These are the Best Chromebooks you can buy in October 2021
Looking for something a bit more powerful than a tablet, but don’t want a bulky laptop? A Chromebook may be the device you’re looking for. If you’re invested in the Google ecosystem, ChromeOS is the way to go, and it’s quite easy to use. It doesn’t have the same software compatibility as other, more popular operating systems. In fact, Chromebooks were originally conceived as machines that would run only Chrome and be used for online-based services.
But the devices have become so much more. They can now run Android apps that you can download from the Google Play Store, and you can even use Crostini or Crouton to install and run Linux applications. Whatever your needs, a Chromebook can likely help, and here are the best options to buy right now.
Navigate this guide:
- Best overall: ASUS Chromebook CX9
- Best 3:2 display: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- Best Chrome tablet: HP Chromebook x2 11
- Best Chrome OS experience: Google Pixelbook Go
- Best Chromebook on a budget: Acer Chromebook 513
- Best for kids: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go
- Best display on a Chromebook: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
- Best 2-in-1: ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
Best overall: ASUS Chromebook CX9
Powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors with up to Intel Iris Xe graphics, the ASUS Chromebook CX9 delivers performance and responsiveness to empower users with the ultimate device for productivity and portability. You can configure the CX9 with up to 16GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage. Even though it’s thin and light, the ASUS Chromebook CX9 offers comprehensive IO ports for frequent business use. You get two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI port, a single USB3.2 GEN2 port, microSD slot, and a Kensington lock slot for security.
The ASUS NumberPad is an LED-illuminated numeric keypad that’s perfect for crunching numbers, built right into the touchpad. Tap the NumberPad icon on the top right of the touchpad to turn it on, and tap the icon on the left to toggle between two brightness settings. This is a standout feature you won’t find on any other Chromebooks. Add in an amazing display, fingerprint sensor, and webcam shield, and you have the best overall Chromebook you can buy today. The price may seem a bit high at $1,149 for the i7 model, but if you compare it to other Chromebooks with similar specs, this is a steal. Despite the price, this is definitively one of the best Chromebooks with a touchscreen.
The keyboard on the CX9 is simply phenomenal. Not only do the keys have the right amount of travel, you also don’t feel any mushiness due to the rigid nature of the frame. You can type on this keyboard for hours with no finger fatigue. My typing experience was incredibly fast and accurate in my review. The NanoEdge design also lifts the keyboard up ever-so-slightly when you open the CX9. The look of this isn’t something everyone enjoys, but I think it provides a more ergonomic typing experience.
Day to day performance on the CX9 is stellar, which you’d expect with the Tiger Lake i7 and 16GB of RAM. Running Android and Linux apps is buttery smooth on this device. You can run very intensive Linux apps like MATLAB with absolutely no problems. The fans do kick in occasionally if you’re doing a large amount of resource-heavy stuff in Linux and have around 50 Chrome tabs open, but that’s fairly reasonable. Even so, the fans never get incredibly loud.
The ASUS CX9 might be a bit overkill for most writing tasks, but if you also work with spreadsheets often, you’ll be right at home. The built-in NumberPad in the touchpad makes this an excellent Chromebook for crunching numbers. Couple that with the absolutely amazing touchpad and keyboard and you have an excellent writing machine. Some users may balk at the 16:9 display for writing, but if you can handle that, you’ll be very happy with this Chromebook. This is an all-round beast of a machine that you can use for writing, programming, gaming, or whatever else you want a Chromebook for.
Brightness on the display is every bit of the 400 nits advertised on the specs sheet. I wouldn’t be surprised if the panel gets over 400 nits in outdoor conditions. I used the CX9 outside for a short while in the sun and had no problems viewing everything on my screen. It was pretty difficult to do extensive outdoor testing in the 115 degree heat, but I’m more than satisfied with the brightness on this Chromebook. Putting it side-by-side with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, the panels are equally bright. Given Samsung’s reputation for exceptionally bright displays, ASUS really accomplished something in this category.
