The best Chromebooks aren’t just laptops that run a few Google apps anymore. Chromebooks can cover a wide variety of computing needs now, and a good Chrome OS laptop or two-in-one can be more useful than a mediocre Windows or MacOS laptop. That’s why our pick for the best Chromebook of 2023 is the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5, which is one of the best-built, longest-lasting, and best-performinc Chromebooks you can buy.
The best Chromebooks from companies like Acer, Lenovo, and Asus are known to deliver good value. The message that many people actually want good Chromebooks — rather than just cheap ones — has gotten through to manufacturers. Many are around $500 or $600, though there are good options in the higher and lower ranges as well. The extra money goes a long way toward getting something you’ll be happy with.
For the first time, the quality of the best Chromebooks in this range has been consistent. There are so many similarities between the offerings from Asus, Lenovo, Google, HP, Dell, and Samsung that a conspiracy-minded person might suggest they’re all sourcing their components from the same factory. That’s great news if you’re comparison shopping; the majority of this list would be good buys if you can find them at a discount. They can even rival some of the best laptops, best budget laptops, and best student laptops on the market.
What most buyers want in the best Chromebook are likely the same things they want in any laptop: a good keyboard, solid build quality, long battery life, a nice screen, and enough power to do the things you want. More Chromebooks can meet those qualifications than ever before, but these are the ones that rise above the rest.
The Best Chromebook
Best Chromebook of 2023
Folks may understandably balk at the Chromebook Flip CX5’s price, but it really is that good. It’s sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of jolts and jostles in a backpack or briefcase, and has a unique velvety texture that’s very pleasant to hold. Add a wide port selection, a smooth and comfortable keyboard, and a vivid display, and you’ve got a chassis that can hold its own against plenty of midrange Windows laptops.
The CX5’s performance is equally impressive. We never once heard its fan in our testing, even when pushing a workload that slows most devices down. Battery life is quite satisfactory and easily lasted us all day. And the CX5 delivered some of the loudest audio we’ve ever heard from a Chromebook. While the CX5 isn’t a perfect device, it’s currently the best Chromebook you can buy.
Best detachable Chromebook
The Chromebook Detachable CM3 is Asus’s attempt to compete with Lenovo’s highly praised Chromebook Duet. Like the Duet, the CM3 is a 10.5-inch, 16:10 Chrome OS tablet with a fabric cover, a kickstand, and a keyboard that pops on and off. It’s a bit more expensive than the Duet, but also has a few extra features.
One unique perk is that the kickstand folds multiple ways: You can fold it the long way to stand the tablet up like a laptop, or fold it the short way and stand the tablet up horizontally. We’re not sure how practical this functionality actually is, but it’s there if you have a use case in mind.
The CM3 also comes with a built-in USI stylus, and roomy keys with a surprising amount of travel. But the thing we found most impressive was the battery life: We averaged close to 13 hours of continuous work on the device.
The CM3 won’t be the best Chromebook for everyone: It only has two ports (one USB-C and one audio jack) and its MediaTek processor was a bit sluggish compared to more expensive offerings. But if you’re looking for a convertible Chrome OS device and find that the Duet doesn’t quite suit your needs, you’re likely the CM3’s target audience.
Best midrange Chromebook
Samsung’s first Galaxy Chromebook shot for the moon, with a $1,000 price tag, an OLED display, a packaged stylus, and a premium build. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 isn’t so much a sequel to that device as it is a pared-down, more affordable alternative. There’s no fingerprint sensor, no stylus, and no OLED — but it’s quite functional, and with a sub-$600 starting price it’s a much more reasonable purchase.
The Chromebook 2’s highlight feature is its finish: It comes in a bright “fiesta red” that will certainly stand out wherever you’re using it. (There’s a gray option as well, if you’d prefer something subtle.) It’s also the first Chromebook ever to feature one of Samsung’s QLED panels. QLED isn’t OLED — it’s just a fancier LED — but it still makes for one of the most gorgeous displays I’ve ever seen on a Chromebook.
Nice screens sometimes wreck battery life, but that’s not the case here. I averaged about seven hours and 21 minutes of continuous work on the Chromebook 2, which means you shouldn’t need to plug it in too too often. And while the Core i3 processor isn’t the most powerful chip you can get in a Chromebook, it’s just fine for everyday work use.
