Google's easy-to-use OS has spawned a class of cheap, user-friendly laptops meaning Chromebooks are a great alternative to a MacBook or Windows laptop. Great for emails, browsing, homework and more.
They're not all cheap, however, and we've reviewed and ranked a number of options at different prices from different brands - including Google itself. But they can still be good value for money.
ChromeOS offers pretty much the same experience as using the popular Chrome web browser, which you might well already use on another device, but adds a few extra features added to the mix such as being able to run Android apps.
Depending on your budget and needs, you might not necessarily choose the Pixelbook Go, Google's own premium option. There are plenty to choose from made by Acer, Asus, Lenovo and other top brands.
Some models might be a year or two old but they're still widely available and offer good value. Also, Chromebook tech doesn't move as fast as Windows laptops.
Confused about how they compare with a laptop running Microsoft's OS? Well, read our Chromebook vs Windows laptop guide.
Best Chromebook 2022
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 - Best Overall
- Excellent display
- Great battery life
- Fast performance
- Slightly spongy keyboard
- Fan noise at times
Acer updates its Chromebook range with the new Spin 713 that blends excellent performance with a gorgeous 3:2 ratio display and decent ports.
The 360-degree hinge means a versatile design and things run very nicely on the 10th-gen Core processor we tested with 128GB storage, though a cheaper model uses a Pentium processor and half the storage.
It’s a powerful combination which puts the device on the top of the pile for those who want a Premium ChromeOS laptop without it costing the Earth.
Sure, it's a lot to pay for a Chromebook compared to some, but in these times of laptops routinely costing hundreds more than that, this is good value for money.
Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review
Google Pixelbook Go - Best Premium Model
- Great screen
- Decent performance
- Excellent webcam
- Expensive high-end models
The Pixelbook Go is a lightweight yet premium device which has great battery life and performance. It's also more affordable than the previous Pixelbook, though still pricey compared to most Chromebooks.
The keyboard is ultra-quiet and other features such as a high-quality webcam make this Chromebook a great option for remote workers.
The two lower-spec models are better value for money, but there are higher storage options should you want them.
Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review
HP Chromebook x360 14c - Best for Media Consumption
- Fast performance
- Great audio
- Premium components
- Reflective Display
- Glitches at low power
It might not be quite able to pip Google and Acer but HP has done a great job with its latest Chromebook x360.
For a reasonable price, you get a great all-rounder with a versatile design thanks to the 360-degree hinges and 14in touchscreen even if it's not the brightest around and has a glossy finish.
Build quality is solid and so are the core specs with a Core i3 processor and a healthy 8GB of RAM. Add in a decent keyboard and Bang & Olufsen speakers and you've got yourself a Chromebook you can rely on for a vast range of tasks.
Read our full HP Chromebook x360 14c review
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 - Best Performance
- Large display
- Good battery life
- Fast performance
- Dim display
- Rough edges on faceplate
- Cramped numberpad
With unusually powerful components for a Chromebook, centering around Intel Tiger Lake Core i3 and i5 processors along with 8GB of RAM, the Flip CX5 is one of the most powerful around.
This ensures smooth performance day-to-day and along with a large screen and solid battery life from a single charge, the CX5 is a great option. Add in the convertible design and it gets even better.
A dedicated numpad might be a boon for some although it is cramped in size and the display is lacking brightness stopping the CX5 from being a knockout package. It also has some build issues worth considering before hitting the buy button.
Read our full Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500) review
Lenovo Thinkpad C13 Yoga - Best Build
- Excellent build quality
- Great keyboard
- Stylus Included
- Patchy performance
- Poor battery life
- Average cameras
If you want a well-made and hard-wearing Chromebook then this ThinkPad from Lenovo will not disappoint, living up to the famous name.
This applies not only to durability but also elements like the keyboard and the Yoga part means it's convertible, too. Furthermore, the stylus - which neatly slots into the laptop itself - will be very useful for some users.
On the flip side, the battery life is poorer than you'd expect for a ThinkPad, we experienced gaming issues and the cameras are pretty average, too.
Read our full Lenovo Thinkpad C13 Yoga Chromebook review
Asus Chromebook C423NA - Best Value
- Attractive design
- Good keyboard
- Sub-standard battery life
- Slightly underpowered
The C423NA is another classic Chromebook from Asus, providing you with a laptop to carry out day-to-day tasks at low cost. It looks nice, is highly portable and offers a comfortable keyboard and trackpad.
It won't be able to cope with much beyond basic tasks and the battery life is limited making it more suitable for around the home rather than on the road.
If you want a quality Chromebook that's more affordable than the Pixelbook Go, the C423NA is a good option.
Read our full Asus C423NA Chromebook review
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 - Best Budget
- Smart design
- Great keyboard
- Decent battery life
- Lackluster display
- Only suitable for light tasks
If you’re looking for a Chromebook to cover all the basics of daily computing - surfing the web, creating documents, checking social media, and streaming content - then you can’t go far wrong with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3.
