Tech companies can never go wrong in their quest for browser-based laptops. This effort paved the way for the best Chromebook for teachers that we see today.
Now, more Chromebooks are coming to the limelight and Google has offered an entire portal system called Google for Education. It holds loads of case studies, resources, and training that successfully implements Chromebooks in the education sector and the environment.
There are important things to consider before deciding if a Chromebook is really for you. For example, is their limited hardware capacity or if it can run Windows.
I have prepared this review to help you understand how Chromebooks work and perform. I am also sharing with you my top 10 picks for the best Chromebooks ideal for both educators and students.
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are an innovative alternative to most laptops available on the market. If you’re in search of a laptop with a simple operating system that’s easy to use and even easier on your wallet, a Chromebook might be perfect for you.
Chromebooks are lightweight laptops that heavily depend on Google Chrome. They can be brought anywhere and they sure have a perfect spot in your backpack.
Chrome OS has its entire focus on the most important part of a computer: your browser. In a Chromebook, the file manager, app launcher, taskbar, and so on, resides mainly within a Chrome tab. This enables a super-fast startup and snappy performance.
While Chrome OS specializes in Google’s services, like Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and Docs, you can still install web-based Chrome Apps from the Chrome Web Store. However, Google is discontinuing Chrome apps on macOS, Linux, and Windows for the reason that are rarely used. The good news is Google remains open to the possibility of pulling the plug on Chrome Apps for Chromebooks in June 2022.
Even though Chromebook has limited space for storage, it still allows you to open and save different types of files like documents, PDFs, images, and media. Sometimes it may delete downloaded files to free up space.
The benefit of saving almost anything on the web is that you have access to everything from any computer. Plus, if your Chromebook ever bites the dust, you won’t have to worry about losing all your apps, documents, and settings.
Finally, Chromebook screen sizes tend to be more comparable to their Windows counterparts, with everything from miniature 12-inch Chromebooks like the Pixel Slate to 15-inch models like the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630. There aren’t any larger than that, but Chromebooks work well with external monitors for those who need more screen space.
Not all Chromebooks have high-resolution screens, but there is no reason to think a Chromebook’s screen can’t look as good as Windows laptops.
Are you in a hurry? Take a peek at the top 3 Chromebook EDITOR’S CHOICE.
Editor’s choice # 1
Google Pixelbook Go M3 Chromebook
- Lightweight and easy to carry with barely 2 pounds and 13-mm thin design
- Features long battery life that lets you stay unplugged for up to 12 hours
- Starts up in seconds with the 8th Gen Intel Core Processor that is quick and responsive
- Comes with a backlit keyboard and Hush Keys for comfortable and quiet use in a spacious touchpad
The Evolution Pof Chromebooks
The newest Chromebooks have stepped up from being basic systems running Chrome OS to being elegant computers that offer surprisingly rich capabilities. A few sports carbon-fiber chassis or use a lightweight magnesium-alloy frame with a glossy white plastic exterior. Others add a bright in-plane switching (IPS) display, which offers sharp images and wide viewing angles, and a few elite models swap out the standard eMMC-based storage for a speedier, roomier 128GB solid-state drive (SSD). The top models have premium styling that even owners of high-end laptops would envy.
Over the last few years, the Chromebook category has matured beyond basic functionality, and the real competition is now based on features. We’re seeing more options that previously were available only on Windows laptops. For one thing, some Chromebooks now have touch displays, and starting with version 71 of the Chrome operating system, it was optimized for touch input. That’s handy when you’re tapping away at Android apps, which are designed from the outset for touch.
Various screen sizes are available, too, from 10 inches to 15 inches. Other models sport convertible designs that let you fold the Chromebook into modes for laptop, tablet, or presentation use, along the lines of 360-degree-rotating models like Lenovo’s Yoga or HP’s x360 families. Some models now even let you detach their keyboards to use them as true tablets, just as you can with Windows tablets.
The result is that these days, a budget laptop and a similarly priced Chromebook can look more alike than you might expect.
Chromebook Buying Guide and Advice
Originally seen as a laptop built around Google’s cloud, these laptops have done quite well in the education market. Over time, however, their appeal has widened, and the best Chromebooks are some of the best laptops overall today.
When shopping for the best Chromebook, one must consider a few things like specs, battery life, and other features. Know more about what you must consider when shopping for a Chromebook.
Because Chromebooks are meant primarily for online use, the specs aren’t as important as they are for Windows laptops, but you’ll still want to know how much power and storage you’re getting for your money. Here’s a quick guide.
Ram – When it comes to RAM, Chromebooks come with either 2GB or 4GB. While models with 4GB are more expensive, I have found that difference to be worth it for multi-tasking.
Both the HP Chromebook 14 (4GB RAM) and the Lenovo 100S Chromebook (2GB RAM) featured the same Celeron N2840 processors, but the HP notebook handled more than a dozen open tabs without a problem while the Lenovo stuttered with 10 open Chrome tabs and Spotify playing.
CPU – The processor in your Chrome OS machine helps determine how smoothly your Chromebook performs, especially when you have multiple tabs open and you’re streaming video or playing games.
A low-end CPU like a Celeron or a Pentium will serve you just fine if all you do is browse with a tab or two open. Chromebooks based on Intel Core CPUs like the Core i3 and the Core i5 will allow for more able multitasking. They will also be more expensive, all else being equal.
A $300 Windows laptop with an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of memory might be unpleasantly sluggish in everyday use under Windows 10, but a Chromebook with those same specs should offer a fine user experience. If you tend to be a multitasker, though, consider a Core chip.
Intel Celeron chips are found in many Chromebooks, and they often provide acceptable speed. For instance, Acer Chromebook 11 could run 8 concurrent Chrome tabs but stuttered after opening another. If that does not sound like enough for you, then there are certain Chromebooks that pack Intel Core CPUs for even more speed. The biggest downside to Core M Chromebooks is its heftier price.
If you want a Chromebook with enough speed to run your favorite Android apps, consider laptops with the Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, such as the Pixelbook. Meanwhile, if you want a Chromebook without an Intel Chip, there’s always 2014’s Acer Chromebook 13, the only Chrome OS machine with an Nvidia chip (the Tegra K1). While it offers excellent graphics performance, it doesn’t offer a touch screen.
