitely a hack and you need to remember to make this switch everyday, but it works very very well!

Wish Google would fix this soon and allow users to choose which desktop to access rather than showing everything stitched together.

The C720 ia great for a budget device but you have issues if you pay $199 for it. You can get it for MUCH cheaper if you search around a little.

Was able to get my Toshiba Chromebook 2 a week ago, and the thing is amazing! It doesn't have the stamina of the acer 13 but the screen on this device just makes it top anything else I've ever used. It feels like toshiba is the first manufacturer to listen to chomebook consumers and give us what we ask for, and it can only get better from here.
I really hope this chromebook does well in sales.

I don't know why AC always overlooks this one. While I think the price point could come down a bit its gotta be one of the better builds as far as CBs go

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Well done, Android Central team! I really do look forward to, not only using your well made app\widget, but most importantly reading your articles that matter most to my interests. This comment post doesn't just stand for this particular article alone. I want to make it clear to y'all at AC that I am a huge fan of most ALL of your efforts in posts! To put it simply, Thank you very much!

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Love my C720 so much! Makes a fantastic everyday machine for me, processing power has been great, and it only really needs more RAM. But it does good with what it has for my use. I couldn't ask for much better value for under $200!

Posted via mostly ghost taps on OG N7, in the Android Central App, therefore posts may not be my own.

Are there any current models where the RAM is user upgradeable?

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I get interested to see these articles all the time, then I am quickly reminded of how they are living in 2007 with web design. Credibility goes a long way when you move past a site that has to refresh pages.

I beg to differ, I have the hp chromebook 14 and it's just bad ass. Has 4 gb ram and Intel clarion 847. It friggin Flys. Just saying. I have never seen you guys ever talk about it nor review it. I picked it up in February and just love it. Yeah it may cost 349.00 but we'll worth it.

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We own the Haswell HP 14 chromebook as well as the new Toshiba CB2 and I agree the HP flies and is the better web browsing computing experience. A few things though:
- This HP variant is no longer being made, as the current one uses a shower chipset, so Andrew really could not choose it.
- The CB2 is a much better media machine. Videos were always unsatisfying to watch on the HP due to resolution, its blah screen, and it's weak speakers. All are big strengths of the CB2.
- I don't know if it's just my HP, but Bluetooth connectivity seems far more robust on the CB2.

I can't wait until the CB2 gets next gen chips like the Broadwell. Then the true Pixel successor will have arrived.

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I agree. Had mine for just over a year. 4GB is great! (I just wish Google would make printing to legacy printers work w/o needing the printer to be connected to a running PC)..

I absolutely love my refurbished C720 that I picked up from Groupon for $129. It even came with a little ding/dent in the cover so that it was immediately ready for its road warrior role in my life. ;-) I use a Windows 7 VDI for work, so I open it in one tab, and then I can open as many additional tabs as I want for personal stuff, and it never misses a beat.

I had a C720, sold it, then a few months later got a C720P. I would highly recommend getting the latter version. The touchscreen doesn't take away too much from the overall battery life and touchscreen works very well. I was able to get one on ebay from Acer's refurbished seller for very cheap, compared to buying one new.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Samsung chromebook 2? It also has HD display and pretty attractive components.

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I have both HP 13 with free T-Mobile data and the the Acer c720. They both are great. I like the smaller form factor of the c720. I would recommend either one.

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I notice a lot of online reviewers going ga-ga each time a new chromebook is released, but if you look at online ratings websites, the machine that makes actual *customers* the happiest is always the Acer c720 / c720p. The reviewers give it a 7.5 or 8.0, the customers give it a 9.5. ALWAYS. The c720 has the fastest CPU available for chromebooks, and the c720p has one of the ONLY touchscreens available for chromebooks. The only machine that beats it (in these areas) is the $1299 Chromebook pixel. No other chromebook is faster or has a touchscreen. And, the c720/c720p has a real haswell battery life of 7-8 hours, the other 2955U chromebooks (i.e. HP) have trouble lasting 5 hours...

I just dont understand why people dont want to touch the pixel.
I mean in 2005 I purchased a eMachines m6805 athlon 64 laptop for 1200 at tiger direct.
Yea and thats a cheapo model

Since when are people so stuck up that they wont spend money for quality.

This worlds gone to hell.



I just have to add, the chromebook pixel is a work of love and luxury, its like silk, once you go back everything else is just crappy. No really and painfully slow.

The track pad I am convinced is the smoothest surface ever made by man kind, (or nano lasers).

They keyboard is perfect.

The screen is perfect.

The speakers are perfect, that is everything over about 100 htz.

And what are my qualifications, well I have close to a million plays on soundcloud,
and I have been a free lance graphic designer for the past 15 years along with being a certified internet webmaster.

The most impressive thing about the pixel is.... The mic and how well it picks up and interprets your voice.

I admit, I used to walk around with this thing, taking it everywhere, even gas stations or bars.

I will mention two amazing examples that really happened to me with this Chromebook from the future.

I was at the gas station one day talking to someone I knew, a guy walked in and took a look at my chromebook, he went 'Holy S**** what the hell is that' I said the chromebook pixel, then he said, "that has a better screen then my Mac-book Pro" I said NOTHING....

The second example, I was in a loud bar. I was showing it off, and believe me when you whip this out, a crowd gathers along to see what the heck its all about. I said, watch this. I screamed at the thing, WHATS THE WEATHER IN DENVER, and in a quater of a second it answered. I was completely shocked and spooked. I continued to scream at it, with everyone also screaming in the room and every time literally 9 out of 10 it got it perfectly, I dont know how the heck it did this. All I know is I defy your phones or smart tabs or ultra 50 book dell whatever to pull this stunt off.

The only huge problem I see is that this thing is way too fast for the chrome OS, and not easlly able to organize as a windows machine. Like, you can see the properties of a folder, what is that????? GOOGLE please COME UP TO SPEED.