The perfect Chromebooks you should buy in 2023

Selecting one of the best Chromebook for you, given your wants and your finances, will be arduous to do given the plethora of fashions in the marketplace at present. The mixture of years value of software program updates and laptop computer producers making extra highly effective and better-built laptops means there are a ton of fine Chrome OS machines that work effectively as on a regular basis drivers. However there are some particular components to Chromebooks that it is best to consider earlier than selecting one. We’ll assist you determine what’s the greatest Chromebook for you, from the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i to the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 and in between.

What’s Chrome OS, and why would I exploit it over Home windows?

That’s in all probability the primary query about Chromebooks. There are many cheap Home windows laptops in the marketplace, so why trouble with Chrome OS? Glad you requested. For me, the straightforward and clear nature of Chrome OS is a giant promoting level. Chrome OS relies on Google’s Chrome browser, which implies many of the packages you possibly can run are net based mostly. There’s no bloatware or undesirable apps to uninstall such as you usually get on Home windows laptops, it boots up in seconds, and you may fully reset to manufacturing unit settings nearly as rapidly.

In fact, the simplicity can be a serious disadvantage for some customers. Not with the ability to set up native software program could be a dealbreaker in case you’re a video editor or software program developer. However there are additionally loads of individuals who do the vast majority of their work in a browser. Until I must edit images for a assessment, I can do my complete job on a Chromebook.

Google has additionally added help for Android apps on Chromebooks, which enormously expands the quantity of software program obtainable. The standard varies extensively, nevertheless it means you are able to do extra with a Chromebook past simply web-based apps. For instance, you possibly can set up the Netflix app and save movies for offline watching. Different Android apps like Microsoft Workplace and Adobe Lightroom are surprisingly succesful, as effectively. Between Android apps and a normal enchancment in net apps, Chromebooks are greater than only a browser.

What do Chromebooks do effectively?

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Put merely, something net based mostly. Searching, streaming music and video and utilizing varied social media websites are among the many most typical every day duties folks do on Chromebooks. As you would possibly anticipate, in addition they work effectively with Google providers like Pictures, Docs, Gmail, Drive, Maintain and so forth. Sure, any pc that may run Chrome can do this too, however the light-weight nature of Google Chrome OS makes it a responsive and secure platform.

As I discussed earlier than, Chrome OS can run Android apps, so in case you’re an Android consumer you’ll discover some good ties between the platforms. You may get many of the similar apps which are in your telephone on a Chromebook and preserve data in sync between them. It’s also possible to use some Android telephones as a safety key on your Chromebook or immediately tether your laptop computer to make use of cell knowledge.

Google continues to tout safety as a serious differentiator for Chromebooks, and I feel it’s positively an element value contemplating. The primary line of protection is auto-updates. Chrome OS updates obtain rapidly within the background and a quick reboot is all it takes to put in the most recent model. Google says that every webpage and app on a Chromebook runs in its personal sandbox, as effectively, so any safety threats are contained to that particular person app. Lastly, Chrome OS has a self-check referred to as Verified Boot that runs each time a tool begins up. Past all this, the straightforward reality that you just typically can’t set up conventional apps on a Chromebook means there are lots fewer methods for unhealthy actors to entry the system.

As for when to keep away from them, the reply is straightforward: If you happen to rely closely on a particular native software for Home windows or a Mac, likelihood is you received’t discover the very same choice on a Chromebook. That’s most true in fields like photograph and video enhancing, nevertheless it may also be the case in legislation or finance. Loads of companies run on Google’s G suite software program, however extra nonetheless have particular necessities {that a} Chromebook won’t match. If you happen to’re an iPhone consumer, you’ll additionally miss out on the best way the iPhone simply integrates with an iPad or Mac. For me, the massive draw back just isn’t with the ability to entry iMessage on a Chromebook.

