large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best Chromebook: Top 5 Chrome OS laptops

Introduction

If you want a laptop for basic productivity tasks, whether you’re a student or office worker, then it may be best to consider a Chromebook. But what are the best Chromebooks that you can currently buy?

We’ve rounded up the five best Chromebook laptops that we’ve reviewed in recent years, ranging from bargain 2-in-1 form factors to high-powered devices looking to unsettle the ultrabook crowd.

Not entirely sure what a Chromebook is? They’re basically laptops running on Chrome OS instead of Windows. Chrome OS is designed specifically for those who only need a laptop to browse websites, play video and run Google-approved apps. As a result, they are generally a lot cheaper than Windows-powered laptops.

Chromebooks do have significant drawbacks however, as the locked-down operating system prevents users downloading software outside of Google’s app store. The likes of Netflix and Spotify are all fine, but you may encounter issues if you want to download something a little obscure for university research etc.

So if you’re convinced that Chromebooks are for you, then keep reading on for our top five recommendations.

How we test

Learn more about how we test Chromebooks

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best overall Chromebook
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Super-light and portable design
  • Sharp display with decent colours
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Whisper-quiet performance

Cons

  • Flat speakers
  • Mediocre performance
  • No keyboard backlight

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 ticks all of the most important boxes when it comes to a ChromeOS-powered laptop. It’s lightweight at just 1.2kg, features an excellent battery life of 13 hours and 35 minutes, features a Full HD resolution display and is powerful enough to coast through basic apps.

The Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chip inside also allows you to make use of a 4G connection (when equipped with a compatible SIM card) and run at whisper-quiet volumes thanks to its excellent thermal performance.

There are a couple of issues here, such as the underwhelming speakers and the omission of a keyboard backlight, but when you consider how cheap this Chromebook is, those are very minor complaints. If you’re looking for a no-thrills Chromebook with a bargain price, this is your best option.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best 2-in-1 Chromebook
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Very affordable price
  • Bundled keyboard offers versatility
  • Superb screen for video content
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Lack of headphone jack
  • Poor speaker quality
  • Keyboard is uncomfortably small

While most Chromebooks on this list mimic the classic laptop clamshell design, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is more of a ChromeOS-powered tablet that can be turned into a makeshift laptop with the bundled keyboard. If you ask us, that just makes the Duet even more versatile than the rest of the devices here, and with an astonishingly affordable £299.99 price, it also arguably offers the best value of the bunch.

Those who need to hammer away at the keyboard frequently may prefer a laptop with a proper keyboard, but anyone who just wants a device for browsing the web and watching videos will likely fall in love with the Duet. The bundled keyboard also helps out for emails, jotting down notes and easier web navigation.

The biggest competitors for the Duet are the iPad and Surface Go 3, but they cost significantly more and demand an extra fee for the keyboard accessory. This means the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an absolute bargain, whether you’re a school student or a causal browser.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Acer Chromebook 314

Best budget Chromebook
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Sturdy construction
  • Good port selection
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Flat colours and dim display
  • No touchscreen
  • ChromeOS could provide some limitations

The Acer Chromebook 314 is the cheapest Chromebook on this list, and yet flaunts some superb features. It has a very good battery life, solid design and a snappy performance, as long as you stick to basic productivity tasks.

It’s not the lightest Chromebook around at 1.7kg, but is still portable enough to stow in your bag ahead of the office commute. There’s also a great port selection here, including USB-A, USB-C and microSD, so you won’t have to worry about carrying a dongle with you all the time.

This laptop has a major weakness though, as it has a low-resolution 14-inch display, with on-screen colours looking flat and dull. This means this isn’t the best option for watching Netflix and the like. There’s also no touchscreen here, which may well be a deal breaker for some. But if just need a Chromebook for writing essays and don’t care about the screen quality, then this is one of the very best laptop bargains currently available.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 314 review

Google Pixelbook Go

Best premium Chromebook
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Attractive, understated look
  • Impressive battery life
  • Android apps on Chrome can be useful (even if buggy)

Cons

  • Can get far too expensive if you upgrade the specs
  • No fingerprint scanner/facial unlock
  • Have to get the top model if you want a 4K screen

It shouldn’t really be surprising that Google – the same company responsible for Chrome OS – is responsible for one of the best Chromebooks we’ve ever tested. The Google PixelBook Go excels in most areas, with an ultra-portable weight, excellent keyboard and decent battery life.

Google also offers a range of configurations, including a 4K model when you spend over a grand. We’d recommend not going for those high-tier models, as the inflated price seems to defeat the purpose of a Chromebook. If you’re not bothered about saving money, we’d always recommend Windows over Chrome OS.

But at the £629 starting price, the Google Pixelbook Go hits the sweet spot between performance and price, making it a great alternative to more expensive laptops such as the Dell XPS 13 and Surface Laptop 4 for those who only need a machine for web browsing, video streaming and word processing.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Google Pixelbook Go review

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Best performance Chromebook
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Pleasant screen
  • Comfortable, quiet keyboard
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Value of high-spec models is questionable
  • Plastic touchpad
  • Weak speaker

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook is a prime example of modern Chromebooks blurring the lines with high-end ultrabooks, packing a super-speedy Intel Core i5-10210U processor and classy aluminium design.

High-end Chromebooks are nothing new, but we’ve rarely seen such top-notch quality at this affordable £529.99 price point. And while it is in the same price range as Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go, the Lenovo boasts a superior screen which will be important if you like to watch Netflix and YouTube.

So what’s the catch here? We weren’t a big fan of the plastic trackpad and lacklustre speakers, but these are small issues to overlook if you want a high-performance Chromebook at a bargain price.

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full review:
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook review

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

See all reviews

FAQs

What is difference between Chromebook and laptop?

A Chromebook uses Google’s ChromeOS software, while a more conventional laptop uses Windows. ChromeOS doesn’t offer as much freedom as Windows, relying instead on Google’s app store, but is arguably more user-friendly, especially for children. Chromebooks are often cheaper than Windows laptops, but offer a basic performance for productivity. This isn’t an ideal option for gamers and creators, but great for students and casual use.

Can you use Word on a Chromebook?

Yes, you can find Microsoft Word in the app store, while you also have the option of Google Docs.

Can you use Chromebook without WiFi?

Absolutely, although you’ll need an internet connection to download and use apps such as Netflix and Spotify.

Specs compared

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
CPU
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Front Camera
Battery
Battery Hours
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Model Variants
Resolution
Refresh Rate
Ports
GPU
RAM
Connectivity
Colours
Display Technology
Screen Technology
Touch Screen
Convertible?
Bin capacity

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.