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Why a Chromebook?

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop that runs Chrome OS, an operating system that uses the Chrome web browser as its primary interface. Chromebooks are ideal for students and kids, but you should also consider one if you spend most of your computer time in a web browser, if you’re on a tight budget, or if you already have a decent desktop PC. A good Chromebook can do almost anything a regular laptop can do—as long as that task is possible in a web browser or in Android apps. And Chromebooks are cheap: A $400 Chromebook is faster, lighter, and sleeker, and blessed with better battery life, than a $500 Windows laptop. Chromebooks are also secure and easy to maintain.

But Chromebooks can’t run Photoshop, Windows-specific games, or many of the programs you might be used to having on your Mac or Windows computer. They don’t have much local storage, and they work best with a full-time internet connection—though there are offline options for Gmail, Google Drive, and other apps. If you use web-based email, if you can get by with Microsoft’s Office 365, Google’s office web apps, and Android app alternatives, and if you stream your music and movies over the internet, a Chromebook should do just about everything you need it to.

Most Chromebooks have 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage, but Google also provides 100 GB of free online Google One storage for one year. (Once your year is up, you’ll need to pay to keep that cloud storage. Right now, 100 GB costs $2 per month or $20 per year.) Most Chromebooks also include USB ports and a microSD card slot that you can use to expand the storage.

  • The Best Laptop Under $500

    The Best Laptop Under $500

    If you’re on a budget, these are the best cheap Windows laptops and Chromebooks we recommend after extensive research and hands-on testing.

Why you should trust us

Senior staff writer Kimber Streams has tested most of the Chromebooks released since 2014, when they began researching and testing Chromebooks for Wirecutter. They’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of laptops, including Chromebooks, cheap Windows laptops, gaming laptops, and fancy ultrabooks.

How we picked

A Chromebook doesn’t need to be exceptionally powerful or look fancy. But if slow performance, poor battery life, a horrendous screen, or a bad keyboard or trackpad gets in the way of your using the internet, the Chromebook has failed at its only job. Here’s what we looked for:

Performance: A decent processor and enough memory (RAM) together make the difference between a Chromebook that feels quick and responsive and one that suffers from slow load times and frustratingly laggy inputs.

Good-enough performance, for a Chromebook, requires 4 GB of RAM and at least a 10th- or 11th-generation Intel or 3000-series AMD Ryzen processor.1 People who work with lots of tabs, run multiple Android apps, or use Linux apps on their Chromebook should spend more for 8 GB of RAM and at least an Intel Core i3 processor. Some low-end processors are fast enough to get by in a budget Chromebook—we’ve found in our testing that processors with at least 4 threads can handle running Zoom video calls and other tasks simultaneously.

Avoid most Chromebooks that run on Intel's N-series Celeron or Pentium processors, on ARM-based processors from companies like MediaTek or Qualcomm, or on AMD's Athlon A4 and A6 processors; in our testing over the years, we’ve come away frustrated by their laggy, inconsistent performance. Also avoid any Chromebooks with less than 4 GB of memory, regardless of the processor they use.

Price: As of mid-2021, Chromebooks that meet our performance requirements typically cost at least $400, and you can get a great one for less than $500. Options with better performance tend to cost at least $600.

Keyboard and trackpad: A keyboard and trackpad should be good enough not to get in the way of your work. A backlit keyboard is a nice luxury, and most Chromebooks priced over $400 have them.

Battery life: A Chromebook should last for a full eight-hour day of classes or work so you don’t have to hunt for an outlet or be stuck with a dead laptop.

Size and weight: The lighter and more compact a laptop is, the easier it is to lug on a plane, to a coffee shop, or to class. And for Chromebooks with 360-degree convertible hinges, being lighter makes them easier to hold in tablet mode—less than 3 pounds is ideal.

Screen: We recommend a 1920×1080 resolution for a 13- to 15-inch screen—any higher isn’t worth the trade-off in battery life, and any lower looks noticeably worse. A 1366×768 resolution is acceptable on a smaller screen in a cheaper Chromebook.

Ports: We appreciate when a Chromebook includes both USB-C ports and traditional USB-A ports to connect older peripherals.

