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Consumer Reports: Best Chromebooks of 2022

If you want to add a low-cost computer to your home, these models can replace a traditional laptop at a nice price
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.Consumer Reports / Consumer Reports
/ Source: Consumer Reports

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If you’re looking for a low-cost way to add another computer to your household, a Chromebook may be the way to go.

As any kid who has used one in school can tell you, it’s essentially a laptop that runs on Chrome OS, an easy-to-use operating system developed by Google. Chromebooks typically eschew high-end features like fast processors and big hard drives in favor of modest specs—and modest prices.

Many of the Chromebooks in our ratings cost about $500 or less, making them a good value for consumers who aren’t too wedded to the macOS or Windows ecosystems.

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“Chromebooks will run word processing and spreadsheet programs, and you can use them to browse the web,” says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing at Consumer Reports. “And if they break, nobody’s going to cry too much because they don’t break the budget.”

Chromebooks rely heavily on web apps like Gmail and Google Docs, which lessen the need for the sort of high-end specs you find on Mac or PC laptops. Those web apps are often just as capable as their desktop counterparts, too, so you’ll be able to take Zoom calls, participate in Slack chats, or trudge through your email in Outlook without skipping a beat.

Of course, you won’t be able to play the latest Windows or Mac games on a Chromebook, and serious photo and video editors will probably want the power and flexibility afforded by a high-end Mac or PC. But a Chromebook could still be a good choice for consumers with more basic needs.

There are nearly 30 Chromebook models in our ratings, all of which are made by well-known companies like Acer, HP, and Samsung. The ones highlighted below, listed based on their Overall Score, are plenty capable of tackling the everyday productivity tasks juggled by most students, families, and professionals.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

This 13.5-inch 2-in-1 convertible has a lot going for it. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of solid-state storage. Those are above-average specs for a Chromebook, which explains why it ranks so high.

Our testers highlighted a few attributes in particular, including the long battery life (up to 18 hours), relatively light weight (around 3 pounds), and the convertible form factor. That means you can fold the keyboard behind the display to more easily use the device like a tablet.

Acer has a similar Spin model with a faster processor and twice the storage space, but it costs a few hundred dollars more.

Google Pixelbook Go (Core m3)

This 13.3-inch notebook has been available for a little more than two years but still offers a lot for the money. It’s got an Intel m3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 64GB of solid-state storage.

The “Go” in the name implies a highly portable device, and that’s what our testers found, noting its light weight (a bit more than 2 pounds) and long battery life (as much as 16 hours on a single charge). That makes this a good choice if portability is your paramount concern.

HP Chromebook 14B-NA0010WM

This 14-inch notebook has an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 4GB of memory, and 128GB of solid-state storage.

In addition to its long battery life (nearly 14 hours) and light weight for its size (around 3 pounds), our testers also highlighted this model’s display. It gets bright enough to easily use outdoors and offers wide viewing angles, so it can easily be shared by multiple people or viewed off-center without washing out.

If you’re willing to spend about $200 more, you might also consider the HP Chromebook 13C, which is a bit more powerful and offers about 3 more hours of battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

This 13.3-inch convertible has a bright red design. Though we don’t take that sort of thing into account when testing and rating computers, there’s no denying that it helps the Chromebook stand out from the crowd.

The specs and performance provide a good balance for the price. There’s an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of flash storage, and a battery that delivers nearly 13 hours of web browsing in CR testing. That’s perhaps not quite what you expect from a traditional laptop but more than enough to handle typical office tasks or schoolwork.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

This 13.3-inch convertible has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of flash storage. Performance is midrange but solid for the price.

Our testers noted that while the 11.5-hour battery life for web browsing is below average compared with the competition, it’s still long enough to get through the average workday (and then some) without too much worry.

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