Chromebooks are perfect for students of all ages. They offer a familiar and easy-to-use form factor for doing research and classwork and their portability means they go home with a student every day for larger assignments. On the software side, they allow students and teachers to collaborate through Google Docs and Google Drive as well as communicate through Gmail. They have evolved into an excellent learning tool that gets students prepared for the future.
While many schools provide Chromebooks through Google's Chromebooks for Education program, they're also affordable enough that you can buy your own if you want or need to. Let's take a look at the best Chromebooks you can buy for anyone heading back to school in the fall.
For the younger crowd: Lenovo Flex 11Chromebook
The Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook is built tough, inexpensive and offers all the features you expect to see in a Chromebook. That makes it perfect for kids under 13, or any situation where there's a chance it will need to live through some abuse.
It's not flashy by any means; the stoic gray on gray color scheme and hard plastic shell can look a little drab next to thin aluminum models. But it makes up for it by being tough as nails. Lenovo says the Flex 11 is designed to survive a 2.4-foot drop and has a water-resistant keyboard pan. We put both claims to the test and the Flex 11 survived with flying colors.
While you're not dropping it or spilling water on it, the Flex 11 can also handle just about anything a student can throw at it when it comes down to getting some work (or play) done. The ARM processor lets you have multiple browser tabs open without any sluggishness and the 4GB or RAM lets you multitask with ease. While the keyboard is a little mushy, the excellent trackpad makes up for much of it. USB C charging and support for Android apps from Google Play round things out and make it a great Chromebook.
If you're looking for a tough and capable Chromebook for a young student this is the best buy in 2018, and it's currently down to $244.99.
For students on the go: ASUS Chromebook Flip C100
When it comes to thin, light and ultra-portable the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 is still the champion.
This aluminum 10-inch model checks in at under 2 pounds and is just 15.6 mm thick. That makes it almost unnoticeable in a bag or backpack. And with a price of about $200, your wallet won't be complaining either! But its small size doesn't mean it isn't a very capable device.
The keyboard is nice and solid, the trackpad might be a little cramped but is still very usable and the internal hardware can handle multiple apps and browser tabs with ease. Best of all it has great battery life and you can expect a full day of real use from the little Chromebook Flip. The 180-degree hinge lets you work or play in both laptop mode or tablet mode, which can be great when you're using Android apps from Google Play.
This convertible Chromebook has been around for a while, but constant updates and the robust hardware keeps it at the top of the list when it comes to a Chromebook built for carrying around.
Big screen on a budget: Acer Chromebook 14
When you see the Acer Chromebook 14 you'll notice two things right away: the great 1080p 14-inch screen and the beautiful aluminum build. And you'll be impressed at both when you realize that this is a Chromebook that costs around $250.
The Intel quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM means a student will have no problems doing schoolwork or researching anything, and when it's time to relax, you'll love watching movies or web surfing on the big, clear display. The full-size chassis also means a big, roomy keyboard and trackpad to help get the work done easier. Other features like 802.11 ac wireless and a wide angle HD webcam (that can even record and broadcast in HDR mode) make the Acer Chromebook 14 an awesome Chromebook
If you need something designed to work on the go or at a desk comfortably, the Acer Chromebook 14 is a great value.
The best Chromebook of 2018: Samsung Chromebook Plus
Samsung and Google have partnered together to build the best Chromebook of 2018 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 touch panel steals the show. It's beautiful to look at and supports a stylus, which makes it the first Chromebook with a pen. under the hood, there is plenty of power to run Chrome and Android apps, and you can do it all day without charging. To top it all off, the Chromebook Plus is incredibly well built with an aluminum chassis and full-size keyboard and trackpad.
If you're shopping for a student who needs the extra features a pressure-sensitive stylus brings or just want to make sure you get the best price-to-feature value in a Chromebook, the Samsung Chromebook Plus is the one to buy. Pricing starts around $419.
For advanced users: The ASUS Chromebook Flip 302 and Samsung Chromebook Pro
ASUS and Samsung both make Chromebooks that are completely over-the-top and designed for anyone who needs the very best when it comes to processing power.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip 302 ($469) features a 12.5-inch FHD display, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core M3 processor. The Samsung Chromebook Pro (around $580) features an amazing 2400x1600 display, an Intel Core M3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage plus the same pressure-sensitive stylus as the lower-priced Chromebook Plus.
This level of hardware makes for a wonderful Chromebook experience, but engineering students or CompSci majors who need to install an alternative operating system for work with DevOps or programming will absolutely love either model. Both are designed to be excellent high-end laptops, with the bonus of using Chrome OS to keep things simple and secure.
These are specialty devices built for anyone who needs a little more. We love them, but still think the Samsung Chromebook Plus is the better option for most people.
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