If you’re looking to buy a new computer for school, work, or personal use, then a Chromebook is a great option. Chromebooks now come in all shapes and sizes and are solid alternatives to some of the best Windows laptops and MacBooks. There are a ton of ChromeOS tablets, convertibles, and even 2-in-1s. In some cases, these Chromebooks might even be cheaper in price, too.
Other than all those types of great hardware, Chromebooks also have a lot to offer in the software powering the experience. Similar to how Windows and macOS have always evolved, Google has really moved ChromeOS, which powers Chromebooks, beyond just a simple web browser. You can run Android apps from the Google Play Store, install Linux apps, and even get away with gaming (in beta) in select higher-end Chromebook models.
Chromebooks will even play nice with your Android phone via Phone Hub, so you can see your notifications and even your favorite photos on your device. A Chromebook can do so much for you in 2022, and here are some of our picks for the best ones you can buy right now.
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Best overall: HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
We’ll get right to the point with the best Chromebook you can buy right now for your money. It is the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, which we recently reviewed. This is a very premium Chromebook that comes in close to $1,900. Don’t let that scare you though as, for the price, there’s a lot that you might like. If you’re after something cheaper, then check out the other picks on our list, but hear us out on why this is a good buy first.
Like what you get when buying a MacBook or a Surface, HP cut no corners with the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook. You’ll even be investing in a system that’s designed to last for years.
We say that because one of the areas where HP focused the most is the CPUs powering the device and the overall specs. As you’ll find in most Windows PCs this year, HP opted for 12th-generation Intel CPUs. These are all U-series chips, including the Intel Core i3-1215U, Intel Core i5-1235U, Intel Core i5-1245U, or Intel Core i7-1265U. It’s rare to find the latest Intel processors in a Chromebook, as most times, Chromebooks are a generation or two behind in CPUs. We loved the performance of this chip in our review, finding that Linux ran great, Android apps were fast, and webpages loaded up quickly when multitasking. It really outdid the Chromebook we used for our daily driver, with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor.
What’s even better is that to pair with those U-series CPUs, which have both performance cores and efficiency cores for better multitasking, RAM can be configured to 8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB. This means you’ll always have enough performance in this device to get you through your days of work or school. As for storage, you can get either 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB, which is more than enough for storing files locally. The only downside to the CPU and specs choice, though, is the battery life, which was decent, but not outstanding in our tests.
Another thing that makes this Chromebook special is the haptic touchpad. As of right now, it is the only Chromebook that has one. This once Macbook-exclusive feature is becoming more common, so it’s great to see it expand to Chromebooks, too. In the Windows space, you’ll even find that a haptic trackpad is on the Surface Laptop Studio, ThinkPad X1 Titanium, ThinkPad Z13 or Z16, and Dell XPS 13 Plus. ChromeOS, though, has its own tricks for this haptic trackpad. You’ll get great feedback for common tasks as you use your Chromebook like dragging windows into place. You can even tap anywhere you want on it to click since the entire surface is clickable.
Of course, the display matters here, too. On this HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, you’ll be getting a fully convertible display that you can use in multiple modes — either tent, stand, tablet, or laptop. Just as what you’ll find on most modern Windows laptops, the display houses a 13.5-inch slim-bezel panel turned to a 3:2 aspect ratio. Paired with support for the optional HP Digital Pen, this means more vertical viewing room for web-based content and inking on documents on the screen. Options include Anti-Glare WLED (1920 x 1280), 400 Nits, BrightView LED (2256×1504), 400 Nits, BrightView WLED (1920×1280), and 1000 Nits.
We’ll end with the ports on the machine. Ports are important on a Chromebook, and in this area, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook does not disappoint. You’ll get two modern Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB-Type A port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. HDMI and USB-A mean you can leave your dongles behind.