Touchscreen and 360-degree hinge: A touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge are nice perks since Chromebooks also run Android apps, and an included stylus is a bonus. Since those features add cost, we don’t require them for all of our picks.

Support: Google guarantees eight years of software updates—including new features and security fixes—for every new Chromebook released after 2020.2 We don’t recommend any Chromebooks with a support date that expires before 2025. You can check how long each Chromebook model has guaranteed support on Google’s support site or check on your Chromebook itself by following these steps. (This support is separate from a hardware warranty provided by the laptop’s manufacturer.)

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How we tested

We lived with each Chromebook for at least a full day of work to get a feel for the keyboard, trackpad, screen, and speakers, as well as for each laptop’s real-world performance. We checked Gmail and Google Calendar, ran Slack, streamed music, worked in large Google Drive spreadsheets and text documents, chatted on Zoom, and paid attention to input lag while typing in Google Docs. We also watched streaming video on Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube.

To quantify how fast a Chromebook felt to use, we gathered results from the JetStream 2 benchmarking tool to measure performance, combining those results with what we saw in our real-world testing. This step also highlighted the performance gap separating models with Intel and AMD’s typical laptop processors from those with low-budget Intel or AMD chips, as well as ARM-powered Chromebooks.

To test the battery life of each Chromebook, we used a customized version of the Chromium battery test designed to emulate normal browsing behavior. The first 60% of the test involves loading a new website every minute, scrolling down and back up the page. The next 20% of the test loads a Gmail tab with audio streaming in a background tab. For the next 10%, the Chromium test loads various Google Docs items; the final 10% of the test plays a full-screen YouTube video. We ran the test until each Chromebook died.

Our pick: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″)

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is fully displayed, sitting on a purple table.

Recommended configuration

Processor:Intel Core i3-10110UScreen:13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory:4 GBWeight:2.97 pounds
Storage:64 GB SSDTested battery life:10 hours

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″) is an exceptional Chromebook—it’s fast, it has an excellent keyboard and trackpad, it’s compact and light, and its 1080p touchscreen is bright and vivid. And somehow, it’s still comparatively inexpensive. The battery life is just long enough to last through a day of work or classes, but it can be a tight squeeze, and it’s the one area in which our other picks do better. Lenovo also has a slightly cheaper model with a Celeron 5205U processor and half the local storage, but most people are better off spending a little more for the performance and storage bump.

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is fully displayed, sitting open on a purple table.

The Flex 5’s backlit keys offer deeper travel than those of many laptops and feel comfortable to type on, and the keyboard overall is one of the best we’ve seen on a Chromebook in years. Many Chromebook keyboards are merely serviceable, and others feel stubborn, mushy, and unpleasant to type on. The Flex 5’s trackpad, like most Chromebook trackpads nowadays, is accurate and reliable.

The Flex 5 is much lighter and more compact than most Chromebooks in this price range. In fact, at around 3 pounds and 12.2 by 8.4 by 0.7 inches, it’s closer in weight and size to our upgrade pick, though the Flex 5 is a bit thicker.

The Flex 5 Chromebook, shown in tablet mode.

In our productivity and media testing, the 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touchscreen display looked good. Light colors in spreadsheets appeared distinct and weren’t washed out on the Flex 5’s screen. The reviewer for Android Police experienced significant light bleed at the edges of the screen on their review unit, but we didn’t have the same problem; blacks looked dark in movies and TV shows in our testing. (If you do encounter this problem, we recommend returning or exchanging your Chromebook.) The Flex 5 has a 360-degree hinge, but it’s too bulky to hold comfortably in tablet mode, even though it’s smaller and lighter than most Chromebooks.

The side ports of the Chromebook Flex 5.

On the right side, the Flex 5 has a power button, a volume rocker, and a USB-C port, plus a lock slot. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The left side ports on the Chromebook Flex 5.

