Chromebooks are lightweight, fast laptops that use a minimal operating system – just enough to support the Chrome browser. You do everything else through that. While they usually don’t have the spec that a full-on laptop has, the days when they were tiny and couldn’t be used offline at all are past and modern Chromebooks come in sizes up to 13.3” as standard, with some even larger. Squint and you could mistake a Chromebook for a superslim laptop – until you see the price. Low cost, toughness, portability and long battery life make them a great choice for business, so if you’re considering one, here are five of the frontrunners.
1: Google Chromebook Pixel 2015
Price: $1, 144 – $1, 999
Battery: Up to 12 Hours
Superfast Intel i5 or i7 processor
Very long battery life
Ahem. The price?
3:2 screen not great for multitasking
The Lowdown: Yes, it’s one of the best Chromebooks you’ll see. But you could literally buy seven budget chromebooks or a brand new Macbook Air for that price tag. Which is what most people with pockets that deep are likely to do. It is a beauty, though, with crisp graphics and great keyboard feel.
2: Toshiba Chromebook 2
Price: $257 – $399
Battery: Up to 9 hours
Full HD screen
High RAM for a Chromebook
Poor battery life for a Chromebook
Prone to screen glare
This is a great all-rounder at an affordable price. It’s also one of the few Chromebooks with really good speakers! Keyboard feel is good, graphics are crisp with a full HD 1080p screen and the machine itself looks and feels high-end. There’s enough RAM to use Google’s ever-expanding offline functionality, and enough battery life to get a full working day away from the socket.
3: Acer Chromebook 13
Battery: Up to 13 hours
Battery life is right up there
Very light and quiet
Flimsy keyboard feel
This Acer Chromebook is fanless and silent, and surprisingly light. It comes in any color you like, as long as you don’t mind it being white, and it’s faster than it needs to be thanks to a 2.3Ghz processor. The let-downs are the flimsy keyboard feel and the baffling port placement – they’re all in strange places. Even the charging port is on the right-hand side of the computer. Other than that it’s a good business choice at a good price.
4: Asus C300M
Battery: Up to 9 hours
Long battery life
Solid performance across the board
The Asus C300M comes with the spec of a higher-end Chromebook and the price of a lower-end Chromebook. Its 9 hours of battery life will see you through a working day socketless if necessary and unlike the sober blacks, whites and grays we’re used to seeing on laptops Asus have kitted these out in orange and yellow, though there is a black model too.
5: HP Chromebook 11
Battery: Up to 8 hours, 15 minutes
Great build quality
Great quality screen
The Lowdown: This is the lowest-cost Chromebook on our list and one of the best built. If you’re looking for a runabout rather than a true laptop replacement this could be it, and at under $200 brand new from the manufacturer, it’s hard to go wrong. Having said which, it’s hard to visualize just how small 11 inches is until you see it. The trackpad is jittery and the screen is… well, it’s good, but it’s 11 inches corner to corner. HP does bigger chromebooks with similar quality, though.