Lastly, gaming is usually a non-starter, as there are not any native Chrome OS video games of be aware. You’ll be able to set up Android video games from the Google Play Retailer, however that’s not what most individuals are considering of once they need to sport on a laptop computer. That stated, Google’s game-streaming service Stadia has modified that long-standing drawback. The service isn’t excellent, nevertheless it stays the one solution to play current, high-profile video games on a Chromebook. It’s inferior to working native video games on a Home windows pc, however the lag points that may crop up replicate totally on Stadia itself and never Chrome OS.

There’s additionally a possible change on the horizon in that regard, as Valve and Google are working to carry the large Steam catalog to Chromebooks. Proper now, Steam is simply obtainable as an early alpha on a handful of units with increased specs, nevertheless it works lots higher than I anticipated. In fact, you’re nonetheless not going to run probably the most demanding video games on fundamental laptops, however the Steam catalog is so huge that there are many titles that labored on the Chromebook I examined it with. Possibly by subsequent yr, Steam will likely be supported on extra units.

What are a very powerful specs for a Chromebook?

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Chrome OS is light-weight and normally runs effectively on pretty modest {hardware}, so a very powerful factor to search for won’t be processor energy or space for storing. That stated, I’d nonetheless advocate you get a Chromebook with a comparatively current Intel processor, ideally an eighth-generation or newer M3 or i3. Most non-Intel Chromebooks I’ve tried haven’t had terribly sturdy efficiency, however that’s beginning to change. Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 from 2021 runs surprisingly effectively on its MediaTek processor.

As for RAM, 8GB needs to be the goal, except you’re on the lookout for a finances mannequin and know that your wants are pretty modest. Space for storing is one other place the place you don’t must spend too a lot; 64GB needs to be advantageous for nearly anybody. If you happen to plan on storing a variety of recordsdata regionally or loading up your Chromebook with Linux or Android apps, get 128GB. However for what it’s value, I’ve by no means felt like I’d run out of storage when utilizing Chrome OS.

Issues just like the keyboard and show high quality are arguably extra essential than sheer specs. The excellent news is that you will discover cheaper Chromebooks that also have fairly good screens and keyboards that you just received’t thoughts typing on all day. Many low cost Chromebooks nonetheless include tiny, low-resolution shows, however at this level there’s no cause to accept something lower than 1080p. (If you happen to’re on the lookout for an especially transportable, 11-inch Chromebook, although, you’ll in all probability find yourself with a lesser display.) Clearly, keyboard high quality is a little more subjective, however there are many reasonably priced choices that supply sturdy typing experiences.

Google has an Auto Replace coverage for Chromebooks, and whereas that’s not a spec, per se, it’s value checking before you purchase. Principally, Chromebooks get common software program updates routinely for about six years from their launch date (although that may fluctuate from machine to machine). This support page lists the Auto Replace expiration date for nearly each Chromebook ever, however rule of thumb is to purchase the most recent machine you possibly can to maximise your help.

How a lot ought to I spend?

Chromebooks began out notoriously low cost, with listing costs usually coming in underneath $300. However as they’ve gone extra mainstream, they’ve transitioned from being basically trendy netbooks to the sort of laptop computer you’ll need to use all day. As such, costs have elevated a bit over the previous few years. At this level, it is best to anticipate to spend no less than $400 if you need a stable every day driver. There are nonetheless many finances choices on the market which may be appropriate as sofa machines or secondary units, however Chromebooks that may be an all-day, every-day laptop computer will price a bit extra.

There are additionally loads of premium Chromebooks that strategy and even exceed $1,000, however I don’t advocate spending that a lot. Usually, that’ll get you a greater design with extra premium supplies, in addition to extra highly effective internals and additional space for storing. In fact, you additionally typically pay for the model identify. However, the specs I outlined earlier are normally sufficient.