On the left, you’ll find another USB-C port, a USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The Flex 5 has a mix of new and old USB ports, so it should accommodate most of the accessories and cables you already have. That mix includes two USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port, an audio jack, and a microSD slot for additional storage. The Flex 5’s webcam is about as good as most laptop webcams, and the Flex 5 has a handy hardware privacy shutter that you can slide across the webcam when you’re not using it to ensure no one can see you. The Flex 5 also supports the latest Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and 100 GB of Google One storage for one year, and it has update support through June 2028.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Chromebook modelTested battery life
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″)9:52
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-1H-R4HQ)11:03
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (i3 model)11:08
Asus Chromebook Flip C53611:38
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W-5874)14:17
Google Pixelbook Go15:11

Our battery life test mimics ordinary browsing behavior by scrolling through websites, Gmail, audio streaming, Google Docs, and YouTube videos. We run the test until each Chromebook dies.

In our web-browsing battery test, the Flex 5 lasted 10 hours, about two to three hours short of most Chromebooks we tested in 2020 and 2021. That’s still enough battery for the Flex 5 to last through a full day of work or classes, but that’s pushing it, especially if you crank up the screen brightness. We’d prefer a couple more hours of battery life, but the Flex 5 excels in so many other ways that it’s worth this small trade-off.

The lid can be a little tricky; I found myself frequently needing two hands to open the Flex 5. We wish it had a lip, as on some of Lenovo’s Yoga models, to provide a bit of purchase and make the laptop easier to open. Otherwise, the Flex 5 offers excellent build quality.

The charger that came with our review unit emitted an annoying coil whine when it was plugged in and charging the Flex 5. The problem is not a dealbreaker, and we haven’t seen enough reviews out there yet to know if this is a widespread issue or just a case of our getting a lemon, but it is irritating.

Upgrade pick: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

The best upgrade Chromebook, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, shown in red.

Recommended configuration

Processor:Intel Core i3-10110UScreen:13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory:8 GBWeight:2.71 pounds
Storage:128 GB eMMCTested battery life:11 hours

As someone who tests laptops for a living, I’d get the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 with the Core i3 processor, and if you’re willing to pay more for a smaller, lighter, and faster Chromebook with longer battery life, you should too. Most people don’t need to spend more over the Flex 5, but if you frequently have dozens of tabs open, run multiple Android apps, or use Linux, the extra memory is worth paying extra for. Unlike our other picks, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 lacks USB-A ports for connecting older peripherals; you’ll need a dongle or dock to attach those. (We don’t recommend the Celeron model, it’s too slow for its price.)

The shallow keyboard of the Galaxy Chromebook 2.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2’s backlit keyboard is shallow, but it’s still satisfying to type on. And while some laptop keyboards emit a clacking noise as you type, the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s keyboard is quiet, which makes it ideal for a shared workspace. The trackpad is smooth and accurate, and though it’s a bit smaller than the Flex 5’s trackpad, we didn’t run into any issues with its size.

In our mid-2021 battery life tests, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 had solid battery life—the Core i3 model we recommend lasted 11 hours 8 minutes in our tests. We expect it will last a full day of work or school without needing to be plugged in. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is just a bit smaller all around than the Flex 5, and it weighs just 2.71 pounds. It’s not quite the lightest and most compact Chromebook we’ve tested—that honor goes to our previous upgrade pick, the Google Pixelbook Go. But the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is light enough to use comfortably in tablet mode, unlike any of our other picks.

The Galaxy Chromebook 1, shown in tablet mode, open to its home screen.

The 13.3-inch display looks crisp and vibrant, and because it gets a bit brighter than the Flex 5’s screen on the highest settings, it’s better suited for working outdoors in sunlight. The Galaxy Chromebook 2’s touchscreen offers the same 1920×1080 resolution as on most of our picks, plus it has a 360-degree hinge for tent and tablet modes, unlike the Pixelbook Go, which only works as a regular ol’ clamshell laptop.

The USB-C port on the side of the Galaxy Chromebook 2.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 doesn’t have any USB-A ports. The right side has one USB-C port. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The USB-C port, headphone jack, and microSD card slot on the side of the Galaxy Chromebook 2.

The left side has another USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 has two USB-C ports that carry data at 5 Gbps, power, and display, as well as one 3.5 mm audio jack and a microSD slot. It doesn’t have any USB-A ports for connecting older peripherals; if you want to do that, you need to attach a dongle or dock. The Galaxy Chromebook 2’s webcam looks a bit better than the Flex 5’s, but it’s still not as sharp as the Pixelbook Go’s excellent 1080p webcam. Like our top picks, it supports Wi-Fi 6 and it has guaranteed update support through June 2028, a one-year warranty, and 100 GB of Google One storage for one year.

