10 best Chromebooks 2016: top Chromebooks reviewed

Best Chromebooks

Update: We’ve added the new-and-improved Toshiba Chromebook 2 to our rankings. Read on to see where it ended up on the list.

Original article follows…

Chromebooks are affordable laptops that are both odd and brilliant, low-impact and capable.

Running Google’s Chrome OS operating system rather than, say, Windows 10, they focus on what computing has focused on since the late ’90s, the web browser.

Mostly with low-power processors and barely HD screens starting at 1,366 x 768 pixel count, most of these machines are also designed to endure. Almost every Chromebook claims between 7 and 9 hours of battery life and comes within a few hours of that figure, based on our testing. If you’re not sure of what specs you should look out for when purchasing a Chromebook, we’ve developed a nifty cheat sheet for you.

Prices do start to ratchet above the “cheap” range, as is the case with the MacBook-rivaling, $999 Chromebook Pixel 2 (£670, AU$1,320), especially in the classroom, where Chromebooks are gaining significant exposure. Despite the growing Chromebook scene, there should always be something within your price range.

Then, it all comes down to size and price, with Chromebooks available as tiny as 11.6 inches and as large as 14 or even 15 inches. (There are even 2-in-1 Chromebooks now.) Always up-to-date, here are our top-ranking Chromebook reviews.

best chromebook

1. Google Chromebook Pixel 2015

The end all, be all of Chromebooks.

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with turbo boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 | Screen: 12.85-inch 2,560 x 1,700 IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260; Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 720p HD wide angle camera with blue glass | Weight: 3.3 pounds Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches (W x D x H)

See more Google Chromebook Pixel 2 deals

Inter Core i5 or i7 processorLong, long battery lifeVery expensive3:2 screen hurts multitasking

Outfitted with a Core i5 processor, USB 3.1 (and USB-C) ports, a high-resolution display, and more RAM than it will ever need, the Chromebook Pixel sets a high bar for Chrome OS machines.

Hardware and performance aside, the Pixel is one of the few Chromebooks that seems like it has itself completely figured out. The build quality of this machine is exquisite; the design has been engineered down to a science. A vivid screen – plus the amazing keyboard and trackpad – helps to round out the Pixel as one excellent, premium package.

That said, this one’s quite an investment. For the same amount, you could buy several Chromebooks or a decent Windows laptop. So, before you buy, we suggest you consider all the much more affordable options out there before investing so much money into the best Chrome machine.

best chromebook

2. Acer Chromebook 15 C910

The colossus of Chromebooks

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 dual-core processor | Graphics: Intel HD 5500 Graphics with shared memory | RAM: 4 GB, DDR3L SDRAM | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p HD webcam |Weight: 4.85 pounds Dimensions: 1.0 x 15.1 x 10.1 inches (H x W x D)

See more Acer Chromebook 15 deals

Fast processing speedLong battery lifeVery heavyAwkward keyboard

If you’re mulling over the $279 (about £195, AU$389) Acer Chromebook 15 C910 for your next laptop, then you’d better have big ideas. Compared to most other Chromebooks, the C910 has a bigger screen, bigger processing power and it comes with a relatively bigger price tag.

The C910 took this series of laptops to two new places, as the first with a 15.6-inch screen and the first to introduce the fifth-generation Broadwell processors to Chromebooks.

Specifically geared toward students and teachers – thanks to its rugged frame and gorgeous visuals – the C910 is perfectly suitable for any consumer who doesn’t mind schlepping around a few extra pounds and inches.

Best Chromebook

3. Dell Chromebook 11 (2015)

Dell’s updated Chromebook is a star in almost every regard

CPU: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Celeron Bay Trail-M N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD for Intel Celeron processors | RAM: 4GB RAM (DDR3L, 1,600Mhz) | Screen: 11.6-inch HD, 1366 x 768 touchscreen |Storage: 16GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.91 pounds Dimensions: 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches

See more Dell Chromebook 11 deals

Rugged design180-degree barrel hingeTouchscreen not standardSmall keyboard

Don’t let the understated looks of the $249 (£170, AU$320) Dell Chromebook 11 fool you. Dell stuffed in features that are typically reserved for pricier business notebooks into its Chromebook 11, an effort to create a durable product for the education market.