Editor’s Choice # 2
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop
- 360-degree hinge and 12.5-inch touchscreen lets you use the C302 in tablet, laptop, stand, and tent modes
- Intel Core Processor with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM for fast performance
- With automatic updates and built-in anti-virus protection to keep C302 up to date
- Starts up in seconds and lasts all day, thanks to a long battery life rated up to 10 hours
Storage Size – Since Chrome OS is so lightweight, Chromebooks often don’t need much storage. Most pack just 16GB of onboard storage, and that’s likely all you’ll need at this stage. Once Android support lands on the platform, users will find ways to make use of the SD card reader in notebooks such as the Acer Chromebook 14, where you can expand the storage up to 64GB.
Most of your files on a Chromebook will be stored in the cloud, so Chromebooks include only a small serving of eMMC-based storage, usually 32GB or 64GB, on which to save your local creations. Look for an SD card slot if you think you’ll want to save more files on the device.
Spring for a 32GB model now if you’re buying with Android apps in mind. Similarly-priced Windows laptops often include 32GB by default, but that operating system takes up so much space that you’re left with a similar amount of free storage as a 16GB Chromebook.
Google gives you 100GB of free Google Drive storage with every Chromebook purchase, though that only lasts for two years, after which you’ll only have the standard 15GB of free space.
Screen – Another thing that matters is the screen size. You may appreciate a bright, color-accurate panel with a 1366 x 768-pixel dimensions for your writing and reading needs. However, if you prefer sharper images, video, and graphics, then look for one with a full-HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels).
Windows 10 has been built for touch screens, but you can get the same functionality in Chrome OS. You just have to know which one to get — and expect to pay about a $100 premium. For instance, the $280 Acer Chromebook R 11 can bend into a tablet, making use of its IPS touch-screen display.
For most midsize Chromebooks with screens from 13 to 15 inches, 1080p is just fine.
Editor’s Choice # 3
Acer Chromebook Spin 15 Convertible Laptop
- Convertible 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS 10-point multi-touchscreen
- The 360° dual-torque hinge quickly transforms into a notebook, stand-up display, tent or tablet
- Backlit keyboard and Corning Gorilla glass touchpad and up to 13 hours battery life
- Additional 100GB of Google Drive space to make sure all files are backed up
Connectivity – Most Chromebook connections are wireless, as you’ll use the machine almost exclusively attached to Wi-Fi. Ethernet ports are not common. If you’ll need to give presentations, look for a video output port, such as HDMI, that matches what displays you will have at your disposal. Also, look for a USB port or two if you’ll want to attach a mouse or other peripheral by wire. Also, as an incredible aid to your presentations check for connectivity for your Bluetooth speakers for monstrous sound quality.
Chromebooks typically offer exceptional battery life, but not as much as they used to. Of the 10 Chromebooks I have reviewed on this list, I have seen an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes of endurance on their battery test involving continuous web surfing and movie streaming.
On the top end, you’ll notice standouts like the Acer Chromebook R 13’s runtime of 11:00, though the average is down from the 9:59 time I previously found. Google’s own Pixelbook, disappointingly, offers a relatively short 7 hours and 43 minutes of juice. Then again, the Pixelbook Go, an arguably better value than the more premium Pixelbook, lasted an excellent 11 hours and 29 minutes.
I recommend shooting for at least 9 hours of juice, which half of the Chromebooks in this review offer.
10 Best Chromebooks for Teachers
**Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links below, meaning that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Most Chromebooks are designed and built with teachers in mind. Teachers and students alike know that they will be spending most of their time in the Chrome browser and working on Google Docs. They are also very easy to use and fairly secure. Further, they are quite easy to update.
Here are the top 10 best Chromebooks that will greatly benefit teachers. Make sure to take note of what you are looking for and see if you can find it in any of the products mentioned. Remember to consider the things I mentioned in the buying guide.
1. Google Pixelbook Go
Google continues its tradition of making the best Chromebook in the world. While its older Pixelbook used to occupy the top spot in my best Chromebook list, it’s been replaced by Google’s latest Chromebook: the Pixelbook Go. This is a Chromebook that proves that these devices can be just as stylish and powerful as traditional laptops, and the Pixelbook Go brings a lot of the original Pixelbook’s premium features to a more affordable device. It also features a fantastic battery life and a brilliant keyboard that makes typing on a pleasure.
The Google Pixelbook Go has indubitably brought quite a few things to the table when it hit the streets, especially for its price. Sure, it’s still a bit out of range for some people, price-wise, but it’s certainly more economical and accessible to mainstream users than the Google Pixelbook and other premium laptops out there. In fact, it’s one of those aspirational products for Google’s partners that is actually within reach of most peoples’ budgets, unlike most of Microsoft’s line of Surface devices that are rather inaccessibly priced.
Of course, the Google Pixelbook Go is designed to be thin and light, measuring just 0.5 inches thick and weighing 2.3 pounds. The laptop comes in just two colors: “Just Black” and “Not Pink” – otherwise known as black and pink.
This laptop’s frame is made from a magnesium alloy painted in a matte texture that, paired with the rippled base, is veritably easier to grip and hold while moving between meetings or workspaces, as Google promises. I find this frame to be very resistant to pressure and flex, which is rare in Chromebooks. And, boy, does Google make use of every last inch of that frame.
This model not only sports a keyboard with comfortably spaced keys but also top-firing speakers. These speakers beat the vast majority of laptops of this size, normally found with bottom-firing speakers.
However, one thing that Google didn’t include is biometric log-in capability: there is no fingerprint sensor nor is there an iris or face scanner on the Pixelbook Go. Considering that many Chromebooks provide at least one of these solutions at this price point, it’s a sore spot for sure. Google says that it’s relying on its Android phone unlocking feature, but that leaves out anyone not using an Android phone.
Meanwhile, Pixelbook Go’s keyboard is, without a doubt, one of the best. This is an improvement of Google’s “Hush” design, which brings the company’s original, silent Pixelbook keys to this more reasonable price point. This is the best combination of silence and forceful feedback that you will ever experience on a laptop keyboard. Also, the Pixelbook Go keyboard is backlit. Though it is not a huge deal-breaker, it is a good feature especially for those who like to work at night or in the dark.
When it comes to connectivity, the Pixelbook Go is equipped with two USB-C 3.1 ports that can handle both charging and display output, in addition to a 3.5mm headphone jack. This is by no means an expansive port selection, but it doesn’t really have to be. With that said, the laptop’s mid-range and high-end configurations are easily outmatched by Thunderbolt 3 ports aplenty when looking at their price-equivalent competition.
There is one disadvantage when comparing the Pixelbook Go frame design to its predecessor and competitors at similar prices: it’s not a 2-in-1 laptop. This certainly impacts the laptop’s versatility, although others do not care for convertible 2-in-1 laptops anyway.