Best ChromeOS tablet: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook
One of our favorite ChromeOS tablets is the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5. Priced decently at $500, it is the ideal travel companion. The market for Chromebook tablets is really crowded, but this is one of the most flexible and premium-feeling with a detachable keyboard, and also support for an optional stylus. The SoC under the hood of the Duet 5 is also great when put up against similarly priced devices. The OLED display is the other bonus, as it makes this great for multimedia.
What really makes the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 a great device to own over a competing Chromebook tablet like the HP Chromebook x2 11 is what’s powering the package. Lenovo opts for the second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor. This brings a lot of improvements over the first generation, and we found it quite pleasing to use during our review period. There was no lag when gaming in Asphalt 9, and day-to-day web browsing worked smoothly. Even Android apps ran brilliantly, which is a huge plus if you want to enjoy portable gaming on this machine.
Even better, that choice in SoC also helps with battery life, as we managed to punch out an entire day’s worth of work when we used the device, despite the power-hungry OLED display. So, if you need a solid-performing Chrome tablet to last you all day at work, then this is the one.
Now, for the included keyboard. Typically, you’d expect a Chromebook tablet to have a flimsy and cheap keyboard. Usually, the keyboard is an optional purchase, too. But in this case, that’s not what you get with this package. Right out of the box you actually can attach this keyboard up to your IdeaPad Duet 5 display, pull out the stand from the back, and get to work. When we typed on it in our tests, we were able to comfortably use the IdeaPad Duet 5 on our lap without frustration and even complete long blog posts. Compared to the HP Chromebook x2 11’s small keyboard, this Chrome device for sure is something to get you through the work day fine without causing cramps in your fingers.
Tablets are also great for multimedia and drawing, and the IdeaPad Duet 5 makes these tasks quite fun. Lenovo doesn’t include a USI stylus for you in the box, but when we used one, we found it really excellent for taking notes in one of our class lectures in Google’s Cursive app. Other than that drawing aspect, the IdeaPad Duet 2 comes with a 16:9 OLED panel. This ratio makes it great for viewing movies and consuming media. It’s something you might want to do, too. In our tests, the display had off-the-charts brightness, great viewing angles, and accurate color reproduction. Even the speakers were great since it’s a quad-array setup.
But for all the good things we’ve said about the IdeaPad Duet 5, it is limited in some areas. There is no headphone jack on board, so Bluetooth headphones or a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone adapter will be your option. There are also only 2 USB-C ports, so you’ll need to invest in a dongle for connecting to displays, and USB drives.
Best display on a Chromebook: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
If you’re after a Chromebook with the best display, then the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is our pick for that. This is one of the best options if you’re looking to make Chrome OS your go-to platform for drawing. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 continues the overall design of the original Galaxy Chromebook but reduces some of the premium features to attain a more reasonable price. The most impressive feature here is definitely the display. You’ll be awestruck by every image with the world’s first jaw-dropping QLED display on a Chromebook, which produces 100% color volume.
The processor options here are not quite as high-end as the original Galaxy Chromebook, but the Intel Core i3 should do the job for most users. Starting options include the Intel Celeron, for $400, with an upgrade to the Intel Core i3 being $550. Storage on this device tops out at 128 GB, but this is still ultra-fast SSD storage we’re talking about. You also retain 8 GB of RAM and get improved battery life. While the S-pen is still supported, it’s not bundled with the laptop so you’ll need to buy it separately. This also means there’s no slot for storing the S-pen in the body of the Chromebook.
Design is another strong point for the Galaxy Chromebook 2, particularly in the Fiesta Red color. If you’re looking for a Chromebook that matches your personal style, then this is an excellent option to consider. Friends and family will definitely be impressed with how this Chromebook stands out in the crowd. The chassis is also durable and doesn’t have too much give when pressing on the screen with a USI pen while drawing.
In terms of design, the aluminum chassis feels sturdy and substantial, and it’s a pleasure to carry around. There’s something about the feel of cold metal that makes a plastic-bodied Chromebook feel less desirable. If you like to stand out in a crowd, the Fiesta Red color on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a head-turner for sure. There’s nothing wrong with a great cheap laptop, but nothing about this device feels cheap.