In the Chromebook 11, you’ll find a 180-degree reinforced hinge, rugged design, sealed keyboard and trackpad, and a punchy typing experience inside a portable package. In addition to using the Chromebook for school work, students will appreciate the loud stereo speakers for videos.

There’s a new version of this Chromebook available. We’ve jotted down our first impressions here.

Best Chromebook

4. Asus Chromebook Flip

A flipping premium Chromebook for almost nothing

CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C (quad-core, 1MB cache) | Graphics: ARM Mali T624 | RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 1.96 pounds | Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.2 x 0.60 inches (W x D x H)

See more Asus Chromebook Flip deals

Fully metal construction Excessive battery life Occasional crashes Large screen bezels

The Asus Chromebook Flip isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive little piece of gear. At just $249 (about £160, AU$337), it’s so affordable that you might want to pick one up just to have a Chrome OS device on hand – even if you already own a MacBook or Windows notebook.

Aside from the approachable price tag, the Flip is one of the best-built Chromebooks to blaze the trail forward for more convertibles. Touchscreen functionality feels a bit more logical, with a screen that actually rotates for once.

All the while, the Flip meets all the core tenants of an ideal Chrome OS machine, including awesome battery life. If you’ve been ho hum on Chromebooks before, this is definitely one to … flip out about. (Sorry.)

best Chromebook

5. Toshiba Chromebook 2

Full HD on a Chromebook just got better

CPU: 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-5015U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7260; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.97 pounds | Dimensions: 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches (W x D x H)

See more Toshiba Chromebook 2 deals

Gorgeous 1080p screen Intel Core i3 power Screen glare A bit pricey

For a steeper $429 (about £299, AU$612), the newest Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a beautiful laptop that – clearly, seeing the price – has very few flaws. It comes with more memory and a 1080p display, lining it up with rival, (pseudo-) premium models in this class, like the Dell Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Pixel.

However, note: the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is now officially in cheap Windows 10 laptop territory. Unless you’re buying this laptop solely for the Google ecosystem, you might be overpaying. That said, the Intel Core i3 processor behind that 1080p screen is an undeniable bonus.

Best Chromebook

6. Lenovo N20p Chromebook

A versatile Chromebook experience for a reasonable price

CPU: 1.83 GHZ Intel Celeron Processor N2930 | Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB PC3-10600 DDR3L 1333 MHz | Screen: 11.6″ HD (1366 x 768) dsplay with 10-point multitouch | Storage: 16GB eMMC storage | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Bluetooth® 4.0, 802.11 a/c WiFi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.86 lbs Dimensions: 11.6″ x 8.34″ x 0.70″

See more Lenovo N20p deals

Gorgeous designSuper fastPoor viewing anglesBad speakers

This is one of the “sexier” Chromebooks around, showcasing Lenovo’s affinity for style. However, the best feature is the N20p’s 300-degree hinge, flipping the N20p’s screen backward all the way into stand mode (or “tent” mode), which lends itself quite well to watching movies or showing presentations.

The touchscreen controls also work in a jiffy for, say, watching shows on HBO Go or Pinteresting. Still there’s some difficulty when using it as a tablet, as Chrome isn’t entirely made for touch as a largely browser-based interface.

It’s not very tuned for work use, but the Lenovo N20p offers great versatility for a leisure computer. Plus, with two USB ports (one 3.0), an HDMI port and an SD card reader, this Chromebook delivers a great bang for its buck.

Best Chromebook

7. Acer Chromebook 13

With incredible battery life, the Chromebook 13 is a winner

CPU: 2.1GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 CD570M-A1 (quad-core) | Graphics: Nvidia Keplar | RAM: 2GB DDR3 (1,333MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1.920 x 1.080 | Storage: 16GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 3.31 pounds Dimensions: 12.9 x 9 x 0.71 inches (W x D x H)

See more Acer Chromebook 13 deals

Battery lifeGreat speakersStrange port locationsLackluster visuals

Powered by Nvidia’s powerful Tegra K1 chip, this Chromebook packs a lot of oomph in a tiny frame. Users will love its 13.3-inch 1080p resolution screen, as well as its portability. At 3.31 pounds, the Acer Chromebook 13 is a relatively feathery laptop.