Proper now, there truly aren’t too many Chromebooks that price that a lot. The Google Pixelbook Go is available in $999 and $1,399 configurations, however the extra reasonably priced $650 and $850 choices will likely be simply pretty much as good for practically everybody. Samsung launched the $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook in 2020; this luxurious machine does nearly all the things proper however has horrible battery life. Samsung rapidly realized from that mistake and is now providing the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with extra modest specs, however vastly higher battery life at a extra reasonably priced value . For probably the most half, you don’t must spend greater than $850 to get a premium Chromebook that’ll final you years.

See Additionally:

Finest total: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Finest total
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Picture by Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

The Ideapad Flex 5i hits the candy spot for a big majority of Chromebook patrons on the market, offering a degree of high quality and efficiency that’s fairly uncommon to search out at this value level.

Lenovo has been making a few of the greatest Chromebooks you should buy for a number of years now and, extra lately, it has as soon as once more made the most suitable choice for most individuals. The IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook is actually an upgraded model of the mannequin we beneficial final yr, and there are a couple of notable enhancements. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touchscreen is extraordinarily vivid and pretty sharp; I want it had a taller side ratio than 16:9, however this sort of display could be very commonplace in Chromebooks. This Lenovo Chromebook runs on a Eleventh-generation Intel Core i3 processor and contains 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; each of these are double what final yr’s mannequin provided. Eight hours of battery life is fairly good for a laptop computer on this value vary, and the backlit keyboard is superb for such an reasonably priced machine. The important thing caps really feel a little bit small underneath my fingers, however that’s the one actual criticism I’ve.

The Lenovo Flex 5i is now not obtainable instantly from Lenovo, however you possibly can generally discover it on Amazon for about $400 (as of this writing, it’s promoting for $409; once I purchased it, it was priced at $390). That’s an excellent worth.

Different issues within the Flex 5i’s favor embody that it has each USB-C and USB-A ports, a microSD card slot and a safety lock. At three kilos and 0.66 inches thick, it’s not the lightest or slimmest choice on the market, nevertheless it’s completely cheap contemplating the value. Lastly, the Flex 5i will obtain software program and safety updates till June of 2029, so you should buy this pc and have it lined for years to return.

In the end, the Ideapad Flex 5i hits the candy spot for a big majority of Chromebook patrons on the market, offering a degree of high quality and efficiency that’s fairly uncommon to search out at this value level. That stated, given this laptop computer has been out for over a yr now, we’re conserving an eye fixed out for a substitute from Lenovo, in addition to comparable choices different producers launch.

One to look out for is Lenovo’s Chromebook 5i, which the corporate lately launched. Proper now, it’s solely obtainable with an Intel Pentium Gold processor and 4GB of RAM; in my testing, that wasn’t sufficient energy by trendy requirements. The machine froze up far too usually, and the IdeaPad Flex 5i with its i3 processor was clearly quicker at all the things I attempted. However Lenovo says it’ll provide the Chromebook 5i with as much as an Intel i5 processor, which ought to make the laptop computer value testing.

Improve choice: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Improve choice
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Picture by Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung’s newest Galaxy Chromebook is probably not as bold as as the primary mannequin, however its variations make it a lot simpler to advocate.

Final yr, Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 was certainly one of my suggestions for folks on the lookout for a extra premium Chromebook. Now that Samsung usually sells the machine for $550, it’s a wonderful all-purpose advice if you need one thing extra svelte and classy than Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is infinitely extra fashionable than most different Chromebooks, with a vivid metallic purple end and modern design. This Samsung Chromebook 2 fixes a few of the critical flaws we recognized within the authentic Galaxy Chromebook. Particularly, the 2020 Galaxy Chromebook had horrible battery life and value $999; this yr’s mannequin will be discovered for $550 and may final seven hours off the charger. That’s not nice, nevertheless it’s much better than the awful 4 hours the unique provided.

