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Best Chromebooks

A Selection of Laptops Running Chrome OS for Various Budgets And Features

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Feb 14 2013 - While much of the computer market has been in decline, the new Chromebook class of inexpensive web connected laptops is one on the rise. They appeal to people primary due to their low cost and small size. Since they all offer the same basic experience, which is necessarily the best to buy? Here are some of the Chromebooks I think are best based upon pricing or various features.

1. Best Value - Acer C720

Acer C720
©Acer

With a starting price of just $200, the Acer C720 is the least expensive Chromebook on the market. Even with its low price it does offer some surprising level of features. It features a relatively new Celeron dual core processor that provides it with improved performance as well as the longest battery life in the 11-inch Chromebook size. The big downside here is that the display is much dimmer than others making it less useful outdoors. In addition, it is slightly larger and heavier than its competition.

2. Best Display - HP Chromebook 11

HP Chromebook 11
©HP Inc.

Technically, the Google Chromebook Pixel should win this but its price is such that buyers would probably buy a full laptop rather than a limited Chromebook. On the other hand, the HP Chromebook 11 is affordable at just $279 but still features a good display. Most Chromebooks have opted for lower performing display panels as a means to keep the prices low but HP instead went with a brighter, more colorful display that offers some wide viewing angles. The downside is that the Chromebook 11 does suffer some lesser performance, battery life and missing ports to compensate for the cost of the display. So this is a tradeoff that people need to consider thoroughly before purchasing.

3. Best Battery Life - HP Chromebook 14

HP Chromebook 14
©HP

Chromebooks trade a lot of computing performance for lower cost and power consuming components. This should have the benefit of providing them with longer running times but batteries can also be quite expensive so many Chromebooks tend to use smaller battery packs than your standard laptop. If you want a Chromebook that will provide you with all day computer (around eight hours) then your only real choice is the HP Chromebook 14. It is the largest of the Chromebooks on the market but this also provides it with the space to fit a larger battery giving it over eight hours of running time. Performance is also quite good thanks to the use of a new Intel Celeron processor. The one big downside is that the larger display actually has some of the worst performance out of any Chromebook and negates the primary purpose for going for the large display size. Priced from $299 to $349.

4. Touchscreen - Acer C720P

Acer C720P
©Acer

Touchscreens have become extremely popular thanks to tablets. They can make browsing web sites easy in addition to quick access to media controls. Their popularity is also translating over to more and more laptops featuring them. The Chrome OS is fairly simplistic such that it does not take big advantage of multitouch gestures right now but a touchscreen can still make up for the tiny trackpads you generally have to use in a Chromebook. Acer is the first company to introduce such a feature with its C720P. The look and features are pretty much identical to the C720 except it being slightly thicker and heavier to fit the touchscreen. Battery life also took a slight hit. Thankfully, pricing is still very affordable at just $250 for the 16GB model and $300 for the 32GB one.

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