This Chromebook does have some minor problems: it doesn’t multitask very well, and the laptop itself only comes in one color. But for the tiny price of $249 (about £174, AU$347), you’re likely to enjoy the simplicity and productivity as you learn to overcome the design limitations.

Best Chromebook

8. HP Chromebook 11

A Chromebook that’s as cheap as it is excellent

CPU: 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 | Graphics: value | RAM: 2GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM |Screen: 11.6-inch diagonal HD LED-backlit IPS display (1366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 2×2 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: 720p webcam |Weight: 2.3 pounds Dimensions: 0.69 in (H) x 11.69 in (W) x 7.56 in

See more HP Chromebook 11 deals

Wonderful buildExcellent screenMediocre battery lifePoor trackpad

The $199 (about £139, AU$277) HP Chromebook 11 is smooth and intuitive. Chrome OS is limited by definition, but as web apps grow only more prolific and those apps increase in capability– and Chrome OS matures – we bump into those limitations less often every day.

This notebook is powerful enough to make the experience slick, affordable enough for anyone on a budget (or an impulse buy for the well-to-do), but something that still feels solid. It is a joy to use.

Apple and the other premium notebook makers should look at this little gem of a laptop and applaud what has been achieved. The Chromebook 11 shows that it’s possible to create a product with a sliver of the magic and joy you get from an Apple laptop without charging four figures for it.

Best Chromebook

9. Acer C720 Chromebook

A good budget option at a cheap price

CPU: 1.7 GHz Intel Core i3-4005U Dual-core | Graphics: Intel HD 4400 DDR3 SDRAM Shared | RAM:4 GB DDR3L SDRAM | Screen: 11.6″ 1,366 X 768 | Storage: 32GB | Optical drive: none |Connectivity: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth 4.0 + HS | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.76 pounds Dimensions: 0.8 x 11.3. 8.0 inches (HxWxD)

See more Acer C720 deals

Fast processorMushy keyboardTinny speakers

In terms of oomph and longevity, you can’t argue with the $219 (about £153, AU$305) Acer C720 Chromebook. When you just want to get on the web in a hurry to answer emails or – tee-hee – Google something, the C720 is ideal. For parents, it’s also a fantastic “homework machine,” so long as you can get a compatible printer set up with it.

This is a true web appliance, a fine laptop for families. The Google account log-in gives each user a personalized interface, and just a few keystrokes completely wipes the system. That limits the risk massively in sharing the notebook with classmates or family members.

One key criterion in our reviews is whether we’d actually want to use the device every day. Even taking this laptop’s flaws into account, it’s something we definitely would want to use, for the price. If you’re an educator and buying in bulk, try the Acer C740.

Acer Chromebook R11

10. Acer Chromebook R11

360-degree flips all day long

CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Braswell Quad-Core Celeron N3150 Processor | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB DDR3L | Screen: 11.6″ 16:9 HD (1366×768) | Storage: 32GB | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ac; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD Web Camera | Weight: 2.76 lbs | Dimensions: 11.57 x 8.03 x 0.76 inches (WxDxH)

See more Acer Chromebook R11 deals

Convertible Good battery life HD-only display Terrible trackpad

The Acer Chromebook R11’s minimalist design may not be the most attractive, but that shell hides a surprisingly capable laptop that’ll last all day. Oh, and it can flip 360 degrees into a tablet. No big deal.

Acer’s R11 packs in all-day battery life, capable performance and a 360-degree hinge with touchscreen into a minimalist design for just $289 (about £202, AU$402). That makes flaws, like an iffy trackpad and barely-HD touch display, a little easier to ignore.

Juan Martinez has also contributed to this article.

Source: techradar.com

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  1. Reply Clement Braun February 17, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    There are comments on this article from over 2 years ago but it says the best laptops of 2016!? And many of the links are broken and prices are WAY off.