Best cheap Chromebook
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is a great, tiny laptop for budget shoppers. It comes with a magnetic detachable keyboard that’s a breeze to pop on and off. The screen also supports USI styluses, though a stylus is not included in the price. The keyboard is included in the price, however, as is the magnetic back cover and kickstand.
Day-to-day, this laptop is quite usable for light work and leisure. It has a sharp, bright 11-inch screen and a surprisingly comfortable keyboard and touchpad. The battery life is close to all-day. But the real draw of this device is its portability — it’s just 2.09 pounds with the keyboard attached, making it quite convenient to carry around and whip out to use on the go.
There are a few compromises: there are only two ports (and no headphone jack), and the processor gets slow if you attempt a heavier multitasking workload. But Chrome OS fans who want a portable device for fun and multimedia can’t do better than this Chromebook at this price.
Best premium Chromebook
Many modern Chromebooks are oriented towards kids and students, but not this one. The C13 Yoga Chromebook is a sturdy, pricey, convertible Chromebook for grown-ups. It’s part of Lenovo’s renowned ThinkPad business line, and has all kinds of ThinkPad perks including a red Trackpoint, discrete touchpad clickers, a fingerprint sensor, a webcam shutter, and an aluminum design. Put this Chromebook next to any number of Windows ThinkPads, and we might not be able to pick it out.
The C13 is also unique in that it’s the first Chromebook to include AMD’s Ryzen 3000 Mobile C-series processors, which are marketed specifically for Chromebooks. The chips run all kinds of programs — even mobile games — quite smoothly. We do wish the battery life was a bit better — we only averaged just over six hours on one charge. We averaged seven and a half hours from our top pick, the Chromebook Spin 713, and plenty of the devices here break eight hours with no problem
A Chromebook for midrange shoppers
The Lenovo Flex 5 looks a lot nicer than its sub-$400 price might indicate. It’s built to withstand all kinds of jolts and jostles in a backpack or briefcase, but also has a smooth soft-touch texture that’s pleasant to hold. Add a sleek backlit keyboard, a physical webcam shutter, and front-facing speakers, and you’ve got a chassis with hallmarks of a much more expensive device.
You get some other perks as well. The Flex 5 has one of the better keyboards I’ve ever used on a Chromebook, let alone a Chromebook at a midrange price point. It also has a useful port selection including a microSD reader and a USB-C port on each side, as well as a crisp 1920 x 1080 touch display.
The one caveat is that the Flex 5 has somewhat disappointing battery life, averaging just over five and a half hours in our testing. If you’ll be using the device while you’re out and about, you’ll want to make sure you bring the 45W charger with you.
Best Chromebook for video conferencing
If you’re looking for an affordable Chromebook with strong performance and a solid build, the Chromebook x360 14c is an option for you. Nobody does laptop builds quite like HP, and this convertible Chromebook is no exception.
Sitting comfortably in the $500-$600 range the device is powered by Intel Core processors (our test unit had an i3), and it ran our standard office workload without issue. We saw little heat and little fan noise throughout. Battery life was acceptable, though we didn’t quite get a full day. We even found the webcam to be surprisingly good.
The primary drawback worth considering is the dim screen – it maxes out at 250 nits, and we had to deal with quite a bit of glare in brighter areas. It’s also far from the most portable product on this list, weighing in at 3.35 pounds. But ultimately, this is a nice-looking and nice-feeling device that’s particularly good for video conferencing.
Best Chromebook for power users
With a hefty Intel processor and Thunderbolt 4 support, Acer’s Chromebook Spin 714 is one of the most powerful Chromebooks you can buy. It’s lightning fast, generating little noise and heat even under fairly intense professional workloads.
The keyboard is excellent with a comfortable, quiet feel, and nice backlighting. There’s even an HDMI port, which you don’t see on a thin Chromebook every day. It’s a well-built device as well, with a professional finish suitable for an office setting. The main drawbacks to consider are that the Spin’s speakers aren’t great, and the battery life is a bit lower than last year’s model’s was.
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