Best 3:2 display: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
The Chromebook Spin 713 is the current hero Chromebook from Acer. Inside you’ll find the impressive Intel Core i7-10510U processor Quad-core at 1.80 GH. Along with this powerful processor, the Spin 713 also packs up to 16GB, DDR4 SDRAM and a 128 GB SSD for storage.
In terms of display, you get a 13.5″ 2K (2256 x 1504) 3:2 IPS Touchscreen panel with excellent maximum brightness and clean viewing angles. The display is also protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass, as is the trackpad. With its 360 degree convertible modes, you can work in space-limited environments such as in-flight or on the train, while also easily making presentations or sharing your screen in convenient and collaborative ways.
If you need to stay connected on the go, this Chromebook comes with an insane number of functional features including Wi-Fi 6, a backlit keyboard, a built-in HDMI port, as well as dual USB Type-C ports to deal with productivity needs. Battery life is excellent for a high-performance Chromebook — over 10 hours of usage on average. On top of all of this, you can also run Chrome Enterprise seamlessly out of the box, making this an appealing option for business customers. All of these features are packed in a beautifully designed metal chassis that makes this the best overall Acer Chromebook.
For those who read this wondering if Acer fixed the fan profiles from the previous Spin models, the good news is they absolutely did! The fans ramp up for one second when you power on, and they are very quiet even under heavy conditions. Even with multi-tasking, and the Chrome window having over a dozen tabs, the fan would be only audible in the quietest room. I owned the previous Acer Spin and returned it because the fan was full blast with one single Chrome tab streaming a movie on Netflix. This is by far the best fix Acer has done.
In terms of drawing, this is a great Chromebook if you want a large screen convertible that you can also use for productivity tasks as well. Having a 3:2 display on your Chromebook makes writing a lot easier, with lots of vertical space for composing documents, blogs, etc. In addition, you can get a full day’s use out of the Spin 713, meaning you won’t need to worry about carrying a charger along to move your office around on the daily.
Perhaps the only downside here is the device is a bit expensive, but it’s still well worth the money if you want to play games, watch Netflix, and get some work done in addition to drawing. At the end of the day, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a mix of everything. It’s a portable office. It’s a movie theater. It’s a LAMP server. It’s a desktop PC. It’s a tablet computer. It’s a Chrome browser. It’s an Android platform. It’s a Linux server. And it gets almost eight years of free software and firmware updates! There aren’t any Windows machines or MacBooks out there that do all of those things at this price.
- Acer's Spin 713 is an ultra-premium Chromebook from top to bottom. With good looks and verified MIL-STD-810G military-grade durability, this is an impressive machine. Top of the line specs and a convenient 2-in-1 design give you the power and portability to work anywhere.
Best tablet: HP Chromebook x2 11
The newly announced HP Chromebook x2 11 tops the charts as the best Chrome OS tablet for drawing. Light enough to take everywhere you go, the flexible design of the HP Chromebook x2 lets you easily detach the keyboard and kickstand, and makes for a great travel companion. With long battery life you can stay connected from anywhere. The included USI pen and fingerprint scanner bring a professional flare to this new Chrome OS tablet from HP.
Get it all done with the power of a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and the 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreen. With a full-size detachable keyboard, oversized touchpad, and dual cameras, you’ll stay productive wherever the day takes you. Bring the excitement with you. Experience entertainment on the go with a cinematic screen and dual speakers with Audio by Bang & Olufsen. Plus, you get all of the Google Play Store apps you love on a larger screen. HP also built in optional LTE support so the HP Chromebook x2 11 can be the ultimate work Chromebook for the road and truly one of the best Chromebooks with a touchscreen.
