Chromebooks have evolved past being laptops with some Android apps tagged on anymore. You can get most of your computing needs covered now and a decent Chromebook will work better than a mediocre Windows laptop.

It’s not just about a cheap Chromebook, consumers want a quality Chromebook, and finally it seems that manufacturers have gotten the message. Most of the good Chromebooks cost around $500 or $600, while there are also more and less expensive models. Paying more, you’re getting some extra features that may significantly benefit your Chromebook experience.

It’s taken a while, but now Chromebooks in this price range have found a level of consistency. When you look at what’s on offer from Asus, Google, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, and HP, some could suggest that everyone is getting their goods from the same factory. It’s great if you want to be able to make decent comparisons – most of what made it onto Monica Chin’s list for The Verge would be great buys where you to find them discounted.

We’ve picked the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 for the best Chromebook and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet as the best Chromebook for buyers on a budget. Other picks for the best Chromebooks of 2020 include the Asus Chromebook Flip C434, Google Pixelbook Go, the Google Pixelbook, and the HP Chromebook x360.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook deserves a shoutout too. It looks lovely and the color is unique, plus there’s a 4K AMOLED display. It didn’t make it on the list because its battery life is just a little too short. Also, there’s the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook due out soon that we’re excited to check out with its 2-in-1 design. 

Similarly to when buying a laptop, users want a decent keyboard, long battery life, high-quality screen, enough power to do what they want, and good functionality in a Chromebook. Even though most of the modern Chromebooks address these criteria, there are some of the outstanding models that rise above the rest.



Best you can get

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No doubt, the Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 is the best Chromebook on the market. The 3:2 screen is delightful and it could hold its own against some of its expensive competitors, plus you get some extra space on the vertical for work and multitasking. 

Another prominent feature is the keyboard. It’s very comfortable, has a nice feel and a pleasant backlighting. Besides, Spin 713 is equipped with an HDMI port, which is a rare find among thin Chromebooks. Finally, if you’re one of the people with a dozen tabs open, the 10th-Gen Intel processors can easily handle them all. On the downside, the speakers aren’t that good, there’s no biometric login, but those are reasonable sacrifices for a laptop of this quality at this low of a price.

The big differentiator between Chromebooks at this price is the screen quality and whether there’s a stylus included. Acer bucks the trend by making an excellent all-round laptop that’s very affordable.


A great 14-incher

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Asus has already made some good Chromebooks, but the C434 is truly something special. What makes it really special for its class is the 14-inch screen that sits in a body that should only really be 13-inches. The screen bezels have been minimised and that’s pretty much what all the latest Windows laptops have been doing recently, too.

Looking at the basics, Asus have them down too. The keyboard is wonderful for typing, although it’s a little annoying in that the backlight is the same color as the keys so not so great in low light conditions. The trackpad works as it should with good accuracy, and the connectivity is good for a Chromebook – you get a USB-A and two USB-C ports which are on opposite sides which is just useful. 

The model is limited in storage with a maximum capacity of 64GB. Yet, there’s a microSD card for expanded storage, which will definitely come handy. Unfortunately, the processor isn’t the most powerful one compared to the other Chromebooks in this price range. Yet, its capacity is enough for most tasks, especially if you get the model with 8GB of RAM.


Being kind to your wallet

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When you need a device that will see you right when you’re on the move but don’t have a lot of cash to drop, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is great value. It’s an ultra-portable 10.1-inch 2-in-1 device with a detachable keyboard and kickstand cover.

For the processor, you get a MediaTek Helio P60T, along with 4GB of RAM and storage up to 128GB. For browsing and general light use, you’ll get a good performance. The Chrome OS it uses is perfect for the convertible design; it’s the first time it’s been optimized to work on tablets. When you take away the keyboard, the Duet can use gesture navigation that’s akin to Android, so moving between apps is super easy.  The Duet contains a MediaTek Helio P60T processor, 4GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage, and it performs well if you’re just browsing and don’t plan on using a super heavy load. It also uses a version of Chrome OS that’s made for its convertible form factor, including the first version of Chrome that’s optimized for tablet use. When detached from its keyboard, the Duet supports an Android-esque gesture navigation system that makes switching between apps a breeze. Yet, the best feature is its battery life, the author used it for around 11.5 hours in a row.

It’s by no means perfect. The trackpad and keyboard are on the small side and you don’t get a headphone jack, plus there’s only on USB-C port, and the 16:10 screen isn’t so bright. When you look at the price, these are reasonable trade-offs to make. It’s still great for schoolwork or general browsing on the move.