Beyond the look, the device is functionally designed as well. Samsung kept the profile slim and rigid, opting for only two USB-C ports (one on each side) and a micro SD slot.
Overall, this is the best Samsung Chromebook for you if you can live with the removal of the 4K display and fingerprint sensor. The highly attractive price will sway most users to choose this 2nd-generation device. If you need a high-quality laptop for watching media, this is one of the best Chromebooks for drawing.
Best 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook: HP Chromebook x360 14c
One of the benefits of having a Chromebook that’s a 2-in-1 convertible is that you can use it in different modes without worrying about detaching a screen or a keyboard. For this, the HP Chromebook x360 14c is our favorite pick. It’s great to use as both a tablet for inking, a laptop for typing, in a tent mode for movie watching and so much more. All of this comes at the decent price of $700.
Powering the Chromebook x360 14c is an 11th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3-1125G4 CPU. This is the lone option, as is the 8 GB of RAM and the 128 GB of NVMe SSD storage. That’s not to say that these are bad specs, though. An Intel Core i3 CPU is typically one of the base options on mid-range Chromebooks like this one. It should be great enough to power you through a full day of web browsing for work or school or play without lag and other issues.
One of the highlight features of this Chromebook, though, is the design. Made out of aluminum, this is a study machine. HP even rounded the corners of the device to make it comfortable to hold in the hands. What’s even better about this design is that it carries over to the display, which has some pretty slim bezels on the side, rounded corners, and a narrow chin that makes it comfortable to hold as a tablet. This reminds us, that the Chromebook supports an optional HP stylus, which can be used for drawing and taking notes.
Another reason you might want to consider this Chromebook has a lot to do with the webcam. Unlike most Chromebooks, HP opted for a special wide-angle lens with an 88-degree field of vision. This lets you fit more people, and more of the room around you on your call. And, when you want some privacy, there’s a switch on the side of the Chromebook that can kill your webcam and disable it. For even more privacy, there’s a fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the keyboard deck, helping make logins seamless and easy.
With the display, there’s nothing too fancy to talk about. The base for most mid-range Chromebooks is FHD and 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is exactly what you’ll get with this model. With brightness rated at around 250 nits, it is decent enough for watching movies and streaming, as your content won’t be letterboxed. Two speakers to the side of the keyboard help with that immersive feeling when using the Chromebook in stand mode.
Finally, if it’s ports you’re worried about, then worry no more. HP is very generous on the Chromebook x360 14c. You get a Micro SD card reader, a SuperSpeed USB Type-A, port, a headphone jack, and a SuperSpeed USB Type-C port. The addition of USB-A helps with not worrying about dongles for file transfers, but you’ll still need one for connections to external displays.
Best Chromebook for gaming with Steam: Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
Google recently partnered with Steam so you can play select PC games on your Chromebook. That said, you might be wondering which device is best for this.
Currently, Steam is only supported on select Chromebooks with a very specific set of specifications, and only in a very early and unstable beta experience that requires you to erase your device and install Chrome OS Dev. Eventually, though, the experience will launch to everyone though, and you’ll want a Chromebook for it. The good news is that one of the best Chromebooks for gaming is the Lenovo 5i Chromebook which starts at $360.
While it’s not the fanciest when compared to Windows gaming laptops, this Chromebook is powered by Intel’s 11th generation Core i5-1135G7 processor and comes with up to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. That’s the most important part, as Google requires an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor for Steam, and at least 8 GB of RAM. You’ll also need Intel Iris Xe graphics, which this Chromebook supports. That new processor is one box to check for gaming and another bonus for expanded performance for web browsing and using Android apps.
Another box to check off for gaming is a decent display, which this Lenovo device also has. It comes with a basic FHD resolution display. It’s not the highest resolution and doesn’t have touch support (especially when compared to other options like the 2k resolution panel on the now discontinued Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which also supports Steam) but it will get the job done for most games. That’s because Google suggests changing the resolution and toning down the settings on most games that are currently in beta testing in Steam. Most of these games also don’t support touch controls, either, so the lack of touch isn’t a loss.