Now, let’s move on to the display where you will be spending most of your time staring at. The Pixelbook Go utilizes a 1080p touchscreen, which displays colors with the vibrancy and accuracy you can expect from laptops within the high-end price range. You will feel confident editing photos on this laptop screen than most other Chromebooks.
Plus, above the screen, the Google Pixelbook Go features a 1080p front-facing camera that records video at 60 frames per second. Not even the 2019 MacBook Pro models come with this sharp of a webcam. Depending upon your connection, you will look much better than most other people in your video meetings using this laptop.
The Google Pixelbook Go isn’t perfect. It doesn’t scale particularly well through its mid-range and high-end configurations, for one. And, I would also love to see some more features for the asking price, particularly a biometric login option. However, you’re also getting some tech here that’s not even seen in Apple’s priciest laptops, mainly a 1080p webcam. Plus, it features a remarkable battery life and debatably the best laptop keyboard you can ever use.
Being a Chromebook, you shouldn’t expect groundbreaking performance from the Pixelbook Go, particularly with fanless Intel CPUs inside. If you are getting one from the Core i5 Y-series, then it is more than enough for basic tasks and even some light photo editing.
The laptop is certainly capable of running Android games and playing back 1080p video just fine, but anything beyond that will likely make the system chug. This works out well for Google, as its OS doesn’t really support many truly demanding applications.
With the 8GB of RAM, this Chromebook is able to multitask between a number of Google Chrome browser tabs. In short, any task you will need to perform your job as a teacher can be done on the Pixelbook Go including workload spanning several browser tabs and Android apps at any given time.
This device has an impressive battery life, taking a massive 11 hours and 14 minutes to run the Chromebook down via a local video playback test. This promising battery life is rare for almost every laptop on the market. Plus, the battery can get up to two hours of charging time!
The Verdict: Google Pixelbook Go has an incredible battery life and amazing ‘hush’ keyboard. It is the ultimate Chromebook for teachers who do not want to spend a grand on Google’s previous Pixelbook. Its amazing battery life and keyboard are just two of this model’s selling points. Also, it has very few downsides for both average users and dedicated fans of Google and Chrome OS. This one has no biometric login, so you might want to check for a different model if you are looking for this feature.
2. HP Chromebook 14
HP Chromebook 14’s great feature set and decent performance are enough to convince you to make the switch, especially if you’re looking for something in the budget realm. It’s speedy enough for checking your email and surfing the web. Plus, its 14-inch display is bright and crisp, and its trackpad and keyboard are great. This makes a wonderful item on your computer desk either in the classroom or in your home office.
The HP Chromebook 14 isn’t perfect, but it’s a solid all-around machine that may make you forget you’re leaving something behind. It almost seems like the digital equivalent of living out of a suitcase. Sure, you do it when you need to, but it’s not perfect for prolonged usage.
HP’s Chromebook isn’t exactly a high-end PC, but it’s a slick, streamlined piece of kit nonetheless. The tapered enclosure measures 0.7 inches (about 18mm) thick at its thickest point. At 3.74 pounds (1.7kg), it’s also reasonably light. Despite having a slightly larger screen, Chromebook 14 does not feel at all heavy.
The case itself is entirely plastic, and it does flex and creaks some as you adjust the screen or pick it up one-handed. On the bright side, the case doesn’t have any exposed screws, so you don’t need to worry about a loose screen dropping out randomly.
This model comes in the shade of blue, which HP calls Sky Blue. It looks cool, but it isn’t for everyone. A white keyboard and lid offset all the vibrant blue, though it makes the Chromebook 14 review unit the PC equivalent of a Smurf. (Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your taste in 1980s cartoons).
You’ll find no shortage of inputs on the Chromebook 14. The left edge features an HDMI-out port, a security lock slot, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. Along the right, you’ll find the power connector and two USB 2.0 ports. Personally, I think it would be better if all three USB ports support USB 3.0, but there’s plenty of connectivity for most users.
Teachers who are also writers will be pleasantly surprised by the typing experience on the Chromebook 14. The keyboard is very responsive with plenty of key travel. Further, the trackpad is equally excellent. The whole trackpad is a button, so you don’t have to fiddle around to find the left- and right-click buttons.
The HP Chromebook 14 feels fast. It boots absurdly quickly, the built-in Chrome browser opens almost instantly, and with rare exceptions, everything just feels responsive.
With a 1080p display and quad-core 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2940 processor inside, this Chromebook 14 is the higher-end model that HP offers at $279. Though it isn’t a technical powerhouse by modern standards, thanks to Chrome OS’s minimal bloat and speedy performance, that almost doesn’t matter. Almost.
These specs generally compare to the Acer Chromebook 15, which features a 1.5GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 3205U processor and 2GB of memory. It’s also over a pound lighter than Acer’s offering, though the Acer has a 15.6-inch screen. The Acer also includes 32GB of onboard storage, compared to the 16GB on the HP Chromebook 14.
Since Chrome is designed with cloud storage in mind, the relative lack of storage isn’t as big an issue as it would otherwise be.
The Chromebook 14 is more than fast enough for day-to-day tasks, but it may stutter occasionally under heavy use. Videos would drop frames, for instance, or scrolling would stutter a bit. With more casual web browsing usage, such stuttering was rare, so you shouldn’t run into problems too often.
The 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen is bright, crisp, and evenly backlit, with appealing color saturation and contrast. Photos and text appear sharp and crisp on-screen, and its viewing angle is generally good. However, Chrome OS lacks an interface scaling feature that lets you increase the size of text and onscreen elements across the system, but that’s hardly the screen’s fault.
You wouldn’t expect booming audio from a laptop, and the Chromebook 14 is no exception to this rule. The built-in stereo speakers are tinny and hollow-sounding, but they’re serviceable. On the plus side, audio is loud and clear. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll want a good pair of earbuds or headphones.
HP claims the Chromebook 14’s 3-cell, 37-watt-hour battery can last over 8 hours on a single charge. However, based on the experience of some users, it only managed to last for 5 to 6 hours. That is the case if you are binge-watching a movie.
Meanwhile, you may be able to squeeze in around seven hours of usage while browsing the web, streaming music, viewing YouTube videos, and otherwise going about your work tasks.
The Verdict: The best Chromebooks balance a bargain price and efficient use of Chrome OS – and the HP Chromebook 14 is the perfect example of that. While it’s similar to the Acer Chromebook 15 in a lot of ways, this 14-inch Chromebook is a tad more compact and looks slightly better. Complemented by a bright blue finish and a screen made to astound, the HP Chromebook 14 offers the best value of any Chromebook out there. Even if the battery life and performance are average – the HP Chromebook 14 is easily one of the best Chromebooks to date.