Looks good with power under the hood

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The HP Chromebook x360 14 is an excellent choice if you need a more powerful machine and you don’t mind getting a slightly larger laptop. There are a few different configurations available from HP under the name; Chin tested the 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage version that’s matched with the i3 processor. 

The sleek design is why we first chose the Asus earlier, but the HP is of the same standard and just a little larger. You get the same ports, storage, and RAM.  Besides, the HP Chromebook x360 14 has speakers located up on the keyboard deck instead of on the bottom, and its keyboard feels great to use.


Google’s best effort

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Weighing in at 2.3 pounds and measuring 13.3 inches, the Google Pixelbook Go looks nice and is simple to use. The cover is made from sturdy magnesium and there’s a solid grip on the base to keep it from slipping off from anywhere.

The Pixelbook Go is easy to carry around and it looks stylish. Besides, the model supports fast charging through either of its USB-C ports. Regarding the battery life, it is also quite impressive. When Chin tested the battery it ran for over eight hour so you’ll be fine getting through a normal work day using it. What’s really nice is the keyboard – it’s quiet, travels well, and has a spring to it. Dieter Bohn, the editor of Verge said it was his “favorite thing to type on by a long shot.”

For a Chromebook, the Go isn’t so cheap and it doesn’t get to the top of the list since the Chromebook Flip C434 is nearly the same in terms of specs and is cheaper. Yet, its impressive battery life and stylish lightweight design make it totally worth it for those buyers, who look for these features in their future Chromebook.


Thin and beautiful inside

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The Pixelbook hasn’t had an update since it was launched in 2017. It’s still a good, convertible, premium Chromebook and has kept up with the market. The design features an aluminium case and Gorilla Glass, plus some lovely silicon palm rests, along with a bright touchscreen with a resolution of 2499 x 1600. The 3:2 aspect ratio offers extra space compared to 16:9 panels and makes it more comfortable to work in multiple apps and windows without having to zoom out.

The processor isn’t quite so up to date since the Chromebook is a few years old now. You still get a Core i5 and 8GB of RAM so your standard browsing and multitasking shouldn’t cause a problem. The battery should see you through around eight hours of use. The touchpad and keyboard work nicely and are comfy, too. For a design bonus, the speakers work through the hinge so the audio is clearer than you’d expect for a model like this.


Premium, versatile, and has a stylus

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The weight is a bit more than you’d expect with a Chromebook. At 3.99 pounds, the Inspiron 14 is a strong convertible with brushed aluminium on the outside that makes it look more expensive than it is. It has a spacious backlit keyboard and a nice 1920 x 1080 display with accurate colors. With an 8th Gen Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, it allows you to browse, multitask, stream your favorite series, or even work on some demanding artistic tasks with ease.

For those looking to do some digital art, the Inspiron 14 is equipped with a stylus that’s housed in a special socket inside the chassis so it should be loss-safe. Due to the electromagnetic resonance technology (EMR), it doesn’t need batteries or any kind of charge.


Samsung’s best effort

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Samsung’s Chromebook Plus V2 isn’t anywhere near the lower end of the budget spectrum. You do get what you pay for, though, and there’s an in-built, battery-free stylus and an extra camera on the front for pics of blackboards and job sites.The camera above the keyboard is also surprisingly high-resolution — it’s a 13-megapixel sensor with autofocus.

It looks premium too, like some of the other top-end Chromebooks, with an aluminium top and a hinge built to be used. It’s fairly portable at 2.9 pounds, and it has a microSD slot in addition to its two USB-C ports and headphone jack.


Expensive for a reason

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Starting off with the not-so-great, the battery life might disappoint you at a little over five hours multitasking, or seven hours with a looped video. The price keeps the Chromebook Flip C436 from taking top spot, particularly when you see it’s previous iteration is so similar yet a lot cheaper.

If you’ve got money to splash on your new Chromebook, there is a lot to be said for this one. It’s a 2-in-1 design and it’s body is compact. For 2.4 pounds it’s lighter than many other convertibles making it actually usable as a tablet for long periods. The keyboard is snappy and nice to use and there’s a fingerprint reader for added security. For the audio, you get a pair of Harman Kardon-certified speakers that are nestled in the hinge, plus extras in the side of the cover. The processor is a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 which will take a lot of browsing. 

Yes, for a Chromebook it’s expensive, but you do get what you pay for.