Best Chromebooks 2020: our pick of the best cheap Chrome OS laptops

The best Chromebooks you can buy today in 2020, from budget bargains to luxe status symbols

 best Chromebooks 2020
(Image credit: Acer)

Welcome to the T3 best Chromebooks guide for 2020, where our experts round up the top Chrome OS-powered laptops in the market right now. 

There's brilliant budget Chromebooks in this guide that deliver astonishing value, and we hope that it's an indispensable guide for anyone trying to navigate the range of Chromebooks on offer at the moment to find the best one for their particular needs.

It's a great time to buy a Chromebook, as well – these lightweight, versatile laptops are attracting a growing number of fans for their simplicity of use, their speed, and their (mostly) low prices. There's no need to install additional software or any security packages, you won't notice any bloating or slowing down, and you can now run Android apps on Chrome OS as well.

The only difficulty is that there are so many models to pick from, it's hard to know where to start – and that's where we come in, with our best Chromebooks 2020 guide. From powerhouses to plucky 2-in-1s, we've got a lightweight Android device that's bound to meet your specs and aesthetic requirements.

And Chromebooks are, now more than ever, a great computing solution. With more of us than ever finding ourselves working from home and online, the streamlined and online-focused Chromebook is a cheap and robust solution that can transform your home office environment.

What follows are the best Chromebook laptops on the market today, as well as some handy information about the differences between a Chromebook and a laptop.

The best Chromebooks you can buy today

Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7000 best Chromebooks 2020

For most people the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7000 is a brilliant all-round choice.

1. Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7000

The best Chromebook for most people

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen
Storage: 128GB
Reasons to buy
+Versatile 2-in-1 folding form factor+Good balance of specs

Dell has always got the Chromebook ethos, and its latest Chromebook 14 7000 is the perfect blend of performance and style. It's not cheap, but it gives you just about everything you could want from a Chromebook, including support for Android apps.

The specs are good enough for everything to run smoothly without being too much than a Chromebook really needs, and the storage and graphics processing are both above average. It also looks the part, with the 2-in-1 folding form factor adding versatility.

HP x2 Chromebook best Chromebooks 2020

The HP x2 Chromebook is the best premium choice on the market today.

2. HP X2 Chromebook

The best Premium Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3-7Y30
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen
Storage: 64GB
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of power+Looks very nice for a Chromebook

There are fewer premium Chromebooks than there are budget Chromebooks, but the HP x2 Chromebook definitely appeals if you're happy to spend whatever it takes. With stylish looks and sound by Bang & Olufsen, plus a 2-in-1 form factor, it oozes sophistication.

In fact, the screen fully detaches – it's perfect if you want to swap between a tablet and a laptop, Microsoft Surface-style, and the Active Pen stylus is bundled with the package. For its power and versatility, if not its price, it's our favourite Chromebook at the moment.

Acer Chromebook 514 best Chromebooks 2020

The Acer Chromebook 514 is a great budget choice.

3. Acer Chromebook 514

The best budget Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 – Intel Pentium N4200
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500
RAM: 4 – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen
Storage: 32GB – 64GB
Reasons to buy
+Looks more expensive than it actually is+Keeps your Chromebook costs down

There's been a trend for Chromebooks to pack in more powerful specs and a greater amount of storage than is strictly necessary, but the Acer Chromebook 514 pares that back to give you the basics, reducing the price accordingly – though it's definitely no slouch.

These components should be more than enough to keep Chrome OS running smoothly for years to come, and in terms of the design the laptop manages to blend style and functionality rather well. There's full support for Android apps from the Play Store as well.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434 best Chromebooks 2020

Asus Chromebook Flip C434

4. Asus Chromebook Flip C434

The best Chromebook for mixing style with power

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM: 4 – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen
Storage: 32GB – 128GB
Reasons to buy
+Powerful spec options+Screen that flips over

With its elegant looks, a screen that you can 'flip' (to stand up or lie flat against the keyboard), and support for Android apps, the Flip C434 from Asus is undoubtedly one of the best Chromebooks money can buy in 2020. For some of you, it may even be the best.

