Microsoft has announced a new stripped-down operating system, Windows 10 S, to challenge Google Chrome in the education market. But it will face stiff competition when it’s launched this summer. There are plenty of Chromebooks you can buy now that scored well in Consumer Reports’ testing.
Chromebooks caught on in schools because of their low price, says Janet Ferone, a former school administrator in Boston who now runs Ferone Educational Consulting. But the machines also benefit from the larger Google ecosystem. Teachers are using “Google Classroom to post assignments and lessons, students and staff alike use Google Drive and Docs for editing and writing, and Gmail is now the email platform for Boston public schools,” she says.
Top 10 Chromebook
- Intel Celeron N3060 processor with 4GB memory, 16GB SSD
- Simple and secure Google Chrome OS
- 11.6" 1366 x 768 HD resolution display with LED backlight;
- Intel Celeron Processor N3060;
- Ready for drops and spills with rugged construction with reinforced rubber guards, easy grip handles, and a...
- Lightweight 2.65 pound body and rugged construction that can be dropped from 3.9 feet* so you can take it...
- 11.6" 1366 x 768 HD resolution. IPS technology for wide viewing angles. Energy-efficient LED backlight.
- MediaTek MT8173C Quad-Core Base Clock Speed 1.3 GHz, Maximum Boost Speed 2.16 GHz (4C, 2x A72 @ 2.1GHz + 2x...
- 15.6" 1366 x 768 HD resolution LED backlight display; Intel HD Graphics 400
- Intel Celeron Dual-Core Processor N3060 (1.6GHz, Up to 2.48GHz)
- HIGH PERFORMANCE LAPTOP: The Chromebook C330 is equipped with a MediaTek MT8173C Processor, Chrome OS, 4 GB...
- SLEEK & STYLISH DESIGN: Sleek, stylish and secure, this 360 degree convertible laptop is less than one inch...
- 11-inch HD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit 1366 x 768 resolution, MaxxAudio Audio, 16GB SSD drive
- 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, Intel Celeron N2955U Processor
- Zero Air Gap allows you to enjoy enhanced screen clarity even in sunlight, so you can enjoy content anywhere...
- Blazing fast Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core 1.60 GHz Processor
- 11.6" HD Anti-Reflective Display with Image Enhancer, 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core
- 16GB SSD, 2GB RAM
- 11.6" HD (1366 X 768) Energy-Efficient LED-backlight Display, PowerVR GX6250
- MediaTek MT8173c 2.1 GHz Quad-Core, 4GB LPDDR3 Memory, 32GB EMMC
How We Chose the Best Chromebook
When it comes to finding the top Chromebook of 2010, there are quite a few different factors which go into how we vet these devices and the requirements they have to hit to even be considered for the list in the first place. Chromebooks are a lot of things in consumers minds; whether it’s how easy they are to use and keep free of viruses, or the ratio of cheapness to durability you can only get in a laptop like a Chromebook.
While some sleeker options like the Samsung Chromebook Plus decide to go the posh route with their look and feel, others like the ASUS C100P Flip are almost strictly made with the pint-sized members of your family in mind. Ultimately you should always go with a design style that you think will fit your needs best; whether that means impressing your boss at your next meeting or getting a Chromebook encased in your kid’s favorite color.
Who Should Buy a New Chromebook
Pitted head-to-head with any of their PC or even Mac counterparts, Chromebooks look hilariously underpowered and unsuited for the task at hand. Their minimal specs and suspiciously low cost scream equally low-caliber performance from the outset, but then you remember that when you’re buying a Chromebook you’re not just getting a device; you’re buying an entire ecosystem that can run almost any web application safely with even less fuss than you’d find on an iPhone.
Different Chromebooks are made for a different type of customers, and unlike most PCs and all MacBooks, Chromebooks actually come in a few models that are made almost directly with the child user in mind. Chromebooks make great first laptops for your little ones, or cheaper web-browsing machines for any seniors in your family who might be guilty of downloading one too many viruses or annoying internet browser hotbars on the desktop in the living room.
Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Chromebook
Don’t Buy for Specs Alone: When buying a Chromebook, the first mistake that many customers make right off the starting line is assuming that all Chromebooks are “basically the same”. The three indicators you’ll want to pay the most attention to when making your selection is the processor the laptop is using (Celerons are decent, but an i5 is always better), the quality of the screen (several older models don’t even support 1366 x 768 resolution), and the keyboard.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Price: As we mentioned earlier, although the low price of a Chromebook may seem like an accounting error at first, there’s actually something slightly more unsettling behind why Google is so keen to subsidize the cost of their machines to bring the eventual price to more manageable levels.
Most Important Features
- First up, there’s the most obvious indicator of what you should be looking for when shopping for your next laptop: the power.
- Both the CPU and the amount of RAM you get with your laptop will be the lynchpin of how much it can get done, although it’s important to remember that at the end of the day this is a Chromebook, and these metrics will only determine how fast the laptop handles a glorified web browser in disguise.
- Because Chromebooks are generally considered to be “cheaper” options when it comes to laptop comparisons, it’s important to pay attention to what you’re getting with the model you choose when it comes to screen size and resolution.
- You want to be sure that you’re not going too big on your screen that’s paired with a low resolution because at a certain point the lower res pixels turn out blurry and can cause a lot more eye strain than it’s worth if you’re looking at it for extended periods of time.
- As we mentioned earlier, you always want to be sure that you’re buying the best-designed Chromebook that will suit your lifestyle the best.
- As many higher-end Chromebooks that are out there like the 2-in-1 Acer R 13, there are also mid-to-low tier options that are less built for sturdy durability and more just to get beat up by your kids.
- Having tested dozens of trackpad/keyboard combos across many different Chromebook models, I can safely say that all the selections we’ve listed here offer the best combinations of a responsive keyboard with a comfortable trackpad.
- Most people use their Chromebooks for writing, typing, and reporting from the road, which means that how long a keyboard lasts is often more important than how it feels straight out of the box.
- Most of the Chromebooks on this list are actually fanless, relying on a series of ingenious heatsinks that utilize the body of the laptop itself to keep its internal components cool.
- As such, although it’s smart to keep an eye out for how much of a racket your Chromebook might be making, generally this will turn out to be a non-issue.
- Chromebook build quality is all over the place, ranging from the extremely cheap/flimsy/plasticky to solid metal all the way around.
- Depending on who you’re buying for, the durability of your Chromebook can be the lynchpin for your eventual decision. If you’re planning on gifting it to a younger member of the household, the AC300 offers a great compromise of decent specs in favor of a much tougher outer shell.
- Last up, there’s the hard drive. All Chromebooks on this list (and most that didn’t even make the cut), opt to feature smaller SSD flash drives in favor of larger capacity mechanical HDDs.
- Taking this into account, there are two methods of making up for the limited space. First, every Chromebook you buy will automatically include 100GB of space on Google’s cloud service Drive.