Best Chromebooks 2018: the 8 top Chromebooks ranked

 techradar.com  2/14/2018 7:45:00 PM   Joe Osborne
Best Chromebooks

When Google originally launched the Chromebook specification way back in 2012, even we were skeptical. They were pretty, and they were inexpensive, but they were overpowered by all of their rivals at the time. Well we aren’t ashamed to admit that we completely misjudged the Chromebook. (Most of) the best Chromebooks have never and will never compete with Macs and the best Ultrabooks, but rather they were designed from the ground up to completely take over the entry-level and mid-range notebook market. And, well, they succeeded in a major way.

Though Microsoft attempted to counter the best Chromebook with its thin, light and education-centric Windows 10 S just last year, it’s become increasingly apparent that Google has surpassed and will continue to eclipse its closest rivals when it comes to putting out affordable and accessible laptop computers. Chromebooks don’t always come with the newest processors or cutting-edge graphics, but they do make the best of what they have to offer.

At the end of the day, you’ll be limited to what your web browser and Android apps can do, even with the best Chromebook. That being the case, you’ll want to turn your head elsewhere for gaming and rigorous media editing. However, if you spend much of your computer time in word processors, email clients and video streaming services, our list of the best Chromebooks around has you covered.

1. Google Pixelbook

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8 – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB

Sublime design

Awesome keyboard

Pen sold separately

Poor audio performance

Not long after declaring the Chromebook Pixel dead, Google has revived it in a way that frankly none of us were expecting leading into its reveal. Now, it’s called the Google Pixelbook, and it takes a sharp turn away from its spiritual predecessor. That’s mainly because we’re looking at a machine that can run Android apps natively in addition to bolstering Chrome OS. With ample storage space, nigh-perfect stylus integration and Google Assistant, the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook you can buy.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook

2. Asus Chromebook Flip

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode

Tactile keyboard

No out-of-box Android app support

Middling speakers

Before the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 came around, pickings were slim when it came to affordable Chromebooks sporting full-on Intel Core processors and full HD 1080p displays. Touchscreens, backlit keyboards and USB-C ports were also anomalies. Yet, with the Chromebook Flip, all of these facets were brought to life. If you want all the key features of the Pixelbook without spending a grand, this is a solid alternative. Despite its sound quality leaving something to be desired, the Asus Chromebook Flip is a flagship disguised by a tasty price.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip 

3. Samsung Chromebook Pro

CPU: 0.99Ghz Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Stunning, gorgeous design

Stylus support on Chrome OS

Cramped keyboard

Weak speakers

When Google revealed that Android apps would make their way to Chromebooks, it was only a matter of time before Samsung mastered its convergence of the two OSs. Toting a 12.3-inch QHD touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is widely acclaimed for its built-in stylus – the first of its kind to be featured in a Chromebook. Not only does it beat out a vast majority of laptops in its own category, but it’s better than most Android slates as well, our qualms with the speakers and keyboard aside.

Read the full review: Samsung Chromebook Pro

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip.

CPU: Intel Celeron N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1366 x 768) touchscreen | Storage: 16GB SSD

Rugged design

180-degree barrel hinge

Touchscreen not standard

Small keyboard

If the Samsung Chromebook Pro is all about versatility, the Dell Chromebook 11 is about value. Reinforced by a 180-degree hinge, sturdy design and a sealed keyboard and trackpad in addition to a punchy typing experience, this Chromebook is a perfectly portable package. Not only adequately suited for school and work, the Dell Chromebook 11 even packs a set of loud stereo speakers for listening to music or watching videos. Don’t worry about dinging it, either, as this device remains the most rugged Chromebook on our list.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11

5. Acer Chromebook 15

CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Unbelievable battery life

Attractive, fanless design

Trackpad feels clunky

Easy to weigh down with tabs

With the build quality of a MacBook, we can forgive the Acer Chromebook 15 for its aversion to 2-in-1 form factors. But, given that most Chromebooks coming out nowadays are fully convertible due to the wide implementation of Android app support, the Acer Chromebook 15 had to prove itself to us with more than a stellar design. So in addition to its ability to lay flat using a 180-degree hinge, this 15-inch beauty makes great strides with its battery life as well, having lasted nearly 17 hours in our own TechRadar battery life test.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Chromebook 14.

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 – N3150 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

Convertible

Good battery life

HD-only display

Terrible trackpad

Though we don’t doubt that it will soon be replaced judging by the recent announcement of the Chromebook Spin 11, the Acer Chromebook R11 still holds up to this day as a formidable option for those on the prowl for the best Chromebook around. It isn’t the most powerful machine on the planet, but at least it gives you access to the complete library of Google Play Android apps. Better yet, it does so on a touchscreen display that can be cycled back into tablet mode, complemented by an all-metal finish that you won’t be embarrassed by.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip 

CPU: Intel Celeron N2840 – N2940 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 14-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) BrightView | Storage: 16GB – 32GB eMMC

Excellent keyboard, trackpad

Crisp, vivid screen

Slower than some rivals

Average battery life

The HP Chromebook 14 is practically the posterchild for Chromebooks. Its rock-bottom starting price and zippy interpretation of Chrome OS only begin to exemplify its appeal. While Acer's Chromebook 15 serves up similar components, HPs' 14-incher is a bit more compact and better looking to boot. Embellished with a bright blue finish and a screen devised to surprise, this machine boasts the best value out of every Chromebook you could buy. Albeit average in both battery life and performance, the HP Chromebook 14 remains a sublime value nonetheless.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip 

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) – QHD (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Ultra-thin and sharp design

High-resolution display is a beauty

Lacks touchscreen

QHD+ display hikes price and lowers battery life

The HP Chromebook 13 goes above and beyond what any of us would expect from a Chromebook. You’re guaranteed at least a 1440p screen, two USB-C ports and, if you're willing to shell out just a bit more cash, you can also snatch yourself an Intel Core-M processor rather than a Pentium. All of this is complemented by incredible style and a metallic design that exudes Pixel influence. Given that Google discontinued its own Chromebook earlier in the year, the HP Chromebook 13 is one of the few remaining alternatives. 

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 13

Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop. 

Juan Martinez and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.

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