Other good Chromebooks

The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-1H-R4HQ) is an all-around solid Chromebook, with a comfortable keyboard, responsive trackpad, and 11 hours of battery life. But it’s larger and heavier than our top picks, it typically costs a bit more, and its processor has lower performance when the laptop is unplugged. It’s still fast enough for typical computer tasks, but we recommend our top picks over this option if they’re available.

Google’s Pixelbook Go was our previous upgrade pick because it’s compact and light, and has top-of-the-line build quality and long battery life. We still love this model—and it has a better webcam than the Galaxy Chromebook 2—but its support runs out in June 2026, two years sooner than Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 and the other premium Chromebooks in this section. At the time of this writing, that’s about five years of security updates, but by the time you read this it’ll be even less. Five years is the minimum lifespan we expect from a laptop, and we can’t recommend a high-end Chromebook with a shorter lifespan unless you feel comfortable installing CloudReady or you’re sure you’ll upgrade sooner.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W-5874) is an excellent Chromebook, with long battery life, a reliable keyboard and trackpad, and a vivid display. Compared with the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 and Pixelbook Go, the Spin 713 has a taller screen, more ports, and a 360-degree hinge. But it’s noticeably heavier and bulkier, and the other premium options have better build quality. If you find the Spin 713 on sale—or you don’t mind the extra weight—the Spin 713 is worth buying.

The Acer Chromebook 712 (C871-C85K) could be a good option for young kids, if you can find it in stock, thanks to its durable body and spill-resistant keyboard. But it’s a bit slower than our top picks—it can handle remote schoolwork or a video chat, but can’t do both at the same time gracefully. It also suffers from a terrible, low-resolution, non-touch screen, and its keyboard is mediocre.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 512 (R853TA-C7KT) and Chromebook Spin 511 (R753T-C59J) are both very similar to the 712, but with faster processors that will feel better for school work and video calls. Both have durable bodies, spill-resistant keyboards, and small, low-resolution displays. At their current prices of $480 and $450, respectively, we wouldn’t recommend them over our top picks. But they’re both good options if you can find one at or below $350, or if you value that spill-resistant keyboard above faster performance and a larger, better-quality screen.

What to look forward to

In June, Lenovo announced two new Chromebook models, the IdeaPad 5i-14 Chromebook and the IdeaPad Flex 5i-13 Chromebook. Both models start at $440 and we plan to test them against our top picks as soon as possible.

Acer also announced an updated version of the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 that we plan to test soon, and a new Chromebook 514 that will be available in October.

The competition

The HP Chromebook x360 14c (ca0065nr) was previously a runner-up pick because of its great keyboard and trackpad, fast performance, and vivid 14-inch touchscreen, but it’s been discontinued. We also recommended the more powerful and more expensive 14c-ca0053dx if you could snag it during a great sale, but it’s difficult to find in stock.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 with a Celeron 5205U is too slow for its $550 full price, or even its $450 sale price. Our top picks have better performance for a similar price, and our budget pick with the same processor costs around $300.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513’s ARM-based processor struggled to run a Zoom call and work on a spreadsheet at the same time. Its screen also had a blue cast and looked washed out.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C433TA is a great Chromebook with one extremely frustrating flaw: The lid is held shut by surprisingly aggressive magnets. Even with two hands, I found it a struggle to open the lid every single time, and when I asked others to use the laptop, I overheard some choice words from them (I used plenty of my own each time I tried to pry it apart). The reviewer for Chrome Unboxed encountered the same issue, calling this Chromebook “by far the most difficult laptop I’ve ever tried to open”; we also tried a floor model at Best Buy, and it had the same problem. Its support runs out in June 2026, so we don’t recommend it over newer models with years more support.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 was a former pick because of its solid performance, reliable trackpad and backlit keyboard, excellent battery life, and spacious 14-inch screen with tiny borders. But we no longer recommend the C434 because we’ve seen a higher-than-typical number of owner reports of hardware issues, including reports of unresponsive touchscreens, displays that won't turn on, defective keyboards and trackpads, and Bluetooth problems. We’ve also encountered display glitches on our own review unit. Its support also runs out in June 2026.