Of course, you can’t count out the ports for gaming either. There are 2 USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, which is great for connecting an external keyboard or mouse. There’s even a MicroSD card reader if you want to store games or other content separate from storage on your device. That’s not to forget the headphone microphone and combo jack, which will be useful for headsets and other gaming accessories.
We’ll touch on the keyboard here, too. This Chromebook has a similar keyboard to what you’ll find on Lenovo’s IdeaPad gaming laptops. It’s not up to snuff in terms of tactile and responsiveness for gaming quality, but for day-to-day typing, it will work out fine.
Bonus features on this Chromebook include a LED light bar that changes color to track battery life, which might look cool when gaming. There’s even a webcam privacy shutter so you can turn off your webcam and focus on other tasks. Battery life is rated at 10 hours on this Chromebook, and the FHD screen is likely what helps bump up that number.
If you want to be a little unique with your Chromebook, you can choose different color options. Lenovo includes both a Sand color, as well as Storm Gray. The Sand color is more attractive if you want to stand out, but Storm Gray is the basic.
Best Chromebook on a budget: Samsung Chromebook 4 +
Not everyone has more than $1,000 to spend on a Chromebook and that’s where the Samsung Chromebook 4+ tops our list. This is a no-nonsense Chromebook that looks a lot like an older MacBook and comes in at a really low starting price of $300 You also can upgrade to 64 GB or 128 GB of storage for $350. It strikes a decent balance when it comes to the display, keyboard, design, and performance.
Powering the all-plastic Samsung Chromebook 4+ is an Intel Celeron N4000 processor. This is a much lower-end processor found in most Chromebooks of this price range, so things like Android apps might not perform the best. Paired with 4GB of RAM, though, it is enough to get you through web browsing just fine, as ChromeOS is heavily optimized for lower-end hardware. Note that Samsung also includes a MicroSD card reader, too, which can be used for expanding the base (and slower) eMMC storage. This is if you want to save $50 and get the introduction model.
As for the display, you’re getting a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution 15.6-inch panel. This screen size is usually an expensive upgrade on most other Chromebooks. The panel has an anti-glare coating and should hold up great when being used in office settings. Samsung even slimmed the side bezels of the display down a bit, to make it seem more like what you get on a Macbook. There’s still an ugly chin, though, which you can’t blame Samsung for at this low price. If you want a Chromebook with slimmer bezels, try something else on our list.
The keyboard and trackpad are also great on this device. With nice key travel, the island-style chicklet keyboard is good enough for getting through a day’s work. Only the plastic coating of the keyboard deck and trackpad might bother some people. We’ve used this before and found it has a little too much flex when typing too fast, but the added bonus of being spillproof saves it from dying if it comes in contact with liquids. There’s also no backlighting either, so you’ll have to stick to using this in the daytime or work under lights at night.
Just like a MacBook or a more premium Chromebook, Samsung includes two USB-C ports for charging onboard the Chromebook 4+. This is in addition to a headphone jack and a single USB-A port. Older USB drives or peripherals should work fine on this system thanks to that bonus USB-A port.
Overall, though, 15-inch Chromebooks are typically heavy. Samsung’s option is one of the lightest and thinnest, which makes it great as a first Chromebook. It measures 14.16 x 9.64 x 0.65 inches and weights 3.75 pounds.
Best Chromebook for kids: Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Chromebooks are great to give to kids for their first computer. ChromeOS is simple to learn, and the added benefits of Android apps mean kids can also play some of their favorite games. For this, the original Lenovo Chromebook Duet is our pick. It’s a Chromebook that’s always on sale for less than $200, and it has a lot of great features that you’ll find on premium devices, too.
The first feature that makes this great for kids is the overall design. This is a very small Chromebook with a 10-inch IPS touchscreen. It’s also known as a detachable, too. This means that when you want it, can attach the included keyboard case magnetically, and pull out a kickstand for typing. That’s all when you’re not using the device as a stand-alone tablet in your hands for gaming, or multimedia. (Which you might want to do anyway, the two-tone dual-tone Ice Blue & Iron Grey finish is striking.)