The 87 percent screen-to-body ratio is worthy of a premium Windows laptop and looks great running Chrome OS, while the internal specs can be set to suit you: an m3, i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of internal storage give you lots of choice.

Google Pixelbook Go best Chromebooks 2020

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Pixelbook Go

The best Chromebook from Google

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3, i5, i7
Graphics: Integrated graphics
RAM: 8GB or 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch up to 4K resolution
Storage: 64GB, 128GB or 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and fast+Stylish and sensible design+Chrome OS rapidly improving

The Pixelbook Go is the latest Chromebook direct from Google, and while we miss the taller screen of the original Pixelbook, there's no doubt that this newer, faster model gets a lot right. A variety of configuration options are available, up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB and a 4K display.

We've got yet more evidence that the Google hardware design team is hitting its stride with the Pixelbook Go, from the slim bezels around the display to the textured rubber underneath the laptop, which keeps it in place when it's on a firm surface (or on your actual lap).

Chrome OS flies along on the Pixelbook Go, and it's a fine example to other Chromebook manufacturers of just how good these laptops can be. You don't get the ability to fold the display over and use the device as a tablet, however.

Asus Chromebook Flip C436 best Chromebooks 2020

(Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus Chromebook Flip C436

For that extra bit of power and style

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5 or i7
Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB or 16GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 touchscreen
Storage: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB
Reasons to buy
+Excellent build quality+Packed with power

If you're in need of the very best components inside your Chromebook, and you have a decent budget to spend on one, then consider the Asus Chromebook Flip C436. It comes with a choice of the latest 10th-gen Intel Core processors, as well as either 8GB or 16GB of RAM.

That means it should be more than capable of coping with any web browser tabs and Android apps you want to throw at it. We like the form factor too – as with other Asus Flip models, you can bend the screen right back and set it up in tent mode or use it as a tablet (albeit a thick tablet).

Battery life could be better, and it is expensive, but this is a Chromebook that really looks the part and that's going to last you for years and years. We're big fans of the gorgeous 14-inch screen as well, which makes webpages and apps crisp and bright, and features very little in the way of bezels.

Acer Chromebook R13 best Chromebooks 2020

Acer Chromebook R13

7. Acer Chromebook R13

A great Chromebook all-rounder

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek M8173C
Graphics: Imagination PowerVR GX6250
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen
Storage: 64GB
Reasons to buy
+Useful form factor+Generous screen size

The Acer Chromebook R13 is not the best looking Chromebook, or the most powerful, or the most versatile – but it does enough stuff well to make it worth an entry on our best Chromebooks of 2020 list, including offering an impressive 12 hours of battery life.

The 2-in-1 form factor means you can use it in tent or tablet configurations too, and the 13.3-inch screen is bigger than you would normally get at this sort of price. Like all modern Chromebooks, it supports Android apps, so you can use it like a big Android phone too.

Acer Spin 11 best Chromebooks 2020

Acer Spin 11

8. Acer Spin 11

The best Chromebook for portable versatility

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N3450
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1,080 x 720) touchscreen
Storage: 32GB
Reasons to buy
+Dinky and eminently usable+Comes with a stylus

If you want a Chromebook that's very portable but also very versatile – and which comes with a stylus too – then the Acer Spin 11 fits the bill very nicely. It reminds you that Chromebooks are supposed to be fun, and runs Android apps very well at the same time.

Okay you don't get the best specs out there, with the screen resolution and internal storage the lowlights, but this is still very usable and is going to give you several years of good service. A true alternative to what Windows and macOS laptops have to offer.

HP Chromebook 11 best Chromebooks 2020

HP Chromebook 11

(Image credit: HP)

9. HP Chromebook 11

One of the best Chromebooks for budget buyers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N3060
Graphics: Integrated graphics
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) touchscreen
Storage: 16GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Cheap, cheerful, robust+That low, low price+Very portable

One of the main reasons why you might think about buying a Chromebook rather than something running Windows or macOS is the price: and the HP Chromebook 11 gets you up and running with your web computing for not very much money at all.

