2017 is now coming to a close and as we look back at the year, it has proven to be a busy one for Chromebooks and Chrome OS in general. A number of solid and high-profile Chromebooks have come through which collectively raised the average price of a Chromebook up slightly, compared to previous years. This is likely to be a trend that continues in 2018 as Chromebooks continue to become more design-focused, more powerful, and overall – better. Chromebooks do, however, still remain a highly affordable alternative to laptops and if you are in the market for a new Chromebook before the year closes out, then here are our top 10 best Chromebooks picks for December, 2017.
10. Lenovo ThinkPad 13
The Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook came through quite early in 2016 which makes it a fairly old Chromebook compared to most of the others on this list. However, this is decent Chromebook and one worth considering for those in the market for one. One of the benefits of the ThinkPad 13 is that it is fairly customizable so buyers do have the ability to choose the quality of the processor included. Which in turn also leads to upgrades in the RAM and storage departments. So this is not quite the same as other options where there is only one choice with one set of specs. Of course, choosing an upgraded model can significantly up the overall price of the Chromebook as well, and to the point where this becomes properly comparable to a laptop investment. But again, this still remains one of the specific selling points with this model – you have the choice.
Where there is no choice, however, is in the size as regardless of which customized option is selected, all ThinkPad 13 models come with the same 13.3-inch display which makes use of a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Making this a Chromebook which will suit those looking for a slightly bigger display than what is typically found with the vast majority of Chromebooks – like number 9 on this list.
9. Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook
Unlike a majority of the Chromebooks that have come through of late, the Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook does not seem to place much of its focus on its design. Resulting in a Chromebook that is certainly not as attractive as a number of the other options listed here. That is at the aesthetic level, however. As this is a Chromebook that is more concerned with braving the perils of daily usage than looking good. So think of this as more of a rugged Chromebook, one which will survive student life, as well as other high-impact and usage environments. In achieving this highlighted level of durability, the Flex 11 Chromebook is bulkier than other Chromebooks, resulting in a less portable design. But as mentioned, one that is certainly adequately protected.
Design aside the Flex 11 Chromebook features an 11.6-inch display along with a 1366 x 768 resolution. Inside, this one comes loaded with 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, and a MediaTek 8173C processor. One of the major downsides with this model is the price, as it is just not quite as price-friendly as some of the other options. By the same token, not quite as feature-rich as other similarly-priced Chromebooks.
8. Samsung Chromebook 3
The Samsung Chromebook 3 is unlikely to win any design or style awards either. Likewise, it is not going to provide you with the richest of Chrome OS experiences. In fact, beyond accessing Chrome OS this Chromebook does not offer much else. But therein is its selling point, as this is not supposed to be an all-encompassing and providing Chromebook. Instead, the Chromebook 3 is designed to offer consumers the option to get involved with Chrome OS without having to pay anywhere near the costs associated with other Chromebooks. And while there are many affordable Chromebooks available now, this one does come with the added benefit of being a Samsung product – so you are getting some brand name recognition here, and for some, that is a selling point in its own right.
As for the actual Chromebook, this is a smaller Chromebook due to its inclusion of an 11.6-inch display with a 1366 x 768 resolution. There are two versions available although the only real difference between the two is the RAM count with consumers able to choose between either a 2GB or 4GB model. Otherwise, buyers can expect the same 16GB storage and the same Intel Celeron N3050 processor to be included with both.
7. ASUS Chromebook Flip C101
The original ASUS Chromebook Flip was a super popular option as it truly bridged the gap between a tablet and a Chromebook. This was largely due to the Chromebook Flip’s size placing it more in tablet territory than anything else. So for those looking for the ultimate in portability the Chromebook Flip was it. This newer model builds on all of those same design traits and features resulting in a near-identical user experience. Therefore, potential buyers can expect the same 10.1-inch sized display, the same rotating hinge (which allows it to be used in a variety of positions), and largely the same look overall.
Design aside, and in spite of its size, the Chromebook Flip C101 is designed to be a powerful Chromebook as it does come loaded with a standard premium spec lineup including a combination of 4GB RAM, 16GB storage, and a Rockchip RK3399 quad-core processor. Resulting in a very small, yet powerful Chromebook.
6. Acer Chromebook 14
Acer has too many Chromebooks nowadays to count. Which results in the company pretty much having a Chromebook to match any individual’s particular needs. For example, if you are after a more portable Chromebook, then the number 5 placed R13 is likely to be a better option. If you want a bigger Chromebook then the Chromebook 15 from Acer is likely to be a better option. Which makes the Chromebook 14 sort of out of place in many respects – although that is exactly where its charm lies. As while this is not the most feature-rich or design-forward Chromebook on the market, it is one which will likely be an ideal choice for most potential Chromebook buyers. It is not too small, nor too big, and offers a build quality which is in line with the rest of Acer’s Chromebook portfolio. In short, this is just a very good and basic Chromebook.
