9 Best Chromebooks for Every Budget (2021)
Chromebooks come in an amazing range of options. Sometimes trying to decide which option to get in a single model can also be overwhelming. I need to use a spreadsheet to make sure everything is correct, but you shouldn’t do that. Here are some broad specifications to keep in mind when choosing.
Processor: Your Chromebook uses half a dozen different processors, most of which you’ve probably never heard of. There is a reason for this: they are slow. After testing a lot of Intel Celeron-based machines (usually labeled N4000), my recommendation is to go with something more powerful if you can. The next step from Celeron is the Core m3, the best choice for most people. If you want a more powerful machine in the future, get an i3 or i5 chip.
We’re starting to see more ARM-based Chromebooks, like the top Lenovo Duet. I haven’t had any problems using ARM Chromebooks, but they’re not as fast as Intel Core chips. There are newer Chromebooks that use AMD’s new Ryzen chips, and I’ve had a good experience with them.
RAM: Get 8 gigabytes if you can afford it, especially if you plan to run any Android app. When I’ve had slowdowns and serious bugs, it almost always only has 4 RAM gigs on a Chromebook.
Screen: Get an IPS LCD screen. There are still some low-end models with poorer TN LCD screens that you should avoid. The pixel resolution depends on the size. I’ve used some 11-inch Chromebooks with 720p screens (and I recommend them). Since these screens are embedded in a small form factor, they look pretty sharp to me, but of course the 1080p screen will be much nicer.
Ports: Most of the things you do on a Chromebook are cloud-based, so you don’t have to worry too much about ports. If you want something that charges via a USB-C port, you might want to boot your Chromebook from a portable battery / charger, but unfortunately USB-C is actually available in mid- and high-priced models. It also helps to have a MicroSD slot for extended storage, but that’s also not available.