When all the accessories are attached and the x2 11 is totally closed up, the seams are good and the additional pieces don’t feel unnecessary or half-baked. It all comes together into a smooth overall package. The only complaints so far seem to be about the hinge on the back. It works great, but some people have complained there’s a wobble when using it with the included HP USI pen. Obviously if you want to use it for drawing, this is something to consider, but the HP Chromebook x2 11 seems to work just fine when laid flat for drawing on a table or other surface.
The kickstand is perhaps one of the best build-quality elements of this Chrome OS tablets. When attached, it’s nearly impossible to move the tablet accidentally. This means you can easily use the USI pen even when the tablet is propped up with the kickstand. You can also use the pen quite easily with the keyboard attached and using the HP Chromebook x2 11 in clamshell mode. This gives you quite a few more options for drawing in different orientations.
Tablets are a great choice for drawing and if you need portability, it’s definitely the way to go. Also, you get a very nice 3:2 display on the HP Chromebook x2 11, providing an ideal writing experience even on a smaller screen. The keyboard and kickstand are surprisingly stable for this device, so you shouldn’t have any trouble hammering out thousands of words per day. It would be nice to have a larger screen sure, but with LTE and the built-in stylus, this is a machine you can use anywhere for all types of drawing, writing, or other work.
One of the only downsides to the HP Chromebook x2 11 is the keyboard case doesn’t offer the best typing experience, particularly when used on the lap. It’s not a huge detractor for a device that’s primarily intended as a tablet, but it’s something to consider if you need to do substantial typing each day. If long typing sessions are something you see in your future, it may be wise to consider one of the 2-in-1 Chromebook devices on our list instead.
Best Chrome OS experience: Google Pixelbook Go
Maybe the most important part of a Chromebook to you isn’t the performance, but its endurance. The Google Pixelbook Go offers modest specifications as it’s powered by an 8th gen M3, M5, or M7. However, you do get up to 256GB of SSD storage and up to 16GB of RAM, so it’s not as if you’re going to have any noticeable lags or stutters. The base model has a 13.3 inch full HD touchscreen, although there’s a 4K screen option too. What’s more, it comes in at just over 1kg for the FHD model.
Google definitely has the design aesthetic down when it comes to their Chromebooks. A nicely rounded chassis with clean lines and a simple ‘G’ logo in the corner makes this a very appealing laptop. The textured bottom also provides an easier grip if you want to carry around the Pixelbook Go without a case or sleeve. In addition, this is one of the lightest 13″ Chromebooks out there, making it very portable for travel.
The simple and understated design of the Pixelbook Go is really timeless, so it’s no surprise it still looks great today. In fact, there aren’t many Chromebook OEMs that come close to matching Google’s design aesthetic in my opinion. My ‘Just Black’ model of the Pixelbook Go still looks absolutely gorgeous after two years of use. I tend to be fairly careful with my tech, but I’ve definitely given my Pixelbook Go a few bumps and at least one short drop onto the carpet in my office. This shows you just how durable the design is as well. With a combo of greats looks and durability, it’s hard to ignore the visual appeal of the Pixelbook Go as an industrial design achievement.
The M3 series of Intel chipsets run fanless, which means they also use a lot less power. That, coupled with the 41.41 watt-hour battery, means you’ll get up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. When it runs out of battery, it has a 45W USB-C fast charger to quickly charge it back up. Google says 20 minutes of charge is enough for two hours of usage. With a starting price of $649, this may be well worth a look.
The Pixelbook Go keyboard is truly one of the best keyboards on any laptop. It offers a startling combination of quiet keys, nice feedback, and key travel. Considering this is a 13″ Chromebook, the keyboard is also incredibly well spaced for maximum typing comfort. When I switch between the Pixelbook Go and my MacBook Pro I always long to go back to typing on the Pixelbook.
There are two different display options on the Pixelbook Go. I personally own the model with an FHD panel at 166 ppi. There’s also a 4K display available on the Core i7 model of the Pixelbook Go. I can’t comment on the 4K model, but my 1080p panel still performs quite well today.