3. Asus Chromebook Flip
The Asus Chromebook Flip is everything teachers could ever want in a premium Chromebook. At 12.5 inches and 2.6 pounds, this portable is an easy, lightweight travel companion that offers several form factors in one with its 2-in-1 design, all without burning a hole in your pocket. Toss this in your Tote bag and then, you’re good to go.
Even though the idea of the “premium Chromebook” has been kicked around since Google first announced the Chromebook, it really wasn’t until the Chromebook Flip rolled out that the idea was executed perfectly. It boasts attention to value without compromising on performance is something even Google Pixelbook can’t rival. That’s why, even years after it came out, it’s still among the best Chromebook for teachers around.
The Asus Chromebook Flip is one of my favorite Chromebooks, and it remains a top pick for budget-minded users considering Asus laptops.
The Asus Chromebook Flip is fitted in an all-aluminum chassis with an anodized finish instead of a brushed texture. Overall, it has a clean, no-nonsense look, and folds up to a nearly symmetrical slab of metal.
Weighing in at 2.6 pounds (1.19kg), the Asus Chromebook Flip is one of the most lightweight Chromebooks around. It’s also one of the first convertible Chrome OS computers you’ll actually want to use in tablet mode, unlike the 3.3-pound (1.5kg) Acer Chromebook R13.
In all, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 continues in the footsteps of every other unibody laptop inspired by the MacBook Pro in recent years. However, the straight edges, rounded corners, and 0.9 inches (2.29cm) slim frame all add up to a smart design that contends with HP and Google’s more premium models, but at a significantly lower price tag.
Portability aside, the Asus Chromebook Flip seems to have been specifically designed for tablet use. Asus has added a clever magnetic clasp that pulls the screen lid tight to the underside of the notebook. It’s an inspired detail that helps the 2-in-1 Chromebook feel like one solid machine rather than a foldable electronic, and we’re surprised this solution hasn’t come sooner.
When you’re not using the Asus Chromebook Flip in tablet mode, it relies on an excellent keyboard that makes it as familiar and comfortable as any traditional laptop. The keys provide a satisfying 1.4mm of crisp key travel that’s been missing in a world of ultra-thin notebooks.
Intel Core M-series CPUs might just be the perfect processors to power Chromebooks, seeing as they deliver more performance than your typical Celeron chip while also being more efficient.
With its Intel Core m3 CPU, the Asus Chromebook Flip runs almost twice as fast as the Dell Chromebook 13 with a Celeron processor. That said, this hybrid doesn’t quite have the juice to keep up with the Intel Core i5-powered Acer Chromebook 14 for Work or the Core m5 chip inside the discontinued HP Chromebook 13.
Regardless of the actual specs, the Asus Chromebook Flip’s performance is incredible, even with two Chrome windows open with 12 tabs each. Alongside your heavy browsing habits, you can still have Google Music playing in the background.
Although the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 only comes with a 1,920 x 1,080 display, FHD is really all you need on a 12.5-inch screen. It’s not as sharp as the QHD HP Chromebook 13, but the lower pixel count offers two more hours of battery life – a tradeoff that many folks would happily make.
As far as audio, the Asus Chromebook Flip’s speakers don’t offer much nuance to really appreciate music. They can get loud, but the frequency is a little bit tinny, which limits how high you can set the volume before it’s unbearable. Do your ears a favor, and opt for a pair of headphones if you’re in the mood to rock out
Chromebooks are known for having a long battery life, and the Asus Chromebook Flip continues that tradition. In fact, it’s the longest-lasting premium Chromebook, having an impressive 10 hours and 46 minutes of battery life. This is more than enough for a teacher’s typical workload. Still, if that isn’t enough, you can boost battery life dramatically by running fewer tasks, turning off the keyboard backlight, and reducing display brightness.
The Verdict: Before Google rolled out the Pixelbook, and showed us exactly what the best Chromebooks should be, the Asus Chromebook Flip was the Google laptop a lot of Google laptops aspired to be. With a full Intel Core processor and a full-HD display, the Asus Chromebook Flip was certainly a game-changer. These days, in the shadow of Google Pixelbook, the Asus Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook for you if you want the Pixelbook’s key features, but cannot afford its steep price. If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best Asus laptops to consider.
4. Acer Chromebook R11
The Acer Chromebook R11 draws inspiration from the MacBook Air and is stylish without going too far. This Chromebook is a lot better than its competitors, thanks to its 360-degree hinge. While it’s not the fastest Chromebook on the block, you can leave raw processor and RAM capacity to the Windows and Mac laptops. The Acer Chromebook R11 perfectly utilizes Chrome OS, so it doesn’t need the best specs to provide a smooth-as-butter experience.
While the Acer Chromebook R11 is showing its age these days, it means there are some brilliant deals out there if you shop around. The good thing about Chromebooks is that they don’t become obsolete as quickly as Windows laptops – and the Chromebook R11 will work just as well today as when it was first released.
One of the big benefits of the Chromebook R11 is its size and weight. The R11 weighs just 2.76 pounds (1.25kg), with a relatively small frame of 11.57 x 8.03 x 0.76 inches (29 x 20.3 x 1.9cm) (W x D x H). This makes an awesome occupant in your bag.
The Acer Chromebook R11 is largely made up of a thin, white plastic chassis with a matte finish. Where that design differs, however, is on the lid of the machine, which features a textured white metal panel that looks and feels great.
In fact, that texture extends throughout the entire Chromebook R11, giving the laptop a nice grippy feeling while carrying it around. It’s a minor flourish, but the diamond weave texture gives what could be a boring white slab a bit of panache. The R11 is far from what you might consider sexy, but it’s not boring, either.
Despite being a largely plastic affair, the R11 feels surprisingly sturdy in the hands, with little to no give whatsoever. The only complaint worth noting here is the R11’s white exterior, which proved to be pretty adept at picking up various smudges seemingly at random. Truthfully, this is something you’ll run into with any piece of white tech, but that textured finish may be helping to pick things up.
As for ports, the Acer Chromebook R11 features one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, each occupying separate sides. There’s also a full-size HDMI port with HDCP support, a headphone jack if ever you are into online teaching and an SD card slot for transferring files and photos.
The Acer Chromebook R11 performed admirably, albeit with a few minor hiccups. The combination of the Intel Celeron N3150 processor and 4GB of RAM kept things surprisingly fluid even when typing in a Google Doc with a couple of YouTube videos silently streaming and pumping jams through Google Play Music.