Upgrade options

Lenovo’s ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook (13″) is a great Chromebook, but costs around $650 for a fast-enough processor and is heavier and bulkier than our similarly-priced upgrade pick. (We don’t recommend the model with an AMD Athlon processor, it’s too slow.)

The HP Pro c640 Chromebook costs about as much as the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 with similar specs, but it’s heavier, it had shorter battery life, and its white-backlit silver keys are difficult to read.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 is a good Chromebook, but it’s way too expensive. Our upgrade pick is cheaper, lighter, thinner, and blessed with longer battery life and a better keyboard.

The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise is not a Chromebook for most people. This business-focused Chromebook has a powerful Core i5-8365U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage, as well as a ton of ports. But it’s bulky, it weighs 3.24 pounds, and it typically costs around $900.

Budget options

At around $500, the Acer Chromebook Spin 512 is too expensive for a Chromebook that has a 12-inch, 1366×768 resolution display and weighs 3.4 pounds.

Several different versions of the HP Chromebook x360 14b are available from various retailers. All of these models are similar to the x360 14—a now-discontinued model that we previously recommended—but Chrome Unboxed notes that they “sport lesser processors, not-so-premium displays and more budget-y build quality.” We couldn’t find any models with 1080p screens and fast-enough processors.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an inexpensive Chrome OS tablet that comes with a keyboard and kickstand cover. But I found the cramped keyboard impossible to adjust to—even as someone who adjusts to weird keyboards for a living—and the processor a bit slow for everyday work. The Duet also lacks a headphone jack. Most people should spend a little more for the Flex 5, unless you just really want a Chrome OS tablet.

The Rockchip RK3399 processor in the Asus Chromebook Flip C101 is too slow for everyday use, and the C101 is too small to comfortably type on.

What we didn’t consider

So far, Chromebooks with Intel’s N-series Pentium or Celeron processors feel too slow even in light use—we experienced delays with just a handful of tabs open. For the same reason, we don’t recommend any ARM-based processors like those from MediaTek, Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, or Rockchip for the same reason. And we don’t consider any model with less than 4 GB of RAM.


  1. Nathan Ingraham, Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook review: The best budget-friendly Chromebook, Engadget, June 25, 2020

  2. Kimberly Gedeon, Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook review, LaptopMag, June 19, 2020

  3. Robby Payne, Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: the new measuring stick, Chrome Unboxed, June 9, 2020

  4. Corbin Davenport, Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 review: So close to the perfect 13-inch Chromebook, Android Police, June 7, 2020

  5. Power testing, Git repositories on Chromium

  6. Auto Update policy, Google Chrome Enterprise Help (Google Support)

  7. Chromebook security, Chromebook Help (Google Support)

  8. Use your Chromebook offline, Chromebook Help (Google Support)

About your guide

Kimber Streams

Kimber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wirecutter since 2014. In that time they’ve tested hundreds of laptops and thousands of peripherals, and built way too many mechanical keyboards for their personal collection.

Further reading

  • The Best Laptops

    The Best Laptops

    by Kimber Streams and Andrew Cunningham

    From budget-friendly options to thin-and-light ultrabooks to powerful gaming laptops, we’ve spent hundreds of hours finding the best laptops for most people.

  • The Best USB-C Laptop and Tablet Chargers
  • The Best Laptops for College Students

    The Best Laptops for College Students

    by Kimber Streams and Andrew Cunningham

    Of all the laptops we recommend, these offer the best balance of performance and a low price—and that makes them our favorite laptops for college students.

  • The Best Laptop Stands

    The Best Laptop Stands

    by Melanie Pinola, Kimber Streams, and Justin Krajeski

    The Rain Design iLevel 2 is our favorite laptop stand because it’s easy to adjust and can raise your screen to proper ergonomic height.


The best cheap Chromebook prices and deals in October 2021

Cheap Chromebook deals can save you even more cash on already-affordable machines. Often that means you'll be able to pick up a budget device for under $200 / £200, though sales can offer bigger discounts on more mid-range models. At these prices, though, it's easy to get tripped up with a super-cheap machine that, in reality, doesn't offer great value for money. 