The benefit of this lack of features is that in spite of its decent sized display, this is a very affordable Chromebook compared to many of the other models on this list. Making this a good option to consider for those looking to max out on display size without having to max out on the price. As for the specs, in addition to the 14-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, the Chromebook 14 also features 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and an Intel Celeron N3160 processor.
5. Acer Chromebook R 13
The Chromebook R 13 is one of many Chromebooks from Acer and one which looks to appeal to as many different buyers as possible. Its display is just small enough to be classified as a portable Chromebook while being just large enough to also be classified as a larger Chromebook. Likewise, this is a Chromebook which also features a rotating hinge which means it can be used in a variety of different positions, including a tablet mode. Albeit, as a rather large tablet. Adding to that, Android app support is included, as is a fairly solid and design-focused build quality. So when it comes to checkboxes, this one will likely tick many of them, if not all.
The only and main downside is this is not really the most affordable of Chromebooks and for the cost associated with this one, there are better options available. As this one not only verges on premium in the features and design aspects, but also on price. So while you are getting a very good product here, you are paying a little more than you probably should have to. As for the general specs, the Chromebook R13 comes loaded with a 13.3-inch display, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and a MediaTek (MT8173C) quad-core processor.
4. Acer Chromebook 15 (2017)
The Acer Chromebook 15 is the latest in a line of highly-popular Chromebooks. Although this one marks a significant change in the design language used for this line. As up until now, and in spite of Acer bringing to market a range of sleek-looking Chromebooks, the Chromebook 15 line has been designed to be affordable and has partly achieved this by adopting more of a plastic build quality. That has changed now though, with this model now boasting a more premium aluminum body and a more premium price to match.
The big selling point with the Chromebook 15 is its display. As this is pretty much the largest display on a Chromebook you will find, coming in at 15.6-inches. So for those looking for more of a larger laptop-like experience, then this really is the option worth checking out. Besides its display, the rest of the functionality and features are limited. So there are no bells and whistles attached to this one. Which is not necessarily a bad thing and certainly not for those simply looking for a traditional laptop-like machine that can provide a reliable and solid Chrome OS user experience.
3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 is the most premium member of the Flip lineup. Making this an ideal option for those looking for the build quality and portability of the Flip Chromebooks, but with a much improved design and build quality. There are some compromises though including the size. As while the other Flip models come with a super small display, the display on the C302 has been upgraded to a 12.5-inch display. While this is a downside to those who prefer the compact nature of the Flip line, it may also prove to be a motivator to buy for those who found the original model too small. In either case, this model is no longer as portable as the previous Flip model.
On the spec front, most of what else that is on offer is consistent with what would be expected from a premium Chromebook purchase in 2017, including 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and an Intel Core m3 processor. While the size is bigger this time around, the C302 stays true to its namesake thanks to the inclusion of a rotating hinge which allows the Chromebook to be adjusted for use in multiple positions.
2. Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro
The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro are largely the same Chromebook. The two models barely differentiate except when it comes to the processor with the Pro model coming equipped with a better-known processor. That aside and these two Chromebooks do offer an identical similar experience overall. Making either of these models a great candidate for a new Chromebook purchase.
What makes these two Chromebooks so popular is that they combine nearly every Chromebook feature you can think of into one product and within a price range which just keeps this priced relative to the rest of the market. So while it is that little bit more expensive than some of the other premium Chromebooks, you are getting slightly more. Like for example the display which is not only 12.3-inches in size, but also comes boasting a 2400 x 1600 resolution. Making this display just that little bit better than the displays offered with the previous Chromebooks on this list. Likewise, while the rest of the spec list is fairly generic for the premium level (4GB RAM and 32GB storage) this one does come with its own stylus and a touch screen sensitive enough to make the use of the stylus worthwhile. That is in addition to a tight integration with Android apps, a rotating hinge, and more.
1. Google Pixelbook
Since the Google Pixelbook was announced it has been our go-to pick for best Chromebook. However, and this is a big however, this one skews the Chromebook list massively due to its price which is significantly higher than everything else on this list. In fact, in nearly all cases it is either at least twice or three times more expensive than any other option here. So this is not going to be a Chromebook suited to everyone. However, when it comes to the pure power, its premium design, and emphasis on the Chrome OS experience, the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook you can buy today. Not necessarily the most accessible, but certainly the best.
Part of the reason for this is how the Google Pixelbook is all about showcasing what a Chromebook can do. As this one does come with a few tweaks to further accentuate the Chrome OS experience, such as a dedicated Google Assistant hardware button. Likewise, it is also one which has been somewhat purpose-designed for an ultra smooth Android app experience. Add to that, a baseline model which (at its minimum) comes loaded with a 12.3-inch display, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, a rotating hinge, and compatibility with the company’s own stylus, the Pixelbook Pen. If you want the best Chromebook, this is it.