What is a Chromebook
Chromebook is a laptop operated by the special Chrome OS developed by Google. The programs are not installed on a hard drive, as it is on conventional laptops - instead, you access them via Google Chrome browser. All your information is securely stored on the Google servers. Chromebooks have the following peculiarities:
- Data safety - even if you lose your Chromebook, all your documents, photos, and music will remain in your private cloud and, therefore, will not be lost.
- Fast system boot and operation - a Chromebook recovers from the sleep mode within 1 second.
- Good battery life which means a Chromebook works autonomously for several hours and it makes it an important assistant, particularly during business trips.
- Chrome OS from Google is virus-proof.
You need to have access to the Internet in order to use Chrome laptops. If you realize that you will not be able to stay online but you will need a good battery life - make sure to check out our ultrabook comparison.
Also, you can get netbooks which are also compact and have a good battery life, but these devices are more expensive than Chromebooks.
What Features to Compare
There are many Chromebook reviews on the Internet but can you still make a reasonable choice? No, because many of Chromebook comparisons are too detailed or contain the information right from the commercial booklets. That is why we have selected 5 top Chromebooks available and analyzed only the features that are truly important for potential buyers.
The first feature to consider is the Design of a Chromebook. It tells you how flexible and convenient a laptop is and how easy using it every day is. Here is what we include in this feature: a form factor, compactness, and, of course, material a Chromebook is made of.
The next issue to take into account is the Performance and Memory - though Chrome laptops are designed for rather simple tasks, they need to be powerful enough to open multiple tabs in Google Chrome browser, cope up with different online activities, and so on. When assessing performance and memory, you should consider the processing unit (CPU) and the RAM memory capacity. The more powerful the CPU, the better the performance of the Chromebook. However, keep in mind that the RAM capacity is usually quite small for this type of devices, ranging from 2 GB to 4 GB. Also, you should check the storage capacity since you will not always have Internet access and, in this case, you will need to use the internal storage.
Also, consider the Display and Image Quality of every device in our Chromebook review. The screen size matters since customers need different devices - some want a really small Chrome laptop whereas others want 15.6-inch gadgets. Also, pay attention to a screen resolution and the viewing angles every display provides.
Finally, make sure to check what Battery Life every Chromebook provides. The larger the capacity of the battery is, the longer a Chrome laptop will be able to run before it requires recharging.
ASUS Flip C302CA
The Company's Flagship Chrome Laptop
Chromebooks are an offshoot of conventional laptops that are operated by Google's Chrome OS. At first glance, you might not even be able to tell a Chromebook from a real laptop. Yet, can a Chrome laptop be used as a primary computer? The answer is rather positive if it comes to the ASUS C302CA as this device is compact and really high-performance. Needless to say, all your data will be securely stored in a cloud storage and you will be able to access them from any part of the world. Buying the C302CA, you will get free access to 100 GB of Google Drive storage and you will be able to it not just from the ASUS Chromebook but from any other computer as well, just log in to your Google account. As for the hardware, this Chrome laptop is fitted with the Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz, which is enough to ensure a smooth operation of the apps you need for everyday use. If you travel a lot, you will like a long battery life, up to 10 hours. Finally, we would like to highlight the all-metal chassis of this ASUS Chromebook; it's durable scratch-resistant, and look posh.
Fast and Convenient
If you wish to copy some data from the Chromebook to a flash drive or another storage device, the top speed is guaranteed since the C302CA has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. This is the latest USB version and it ensures an incredibly high data transfer speed. Also, one of the ports is used for charging the Chrome laptop, so you don't need to carry a long and messy charging cable. This is a truly space-saving solution, particularly if you carry the device a lot. Also, we'd like to mention the unique design of this Chromebook: it has 360° hinges, so the screen rotates, turning the device from a conventional laptop to a large tablet. Any tablet requires a touchscreen display and the ASUS Chromebook is not an exception. It has a multi-touch IPS-based LED-backlit screen that provides a top-class image quality. In all, this Chrome laptop is the perfect pick for people who need to work with securely protected documents every day.
