Chromebooks have some key advantages over other laptops, and there are some great options out there if you’re looking to treat someone to a ChromeOS device this holiday season. But there’s no need to spend tons time of time pouring over specs pages and feature lists to find the right model—we already did that for you.
What to Look for in a Chromebook
Chromebooks are a bit different from other laptops. They may not be able to run all the same software, but that means they have different requirements and advantages when it comes to stuff like specs. So let’s quickly go over some general stuff to look out for.
- Performance: ChromeOS is a relatively light operating system, as such, much lower-spec machines run fantastically compared to something like Windows. Still, that doesn’t mean CPU and RAM aren’t important factors when choosing the right Chromebook. Naturally, this depends on the price of the machine, so we made sure all the Chromebooks on this list deliver on performance worth their price tag.
- Display: Size, resolution, and touch/non-touch are all things to consider when shopping for a Chromebook. They’re pretty straightforward and mostly come down to how much you’re willing to spend and personal preference.
- Tablet Functionality: Over time, ChromeOS has slowly been working its way towards working as a tablet operating system, especially with the introduction of Android apps. Because of that, some Chromebooks feature removable keyboards, swivel screens, or are just straight-up tablets that include keyboard cases. Basically, you’ll need to figure out if the person you’re shopping for likes using tablets and whether or not it’s a feature worth chasing.
Best Overall: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
When it comes to balancing price, features, and performance the Spin 713 is the Chromebook to look towards. The 713 uses an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and features 128 GB of SSD storage. So already that’s good on the performance front, but then throw in a 13.3-inch 1440p touchscreen display, backlit keyboard, and a battery that lasts about 12 hours and you’re sitting pretty for a great all-around user experience. It even features a fully convertible design so you can make full use of the touchscreen in tablet mode.
Best Budget: Acer Chromebook 314
At under $300, the 314 delivers on the standard Chromebook experience. There aren’t any flashy features, just a solid ChromeOS device with decent specs powering it. The Intel Celeron processor and 4 GB of RAM are enough to keep ChromeOS running well and the 14″ non-touch 1080p display is going to be fine for most people. There’s nothing that remarkable about this Chromebook, but that should be expected for the price, and considering that, the 314 is a great all-around package—especially with that 12.5-hour battery life.
Acer Chromebook 314, Intel Celeron N4000, 14" Full HD Display, 4GB LPDDR4, 64GB eMMC, Gigabit WiFi, Google Chrome, CB314-1H-C884
A solid ChromeOS experience at a low price.
Best Tablet: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
If you liked the price of the 314 but are missing the tablet functionality, then Lenovo’s IdeaPad Duet will give you what you’re looking for. This laptop/tablet hybrid impressed us when we reviewed it for its great performance, exceptional battery life, and solid build quality.
The MediaTek processor under the hood keeps up with ChromeOS well with 4 GB of RAM supporting it. The easy-to-remove keyboard and trackpad case, while not mindblowing, feel nice to use and supports the 10-inch 1080p display well when in laptop mode with its kickstand. If you’re shopping for a person who wants to use a ChromeOS tablet, then you can’t go wrong with the IdeaPad Duet.
Most Powerful: Google Pixelbook Go
This is Google’s latest crack at making a Chromebook itself, and if you want to give a maximum power Chromebook to somebody, it’s the best way to go. The Go has a few options when it comes to specs, with the highest config including an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM—which is top-of-the-line when it comes to Chromebooks. If you don’t want to go that high, the middle-of-the-road Core i5 model will be enough to blow most other Chromebooks out of the water. There’s also the lower-spec Intel Core M3 processor config if you don’t want to shell out the funds for the higher-spec options but still want something straight from Google.
Regardless of what model you get, you’ll still be receiving a 13.3-inch touchscreen display (resolution varies between 1080p and 4K depending on specs), around 12 hours of battery life, and a sleek chassis. The storage varies per config, ranging from 64 GB all the way up to 256 GB.
Google Pixelbook Go - Lightweight Chromebook Laptop - Up to 12 Hours Battery Life - Touch Screen Chromebook - Just Black
The most powerful Chromebook on this list at its highest-spec config.