  2. Reply Filiberto Swaniawski February 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Yes, I obviously tried that in many different variations, but it didn't work.

  3. Reply Ms. Elenor Franecki II February 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    By your mixed up logic then the Pixel 2 is the best chromebook, since speed, display, keyboard, compactness, ports, and build quality are better, the Toshiba only has a single advantage in price ($330 vs $999). That's nuts.

  4. Reply Dr. Lue Lockman February 17, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Well, it maybe do bad on benchmark, but its a hell of an processor.

    Im still inclined to Intel processor, arm CPUs do good on smartphones, but when talking about desktop multitasking it sucks.

    I've maded it run CS:GO with 25~30 FPS (on really lowest settings, of cource, but playable) and boot a VM of Windows 7 with some memory optimizations on my ChromeBook 2. Of course, i've hacked to install linux on it 😛

    I really didn't have any performance issues, even running full blown KDE on that stuff (ok, memory and transfer rate (sdcard) was a problem, but outside that, it runs really smooth).

    Oh, and 10 hours battery is really possible, even with a poor battery (small notebook), this processor has a TDP of 4.5W wich doesn't need cooling and make the battery runs fine.

  5. Reply Arvilla Feeney February 18, 2016 at 12:58 am

    If you can tell me how to Autosum filtered results in a spreadsheet (currently the SUM function adds up all results in a row), I shall be most grateful. That is most of what I do inside a spreadsheet and it is very frustrating that Google sheets can't carry out such a simple function. BTW two of my HP chromebooks are now dead, they lasted less than 2 years and google announced that they will be discontinuing Chrome OS and focus on Android instead (even the latest pixel runs on android). I don't think I will be buying another chromebook.

  6. Reply Guiseppe Hettinger February 18, 2016 at 2:16 am

    The HP14 should be fixable with a USB thumb drive containing chromeOS, which is either downoadable or buildable from any working chromebook. I was given a samsung 550 chromebook with a corrupted TPM and THAT is not fixable.

  7. Reply Remington Jerde III February 18, 2016 at 2:50 am

    It's now 7 months later (Jan 2016) and this article says it's a couple weeks old. So you theory is right on the money

  8. Reply Domenic Cormier February 18, 2016 at 3:22 am

    The HP11 had many issues with its micro-USB charging ports, which is why it was discontinued after a few months and replaced with a heavier model. I was very careful, but it stopped charging a week ago. My HP14 randomly rebooted one day and had a corrupted OS, that I was unable to reinstall, despite trying many times. Both are now write-offs. I will try to have them fixed, but they are not on sale here in Hungary, so it's difficult to find someone who knows how to fix them (I bought them in the UK). Ironically my original model 3 Samsung chromebook, that I gave to my mum works just fine, and that is the oldest one.

  9. Reply Prof. Marcia Parisian February 18, 2016 at 4:55 am

    It should also be noted that the previous model is fanless and the 2015 version is not.

  10. Reply Graham Wuckert III February 18, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Your right, but the fan runs seldomly and is very quiet when it does.

  11. Reply Charley Gerlach February 18, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I still have my hp 14" Chromebook, and I love it. It still works great, and I have no plans to get another one as long as this one works.

  12. Reply Luz Renner PhD February 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    That's cool and all, but I'd rather have a MacBook than a Chromebook Pixel. A MacBook has an actual operating system. Chrome OS is a bad joke. I would only buy one device on this list, and it's the Lenovo. (The recent scandals are concerning, but I still love my Y50.)

  13. Reply Friedrich Rosenbaum February 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I don't like how the Toshiba Chromebook 2 got 5th place. In my opinion it should have at least got third. The 2015 edition is a wonderful Chromebook, a lot better processor (Intel Celeron 3215U) than the "Rockchip" in the Asus Chromebook flip. Also not to mention that the 1080p screen on the Toshiba is better than the Asus' (1,280 x 800) but the color accuracy is better than the Dell Chromebook 11. The Asus also has 2GB of ram! – and yes upgradable but that is not whats listed on the review specs.
    My day job is not to review laptops for an online website but I fail to see why the Toshiba fell behind the Asus or the Dell. Sure battery life is important but, if your machine is running a crap processor (Asus) with an okay screen with barely enough ram to run more than 3-4 tabs; then what ever floats your boat I guess.