The overall dimensions come in at 9.44 x 6.29 x 0.29 inches, and the weight is a little over 1 pound. The keyboard case might be small for kids with larger hands, but it gives room to type up documents, scroll webpages, and use the Duet Chromebook as a laptop. And, that’s all with it fitting easily in a bag.
Another great feature? The performance. While you or your child might not be multitasking a lot on this device, the MediaTek Helio P60T processor inside this tablet is great for a first Chromebook. Android apps have been known to run perfectly on the Duet, mainly since the SoC being used is ARM-based, just like your Android phone. Even Chrome should run smoothly, as the device has 4 GB or RAM.
One of the best parts of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet that make it great is the long battery life. Lenovo rates it for up to 10 hours, which is more than enough to get a child through a school day. Of course, that’s rated on mixed usage with the display at very low brightness. Rated at 400 nits, you’ll want to bump the brightness as high as you can to make the most out of this tablet and make webpages and media come to life.
There are some other negatives that you might want to keep in mind when buying. First of all, there’s only a single USB-C port on board, and there’s no headphone jack, either. So, you’ll need to ensure you use either Bluetooth headsets or a dongle for movie watching and other multimedia. As we previously said, the other negatives are two things. First, the keyboard might also be too cramped for some people. Secondly. serious multitasking might slow down this device a lot. But for a first Chromebook device, the sacrifice is worth it, as, for less than $200, you can always upgrade later on to the bigger sibling, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook, which we mentioned above.
Best ChromeOS experience: Google Pixelbook Go
Our guide so far has focused on devices from Google’s partners. Google, though, has its own flagship Chromebook which will get you the best ChromeOS experience and guaranteed support and updates from the makers of ChromeOS themselves. It might not be the most modern or high-end Chromebook when compared to others on our list, but it’s one of the simpler ones, designed to get you the Google-first experience up front.
The Google Pixelbook Go offers modest specifications as it’s powered by an 8th gen M3, M5, or M7. However, you do get up to 256GB of SSD storage and up to 16GB of RAM, so it’s not as if you’re going to have any noticeable lags or stutters. The base model has a 13.3-inch full HD touchscreen, although there’s a 4K screen option too. What’s more, it comes in at just over 1kg for the FHD model.
The M3 series of Intel chipsets run fanless, which means they also use a lot less power. That, coupled with the 41.41 watt-hour battery, means you’ll get up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. When it runs out of battery, it has a 45W USB-C fast charger to quickly charge it back up. Google says 20 minutes of charge is enough for two hours of usage. With a starting price of $649, this may be well worth a look.
Google definitely has the design aesthetic down when it comes to their Chromebooks. A nicely rounded chassis with clean lines and a simple ‘G’ logo in the corner makes this a very appealing laptop. The textured bottom also provides an easier grip if you want to carry around the Pixelbook Go without a case or sleeve. In addition, this is one of the lightest 13-inch Chromebooks out there, making it very portable for travel.
The simple and understated design of the Pixelbook Go is really timeless, so it’s no surprise it still looks great today. In fact, there aren’t many Chromebooks that can match the look.
The Pixelbook Go keyboard is truly one of the best keyboards on any laptop. It offers a startling combination of quiet keys, nice feedback, and key travel. Considering this is a 13″ Chromebook, the keyboard is also incredibly well spaced for maximum typing comfort.
There are two different display options on the Pixelbook Go. There’s also a 4K display available on the Core i7 model of the Pixelbook Go.
As for webcams, most Chromebooks feature fairly pedestrian 720p webcams with very little consideration from the OEM. That’s not the case here, as the Pixelbook Go features a 1080p webcam that can shoot video at 60fps. The fact Google included this even before the pandemic started, makes the Pixelbook Go an even more compelling Chromebook despite its old age.