If you aren't sure that you will be able to recharge your Chromebook on time, consider using a power bank. This simple device will help you recharge not only your Chrome laptop but other gadgets as well (smartphone, tablet, etc.).
The Acer Chromebook has a really durable chassis made of high-quality 100% aluminum. A single touch to this Chrome laptop tells you about an ultimate assembly quality. Also, an aluminum chassis is better than any plastic one in terms of cooling. The unit is very thin and fits into any laptop bag or backpack. Actually, you can even carry this fantastic Chrome laptop in nearly any small bag. The Chromebook is very silent - the aluminum chassis allows dispensing with a cooling fan. The keyboard is convenient enough, though it' isn't backlit (this is a money-saving device, after all!).
Performance and Memory
In order to provide a sufficient performance, the Acer Chromebook has quite a powerful hardware. First of all, it has a quad-core Intel Celeron N3160 CPU clocked at 2.24 GHz. The RAM capacity is 4 GB, which is enough for active Internet surfing and for working with online / offline documents. This Chrome laptop has a relatively large storage space for such devices: 32 GB. Also, the Chromebook comes with 100 GB of Google Drive cloud storage (free for 2 years). Concerning the graphics card, this laptop has an integrated Intel HD Graphics 400.
Display and Image Quality
The Acer Chromebook has a 14-inch display based on a cutting-edge IPS panel. As a result, the picture quality is pretty high - the colors look natural and vivid. So, this Chrome laptop is very convenient for watching photos and movies. Despite a fairly small size, the screen supports the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). In all, you can make presentations, work with documents, and so on. The Acer Chromebook is a really helpful device for those who are always on the go and need a device for work. The screen has an anti-glare coating that helps you use the device in sunlight. Finally, the viewing angles are wide enough (thanks to the IPS panel), 176°.
This Chrome laptop comes with a really good battery that gives it as many as 12 hours of continuous operation. An amazing result! Literally, it's one of the best Chromebooks in terms of a battery life. If you study at the college or university, this Chrome laptop is perfect for you - you will be able to use this computer all day long. Or imagine flying to Singapore for important negotiations. Such a fantastic battery life will give you plenty of time to work with your documents on this fantastic Chromebook. However, don't forget to take the charger if you leave home for several days!
ASUS C202SA YS02
For Rugged Use!
Chromebooks are very often used by students and teachers because of long battery life, sufficient performance, and access to the cloud storage where all the data are stored. A Chrome laptop allows checking tests in real-time as well as store lesson plans and other documents on Google Drive. However, such everyday use of the device is a tough challenge for its chassis and hardware. For example, you never know when a passer-by at your college cafeteria will turn your cup over, spilling coffee right on your Chromebook. That's why we recommend ASUS C202SA, a device designed specifically for rugged use. First of all, this Chrome laptop has an extra-durable chassis able to withstand a fall from 3.9 feet. Moreover, this ASUS Chromebook has a spill-resistance keyboard which has the character-printed keys 15% larger than on conventional keyboards. Therefore, typing is easy and totally safe, so you won't get tired too fast. The chassis has reinforced rubber guards with shock-absorption capabilities. Moreover, the guards are slide-proof, so this device will remain stable no matter what kind of surface you use it on. But that's not all! The rubber guards stick out slightly, so you can carry this Chromebook in your backpack without using any protective cover at all. Obviously, this is the best device for everyday use!
Replace Hardware Yourself
As you know, replacing pieces of hardware is a fairly challenging task on most laptops. However, nothing can work for ages and you might need to repair your device. Should you pay for a service center or not? The answer is no if you choose the ASUS C202SA Chrome laptop. The chassis is designed to give you easy access to the device's hardware. For example, if the battery can't maintain the charge properly, it needs to be replaced. Get a new one, unscrew the cover, and replace the old battery in no time. Therefore, not only is this Chromebook durable, it's also easy-to-maintain. By the way, this Chrome laptop from ASUS has a high-quality Wi-Fi antenna that minimizes poor signal connection, so you will revel in high-speed and stable web surfing.
