The 8 Best Chromebooks of 2021

Budget-friendly alternatives to most other laptops

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While Windows- and Mac-based laptops continue to dominate the market, laptops featuring the Chrome operating system have proven themselves to be worthy competitors. The best Chromebooks give you an excellent balance between power, performance, display quality, and battery life. All Chromebooks use integrated components to reduce size and weight, and their compact design makes them ideal for travel.

When shopping for a Chromebook, start by asking yourself what kind of work you need it to do: Do you mostly need to work in a word processor or spreadsheet program? Look for a model with a mid-grade processor and storage capacity. Are you a creative professional? Spring for the high-end model that has massive storage and a 4K display. No matter what kind of work you do, here are the best Chromebooks out there that'll suit your needs.

Best Overall: Google Pixelbook Go

Featuring a 13.3-inch touchscreen, the Google Pixelbook Go is available in either 4K UHD or 1080p FHD resolution to best suit your needs. You can also configure the laptop with up to 16GB of RAM, a solid-state drive up to 256GB, and your choice of processor: Intel Core m3, 8th generation Intel Core i5, or 8th gen Intel Core i7. No matter which CPU you choose, you'll get integrated Intel Graphics 615 for great video and images, and the integrated webcam records in 1080p HD. Plus, the Chromebook supports dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity for fast internet speeds.

With ChromeOS, you'll also get automatic cloud storage backup for all your files to prevent loss, get automatic updates, and access Google Assistant for hands-free controls. The built-in Titan C security chip helps prevent unauthorized access to your work and personal information, while the integrated battery gives you up to 12 hours of use on a full charge.

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Best Budget: Samsung Chromebook 4+

Chromebooks are great, affordable alternatives to traditional laptops and the Samsung Chromebook 4+ is no exception. Still, it doesn't skimp out on features: the 15.6-inch display gives you 1080p resolution, and the integrated Intel UHD 600 graphics ensure quality video and images. Along with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom pre-installed, the laptop includes cloud-synced backup for all files and access to the entire suite of Google apps like Google Docs and Google Drive.

With 4GB of RAM and a 32GB eMMC flash memory drive, it also has an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, giving you enough power to tackle busy workdays. The Bluetooth connectivity lets you use wireless peripherals or sync your mobile devices to your laptop, though there is also a USB port for connecting external storage devices. Get up to 10.5 hours of use on a single charge with this Chromebook.

Best for Creative Professionals: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Ideal for creative professionals, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook features a 13.3-inch 4K AMOLED display that is 100 percent Adobe RGB and 100 percent DCI-P3 calibrated, giving you the best color ranges and detail available. Even more, the display uses blue light filtering technology to reduce eye strain and fatigue. The 2-in-1 laptop comes with a stylus that has over 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and enhanced tilt recognition for more intuitive writing and drawing. It's also powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, which is enough processing bandwidth to get through any project. The Chromebook uses 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to give you fast boot times.

A fingerprint reader allows for password-free logins to your laptop; you can also take advantage of the new Smart Lock feature that lets you pair your Android smartphone to your Chromebook so when your phone is unlocked, you automatically log into your laptop. Note that the battery gives you up to 8 hours of use on a full charge.

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Best Splurge: Asus Chromebook Flip C436

A worthy investment, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436 is run by an Intel Core i5-10210U processor, giving you tons of power for multitasking at work. It also has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for fast boot times and reliable access to your most-used files. The 1080p HD display uses Asus' NanoEdge technology, giving the screen ultra-thin bezels, allowing the laptop to fit a 14-inch display in a 13-inch body. Better yet, the hinge means you can use this Chromebook as a traditional laptop, in tent mode, or as a tablet.

In addition to a four-speaker array for crystal clear sound, this laptop comes with a free year of Google cloud storage up to 100GB, letting you easily back up files and access Google Assistant for hands-free voice controls. The battery gives you up to 12 hours of use on a full charge.

Best for Travel: Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 LTE Edition

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 LTE Edition

courtesy of samsung

The Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is perfect for those who frequently travel for work; it not only has excellent Wi-Fi connectivity, but it can also utilize LTE cellular data for an internet connection without a router. The laptop weighs just over 3 pounds and has a 12.2-inch display, making it small enough to slip into a carry-on bag.

The swivel hinge also allows it to be used as a tablet or traditional laptop (it can even be laid flat, too). It's powered by an Intel Celeron CPU for more multitasking and features 4GB of RAM and 32GB of flash memory storage. To connect peripherals, the Chromebook has two USB-C ports, a USB 3.0 input, and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless accessories. Note that the battery gives you up to 8 hours of use on a full charge.

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Best Battery Life: HP Chromebook x360

The HP Chromebook x360 gives you almost 13 hours of use on a full charge, though when you need to top up the battery, it uses USB-C power for faster charging. The laptop also features a 14-inch HD display with a minimal bezel for an edge-to-edge picture and touch input support. With an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage, you'll have plenty of power for a typical workday. 

The built-in webcam also uses a dual microphone array to better pick up your voice, and the laptop has dual speakers powered by Bang & Olufsen for excellent sound. With the integrated microSD card slot, you can either expand the Chromebook's memory storage or offload files to transfer to another computer. 

Best 15-Inch: HP Chromebook

With a 15.6-inch screen, this HP Chromebook is sized like most traditional laptops. The 1080p touchscreen display features an ultra-thin bezel for an edge-to-edge picture, and the metal chassis gives you a full-sized keyboard, including a 10-key number pad. The Chromebook is also powered by an Intel Celeron Gold processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage to let you tackle almost any project. 

This laptop uses dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity for fast internet browsing as well as Bluetooth for wireless connections to devices. The speakers also use Bang & Olufsen audio technology for excellent sound, while the battery gives you up to 13 hours of use on a single charge.

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Best for Durability: Acer Chromebook 714

The Acer Chromebook 714 features an all-aluminum chassis for damage resistance without being heavy; it can withstand 132 pounds of crushing force and drops up to 4 feet. It also has a Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad that's resistant to scratches and provides a smoother input experience. Even more, the laptop is put through a rigorous, military-grade test to ensure long-lasting durability. It's also powered by an Intel Core i3-8130U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 64GB eMMC storage drive.

The 14-inch display gives you full 1080p resolution and 10-point touch input support. With Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi, two USB-C ports, and a USB 3.1 input, you can easily connect all of your peripherals to the Chromebook. The battery gives you up to 12 hours of use on a single charge.

Meet the Expert

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Lifewire, Digital Trends, TechRadar, and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.