That's where we come in. We're rounding up all the best cheap Chromebook deals right here and also showing you which ones are worth their salt. We're running through all their key specs, how you should expect to use these machines, and who should take advantage of the great Chromebook prices on offer. 

We're also bringing you the lowest prices from all around the web, which means you can easily pick up the best Chromebook deal around without having to crawl through every retailer site. That should make things especially easy once the deluge of tech deals arrives for Black Friday 2021.

So, whether you're looking for an everyday machine for browsing the web (in which case aim to spend between $200 and $350), or something with more power for a streamlined, browser based approach to work (which might set you back $400 and up), we're showing you just which models fit the bill perfectly. We're also tracking all the best cheap laptop deals and sales right here on TechRadar if you do want to run Windows.

Plus, you may find additional savings up for grabs over the coming weeks in the best Black Friday Chromebook deals.

Today's best cheap Chromebook deals in the US

Lenovo 14-inch Chromebook: $159 at Walmart
Save $80
– The 32GB hard drive in this cheap Lenovo Chromebook means you'll be best utilising the extra storage from the cloud and microSD card slot for most of your files. The MediaTek processor is an unusual step away from mainstays Intel and AMD that you would see in more premium models. However, you do get 4GB RAM and up to 10 hours of battery life with this Chromebook making it great value for money for a basic machine.
View Deal

HP 14-inch Chromebook: $174.99 at Amazon
Save $135
– For slightly more than our cheapest pick you can bump up to a Intel Celeron N4000 processor that will be more capable of multitasking and more demanding jobs. Apart from that the spec is much the same with 4GB RAM and a 32GB eMMC hard drive, which is about what you expect for the price. There's also a healthy 13.5 hours battery life that makes it a great pick for students.
View Deal

HP x360 14-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook: $338 at Walmart
Save $41 -
While it's not as large a saving as other models listed this week, this $338 price tag on the HP x360 Chromebook is the best on the web right now. You're picking up an Intel Pentium N5000 processor with 128GB of storage here. That's plenty of power and space for a range of apps, and with a 2-in-1 convertible design you're getting excellent functionality for your cash as well.
View Deal

Samsung Galaxy 13.3-inch 2-in-1 4K Chromebook $699.99 at Amazon
Save $300
– If you'd prefer a more premium model that'll handle just about any work tasks with ease then you can't get much better than this Samsung Galaxy 4K Chromebook while it's been given its biggest discount yet at Amazon. It comes with a powerful Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage – all very top-end specs at this price point. Plus, the added 2-in-1 functionality is a nice touch to round out a lengthy feature list at a surprisingly low price while there's a $300 reduction.
View Deal

Today's best cheap Chromebook deals in the UK

Asus C223NA 11-inch Chromebook: £179 at Amazon
Save $50
– If small and mighty is what you're looking for in a Chromebook then this Asus C223NA packs decent performance into its tiny frame for very little money. We've seen it fall a little lower to the £150 mark in the last month but this is still a great price for a very basic Chromebook that includes an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB hard drive.
View Deal

Asus C523NA 15.6-inch Chromebook: £229 at Amazon
Save £70 -
If you're looking for a full-sized machine, this Asus C523NA is just scraping that £200 price bracket this week as well. You're getting an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. That's perfect for everyday use, but the larger display will also help you keep track of multiple windows on the same screen as well.
View Deal

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 13.3-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook + backpack and mouse: £429 at Currys
Save £119 -
Currys itself currently has the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook on the shelves for £519, which means this £429 on a backpack and mouse bundle is looking even better this week. There's a 10th generation i3 processor inside, with 4GB RAM and 128GB of SSD storage - excellent specs for a convertible Chromebook with fantastic functionality.
View Deal

The best Chromebook deals and sales

HP Chromebook 14

A perfectly balanced Chromebook - the top choice for most

CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 Series / AMD A4 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 14-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) BrightView | Storage: 16GB – 32GB eMMC

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Get stuff done with Google and the web

Chromebooks come with leading Google products built-in, like Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Hangouts, so you can work, play, and do whatever you want, right out of the box. And with thousands more apps from the Chrome Web Store, you can do everyday things and amazing things on a Chromebook.