However, there are moments with minor hiccups in R11’s performance. Google Docs occasionally struggles with keeping up with typing. This lag experience is infrequent and may typically work itself out in a second or so, but it will break your train of thought.
The Verdict: The Acer Chromebook R11’s minimalist design isn’t the most exciting, but this is an extremely capable Chromebook that will last all day on battery. It can also flip 360-degrees into a tablet. If you’re in the market for a small Chromebook, it’s hard to argue with Acer’s R11. The price certainly hits a sweet spot, and a laptop is a great machine for getting a bit of work done, kicking back for some tunes, and occasionally breaking it out as a tablet replacement. It may not be quite as stylish as the Asus Chromebook Flip, or as rugged as the Dell Chromebook 11, it sits firmly in the middle.
5. Acer Chromebook 314
The Acer Chromebook 314 offers excellent value for money given its price point, size, and performance. If you’re looking for a good size laptop-Esque Chromebook in the 14-inch range that is easy to use, reliable and has a wonderful screen and battery life combo, then this is it.
The Acer Chromebook 314 is comfortable in its own skin, knows its limitations and capabilities, striking a great balance between design, usability, features, battery life, and performance.
It’ll handle all your online work needs, including web browsing, admin, and watching entertainment. The keyboard is satisfying and a joy to use, with a satisfying click and clack, while the touchpad interacts well with all your fingers’ movements and commands.
The metallic silver casing surrounds it all apart from the black keys on the board and the black surrounding the screen. A pleasing contrast and exactly what you’d expect from a sleek Chromebook.
The screen itself is nestled nicely in the dark frame with a thick bezel on the bottom housing the logo, two thin ones on the sides, and a medium one at the top. The latter houses the camera and does it so neatly that you have to look hard to confirm it is there. Nice and subtle.
Underneath that, the traditional restrained Chromebook keyboard is bang in the middle of the bottom pad and sits neatly above the large touchpad. Simple and effective.
Given its place at the larger end of the Chromebook-size spectrum, the fact it weighs only 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg) is great too. Even for someone with small hands, picking it up one-handed from pretty much whatever angle is not much trouble at all. When closed, the Acer Chromebook 314’s thin nature and lightness result in a very easy to handle the machine. This makes it perfect to live next to the side of the sofa for a living room browsing machine.
All in, the design and build give the Chromebook a very attractive look. It’s particularly successful in mimicking the design of a laptop.
However, this will be a double-edged sword for some. The laptop-esque size will appeal to many people, particularly those looking to keep their Chromebook looking and feeling familiar. But it also denies any opportunity for compactness that some Chromebooks excel in.
Interacting with that great design and actually using the Acer Chromebook 314 is going to be a joy. It is a lovely machine to work and engage with.
The first and most obvious reason for this is the tactile factor: it is very satisfying to both type with and clicks around using the touchpad.
The click and clack of the keyboard are very pleasing, and each push of the touchpad feels significant despite each interaction being brief. There’s a pleasing near-symmetry to the setup of the ports too, so using them is neat and tidy and allows you to plug in what you need and keep the cables and dongles out of the way.
Acer Chromebook 314 will be able to handle everything you will throw at it. May it be a range of work tasks, casual browsing, or simply binge-watching movies. Even the speakers are great enough for a machine of this composition and makeup proving adequate enough for a bit of YouTube rabbit holing and Netflix binging.
The bright, roomy screen makes it ideal to peruse maps and images as well as documents and forms, seamlessly transitioning between tasks. Combine this intensive work out with usual work tasks and still, the Acer Chromebook 314 had no trouble doing exactly what was required of it without any hiccups.
The advertised boot time of around 8 seconds is about bang on, too, and it’s always easy enough to close the lid, and open it again to pick up from right where you left off, no matter the task. No rebooting or restarting delays here which is a big plus.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for a Chromebook that really gives you excellent value for money, then the Acer Chromebook 314 is the best Chromebook for you. It’s easy to use, reliable, and has a wonderful screen and battery life (up to 12 hours) combo – not to mention, a 14-inch crisp and bright display that gives you more screen real estate for your productivity needs. It also has a keyboard that is satisfying and a joy to use, as well as a touchpad that interacts well with all your fingers’ movements and commands. More importantly, it strikes a great balance between design, usability, features, battery life, and performance, while being comfortable with its own limitations.
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is a great little Chromebook that has impressive levels of versatility, as well as satisfying interaction and usability. Just using the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is a joy, and the design and build quality of this device are also immediately apparent as soon as you take it out of the box.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 really is a compact little machine, and its design, build, and aesthetic complement its size enormously. Firstly, it’s a symphony in black; blacks on the back, on the keyboard, and surrounding the screen. But this makes the whole aesthetic cohesive and attractive for a little Chromebook.
The main body of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is the similar matte black material but the ‘top’ or back of the screen has a very cool diamond-print panel. This feels like it could be for added durability to protect the screen but aesthetically it really works too, adding texture and a fun quirk to the design.
Overall, though, the shell feels sturdy and solid, reassuring for those looking for a durable Chromebook. The only very slight exception to this is a bit of noticeable give to the keyboard panel.
This contrasts with the overall solidity and robustness the shell has. While the keyboard is the same size as the larger Acer Chromebook 314, the overall setting of it in a smaller chassis does make everything at least feel more cramped and so it isn’t quite as comfortable as larger Chromebooks.
The first thing to notice when sitting down to use the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is the very satisfying click and clack to the keyboard, and it’s surprising just how pleasing typing could be on such a small machine.
It’s particularly nice that the touchpad is of the same ilk; easy, responsive, and satisfying to use. However, that satisfaction is not matched by what is on screen. You will have to increase the brightness a fair chunk to see pictures more clearly. This inevitably came at the cost of battery life.
The increase in brightness made the screen brighter, obviously, but only in the sense of it getting lighter and whiter; colors and contrasts don’t follow suit, for example, so it is a bit tough on the eyes.
Utilizing the spin mechanism of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 to turn it from a laptop-like device to a tablet-like one is great fun, but also handy, particularly in combination with the touch screen.
You can go from using it as a normal laptop or notepad to a purely browse and touch tablet-like machine on the sofa and then back again, seamlessly, and with minimal effort.
One cool but important note: when the screen is flipped all the way around to use just like a touchscreen, the keyboard is disabled so you accidentally type and smudge keys into odd Google searches as you go.
You can even use the spin mechanism in a variety of ways to enjoy having a device with you wherever you are like putting it into a tent position to watch Netflix.
The boot time of 12 seconds from off to log in screen is great, and means you can close the screen to go into sleep and then instantly starting up again by lifting the screen back up- it’s a really smooth and speedy process.
