5 best Chromebooks
Looking for an alternative to Windows and MacOS? Invest in one of these slick machines
For the uninitiated, a Chromebook is simple – it’s a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome OS, and they can double up as tablets. They don’t run Windows, although in practice it’s all very similar to what you’re likely used to.
They’re also comparably affordable and can make for fantastic value purchases, especially compared to high range products like Apple’s MacBooks.
For anything from £200 to £1000, the Chromebook range has expanded and diversified in recent months, leading to a great amount of choice.
They use online storage – Google offers 100GB free – so that you don’t need to invest in an expensive physical hard drive, which drives the cost of each laptop down.
And they’re intrinsically linked to online functionality, meaning that if you don’t have access to an Internet connection (who are you?) then a Chromebook might not be for you.
We’ve taken a look at the best on the market, factoring in everything from price and build quality to screen size, resolution, battery, keyboard performance and more.
Asus Chromebook C302ca: £499.95, John Lewis
The Asus C302 is easily one of the best Chromebooks you can buy, and it doesn’t come at an eye watering price.
£499 is obviously still a fair wad of your hard earned money, but the flip functionality, full HD screen and minimally styled design aesthetics make for a laptop that’s lovely to use for extended periods of time.
There’s also an excellent battery housed inside that sleek outer body, which means you’re not going to be worrying constantly about finding the nearest power source when you’re out and about.
Google Pixelbook: £999, John Lewis
From a design perspective the Pixelbook is the Chrome de la Chrome – a superbly attractive piece of kit that delivers the best looks of the lot.
Its keyboard is great, too, which is an important consideration when you’re looking at non-Apple computers – arguably the best keyboards in the laptop world.
The audio performance gets a bit of a kicking, and it’s admittedly not great, but ultimately you’re not buying this hardware for anything other than great useability.
The key downfall is the price, which comes in as one of, if not the most expensive of its kind available.
HP Chromebook 11-v001na: £179, AO
The HP Chromebook 11 doesn’t deliver all the bells and whistles of some of the other laptops on this list, but it does come at an absolutely bargainous price.
For just under £200 you get a perfectly serviceable laptop complete with good build quality, lightweight design and a decent screen.
It’s a little on the small side, which means those with larger hands may end up a little cramped after long periods of use and it’s not the best viewing experience you can buy from a screen perspective, but it absolutely does the job as a nimble device to take on the go in order to fire off emails and keep up to date with your busy day.
Lenovo ThinkPad 500e: £558, Technoworld
Lenovo’s ThinkPad is incredibly durable and has a 360 degree hinge, which just about make up for its utilitarian design aesthetic and a comparably small screen.
It’s also got good sound, a well performing battery and a splash resistant keyboard, which factors into that impressive individual unit strength. By far the best part about this laptop, though is the keyboard. It’s superb to use.
The ThinkPad is a staple of many classrooms nowadays, but there’s a lot to like for adults, too, providing you can look past that less than pretty appearance.
It’s also not the best suited on this list to being used as a portable tablet device, as the chunky build does detract from its useability on the go.
Dell Chromebook 11 3180: £203.97, Ebuyer
This has to be the best value Chromebook on this list. Dell is known for creating some absolutely fabulous hardware, but it usually comes with quite a substantial price tag.
Not so with the Chromebook 11, which for £200 delivers some very rugged build quality, excellent sound and a 180 degree hinge. It’s not the best looking laptop, and instead favours blockier design over something more sleek, just like the ThinkPad.
However, it’s purpose built nature means Dell is capable of claiming that it passes US Military Standard testing for durability, dirt, dust, pressure, temperature, humidity, shock and vibration. Not bad for a laptop.
The Verdict: Best Chromebooks
It delivers everything you want from a mid range laptop, and in some areas exceeds expectations.
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