Best Chromebooks for 2019 – CNET


Google’s Chrome operating system excels at the basics. As a browser-based OS, it’s naturally suited for the cloud-based services prevalent in modern work life. But it’s also great for watching movies, listening to music and, of course, browsing the internet. All of this is doubly true if you’re already immersed in Google’s ecosystem, which extends from apps such as Gmail and Google Docs to the Pixel phone or one of the company’s smart home devices.

The advantages of Chrome extend beyond its pan-Google integration. It’s also free, insofar as anything online is free, and it’s dead simple. Apple laptops, featuring the terrific MacOS operating system, are significantly more expensive than the average Chromebook. And though an entry-level Dell or HP laptop may cost only a few hundred bucks, you’re stuck with Windows 10 — an OS that’s far less elegant (and that’s being polite about it). 

Read more: Laptop vs. Chromebook: Which portable computer is best in 2019

Chromebook models have their limits, however. You can’t install Photoshop, Steam or any other Windows- or Mac-dependent application. If you rely on a technical application for work, you may need a Mac or Windows machine and might not want to buy a Chromebook. Likewise, if you’re a college student who runs specialized programs or non-web-based software for exams, Chromebooks for students may not be a good fit. 

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On the other hand, Chromebooks are effectively malware-free — there’s not much of an OS to even infect — making them perfect for environments where multiple users share the same laptop. Just sign in with your Gmail address, and you’re good to go.

The list below represents the best Chromebooks we’ve reviewed. Each best Chromebook pick is independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.  

James Martin/CNET

If you’re looking for the best Chromebook with a big display, the Acer Chromebook 15 delivers with a 15.6-inch IPS touchscreen. In addition to the hefty screen size, it also has great battery life, loud speakers, a backlit keyboard and enough power to get you through the basics. That noted, Asus, HP and Lenovo now also sell 15-inch Chromebook laptops in the same approximate price range that are worth a look. Note that this is a 2017 model, but it’s still an affordable Chromebook and a worthy budget pick in Acer’s line.

Read Acer Chromebook 15 (2017) review

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 further expands the boundaries of what you can expect from the best Chromebook in 2019. The standout feature is a terrific convertible, 15.6-inch, 4K display — but it also has decent battery life, a complement of solid components and a sturdy, tasteful aluminum chassis. And like most Chromebooks, it costs hundreds less than a similarly configured Windows counterpart.

Read Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 review

Sarah Tew/CNET

HP’s x2 is a terrific laptop with a great detachable display, a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on and surprisingly peppy performance. And it doubles as a fabulous standalone in tablet mode — thin and lightweight, responsive to touch and stylus, and perceptive to orientation. Battery life in this lightweight Chromebook is respectable. Plus — and this is a big one — it comes with stylus and keyboard included at a time when many premium hybrids insist you buy them separately.

Read HP Chromebook x2 review

James Martin/CNET

Google makes its own Chromebook, of course. The Pixelbook is a sleek convertible that works as both laptop and a tablet. Among its standout features are the sharp, bright touchscreen and blazing fast, lag-free performance, courtesy a selection of higher-end Intel processors that are about as powerful as you’ll find in a touch screen Chromebook. But the Pixelbook is also quite expensive, starting around $1,000, and that doesn’t include the Pixelbook Pen stylus that costs an additional $99. 

Introduced in 2017, the Pixelbook is a little long in the tooth now, and its successor, the Pixelbook Go, will be available at the end of October. Bottom line: You’re better off waiting for the more affordable Pixelbook Go, which will start at $649. 

See the Pixelbook review

Read: Chromebook deals and Chromebook offers: Save on models from Asus, HP and Lenovo

Originally published earlier this year. Updated to reflect new prices and availability. 

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