Full-sized keyboard designed for Chrome

The keyboard is optimised for Chrome with a dedicated search key, a row of web-enabled keys, and a comfortable, full-size layout that doesn’t cramp your fingers, so you can get more done.

Oversized, multi-touch touchpad

You can enjoy better control using a large multi-touch touchpad. With an image sensor it provides a stylish and convenient way to use your Chromebook.

Simply more flexibility

The Chromebook has a range of ports, including HDMI and USB 3.0/2.0 ports, to enable greater flexibility for sharing data and multimedia playback. Its unique hinge design makes it easier to connect all of your peripherals.

Introducing the new Chromebook

Chromebooks are fast to use, and don’t slow down over time. They have built-in security, so you’re protected against viruses and malware. They come with apps for all your everyday needs, and keep your files safely backed up on the cloud. And with free, automatic updates, your Chromebook keeps getting better and better.

Feel lighter

The Samsung Chromebook is designed to be with you when you’re on the move, without slowing you down.

Portable and powerful

The Samsung CHROMEBOOK is the first ARM based Chromebook. Its Dual Core ARM processor cost-effectively delivers greater power efficiency for improved battery performance and exceptional performance in an ultra-slim package.

Collaborate on documents

Create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings with apps like Google Docs, Zoho and SlideRocket. With productivity apps, you can collaborate in real-time with others, access your documents from any computer, and have your files backed up automatically. Access other everyday files using the built-in PDF and document viewer.

Thousands of apps

You can explore thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store, including mail, news, calendar, maps, games and many other tools. Offline apps like Gmail keep you productive even when you’re not connected to the web.

More storage in the cloud



SKU: SAMCB303CCategories: Laptops, RefurbishedTags: REFURBISHED LAPTOP, SECOND HAND LAPTOP, Used Laptop

Top 5 Chromebooks to buy 2021 - Cheap \u0026 Best Laptops for Students 2021

Chromebooks are laptops and two-in-ones running on Google'sChrome operating system. The hardware might look like any other laptop, but the minimalistic, web-browser-based Chrome OS is a different experience from the Windows and MacOS laptops you're likely used to. Whether you're considering switching to one from a Windows laptop or MacBook, your kid received one from their school or you're simply Chrome OS curious, here's everything you need to know. 

Read more: Best laptop under $500 of 2021

When Chromebooks first arrived in 2011 they were routinely derided -- and rightfully so -- for their limited functionality and reliance on a consistent internet connection. The operating system turns 10 years old this year and today's Chromebooks are far from where they started, but some things haven't changed and you might not be willing to work with the limitations they do have. Also, if you don't feel like reading this and would just rather experience Chrome OS, here's how to temporarily run it on any laptop using an inexpensive USB flash drive you probably already have lying around. 

Now playing:Watch this: Here's why a Chromebook might be all the laptop you need


What can and can't I do with a Chromebook?

When Chrome OS launched it was essentially Google's Chrome web browser. For those used to an operating system like Windows and Mac, it made the average Chromebook seem like little more than a laptop that runs a web browser and that's all. 

Even if the Chrome OS never matured beyond that, the fact is quite a lot can be done entirely on the web these days. Take stock of everything you do on a daily basis and you may find there's nothing you can't accomplish with Chrome at its most basic level. 

That said, a Windows laptop or MacBook can run the Chrome browser as well as other software supported by those operating systems. Even if you don't immediately need a particular piece of software, it's nice to have the option. Plus, if you're shopping for a Chromebook for remote learning with Google Classroom, a Mac or Windows PC will work as well.


Along those lines, Chromebooks are not natively compatible with Windows or Mac software. You can use VMware on Chromebooks to run Windows applications and there's support for Linux software, too. Plus, current models can run Android apps and there are also web apps that are available through Google's Chrome Web Store. 

Read more:Best laptops, desktops and tablets for designers and creatives in 2021

One of the big hurdles here for many people is access to Microsoft Office. You can't install the full Office software on a Chromebook, but Microsoft makes both web-based and Android versions available in the Chrome and Google Play stores, respectively. But generally speaking, if you need or want a specific Windows or Mac application -- and there's no suitable web or Android app substitute and you don't want to use VMware -- don't get a Chromebook.