Sometimes there is the tiniest bit of stuttering as it re-syncs and loads up a Google account, docs, emails, and so on, but this is negligible and certainly nowhere near a major detractor.
Meanwhile, this Chromebook does not provide a blistering performance. Once again, compare these to the bigger and beefier Acer Chromebook 314 and the difference is clear in terms of the data and numbers. Though to its credit, it doesn’t feel much slower in the context of normal use and carrying out tasks such as using dozens of Chrome tabs, playing music and chatting on Slack. It uses its modest and middling hardware to run Chrome OS and apps very efficiently.
The battery life is pretty good with the Acer Chromebook 311, but without being truly outstanding for a Chromebook. You can watch movies or binge-watch series for more than 8 hours. This just shows it will safely last you a working day away from the office.
The charging via USB-C is very quick. and the Acer Chromebook 311 is fully charged from zero in two hours. Throwing this decent battery life in on top of everything else the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 offers, and it’s a very tempting proposition.
If you want something with a bigger tank, the larger Acer Chromebook 314 might be a better choice, however.
The Verdict: If versatility is a top priority, then look no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. This all-rounder has all the makings of a great Chromebook, from its good battery life to its robust build and solid usability. However, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 takes it further with its impressive levels of versatility, thanks to its abundance of ports considering its size, 2-in-1 design, portable size, and excellent touchscreen display. It also boasts a keyboard and a touchpad that are not only reliable but also satisfying to use. That’s a rare thing in a machine at this price point.
7. Asus Chromebook Flip C436F
When you start with a premium portable like the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F, you might perhaps be missing out on a couple of key features that make a Chromebook, a Chromebook – namely, affordability and longevity.
Premium Chromebooks occupy a space of their own on the market. While they’re typically pricier and have a shorter battery life, they also offer more robust processing and graphical prowess than their cheaper siblings, as well as higher quality construction. Essentially, they offer another option to consumers who want the security and light-weightedness of the Chrome OS environment.
And, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is a perfect example of that. Or at least, a darn near perfect example.
This portable has that gorgeous magnesium alloy body that’s as sleek as it is lightweight, beautiful 1080p touchscreen, a keyboard that could practically rival those on the Dell XPS and MacBooks, a couple of extra features like a fingerprint sensor and Wi-Fi 6 support, and that powerful performance that leaves the rest of the more affordable Chromebooks in the dust.
Unfortunately, it’s also not without its share of flaws. And, while no PC is completely perfect, it’s harder to overlook this Chromebook’s shortcomings, as they do affect your overall experience. Both the touchpad and the touch display, while nice and satisfying to the touch, aren’t as accurate and responsive as they should be. The display is also glossy and barely does anything to reduce glare. And, those Harman Kardon speakers, while upward facing, can sound tinny and lacking body.
Asus poured a lot into this Chromebook’s design as well as internals. Its solid, “precision-crafted” magnesium alloy chassis is something you’ll find in more expensive traditional laptop models. As is its keyboard, which boasts nice tactile feedback and a comfortable key travel of 1.2mm.
It also has 2 USB-C ports, one on each side, and both capable of charging, as well as an audio combo 3.5mm jack and a micro-SD slot.
It’s incredibly thin and lightweight as well. It’s not quite as thin and light as the Pixelbook and Galaxy Chromebook, but only barely. What’s more, it’s less than 0.22 pounds and 0.10 inch thick than the famously thin MacBook Air, so you can stuff this in a mid-sized backpack or a tote bag without hassle. This is a great option to consider if weight and size is a massive factor.
This Chromebook really excels in productivity and multitasking. To test just how capable it is, try opening 20 Google Chrome tabs simultaneously. That is indeed a lot of tabs, which will most likely display media-rich content, giving this device a multi-tasking job that would slow down many laptops at this price range.
However, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F hardly breaks a sweat. It even hardly blinks – there were no noticeable signs of buffering or slowdowns. All five videos play smoothly and uninterrupted throughout, and all the images load immediately. And, this Chromebook does all of it without throttling or heating up immensely.
Considering this Chromebook’s size, 8GB RAM and i3 chip, that’s a pretty impressive feat, and more than makes up for its flaws. Granted, its battery life is much less impressive than other Chromebooks, achieving only 9 hours and 4 minutes of longevity during a standard local movie playback test. But, that’s still enough to last you a whole day’s worth of work on a single charge. It’s also not bad, considering that it’s only an hour and 42 minutes shorter than that of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302, which has less powerful internal components.
What you’ve got in the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is an incredibly powerful and feature-rich Chromebook wrapped in a good-looking premium package that’s slightly cheaper than the competition. It has its share of flaws that may be harder to overlook as they really do affect user experience, and normally, that would have made an overall impression of a device less favorable. However, you only need to look at its superb performance and its top-notch features like the keyboard, the fingerprint sensor, and Wi-Fi 6 support to realize that you’ve got a pretty nice (read: NOICE) deal here.
Among the advantages, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F has over its rivals is its display. Granted, in terms of resolution, both the Pixelbook and Galaxy Chromebook still win. However, this Chromebook also boasts a nice NanoEdge display that gives you more screen real estate with a smaller footprint. While the other two only have a 13.3-inch screen, this fits a 14-inch FHD display in a 13-inch chassis, a pretty impressive feat and something folks who like bigger screens will appreciate.
It also boasts Wi-Fi 6, which has lower battery consumption, a faster theoretical maximum speed, and better security protocols – that is, given you’re connected to a Wi-Fi 6 network. If not, it makes the laptop future-proof at the very least.
The Verdict: Premium Chromebooks occupy their own space in the laptop market, bridging that gap between powerful traditional laptops and super lightweight Chromebooks. And, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is perhaps one of the very few examples of these out there, with its combination of superb power, terrific feature set, premium build, and a price tag that’s cheaper than its rivals. If you’re looking for a lightweight OS machine that touts more power than the rest of the clan, this is one of the best Chromebooks 2020 has to offer.
8. Acer Chromebook Spin 11
The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is not a terrible device, but it appeals to a specific audience – teachers, and students who need a laptop to do schoolwork with. It is durable, has decent enough performance, and has an included stylus and carrying case. Considering all of what you are getting, it is pretty inexpensive. This can play the role of a perfect inexpensive gift for yourself.
However, that is where the appeal ends especially comparing it to the similarly-priced 2018 iPad. Let’s find out if the Spin 11 is worth your hard-earned money.
Similar to the Acer Chromebook R 11, the Spin 11 features an all-plastic build. Don’t let that deceive you though, as this Chromebook is one of the sturdiest laptops you will ever use. For the intended audience, this laptop will survive almost any trial it has to endure.
