The 4 Best Chromebook 2021


Our pick

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″)

With excellent performance for its low price, a great keyboard and trackpad, and a compact, light body, the Lenovo Flex 5 is the Chromebook to buy.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-10110U Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 2.97 pounds
Storage: 64 GB SSD Tested battery life: 10 hours

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″) is an exceptional Chromebook—on top of being an all-around great laptop, our recommended model offers faster performance than most Chromebooks under $500. Most cheap Chromebooks feel slow with just a handful of tabs open, but the Flex 5 can handle everyday workloads with aplomb. Lenovo also sells a slightly cheaper model with a Celeron 5205U processor and half the local storage, but most people are better off spending a little more for the faster performance and double the storage.

Runner-up

HP Chromebook x360 14c (ca0065nr)

The inexpensive 14c has fast-enough performance, a solid keyboard and trackpad, and a 14-inch touchscreen that doesn’t look dull or washed out.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Pentium 6405U Screen: 14-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 3.64 pounds
Storage: 64 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 10 hours

We tested the 14c with an Intel Core i3 processor, not the Pentium processor we recommend. We expect the battery life to be similar, but not exactly the same.

If the Flex 5 is unavailable, or if you want a bigger screen, we recommend the HP Chromebook x360 14c-ca0065nr. It’s fast enough for everyday office tasks and schoolwork, and it has a solid keyboard and trackpad. The 14c is heavier than the Flex 5 and has similar battery life. But compared with most Chromebooks in this price range, the 14c is fast, compact, and blessed with a vivid, spacious screen. The faster HP Chromebook x360 14c-ca0053dx is an even better option, and it’s frequently on sale; get whichever is cheaper.

Upgrade pick

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is smaller, lighter, and faster than the Flex 5 and lasts longer on a charge, but it’s quite a bit more expensive.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-10110U Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.71 pounds
Storage: 128 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 11 hours

If you’re willing to pay more for a smaller, lighter, and faster Chromebook with longer battery life, get the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. The Flex 5 is more than good enough for most people, but if you frequently have dozens of tabs open, run multiple Android apps, or use Linux on your Chromebook, the extra memory is worth paying more for—as a Chromebook enthusiast, I’d buy the Galaxy Chromebook 2. Unlike our other picks, this model has only USB-C ports. If you own older peripherals that use USB-A, you’ll need a dongle or dock to accommodate them. (We don’t recommend the Celeron model, it’s too slow for its price.)

Also great

Recommended configuration

Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 3250C Screen: 15.6-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 4 GB Weight: 4.3 pounds
Storage: 64 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 12 hours

If you need a bigger screen and a number pad, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 (CM5500FDA-DS344T) is the best option. Its 15.6-inch touchscreen provides more room to do work or enjoy media, but it also makes the whole laptop heavier and bulkier. We don’t recommend it if you need a portable laptop to take to work, class, or even a coffee shop—this 4.3-pound laptop is best used around the house. If the CM5 is unavailable, or if you don’t mind paying a bit more for a faster laptop, the virtually identical Asus Chromebook Flip C536 (C536EA-BI3T3) is another great option.

It can be difficult to find a decent Chromebook in stock during the back-to-school shopping season. If none of our picks are available, we recommend setting up stock alerts using NowInStock.net or browser extensions like Keepa. If you can’t find a new Chromebook anywhere, consider a used Chromebook—but double-check the official end-of-support date before you buy. You can also turn an old Windows or Mac computer into a Chromebook, if you have an old system lying around.



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