  14. Reply Lorine Boyle February 18, 2016 at 7:15 am

    The Chromebook 2 you link to at that Amazon price is actually the 2G model with different screen. Anyone know if last year's model is a viable option or is the extra $75 getting you something quite a bit better?

  15. Reply Leonel Brakus MD February 18, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Most of the specs/descriptions don't match the prices quoted or links to buy. I wonder how you'd rate some of these if you got your prices right??

  16. Reply Timmy Heathcote February 18, 2016 at 7:17 am

    The last sentence before the reviews start: "Always updated, here are our top-ranking Chromebook reviews."

  17. Reply Dorothea Thiel February 18, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Would this work? https://productforums.google.c

    Go to any Chinese amazon site (e.g.: gearbest.com, banggood.com, etc.) and you will see Android boxes for sale as desktops, as TV boxes, as arm laptops and convertibles. Game over. Android won. Google internally has 4 OS's which is too many (datacenter OS, goobuntu linux workstation, android, chromeos) and so they decided to collapse android and chromeos, after all, everyone is asking to run android apps on chromeos. I own 5 chromebooks (3x Acer c720, 1x Toshiba 2015 CB2, 1x Acer chromebox i3) and I wonder what happened to your HP's? Sorry, that does not sound like typical HP hardware, I thought their reputation was for rock solid reliable devices… Google doesn't make these devices, they just require the manufacturers to meet minimum quality standards for e.g. video (brightness, viewing angles) & sound & keyboard & ports.

  18. Reply Malinda Schowalter February 18, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Unfortunately the Celeron N2840 is one of the slowest chromebooks available, it's a rebranded Atom processor that only does 7,000 on the Octane benchmarks, it is no faster than an ARM chromebook and it sometimes stutters on even 720p video playback.

  19. Reply Alessia Wilkinson February 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

    This article is already WAY out of date, the NEW Toshiba Chromebook 2 / 2015 @ $339 (with Celeron 3215U) runs 18,000 on google octane, has the #2 IPS display in a chromebook, outperforms an i3-4005U, plays 1080p at 30fps, and is BY FAR the best chromebook available for under $500. It belongs at spot #1.

  20. Reply Antonina Wyman February 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Dell Chromebook 13 makes the BY FAR comment an untruth. Both the Toshiba and the Dell are great machines, build quality and battery life are better on the Dell, speed, price and display get the edge on the Toshiba, though if you look at the Amazon reviews it seems that a about 7% of the owners experience screen and build malfunctions. Dell wins on customer service, the Toshiba has been on the market longer.

  21. Reply Ms. Taya Zboncak February 18, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I can understand your frustration with chromebooks, you are clearly very invested in MS-World. I'd like you to know, however, that ALL of google, all 45,000 of us, live ENTIRELY in google docs, sheets, and slides (and we use hangouts every day for meetings). If you could send me a list of greatest flaws I can file a feature request and try to get them addressed. Google really does want these apps to make a positive improvement in the world. On the upside I have spent 0 minutes installing and upgrading google apps since I began using them 2 years ago.

  22. Reply Anastacio Stroman February 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

    misleading information – you are not going to buy a chromebook with an i5 processor for $150…

  23. Reply Fatima Little February 18, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Make sure to get the newer Toshiba Chromebook 2, its battery doesn't last 12 hours but for the 8-9 hours of battery life it is running 2.5x faster than the 2014 model and it's 15% faster than the average celeron 3205U chromebook.

  24. Reply Dr. Cristobal Steuber I February 18, 2016 at 9:08 am

    what if 22" chromebook that is so great for me because I am a old man who need big screen

  25. Reply Prof. Tony Stamm February 18, 2016 at 9:31 am

    hope to see 20" chromebook with wire and wireless connect on sale

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