Chromebooks offer a simple, straightforward online-focused experience, which many people prefer to a traditional Windows laptop. If that’s exactly what you’re looking for, then you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve rounded up the very best Chromebooks in this guide.
Google’s very own Pixelbook is currently our pick of the bunch, but it’s also one of the most expensive Chrome OS laptops going. You can find much cheaper models from other manufacturers.
For instance, the Acer Chromebook 15 is less than half the cost, yet still sports a Full HD display as well as full touchscreen controls. And if this 15.6-inch beast is a bit bigger than you need, there’s a smaller Chromebook 14 also on offer.
Before you go throwing your cash around, though, don’t forget there’s more Chromebooks on the way. The Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1, for example, was announced at IFA 2018 and boasts a Full HD display and an 8th Generation i3 Intel Core CPU.
How we test Chromebooks
Our philosophy here at Trusted Reviews is that the only way to truly test something is to use it just like a consumer would. In other words, we use each Chromebook as our full-time laptop for a period of time to see how it handles real life.
We’ll carry the device around with us wherever we roam, and use it throughout our working day. That way we can see how portable each Chromebook is, how good the battery life is, whether the performance is up to snuff and whether there are any odd little quirks that you should know about.
In addition, we run a selection of standard tests to see how the device directly compares with its peers. For instance, we’ll run down the battery with a non-stop Netflix binge-fest to find out how many hours of video playback you can expect from a full charge.
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- Thin and light design
- Great performance
- Excellent battery life
- Chrome OS has come on leaps and bounds
- So-so speakers
- Web apps versus Android apps is confusing
- Stylus only works well with small selection of apps
Powered by Intel 7th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, the Pixelbook offers the best performance of any Chromebook on the market. Whether you’re editing photos or opening endless tabs in the Chrome browser, you’ll nary see a stutter. On top of that you also get incredible battery life, with close to ten hours of use between charges.
Factor in the impressively slim and light design, and you’ve got one seriously portable laptop and the best Chromebook that you can buy. The Pixelbook is super-slim and easy as pie to slip into a bag. Weighing in at 1.1kg, you’ll not even notice it when lugging it around all day
You can flip that crisp and bright screen all the way back, so you can stick the Pixelbook in ‘tent mode’ and enjoy a movie on the go. You can also get busy with the stylus in this mode, although you’ll need to pay extra for that accessory. Shucks.
Acer Chromebook R13
- Excellent, if a little dark, Full HD display
- Above your average Chromebook for performance
- Decent battery life
- A better value buy than most Chromebooks
- Unlit keyboard flexes in the middle and feels cheap
- Only really good for writing, email, Netflix, iPlayer
The Acer Chromebook R13 (CB5-312T) is one of the better value for money propositions going. At £400, it’s a little more expensive than your average Chromebook, but for the extra money you’re getting a much more reliable and solid experience.
Lighter than the Acer Chromebook 15 at 1.5kg, it’s ideal for students or anyone who needs something lightweight that’s geared towards writing on the go. The battery will easily see you through a day of work and you should have enough left in the tank at the end of the day before having to reach for your mains adapter.
The only downside is that the screen is not terribly bright and the keyboard isn’t lit, so this perhaps isn’t ideal for all working situations.
Acer Chromebook 15
- Crisp visuals
- Touchscreen controls
- Firm, well-sized keyboard
- Chrome OS is basic
- Large and heavy
- Battery life bettered by rivals
The Chromebook 15 is an absolute beast, towering over most other Chromebooks with its spacious 15.6-inch screen. It’s also considerably heavier, tipping the scales at almost 2kg. As a result, it’s probably best left at home rather than carried around all day.
Still, Acer’s laptop boasts a crisp Full HD screen, so it’s a great way to take in your favourite shows, especially with the powerful speakers that can be heard over all kinds of background noise. It’s a comfortable typing experience too, so good for anyone who needs to smash out endless essays or emails.
As a family device, the Chromebook 15 has plenty going for it. It’s a bit of a beast and the battery life is bettered by rivals, but Acer’s notebook does the basics well.
Acer Chromebook 14
- Great value
- Good build quality
- Long battery life
- 2GB of RAM is barely enough
- Ultra-cheap screen
- Full HD screen option is expensive
If you’re on a tight budget, the Chromebook 14 will certainly appeal. This laptop costs under £200, yet still offers a solid everyday experience – with a few limitations, of course.
The silver chassis is well constructed and certainly doesn’t feel cheap, so you can confidently throw it into a backpack and lug it around all day. Of course, the Chromebook 14 weighs 1.68kg, so you probably won’t want to drag it too far. And while the 14-inch display is fine for word processing and simple tasks, the lack of vibrancy and limited contrast means it’s not the best Chromebook for watching movies or editing photos.
Still, if you’re after an affordable Chromebook for basic tasks, Acer’s device ticks quite a few boxes. We’re particularly enamoured with the long battery life – this laptop happily lasts ten hours on a single charge, just like the much more expensive Pixelbook.
Acer Chromebook Spin 11
- Versatile design
- Decent battery life
- Impressive connectivity
- Comfortable keyboard
- Limited performance
- Chrome OS
- Poor-performing speakers
If you’re after something a bit more portable, try the Chromebook Spin 11. Although it’s quite chunky, this 11.6-inch laptop weighs just under 1.4kg and is compact enough to slip into most bags with ease.
Despite its dinky size, the Spin 11 sports a comfortable keyboard for typing all day long. And if so desired, you can push that display all the way back to form a makeshift tablet. The IPS panel is touch-sensitive, so you can poke and swipe and sketch to your heart’s content.
While the battery life isn’t quite as good as Acer’s Chromebook 14 or the Pixelbook, this laptop can still keep going for eight to nine hours on a single charge. Performance is quite basic however, so you’ll not want to keep too many apps open at the same time.
Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA
- All-day battery life
- Sturdy build
- Feels well built
- Good keyboard
- Ugly thick bezels
- Sluggish multi-tasking
- Unreliable touchscreen and touchpad
The Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA costs less than many of its rivals, and while it lacks the slender good looks of the Pixelbook, it’s sturdily built to withstand all sorts of punishment. Plus the sub-1kg weight means you’ll have no trouble lugging it to work and back every day.