Samsung reduce a couple of corners to decrease the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s value. Most noticeable is the 1080p 13.3-inch touchscreen, down from the 4K panel on the older mannequin. The excellent news is that the show is among the many greatest 1080p laptop computer screens I’ve seen in a very long time, and the decrease decision helps the battery life, too. Together with that wonderful display, the machine additionally has a really comfy keyboard, although I want the trackpad was a little bit larger. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 can be a bit thicker and heavier than its predecessor, nevertheless it’s nonetheless moderately compact. At 13.9mm thick and a pair of.7 kilos, it’s noticeably smaller than the Lenovo.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a Tenth-generation Intel Core i3 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is loads. This all provides as much as a laptop computer that isn’t as bold as the primary Galaxy Chromebook, however one that’s a lot simpler to advocate. As a substitute of pushing to have one of the best display within the thinnest and lightest physique with a quicker processor, Samsung pulled all the things again a bit to make a better-priced however nonetheless premium Chromebook laptop computer. On condition that the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is effectively over a yr previous now, I wouldn’t advocate spending $700 on it – however in case you can catch it on sale for $550 (as it’s proper now), it’s a stable choice.

Read our Full Review of Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Premium choice: Acer Chromebook Spin 714

Premium choice
Acer Chromebook 714


Acer Chromebook 714

Acer’s Spin 714 is overkill for many, however in case you’re a critical multitasker, need a greater show and keyboard, or simply need a pc that’ll final so long as potential, it is simple to advocate.

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 714 is an evolution of the Spin 713 that I beneficial final yr. Acer made a couple of tweaks to the method, however you’re nonetheless getting a well-built, highly effective laptop computer that received’t flip any heads with its design however will get the job executed effectively.

I cherished the show on the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and sadly the one on the Spin 714 isn’t fairly as thrilling. It’s a 14-inch, 1900×1200 touchscreen; that works out to a taller 16:10 side ratio than you’ll get from the 1080p panels on most different premium Chromebooks. I’m a giant fan of taller laptop computer screens – however the Spin 713 had a 13.5-inch display that had a fair taller 3:2 side ratio and a better decision. I can’t assist however surprise if Acer discovered that individuals nonetheless desire a widescreen show. If that’s the case, the Spin 714’s show is a pleasant center floor.

Placing apart these comparisons to final yr’s mannequin, the Acer Spin 714’s display remains to be very good – it might probably get uncomfortably vivid if that’s your factor, and the bezels are skinny. It’s not practically as pixel-dense because the Spin 713, nevertheless it’s nonetheless loads sharp. Between the additional vertical top and the marginally bigger display measurement, the Spin 714’s show is a pleasure to make use of.

As for the remainder of the {hardware}, the Twelfth-generation Intel Core i5 processor is greater than sufficient energy for many on a regular basis duties, and the keyboard and trackpad are stable, if not one of the best I’ve used earlier than. The identical will be stated for battery life: I acquired about seven hours utilizing the Spin 714 in my regular every day routine – not distinctive, however in keeping with what I’ve seen on different Chromebooks with an i5 processor. Rounding out the {hardware} is 8GB of RAM and a beneficiant 256GB of space for storing. From a help perspective, Google will provide software program and safety updates till June of 2030.

One other bonus is that its {hardware} meets Google’s beneficial specs to run Steam, although the alpha construct remains to be restricted to seven units. So whereas it’s not formally supported but, Steam will hopefully work on this laptop computer as soon as Google and Valve begin rolling it out extra extensively.

Simply because the identify suggests, the Spin 714 has a 360-degree hinge which helps you to use the laptop computer in pill mode. I’m not significantly a fan of this convertible design – I don’t know who needs to make use of a 3-plus pound pill, however Acer did embody a built-in stylus for handwriting notes or drawing in apps just like the built-in Chrome Canvas.

The Spin 714 configuration I examined prices $730 – that’s some huge cash for even a high-end Chromebook. But it surely’s not an unreasonable value for a pc with these specs and constructed high quality. For most individuals, the Lenovo will likely be sufficient. However, in case you’re a critical multitasker, need a greater show and keyboard, or simply need a pc that’ll final so long as potential, the Acer Spin 714 is straightforward to advocate.

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