4 Best Chromebooks (2024): Tested and Reviewed

Chromebooks can come with a lot of different hardware inside, so it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need. Fortunately, the Chromebook Plus program has made the jumble of specs easier to parse. ChromeOS is also light enough that it doesn’t require incredibly beefy specs to get a good experience. Here are some general tips on what to look out for.

Processor: For the best experience, you should avoid older Chromebooks with Intel Celeron processors. The Chromebook Plus specifications offer a good baseline to guarantee speedy performance, and I’d recommend going with at least an Intel Core i3, Core i5, or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 processor. Just watch out for overspending on configurations with Intel Core i7 processors unless you need the extra horsepower for multitasking Android games, Linux apps, and dozens of Chrome tabs. While Intel and AMD dominate the processor scene, you’ll occasionally find Chromebooks using ARM processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 in the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 above. These can be fine for very basic tasks, but they won’t fare as well under sustained, intense loads (at least until something newer comes along).

RAM: Always opt for at least 8 GB of RAM if you can afford it. You won’t find 4 GB of RAM in anything other than basic, super-budget Chromebooks, but it severely limits your ability to multitask. If you want to avoid slowdowns, 8 GB of RAM is the standard you should aim for.

Storage: Unlike a Mac or Windows PC, a lot of your Chromebook work will live on the web. This means you can typically get away with less storage, but I wouldn’t recommend going below 128 GB. If you can afford it, you’ll be much more comfortable with at least 256 GB. You’ll get the best speed out of an NVMe solid state drive, so look out for that on the spec sheet when you’re comparing models.

Screen: The vast majority of Chromebook displays you’ll find will be IPS LCD panels, and that’s just fine. Until OLED displays make more of a dent in the Chromebook space, IPS LCD screens offer the best contrast and color accuracy. If you’re shopping in the extreme budget range, watch out for TN LCD panels, as they’re generally lower quality and offer worse viewing angles. For resolution, a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution should be your standard. You’ll get crisp visuals at 13- and 14-inch screen sizes and it’s passable at 15 inches. Higher resolutions will look even better, but be wary of the battery life tradeoff you’ll see from pushing power to more pixels.

Ports: USB-C ports have become commonplace on the newest Chromebooks, so there’s no longer any excuse to buy one without them. Try to get one that charges over USB-C so you can recharge with a portable power bank when you’re on the go. A microSD card slot can also be beneficial if you want an easy way to expand your storage on the fly. You’ll find that some Chromebooks support Thunderbolt 4 over their USB-C ports as well. While that’s an excellent option to have if you plan to plug your Chromebook into some high-end monitors, it isn’t necessary for most people. Instead, you can get similar external monitor support (and spend a lot less) with an HDMI port or DisplayPort over USB-C support.