Best overall

Samsung Chromebook Plus

For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, the Samsung Chromebook Plus delivers a best-in-class experience and build quality.

What we like

  • Excellent display.
  • USB-C for data and power.
  • Included Pen and on-device pen storage.
  • 3:2 aspect ratio.

What we don't like

  • Cramped keyboard.
  • Keyboard backlighting not available in base model.
  • No higher storage options.
  • Speakers sound muffled.

Best on the go

ASUS Chromebook Flip

The Chromebook Flip is uber-portable and makes a great laptop or tablet for anyone on the go.

What we like

  • Small and light.
  • USB C for data and power.
  • Additional USB A port.
  • Long battery life.

What we don't like

  • Small cramped keyboard.
  • 16 GB of storage.
  • Plastic trackpad.

Best on a budget

Lenovo Chromebook 500e

The Lenovo Chromebook 500e is rugged and affordable, yet delivers an excellent user experience. It's Lenovo's best Chromebook ever.

What we like

  • Rugged drop-resistant construction.
  • USB-C for data and power.
  • 2 Additional USB -A ports .
  • A great keyboard and trackpad.

What we don't like

  • It's heavy at 3+ pounds.
  • It's not optimal to use as a tablet.
  • 1366 x 768 display resolution.
  • No keyboard back lighting.

Best for the pro

Google Pixelbook

If you want or need the very best and are willing to overpay for it, the Pixelbook was made for you.

What we like

  • Top of the line components.
  • Beautiful display.
  • USB C for data and power.
  • Incredibly thin and light.

What we don't like

  • The price.
  • Only available in white.
  • No SD card slot.
  • Speakers are loud but "tinny".

How we make our selections

We're Chromebook users ourselves. We take the opportunity to test products from the various manufactures ourselves and only consider Chromebooks we would use to feature on our site. When we list the best for any purpose, we consider usability, availability and price. You can trust that a Chromebook we list as Best in class is there because we've used it and have compared it to others for it's intended purpose.

Who should buy a Chromebook

Chromebooks can't solve every computing need. If you're using a computer in an industrial application or for on-site work the programs you'll need probably aren't designed to work on Chrome OS. The same applies if you're doing any engineering, professional media editing or software development beyond web language programming.

For everyone else though, chances are a Chromebook is the perfect solution. Everything the web has to offer works better than you'd expect and there are over 1 million Android apps you can install that will help get most tasks done.

What you can expect to spend on a Chromebook

Chromebooks run the gamut of pricing much like any other laptop; you'll find both entry level and high-end models and they're priced accordingly. Current models start around $200, but you can often find last year's model with a significant price reduction in tow. Expect to spend $1,000 or more on the highest-end models with top-notch hardware.

The great news is that the Chromebooks you'll see recommended most often are closer to the low end of the spectrum and you can buy a Chromebook that does everything you need (and does it well) around $350.

The best Chromebook: Samsung Chromebook Plus

Samsung and Google have built the best Chromebook you can buy with the Samsung Chromebook Plus. It's incredibly well built, has one of the best displays of any laptop and is the first Chromebook with the new Pen that adds pressure sensitive drawing.

The 12.3-inch 2400x1600 IPS display will just wow you. It's beautiful to look at and has full multi-touch and pen input support.

Even with the great screen, the Chromebook Plus still has excellent battery life. It will last most people a full workday (8-10 hours) on a single charge. And when it's time to charge the battery, you'll appreciate the standard USB-C charging instead of a proprietary input. With the right cable, your Chromebook Plus will charge anywhere your phone does.

What the community says about the Samsung Chromebook Plus

Clockcycle: After having my Samsung Chromebook Plus for a few days, I sold both my Google Pixel C and Nexus 9 Tablets. I also barely turn on my Desktop PC. I enjoy my SCP and have fun playing Android games on it.

John Nemesh: Build quality is, in a word, EXCELLENT. Full metal chassis, Gorilla Glass 3 AMOLED screen, nice pixel density. Keyboard is a bit cramped, but has a decent feel and touch typing isn't a chore. The touchpad is EXCELLENT. FAR better than the touchpad on my cheap Asus Windows notebook. It recognizes two fingers for scrolling EVERY TIME, not just some of the time, and has a distinct "click" when you press down to simulate a mouse click. It is extremely lightweight...under 2.5 lbs! This WILL be giving the Macbook Air some competition for those looking for a lightweight, basic computer!

Estrada42: I do business to business employee benefits insurance and the CB+ is the most important thing I carry. It fits in my notebook with my paper work, I can use it anywhere. I use my phone as a Hotspot and can work at any job site. I recommend it to anyone.

Great Chromebook if you are looking to spend less

The Acer Chromebook R13 is a mid-range offering that seems like it should cost more. It has a 1080p IPS touchscreen for interaction with Android apps, can fold back into various modes for an all-touch experience, and charges using the new USB-C standard rather than an older connector. The standout feature of the Chromebook R13 is the great way it's built. It's solid and well machined and not something you would expect from a sub-400 dollar laptop. The Chromebook R13 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a premium product without a premium price.

Is it a good time to buy a Chromebook

Right now is actually one of the best times to buy!

Manufacturers like Asus and Lenovo have released their 2018 models and the list of features keeps growing while the prices don't. In fact, prices for great consumer models (meaning you won't be spending too much!) are lower than ever.

We're also seeing all new Chromebooks launch with support for Android apps through the Google Play Store as well as convertible hinges and touch screens that let your Chromebook double as a tablet. Companies are even focusing on ruggedized models designed for kids that don't have the big price we're used to seeing for educational Chromebooks.

Of course this also means that the great Chromebooks from 2017 are going to be reduced in price and they'll continue to run as well as ever because of Google's full six year software support for Chromebooks.

FAQ

Q. Do Chromebooks work offline?

A. Mostly. There are some apps and services that require a connection, and you certainly won;t be seeing much if the internet when offline. but there are also plenty of apps that use your Chromebook's local storage and work the same offline as they do when connected.

Q. Are Chromebooks secure?

A. Very! Chrome has built-in protection that checks every time you turn it on to make sure nothing has been changed in the system files. If it finds anything askew, it has a spare copy of the system tucked away to use as a replacement. Additional features like Google's Safe Site initiative check web pages as you browse to keep you from ending up on a site that tries to alter any of your settings.

Q. What about games or programs like Photoshop?

A. You'll find a large assortment of games at both the Chrome Web Store and Google Play's Android apps section that you can install with just a click. While graphics intensive 3D titles aren't supported (yet!) you'll find loads of popular games to fill your free time. Programs like Photoshop have equivalents for Chrome, because users want and need those kinds of apps. You're not going to find professional grade commercial utilities like Photoshop, but apps with all the basics and plenty of advanced features are available and should fit the needs of most of us.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

Derek Kessler is Managing Editor for Mobile Nations, where he covers tech across the spectrum. He got his start a decade ago writing about Palm and hasn't stopped since. In his desk drawer you will find way too many phones. Derek also does a fair bit of technical work (including this fancy page); he's @derekakessler on Twitter, if you dare.

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