The benefits of the build don’t end there. On paper, the keyboard would seem shallow, with just 1.1mm of key travel, but it feels comfortable and you will not feel the keys bottoming out at all while working on it. You may prefer a wider keyboard, but that is a constraint of the 11-inch form factor more than anything.
It’s not the lightest Chromebook in the shop though, weighing in at 2.96 pounds (1.35kg), making it noticeably heavier than the Asus Chromebook Flip. However, its thin 0.78-inch frame with rounded corners makes it pleasant enough to hold. It may have been difficult to make it lighter without giving up on some of its durability.
Ports are also a huge win here – you have two USB-C ports, which handle data transfer and charging. In a Chromebook at this price range, teachers would have been happy with just one of these ports. It also offers two USB3.0 ports, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack. This is a complete package as far as ports go, and a lot more than we would expect on a Chromebook at this price point much less this size.
The screen also reflects the durable nature of the rest of the Acer Chromebook Spin 11, as it’s covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, so it should be pretty resistant to cracking or shattering – probably not something you should test, though.
The touchpad is a sour point, however. The surface is competent, but it’s extremely sensitive, not to mention the plastic finish and tough center-click turned us off. However, it does support gestures, so it’s not all bad.
The Verdict: The best Chromebooks make the most compelling teacher and student laptops, and that’s exactly where the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 excels. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or a parent of one, this is a cheap, capable and durable laptop that will let you get some school work done while commuting or traveling. You might not get any hardcore gaming or proper video editing is done on it. However, if you only need to write up some papers and stream videos or shows in your downtime, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 should be at the top of your list.
9. Acer Chromebook 15
With Chromebooks now embracing hybrid designs, it’s unfortunate that the Acer Chromebook 15 is a little too straightforward. There’s plenty to appreciate about this Chromebook, but stylus support, or extra power or a convertible design could easily have pushed this to the top of the pile.
Still, the Acer Chromebook 15 is a gorgeous, silent Chromebook with a beautiful 1080p display, fanless design and aluminum body. The 15.6-inch display is the largest available on a Chromebook, and it’s available in touch and non-touch versions. And, because it’s not a 2-in-1 laptop, like the Google Pixelbook or the Samsung Chromebook Pro, having a touch display is more of a luxury than a necessity.
Where the Acer really puts itself above the competition is price and battery life. The Samsung and Pixelbook are both 2-in-1 laptops, with the Samsung being a hybrid Android/Chrome OS device, but both are significantly more expensive. While they have all-day battery life, they can’t even come close to the staggering longevity of the Acer.
This isn’t some chintzy, disposable plastic Chromebook. This is a sharp, business-ready machine that steals a lot of its design cues from the MacBook and other high-end business laptops. The gorgeous aluminum shell is milled on the edges, letting them capture and intensify light reflecting off the milled edges. It almost glows with metallic light.
The chiclet-style keyboard is brightly backlit and feels excellent. Its keys are responsive, and the 15-inch design allows for excellent spacing between the keys. It’s not a full-sized keyboard, but that would have been too crowded, especially given the upward-facing speakers on either side of the keys.
The same milled-metal effect on the edge of the computer follows the edge of the trackpad, which is the only part of the Chromebook 15 that feels off. It lacks the solid feeling of the rest of the computer, feeling loose and clunky. Clicking the trackpad feels mushy and imprecise, and just touching it is unpleasant, moving slightly from the mere weight of a finger resting on it.
At 4.2 pounds (1.95kg), Acer’s Chromebook 15 is significantly heavier than either the Samsung or Pixelbook, both of which are just 2.4 pounds. It never feels heavy in spite of this. All that screen seems to spread the weight around. It’s thin, too, easily sliding into a laptop bag.
When it comes to power, the Chromebook 15 is completely adequate. Chrome OS is deliberately lightweight, cloud-based computing designed specifically to allow these sorts of low-cost computers to exist.
The lack of power compared to its competition never came into play using the Acer, even with multiple tabs open.
At no point did the Chromebook feel noticeably sluggish or underpowered, but it also lacks the cool stylus features and UHD displays of its competitors.
On paper, with the exception of battery life, the Acer falls way behind its competition, putting up numbers less than half as strong as both the Pixelbook and the Samsung.
The fantastic battery is what’s really to love here. Yes, it’s a good looking laptop, and the screen and speakers work well together for watching movies, but it’s that battery life that puts this computer at the same level as more powerful Chromebooks. You just won’t find a 15-inch laptop with this sort of battery life – it’s exhausting. And, the icing on the cake is that even after almost 17 hours of continuous run-time before the battery died, it took less than two hours to charge it back up using the USB-C charger.
The Verdict: With a solid build quality that rivals a MacBook, it’s easy to excuse the Acer Chromebook 15’s aversion to 2-in-1 form factors. Still, given that the best Chromebooks rolling out this year are fully convertible, thanks to the wide adoption of Android app support, the Acer Chromebook 15 had to prove itself with more than great style. Beyond its aptitude for lying flat using a 180-degree hinge, this beautiful 15-inch Chromebook also makes a great impression with its battery life, lasting nearly 17 hours in our battery test.
10. Acer Chromebook Spin 15
The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 might just be one of the very few Chromebooks that can make converts out of traditional laptops users. That is, especially for those on a strict and limited budget, but still want a certain level of performance.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is, to put it simply, one such Chromebook that will put any and all lingering doubts to rest. This Chromebook is an excellent combination of affordability and premium functionality, resulting in a device that offers great value to users who don’t utilize a computer enough to justify paying $1,000 or more for it. It’s got all the bells and whistles as well – the 2-in-1 design, dedicated media keys, and all the ports you would need in a day’s work, to name a few.
There is sort of a love-hate relationship with Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s design. While this 2-in-1 Chromebook’s performance has been impressive, its design has definitely left many wanting more.
Not that it’s a bad design per se, but the opportunities for improvement are so glaring that it’s frustrating that Acer hasn’t gone back to the drawing board to reevaluate the design before releasing it to the public.
There’s so much wasted real estate on this Chromebook, its 15-inch form factor plagued with too much-unused space, from the thick bezels on an otherwise great display to space above the keyboard that sits there gathering dust. The whole thing just looks like it’s from the ‘90s.
It would have been nice if they thinned out those bezels for a much more immersive movie-watching or light gaming experience, and slap on better-sounding speakers.
To be fair to the Acer Chromebook Spin 15, it does have a few things going for it as far as its design goes.