Also, if you need advanced photo- and video-editing capabilities, you'll want a Windows, Mac or Linux laptop. Basic photo and video editing is fine, but Chromebooks typically don't offer the graphics performance you need for demanding tasks or, again, the option to install Windows or Mac software and games. On the other hand, with streaming-game services like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming, Chromebooks can now be used for more than Android and browser-based games. You can also install and play Linux games, though you'll need a higher-end Chromebook to do it. Plus, there are also several Android apps available for photo and video editing, including Adobe options.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

What is a good Chromebook?

Several years ago, all Chromebooks were pretty much the same regardless of what company made them. Now, there's a far greater variety of laptops and two-in-ones -- convertibles and tablets -- to take advantage of Chrome OS's current capabilities. You'll still find more sizes and styles when it comes to Windows laptops, especially if you need top processing and graphics performance, but the variety of options is much better than in the past. 

If you're just after a good, basic experience with a Chromebook, the small, lightweight OS has minimal hardware requirements and the same goes for web apps. Having a faster, higher-end processor, more memory and greater storage for files and apps will help keep demanding multitaskers moving along, but otherwise here's what I recommend when I'm asked what basic specs to look for:

  • Intel Celeron or Core i-series, AMD Ryzen or MediaTek processors
  • 4GB of memory or more
  • 64GB of storage
  • Full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) display

There is flexibility with these recommendations. You can get a 1,366x768-resolution display, for example, but the cheap ones used in low-end Chromebooks look particularly soft next to full-HD models. And you can get by with 32GB of onboard storage as long as there's a microSD card slot to supplement it or you don't plan to download a lot of Android apps. Unlike a regular laptop, a Chromebook relies more on cloud storage for files rather than local storage. It's also worth noting that many times storage and memory are soldered on and can't be upgraded after the fact so you might want to plan ahead. 

Regardless of what Chromebook you buy, before you buy it you should find out the device's Auto Update Expiration date, or AUE. Currently, non-Google hardware is only supported for so long before it stops receiving Chrome OS and browser updates, including those for security. For models released in 2020, the date is roughly 7 to 8 years from the initial release of the device, but that's not always the case. Google maintains a list of AUE dates for all models and you should check it before you buy a Chromebook, new or used. 

Do Chromebooks need an internet connection?

When Chromebooks first launched they basically became paperweights when they were offline -- a real issue if you were in the middle of editing an important document you suddenly couldn't save because your web connection dropped. Things have thankfully gotten better as Google improved offline capabilities and common apps like Netflix, YouTube and Spotify have offline options as well. 

Read:The best VPNs for 2021

For a regular laptop, being offline is a little less of a problem since you're using installed software that saves to internal storage. While neither experience is great offline these days, Chromebooks are not a great choice if you're not willing and able to be online most of the time. On the upside, Google has made it very easy for Android users to turn their phones into instant mobile hotspots and to have Chromebooks and Android devices work better together. 

Are Chromebooks cheap?

Because of the low hardware requirements of Chrome OS, not only can Chromebooks be lighter and smaller than the average laptop, they're generally less expensive, too.

New Windows laptops for $200 are few and far between and, frankly, are rarely worth buying. Finding a good $200 Chromebook, on the other hand, is pretty easy to do (or at least it was prior to COVID). And while spending more will get you better build quality, more features or faster performance, even these premium Chromebooks typically start between $400 and $500, but can easily run more than over $1,000 depending on your needs. 

With Windows laptops, you typically need to spend $700 or more to get a thin, lightweight model with decent performance and battery life that will hold its performance for years to come. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

The simplicity of a Chromebook can't be beat. If everything you do can be done in a web browser or with web or Android apps, there's little reason not to go with a Chrome device. Although with Android, Linux, Parallels and VMware support, you can do much more today than when they first arrived in 2011. 

Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review.


Joshua Goldman/CNET

With a broad range of designs, sizes and styles that can be configured with all kinds of components and available with prices going from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, a Windows or Mac laptop offers greater variety in performance and use, especially if you want to easily use software or play games only available on those operating systems. 

Read our Asus ZenBook 13 review.

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