The storage capacity of this ASUS Chromebook is just 16 GB, which is certainly insufficient for storing enough pictures or videos. Keep in mind that Wi-Fi access is not available everywhere. That's why we recommend getting a microSD card with the help of which you will substantially expand the overall storage space. Also, this device has an HDMI port, which means you can stream some movie to your wide-screen TV with the help of HDMI cable.
The chassis of this Acer Chromebook is made of nice-looking matte plastic. The design of is rather minimalistic - Moonstone white color is one of the catchy features of this Chrome laptop. The device is portable and quite lightweight, weighing just 2.4 lbs, so you can always carry it without any difficulties.
Performance and Memory
Though it is a rather cheap Chromebook, you can't call it ill-performing. The gadget is equipped with the Intel Celeron N2830 CPU with Intel Burst Technology (the frequency reaches 2.41 GHz) and Intel HD graphics that allows you to watch even Full HD movies, Also, this Chromebook comes with 2 GB DDR3L RAM memory and if you have no Internet access, you are welcome to use the internal storage of 16 GB.
Display and Image Quality
The Acer Chromebook has a small 11.6-inch display which supports the maximum resolution of 1366x768 pixels (a benchmark for the vast majority of present-day laptops). The screen is LED-backlit to ensure a high image quality. Though it is not an IPS screen, it has another advantage, an anti-glare (which means matte) coating that makes using the device in sunlight quite comfortable.
It is one of the most affordable Chrome laptops available but it does not mean it has a poor battery life. Actually, the battery lasts up to 8.5 hours. It is an excellent result and you can surely take this device if you are on the go - it will always be helpful. Very often this model is purchased for schoolchildren who do not need an overly expensive laptop.
HP Chromebook looks rather flashy since it boasts a matte plastic chassis which looks just like real aluminum. The Chrome laptop is not small due to the screen size of 14 inches, but it is compact enough for people who wish to use the device while on the go. The HP model weighs 3.7 lbs, so it is a lot lighter than a conventional laptop. Also, you can choose one of 2 available colors: Silver or Sky Blue.
Performance and Memory
Just as most other Chromebooks (including some in our review), this HP model has a decent Intel Celeron N2840 CPU that runs at a frequency of 2.16 GHz while in Turbo Boost mode it rises to 2.58 GHz, quite enough to handle web browsing, online video streaming, and so on. The RAM capacity is 2 GB though there is a better 4 GB version of this device. Also, if you leave a Wi-Fi zone, you can use the internal eMMC storage (16 GB).
Display and Image Quality
This Chromebook a rather wide screen for such devices, 14 inches. The maximum resolution supported is 1366 x 768 pixels and you, probably, know that most conventional laptops have this one, too. It is sufficient for all kinds of online activities, including working on documents, presentations, and so on, but watching Full HD videos will not be comfortable enough. The screen is LED-backlit and yields a good image quality despite not being IPS.
Though it is not a small Chromebook, it has a pretty high-capacity Lithium-ion battery. When fully charged, it ensures up to 9 hours and 15 minutes of continuous operation. It is quite a lot for an affordable laptop and that is why this model is popular with students and people who need a computer and a constant Internet access for work.
1. Gabie Kur How to choose the right Chromebook for you, TechRadar. June 22, 2015.
2. Mark LaFay HOW TO CHOOSE A CHROMEBOOK, Dummies.
3. Henry T. Casey Should I Buy a Chromebook? Buying Guide and Advice, Laptop Mag. October 13, 2016.
4. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols How to pick the best Chromebook for school, ZDNet. August 16, 2016.
5. Valentina Palladino Chromebooks vs. Windows 10 Laptops: What Should You Buy? Laptop Mag. May 13, 2016.