Typically, I wouldn’t bother mentioning webcam quality, but the Pixelbook Go deserves it. Over the past 18 months, everyone started using their webcam a lot more. Most Chromebooks feature fairly pedestrian 720p webcams with very little consideration from the OEM. That’s not the case here, as the Pixelbook Go features a 1080p webcam that can shoot video at 60fps. The fact Google included this even before the pandemic started, makes the Pixelbook Go an even more compelling Chromebook despite its old age.
Best Chromebook on a budget: Acer Chromebook 513
The first thing you’ll notice about the Spin 513 is the incredibly light and thin form factor. Acer lists the weight on their website as 2.84lbs, but I weighed it myself in my review and found my model to be closer to 2.6 lbs. Obviously there’s a little bit of variance on each unit, but I can definitively say it’s lighter on average than what Acer claims on the specs page. Add that to the 0.61″ thickness and you have a device that feels more like a tablet than a laptop. If you need an ultra-portable drawing machine, the Spin 513 can do the trick.
With its FHD display, the Spin 513 is somewhat an anomaly in this class of Chromebooks. Most devices you find below $400 have much lower resolution displays. Right away, that’s a win for the Spin 513. In addition, the display gets bright enough at around 300 nits of maximum brightness. That’s also beating nearly all of the best Chromebooks in its class.
The IPS panel also provides solid color accuracy and viewing angles. I was able to use this laptop outside pretty well, as long as I was not in direct sunlight. My unit did have a bit of a blue tint to the display, but of course these uniformity issues occur with any product that uses an LCD panel. If you use the Spin 513 primarily inside, you shouldn’t have any worries about the viewing angles or brightness.
Touch accuracy is also good, with no issues using Android apps in tablet mode. Playing games and watching Netflix are enjoyable activities with the Spin 513’s 16:9 display. As is the case with many Chromebooks, the speakers are the real detractor for media consumption. You get stereo speakers, but they are bottom-firing which is never optimal. Maximum volume is still pretty quiet and there is virtually zero bass when listening to music. The audio is passable for the occasional podcast or streaming movies, but you should absolutely use headphones for music.
The good news is the Spin 513 does deliver excellent battery life. I certainly didn’t get the 14 hours of use Acer claims on the spec sheet when I tested it, but I did average a respectable 10.5-11 hours of actual on-screen time. During my testing I also put it through some pretty heavy workloads, so that could potentially stretch to 14 hours if you only do light browsing and use productivity apps. It’s pretty rare the number listed by an OEM is attainable in practice, but that’s at least conceivable with the Spin 513.
As a drawing, coloring, or writing machine, this is a great value with an above-average display at this price point. The Acer Spin 513 is also one of the lightest 2-in-1 Chromebooks out there. Combine those traits with the awesome battery life and this is a great contender if you need to be around $400 for price.
My only main gripe with this machine is the performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor. It should run Android apps much better than it does. If you need something that will run Android and Linux apps smoothly all day, you might want to opt for something a bit beefier, and unfortunately pricier as well.
- If you want a 2-in-1 Chromebook, but not at a high price, the Spin 513 is a great option. You still get a bright and vivid HD display, along with excellent battery life. If you need to work on the go, the Spin 513 has optional 4G LTE capability. Performance isn't the best, but if you're not a power user this is a nice Chromebook.
Best for kids: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go
Backpack, meet your new best friend. With its all-new slim design, the Galaxy Chromebook Go is our lightest Chromebook yet, making it perfect for busy lives on the go. With a 14″ screen and weighing 3.2 lb., this Chromebook helps you stay light and fast on your feet by not weighing you down. Plus, the Galaxy Chromebook Go is easy to use and ready for action — simply unpack it, turn it on and you’re ready.