Of course there are compromises here – you're not going to get a juggernaut of a laptop for around the £200 mark – but the HP Chromebook 11 is sturdy, and easy to use, and the perfect size for using on a train or stuffing into a rucksack. Chrome OS is Chrome OS no matter what Chromebook you're using.

Despite the chunk bezels and the plastic chassis, we'd be more than happy to have this as our regular computing companion. If you feel you need a bit more screen space, HP offers more expensive Chromebooks with bigger displays further up the food chain too.

Lenovo C340 best Chromebooks 2020

Lenovo 340

(Image credit: Lenovo)

10. Lenovo C340 Chromebook

Style meets substance in a Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-8130U
Graphics: Integrated graphics
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 15.6-inch (1,920 x 1,080 pixel)
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Nice, large 15.6-inch display+Plenty of battery life+Build quality and design impress

Who says Chromebooks have to look ordinary and dull? That's not the case with the Lenovo C340, which gives off the impression of costing a lot more money than it actually does. It's all grey plastic and aluminium, with a large, bright screen and a nicely laid out keyboard that gives a satisfying typing experience.

The 15.6-inch display flips right over, so the laptop doubles over as a tablet, and you can prop it up in a 'tent' position if you want to sit back and enjoy some movies. It's not the thinnest or lightest Chromebook we've ever seen, but you do get a good selection of ports and buttons around the edges.

With an excellent build quality, impressive battery life, and plenty of flexibility, it's a Chromebook worth considering, and definitely worth a place on our list of the best Chromebooks of 2020. Add in the price, which is fantastic value, and it's a very appealing option overall.

How to choose the best Chromebook for you

These days, the majority of our daily computing happens in a browser. Most apps can be replicated online, through a browser, and so cloud-based Chromebooks make a lot more sense than they might do at first glance.

The Chromebooks of 2020 have learned a few tricks from Windows laptops too: some fold over to double as tablets, some sport all-day battery life, and some have upgraded internals on a par with a Windows 10 machine, for example.

What's more, most new Chromebooks that appear on the scene now come with support for Android's huge library of apps as well. If there's something you need to do that can't be done through the browser, maybe you can find an Android app to help.

When it comes to specs, these aren't quite as important as they are for Windows or MacBook laptops, but you'll still want a generous serving of processor speed and RAM, particularly if Android apps are involved.

One of the key specs to look out for is screen size, as this will determine how much room you've got for webpages and apps, and how easy (or otherwise) it is to lug your Chromebook around.

Ultimately the reasons to buy a Chromebook are that they offer secure, lightweight systems that are always kept right up to date. Say your Chromebook gets stolen – replace it with another, log in, and everything will still be where you left it in the cloud.

Chromebooks have also become hugely important for education. Long battery life, low costs, and a decent suite of office apps mean that for cash-strapped students in need of a reliable work computer, they're absolutely ideal.

Is a Chromebook and laptop the same thing?

In almost all respects, yes they are. They deliver a portable computing experience that allows people to work and be creative wherever they might be, and often for significantly less money.

Where Chromebooks differ to laptops is in their operating system, apps, and internal components. The operating system, for example, is Google's Chrome OS not Windows, Linux or macOS, while the apps that Chromebooks use are from Google's G-Suite of software.

And, as Google's software pretty much all runs off the cloud, that means that Chromebook apps are designed to be online at all times. This is an important point to consider when buying a Chromebook. You really need to have an internet connection available to make using a Chromebook worth while.

Lastly, the internal hardware on Chromebook's tends to be (although not always) lighter than on a laptop. This is because Chromebooks use web apps and remote hardware to do their work for them. They still have CPUs and hard drives, but they just tend to be more basic as they don't need to do as much local processing and storing.

It is this lack of need in terms of internal hardware components that often leads to Chromebooks to ring in cheaper than a budget laptop, for example.