Yes, the display isn’t the best and the webcam is poor, but at this price, it gets a lot more right than it does wrong.
It has a nice design with a decent keyboard and you also benefit from long battery life. Just make sure you only need it for lighter tasks.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook 14 review
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet - Best Chrome Tablet
- Attractive hybrid design
- Comes with keyboard
- Lacks processing power
- Cramped keyboard
- Small screen
A charming little 2-in-1 Chromebook that might be light on power but is big on fun. It's no wonder the Duet was highly anticipated.
The fact you're getting a ChromeOS laptop and an Android tablet in one affordable package is just the start really - and yes, the keyboard is included in the price. It looks nice, lasts a decent amount of time and has a good quality display.
It's not the biggest screen, though and the keyboard is also a little cramped so isn't ideal for all work situations - ie lots of typing or large spreadsheets. It also doesn't have huge amounts of power so is better suited to lighter use.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook review
Acer Chromebook 314 - Best for Simplicity
- Simple, clean design
- Excellent battery life
- Good port selection
- No touchscreen
- Average display
- Occasional streaming glitches
Acer's Chromebook 314 brings the category back to what it started out as, an affordable laptop that's good enough to handle daily tasks.
There's nothing particularly amazing about the 314 but that's not the point. It gets the job done without breaking the bank and you might even find the Full HD model with 64GB for the same price as the lower-spec option.
As long as you don’t expect anything flashy on the Chromebook 314 you’ll find it to be a very usable laptop that can be employed for work or home purposes. Cheap and cheerful? Yes, we’d say so.
Read our full Acer Chromebook 314 review
Acer Spin 513 Chromebook - Best Budget Convertible
- Long battery life
- Convertible design
- Plastic build
- No keyboard backlight
- Glitchy performance
The Acer Spin 513 delivers lots of what people buying a Chromebook will be looking for and prioritising.
It's lightweight, affordable and long battery life making it a great companion for travelling and you can even opt for a model with LTE mobile data making it easier to get online when you're on the go.
We also like the convertible design so it's versatile for different tasks.
It's not all good news though as there's no backlight for the keyboard, the casing is very plastic fantastic and we found performance glitchy on occasion. There's also no microSD card slot should that be a deal-breaker.
Read our full Acer Spin 513 Chromebook review
How to choose a Chromebook
An internet connection is central to how a Chromebook functions. Nearly all Chrome OS apps and services are online but more are adding offline support as time goes on. Google’s own Document and Spreadsheet apps capable of working offline and then seamlessly syncing any work you’ve done to the cloud once you’re back on Wi-Fi.
This simplicity allows Chromebooks to use less-powerful hardware than many Windows laptops, without it affecting the overall performance.
Do Chromebooks run Android apps?
These days, all modern Chromebooks can run Android apps. However, if you're looking at an older model, just check whether it supports them on not before buying.
Can Chromebooks run Office?
The most significant limitation of a Chromebook is that it can’t run some of the Windows software you might be used to. Full versions of Microsoft Office won't run on a Chromebook, although you can use the web-based suite and Android apps. Google’s own Docs suite is a very good alternative: its online collaboration is better than Microsoft’s offering for a start.
For the alternatives to popular software, see Google's 'Make the switch' page.
What specs should I look for in a Chromebook?
You won’t find capacious hard drives, high-end processors or large screens on most Chromebooks. Instead, Google offers 100GB of online storage (along with various other perks like YouTube Premium and Stadia Pro trials) with every machine and mobile processors are the order of the day negating the need for noisy fans.
One of the most notable benefits of Chromebooks is that they tend to be cheaper than Windows laptops. But some newer models are more expensive as they have touchscreens, more storage and other features.
There are many similarities across the majority of Chromebooks with a generally standard keyboard layout and screen resolution, and fast bootup times, but those with specific needs should still be able to find a machine to suit them.
Chromebooks have come a long way since they launched. The range of screen sizes now spans 10-16in and not only are there certain models with touchscreens, but some have hinges that allow the screen to fold right back flat against the underside so you can use it like a tablet.
For most people who just want a laptop-style computer for browsing the internet, creating documents and spreadsheets, streaming videos or giving to the kids as an inexpensive, virus-free homework device, an inexpensive Chromebook is an excellent choice.
Really, though, Chromebooks are intended as a second device: you’ll still have a laptop or PC in the house, but the Chromebook is a portable, lightweight alternative which is great for web browsing, email and - now - running Android apps.
Should I buy a Chromebook?
We’re not saying that Chromebooks are a perfect solution, and you must consider the limitations we've outlined.
Peripheral support is also hit and miss, so if you need printers or other external devices to get your work done, then it’s worth investigating whether your printer and other gadgets will work with a Chromebook before you buy one.
You can now buy accessories that are guaranteed to work with Chromebooks, meaning there's now proper third-party availability of chargers, mice and keyboards, at least.