The Galaxy Chromebook Go is built to withstand the inevitable hiccups that come with everyday life. Made with a military-grade design, your Galaxy Chromebook Go is carefully built to be durable —it’s even strong enough to withstand the occasional drop, ding or spill. Open and close the lid with confidence —the hinge is built to take it too. Plus, the hinge features a 180-degree design that gives you multiple viewing angles to fully enjoy your Galaxy Chromebook Go.
The Galaxy Chromebook Go is a new entry in Samsung’s Chromebook lineup. Announced just a few weeks back, this 14″ Chromebook has a solid display and attractive white on black design. It also passed Mil-STD-810G testing, making it a very durable choice for younger children. On the inside you get an Intel Celeron N4500 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB eMMc storage. It’s worth noting the only model of the Galaxy Chromebook Go with a touchscreen is the LTE variant.
Always on the lookout for a power outlet? No longer. Now you can breeze through your schoolwork with plenty of power left for some me time — the battery goes for up to 12 hours on a single charge. Plus, say goodbye to that tangled knot of cords in your bag with a universal charger. Conveniently power up your many Samsung devices, including your Chromebook, phone, tablet and buds, all on the same charger.
Samsung also included plenty of connectivity, with 1 USB 3.2 port, 2USB-C ports, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack. If you care about portability, this Chromebook weighs just 3.2lbs making it fairly light for a 14″ device. Since this is a newer device, you’ll also get Chrome OS updates for a long time, making this a device students can use throughout their school years. For students, this is definitely one of the best Chromebooks with a touchscreen.
While this isn’t the ideal setup in every way for writing, it’s a great budget device. You get a screen that’s large enough for writing tasks and solid battery life. That, along with the option of adding LTE, makes this a perfect travel companion if you don’t want to break the bank. Also, if you still have wired headphones, you can jam out while composing your next article or assignment for school. Blaze through every assignment, and hit every due date with fast Wi-Fi speed. Three times faster than the previous generation of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 gives you the speed you need for all of your tasks — whether personal or school-related — so you can own the day while staying at the top of your class.
The only real bummer here for writers is the 32GB eMMC storage. That isn’t a lot of space, even by Chromebook standards. If you want to use this as your daily driver for writing, make sure you have a good cloud solution in mind before buying the Galaxy Chromebook Go.
- Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Chromebook Go and it's a beautiful device. The white on black contrast makes this one of the best looking Chromebooks under $300. You also get a quality display and a newer Intel Celeron processor inside.
Best display on a Chromebook: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The first Chromebook with a QLED display, this is the best option for users looking to make Chrome OS their go-to platform for drawing. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 continues the overall design of the original Galaxy Chromebook, but reduces some of the premium features to attain a more reasonable price. The most impressive feature here is definitely the display. Get awestruck by every image with the world’s first jaw-dropping QLED display on a Chromebook, which produces over 100% volume.
The aluminum chassis feels sturdy and substantial, and is a pleasure to carry around. There’s something about the feel of cold metal that makes a plastic-bodied Chromebook feel less desirable. If you like to stand out in a crowd, the Fiesta Red color on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a head-turner for sure. The red is so bright it looks nearly orange in several photos I took in the bright Arizona sun. I definitely feel like I’m holding a premium device when I pick up the Galaxy Chromebook 2. There’s nothing wrong with a great cheap laptop, but nothing about this device feels cheap.
The processor options are not quite as high-end as the original Galaxy Chromebook, but the Intel Core i3 should do the job for most users. Storage on this device tops out at 128GB, but this is still ultra-fast SSD storage we’re talking about. You also retain 8GB of RAM, and get improved battery life. While the S-pen is still supported, it’s not bundled with the laptop so you’ll need to buy it separately. This also means there’s no slot for storing the S-pen in the body of the Chromebook.
Design is another strong point for the Galaxy Chromebook 2, particularly in the Fiesta Red color. If you’re looking for a Chromebook that matches your personal style, then this is an excellent option to consider. Friends and family will definitely be impressed with how this Chromebook stands out in the crowd. The chassis is also durable and doesn’t have too much give when pressing on the screen with a USI pen while drawing.
