Another school year during the pandemic is challenging for students as it likely requires more remote learning. And that means more time spent learning in front of a computer. Many districts supply students with Chromebooks, but they’re usually underpowered, undersized models. If you can afford it, you may want to invest in a larger, more powerful laptop to get through the remainder of the current school year and the next.
The most affordable option is a Chromebook, which costs less than a traditional Windows laptop or a MacBook. It’s also easier to use, thanks to the streamlined Chrome OS software. And you can find Chromebook models with displays larger than the tiny, 11.6-inch Chromebooks that school districts typically issue. The picks here all have larger, 12.2- to 15.6-inch displays.
Here are seven budget Chromebook models that are currently priced as low as $260. We took into account factors and features like cloud storage, the quality of the keyboard, battery life, web browsing ease and the inclusion of a headphone jack. If you’re looking to find the best Chromebook for students, this list (which we update periodically) will help.
This Asus model is on sale for only $260 right now and features a 14-inch display powered by an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM. Those are average components for a budget Chromebook, but it adds a bit more storage than usual with 64GB. It features Full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution display for a sharper picture and more workspace than you’d get with the 1,366×768-pixel resolution found on other low-end Chromebooks.
The highlight of this Lenovo two-in-one Chromebook is its 10th-gen Intel Core i3 CPU, which is common to many budget Windows laptops and has more than enough oomph to power the lightweight Chrome OS. The Flex 5 features a 13.3-inch touchscreen display with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution. It offers pen support but you need to buy a stylus separately.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.
This convertible Chromebook features a 15.6-inch touchscreen that can rotate into tablet mode, and is powered by an eighth-gen Intel Core i3 CPU. It’s an older Core i3 part than you get in the above Lenovo model, but more powerful than Intel Pentium and Celeron chips commonly found in Chromebooks. The C340 also offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage, both average for the price.
This Samsung Chromebook has a smaller display at 12.2 inches than the other models here, but the touchscreen display can rotate 360 degrees into tablet mode so you can play Android games — once homework is done, of course. The display boasts a sharp 1,920×1,200-pixel resolution and pen support for the included stylus. Inside, the system features an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Read our Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 review.
This Acer two-in-one Chromebook is currently $200 off at Best Buy to bring its price down to a reasonable $329. This Acer Chromebook features a 13.5-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which offers more room vertically than wider 16:10 displays that are better for watching movies but require more scrolling when browsing the web. This Acer Chromebook’s display also has a fine 2,256×1,504-pixel resolution, a Gorilla Glass coating for added durability and can rotate 360 degrees into tablet mode. Inside, it features a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review.
This Samsung two-in-one Chromebook features an all-metal chassis, which is a step up in both looks and durability from the usual plastic Chromebook fare. It’s based on a 13.3-inch QLED touch display with Full HD resolution powered by a 10th-gen Core i3 CPU and 8GB of RAM. It also supplies a roomy 128GB of solid-state storage. It is discounted by $50 or $100 on occasion at both Amazon and Best Buy, so this is one to keep an eye on and pounce when the price drops.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 review.