The keyboard is comfortable and pleasant to use, offering just enough travel, resistance, and space between the keys to making for a lovely typing experience that isn’t tedious or too loud to distract your neighbors at the office. This keyboard also boasts its set of dedicated media keys dedicated to browsing, volume, and screen brightness.
The upward-facing speakers – located on both sides of the keyboard – while admittedly hollow, lacking bass and could use a boost, are loud enough for solo use or if you’re with a couple of friends.
Finally, there’s the availability of ports, which is actually decent. There are two USB-C ports to make it future-proof, two USB 3.0s for many of your existing devices, an audio jack for video conferencing, and a Micro SD reader should you need to do some light photo editing on this computer.
Whereas it’s a bit of a hit or miss in its design, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 shines in its performance, showing off its premium Chromebook side with its impressive multi-tasking abilities.
Don’t get me wrong; if you will be playing a heavy game on this then you should expect plenty of latency. You can play it just fine, but it won’t be the smoothest experience. You might also find the game crashing on you once in a while.
That’s hardly surprising considering the specs and the lightweight Chrome OS. However, that quad-core Intel Pentium N4200, coupled with the 4GB LDDR4 that’s faster and more power-efficient, is just the ticket for multitasking on this operating system.
Teachers, and potential users like students, as well as non-computer savvy folks, will enjoy long hours on this the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 browsing the Internet, shopping, watching the latest release on Netflix and playing the hottest game from the Google Play Store, all at the same time. That is after they’re done ticking off all their productivity tasks for work.
If this Chromebook were lighter and smaller, I would readily take it with us on our travels as well.
And, while we’re on the subject, definitely expect long hours: up to 13 hours, to be more specific to what Acer is promising. In practice, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 really lives up to the hype, which is a rarity. This one boasts enough battery life in a single charge that you’ll either give up or pass out before it even starts to die on you.
This battery beast will give you a full workday, some browsing, and social networking after work – perhaps with your favorite show playing in the background, and still outlast you. Needless to say, you’ll be ready for bed, and the Chromebook Spin 15 will still keep going.
The Verdict: Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s shortcomings can be easily forgivable – namely, its subpar trackpad and the fact that doesn’t take full advantage of the space it has. There is enough power for formidable multitasking, a battery life that will outlast yours, and a beautiful touch display that is surprisingly premium for the price. All of those features certainly warrant this Chromebook a spot in my best Chromebooks list for teachers. If you’re not convinced that you should jump on the Chromebook bandwagon, this one will make a convert out of you.
To achieve your highest potential, teachers need technology that will meet their daily needs. As more and more tasks demand your time, Chromebooks have risen to the challenge. The best Chromebook for teachers must be able to provide stunning design and powerful performance that is enough for multitasking. All the best Chromebooks in this list should help teachers decide which model to purchase.
Did this helpful shopping guide help you make a decision? What other Chromebook models are you interested in that are not on this list? Let us know on the comments below. We would like to hear from you!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Chromebooks Work Offline?
Most Chromebooks connect to the internet using Wi-Fi, though some higher-priced models offer cellular connectivity. However, if you can’t find a signal, there are workarounds for plenty of routine tasks — don’t let the heavy reliance on Chrome fool you.
For instance, you can still compose and read emails with Gmail Offline and work on documents offline with Google Drive. The offline apps will automatically save your work and sync back up with the online services when your Chromebook reconnects. Even more, you can download and play many Android games offline, too.
2. How Does Chrome OS Compare to Windows 10?
Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system compared with Windows 10 and macOS. That’s because the OS centers around the Chrome app and web-based processes. Unlike Windows 10 and macOS, you can’t install third-party software on a Chromebook — all the apps you get come from the Google Play Store.
This is both a pro and a con. With Chrome OS, you don’t have to worry about a bunch of Windows junk programs clogging up your storage space. Chrome OS is also speedier than Windows and macOS for this exact reason — Chrome OS isn’t weighed down by dozens of processes running in the background. On the flip side, you simply can’t run all your legacy Windows or macOS programs on a Chromebook.
3. What are the limitations of Chromebooks?
Chromebooks have their strengths, but they also have their weaknesses.
No installation of desktop software – At first glance, their biggest flaw is the inability to install traditional desktop software. For instance, there doesn’t appear to be any means to install photo editing applications like Adobe’s Photoshop or GIMP.
To compensate, there are plenty of Android and Chrome OS apps that can fill the niches typically taken by Windows or macOS desktop apps. Unfortunately, Chrome OS and Android counterparts aren’t always a perfect alternative — or even that good.
Low storage – Local storage still tends to be limited to between 16GB and 64GB, and it’s almost exclusively eMMC Flash storage. That means it’s relatively fast, but space is restrictive.
Why so little? Again, Chrome OS was originally designed to be an affordable, lightweight solution that relies on web-based apps. Now that the platform supports Android apps and Linux desktop software, storage needs have skyrocketed, but the storage capacities remain restricted.
That’s where Google Cloud comes in. You get 100GB of free cloud storage for 12 months, but after that, you’re charged $20 annually, which isn’t bad. Other Google One plans range from 200GB to 10TB, costing up to $100 per month. Ouch.
The Chromebook’s low storage pushes you to rely on subscription-based cloud services. However, one alternative solution is to install an SD card if the Chromebook includes a slot. Currently, you can’t offload Android apps to an SD card. Supported SD card capacities vary between models.
4. Can I play games on a Chromebook?
Gaming is not really a Chromebook thing, partly due to the limited storage and relatively weak specs.
Some Android games (and non-gaming apps) don’t scale well on the larger Chromebook screens. In fact, many games only play in smartphone mode and will crash if you expand the view to fullscreen. Unless games support tablet-sized screens already, don’t expect them to play perfectly on a Chromebook.
Moreover, you may not even see your favorite Android games listed on Google Play when using a Chromebook. That’s likely due to the PC’s processor. Why? Most smartphones and tablets rely on a different processor design (ARM) than what’s used in laptops and desktops (x86). Your favorite game simply may not be written for an Intel processor even though it runs well on your Qualcomm Snapdragon-based phone.
Don’t worry though, there are great games for Chromebooks if you are interested in what is available and easily playable.
5. Do I need a Google Account to use a Chromebook?
You do need a Google Account to use a Chromebook. When you first purchase a Chromebook it will ask you for your Google Account email address and password. If you do not have a Google Account you can easily create one at this stage.
The Google Account is free and comes with Gmail, which is Google’s email service and is widely considered the best email service available in the world.
A Google Account also comes with many other features, which you’ll likely become familiar with the more you use your Chromebook computer.