Beyond the look, the device is functionally designed as well. Samsung kept the profile slim and rigid, opting for only two USB-C ports (one on each side) and a micro SD slot. As I said before, this is a bit concerning if you use older peripherals, but USB-C is pretty much the standard these days. Overheating was a big issue on the original Galaxy Chromebook. That issue is now resolved, thanks to the vents you find hiding around the back of the Galaxy Chromebook 2. The only source of ventilation on the original Galaxy Chromebook was at the bottom, which led to an incredibly hot device to keep on your lap. In my time with the Chromebook 2, I didn’t notice any overheating even under heavy use.
Overall, this is the best Samsung Chromebook for you if you can live with the removal of the 4K display and fingerprint sensor. The highly attractive price will sway most users to choose this 2nd-generation device. If you need a high quality laptop for watching media, this is one of the best Chromebooks for drawing. It’s definitely a bummer the S-pen is not supported, but Samsung has a robust note-taking app that syncs nicely among all of your Samsung ecosystem devices.
Best 2-in-1: ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
As well as sleek looks, comfort and ergonomics are a priority with the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436. The precision-crafted chassis has a dual-tapered design, with the body and lid meeting to form a V-shaped edge that makes it easier to open the laptop. This model is fully configurable with up to a 10th gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. This Chromebook also features Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) pens, allowing you to take notes and draw with ease.
It’s incredibly thin and lightweight as well. It’s not quite as thin and light as the Pixelbook and Galaxy Chromebook, but only barely. What’s more, it’s less than 0.22 pounds and 0.10 inches thicker than the famously thin MacBook Air, so you can stuff this in a mid-sized backpack or a tote bag without any hassle. This is a great option to consider if weight and size is a massive factor. The ASUS Flip C436 was one of the first Chromebooks to feature a fingerprint reader in the chassis design. The reader, positioned in the upper right corner, works flawlessly. The oversized, glass trackpad is slightly inconsistent. Like many Chromebook convertibles, the C436 tends to suffer from some palm rejection issues when laid flat on a tablet for drawing.
Two fully-functional reversible USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C ports make it easy to charge your ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 or connect it to peripherals. Or if you’re looking for more onscreen space, hook it up to an external display with a compatible dock. For maximum convenience and compatibility, there’s also a microSD slot to makes it easy to add extra storage.
The four-sided NanoEdge display design gives the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 an even smaller footprint than you’d expect, bringing you all the benefits of a 14 inch FHD display in a 13 inch chassis. Featuring a precision-engineered mechanism, the versatile 360° ErgoLift hinge on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 has a silky-smooth action that holds the display securely at any angle.
This innovative hinge has a dual action that lifts and tilts the keyboard into the perfect typing position when the display is rotated into laptop mode. It also helps enhance the powerful audio by creating extra space underneath the laptop. Despite the compact design for a 14″ laptop, the Flip C436 still features a full-sized keyboard and spacious trackpad. All in all, this is clearly one of the best Chromebooks for drawing.
One of the only concerns with the C436 is touch sensitivity with a general USI pen. It tends to work very well with the $60 ASUS USI pen, which is sold separately, but users complain about touch sensitivity when using third-party options from vendors on Amazon. You can of course spring for the ASUS pen, but this really shouldn’t be a concern when buying a premium Chromebook. Keep in mind that USI pens tend to be fairly expensive as it is, so finding one substantially cheaper on Amazon isn’t very likely anyway. If you can get over this small issue, this should be a great option and a Chromebook that will last you for years to come.
Which Chromebook should you go with? It depends on what you’re looking for of course, but you can’t deny the appeal of the Google Pixelbook Go. It may not have the best specs but with long battery life and made by Google, you know it’s going to do everything you need it to with a Chromebook. On the other hand, if you need the most premium machine, definitely check out the ASUS Chromebook CX9.