Best cheap Chromebook

Laptop Computers

Thanks to the lightweight operating system, some Chromebooks can boot up in as little as eight seconds.

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Which Chromebooks are best?

When Chromebooks were first released in 2011, they immediately stood out from traditional laptops due to their unique web-based operating system. This is primarily because the Chromebook features built-in cloud storage that takes over the role of typical internal hardware. This allows them to be more affordable than standard laptops while retaining most of the functionality needed for average computer use. 

If you are looking for a cheap, yet high-quality Chromebook, the Asus Chromebook Flip C433 is the top choice. It is highly capable but still reasonably affordable, and the 14-inch display is just the right size for balancing portability and productivity. It comes with 8 GB of RAM, so it can multitask without lagging, and it has a modern aesthetic with a nice slim bezel.

What to know before you buy a cheap Chromebook

What exactly is a Chromebook?

Chromebook is a catch-all term that applies to any laptop running Google’s Chrome operating system. This is an efficient, web-based operating system that is designed for browsing the internet, accessing files stored in the cloud, playing browser-based games, performing resource-light tasks and running apps.

Why buy a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are more affordable and smaller than traditional laptops, and they have more power than most tablets. This makes them suitable for basic productivity, yet they are still conveniently portable. Chromebooks are also less susceptible to security vulnerabilities than either Windows-based PCs or Apple computers, and they generally come with little to no bloatware. 

What are the downsides of a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are not compatible with many common programs, like Microsoft Office, Photoshop and other popular software. That being said, there are app-based alternatives that can be used to perform similar functions on a Chromebook, though they have a different interface and have an initial learning curve. 

Additionally, Chromebooks have limited functionality when not connected to the internet. Thankfully, Google has been improving the offline capabilities of the Chrome OS, but it still can’t compete with Windows- and macOS-based laptops. Also, if you buy one of the many Chromebooks with limited internal memory, you may wind up having to pay for Cloud storage or, at the very least, using a USB thumb drive for additional storage space.

Features to look for in a quality cheap Chromebook

Storage memory

Because the Chromebook stores the majority of your files in the cloud, it generally has less memory than other laptops. Most commonly, Chromebooks come with between 16 GB and 64 GB of storage space, though you can find premium models with up to 512 GB of internal storage.

RAM

RAM is another type of memory, but rather than being used to store files for long periods of time, it is used to store temporary data that is needed for running programs and quickly accessing files. The more RAM a computer has, the quicker it can open programs and the better it will be able to multitask. It will also make it more capable of running resource-intensive programs. Most Chromebooks come with between 2-8 GB of RAM, but there are some high-end models that have 16 GB of RAM.

CPU

The CPU directly determines how fast your computer runs and how efficiently it executes programs. CPU speed is measured in GHz, and the higher the number, the more processes a Chromebook can handle at one time without lagging.

Screen

To determine the best Chromebook screen, consider the size, resolution and touchscreen capabilities.

If you plan on using a Chromebook to browse the web, view media and play app-based games, a 10- to 12-inch screen may be sufficient. If you need a Chromebook for more extensive productivity and organization, you should choose a model with a screen between 13-15.6 inches. The larger screens are heavier and less portable than smaller-screened devices.

Chromebook’s display resolution controls the crispness and clarity of on-screen images. The most budget-friendly models tend to have 1366 by 768-pixel displays, but most people will want at least a full HD display, with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. There are also models available with UHD or 4K displays, though these rarely fall into the budget price range.

A touchscreen is not a necessity for productivity, but it may be required for some games, and many people find it more convenient. However, a touchscreen reduces battery life for the device. 

How much can you expect to spend on a cheap Chromebook

The most budget-friendly Chromebooks start around $100, but these will have limited storage space and RAM, and generally slow CPUs. In the $200-$400 range, you can get a good Chromebook with at least 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage space and a full HD display. 

Cheap Chromebook FAQ

Can I use a Chromebook for gaming?

A. The types of games you play will determine whether or not you can use a Chromebook for gaming. A Chromebook works just fine for app-based games. However, a Chromebook is not capable enough for resource-intensive games that require you to install full programs.

Can Chromebooks get viruses?

A. Because Chromebooks cannot run executable programs, they are not susceptible to viruses. They also run apps in virtual sandboxes, which hinders an infected file’s ability to compromise other parts of the system. That being said, malicious browser extensions can cause problems for a Chromebook, but these are usually resolved by simply uninstalling the extension.

What is the best cheap Chromebook to buy?

Top cheap Chromebook

Asus Chromebook Flip C433

Asus Chromebook Flip C433

What you need to know: With 8 GB of RAM and a 14-inch display, the Flip C433 is a good choice for productivity, and it can multitask better than many other Chromebooks.

What you’ll love: It has a 2-in-1 design that allows it to be used like a tablet and a sleek aesthetic with a thin bezel. It also has a processor that has up to 3.4 GHz.

What you should consider: It is more expensive than many cheap Chromebooks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cheap Chromebook for the money

Samsung Chromebook 4 +

Samsung Chromebook 4 +

What you need to know: You’ll be hard pressed to find a more affordable model that features 6 GB of RAM and a 15-inch full HD display than the Samsung Chromebook 4 +.

What you’ll love: It’s available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB configurations, and its 10-hour battery life will last through a full day of work. Also, it features two speedy USB Type-C ports for connecting peripheral devices.

What you should consider: The design looks a bit dated, and it lacks a touchscreen.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 

What you need to know: The Flex 5 offers a good balance of price and hardware specs. It is just as suitable for productivity as it is for viewing media and browsing the web, making it an all-purpose option that will appeal to many consumers.

What you’ll love: The well-spaced keys offer good tactile feedback for touch typing, and the responsive touchscreen supports the use of stylus.

What you should consider: With just 4 GB of RAM, it can lag sometimes while multitasking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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