What is the Best Chromebook to Buy in 2020?
Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular every year. In 2020, it’s predicted that 20 million Chromebooks will be shipped worldwide. That’s an increase for 17% over the 17 million that were shipped in 2019.
The reason for that increase in popularity is clear. Chromebooks are light, cheap, and they get the job done. For people that just need a laptop for work and don’t need to do any heavy work, this is the best option. If you’re looking to get a Chromebook for yourself, here are a few things you should look out for.
What Brand of Chromebook is Best?
No brand has a monopoly on the best hardware and software when it comes to Chromebooks. However, Google’s Pixelbook as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook are considered to be class leaders. This is likely due to the optimized software that they run.
Google is the creator of Android OS and Chrome OS and so it makes sense that Google optimizes the user experience. Android apps work better on the Pixelbook and the software experience is clean, without any bloatware or significant slowdowns.
Samsung is well-known for having some of the best hardware when it comes to making mobile devices. So, its Chromebooks are also well-optimized and fully featured. You can be sure that you’re getting one of the best screens on a laptop with a Samsung Chromebook. Also, Samsung’s SSDs and its hardware is class-leading.
However, to get the best Chromebook in 2020, you need to dig a little deeper.
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Chromebook Pixelbook Go
The Pixelbook Go has a premium feel to it right off the bat due to the magnesium chassis. It feels different from your average Chromebook. It’s also heavier because of that at 2.3 pounds.
However, the magnesium is coated with soft paint so it won’t scratch very easily as well.
The Pixelbook also has a backlit keyboard, which should be expected at the $1000 price point. However, the keyboard is also a pleasure to type on. That’ll be really handy when you’re trying to get an assignment done quickly.
As for biometrics, there are none on the Pixelbook itself, but you can pair your Android phone to it for the same purpose. There are also no LTE options for when you’re not within range for Wi-Fi. That’s going to be a problem for those on the road.
The Pixelbook has a 1080p screen with a 16:9 ratio, and the display quality is pretty good. It can be bumped up to a 4K screen for a little extra money though.
The battery life is also impressive. You can get through a day without any issues. Google claims up to 12 hours of use, but that’s probably under ideal conditions. That being said, Google supports fast charging over USB-C for the PIxelbook and that should keep it full of juice.
The HD webcam is a welcome addition when so many laptops still sport a 720p webcam. The front-facing camera has a 2MP sensor that can record 1080p video at 60 fps. The Chromebook comes with an i5 processor and 16 GB of RAM for the $1000 version.
As for negatives, the lack of ports is pretty evident. There’s no MicroSD card slot for storage expansion, and there is no USB-A port. Hence, you’ll have to carry around a dongle to transfer files.
The Pixelbook can also feel expensive when compared to the competition. You also can’t flip the Pixelbook all the way around to make it a tablet. That makes the inclusion of a touchscreen pretty pointless.
However, when all is said and done, the Pixelbook is fast, clean, and simple. It has a great keyboard and excellent battery life. Pick this one up if you want a premium experience and a clean OS.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
Samsung is famous for its durable hardware, so of course, the Galaxy Chromebook looks gorgeous. It’s 9.9 mm thick and 2.29 pounds heavy.
It’s the thinnest Chromebook out there and is made of aluminum for lightweight. It also has a 360-degree hinge to convert itself into a tablet.
The trackpad and the keyboard are OK, but they could be better. The keyboard has shallow key travel, and the trackpad is a little stiff. However, they’re not dealbreakers.
An odd choice is the inclusion of an 8MP camera on the top right corner of the keyboard deck. You can use it to take photos when you fold the Chromebook into tablet mode.
The display is gorgeous of course; it’s a Samsung device, what’d you expect? The 4K OLED screen has vivid colors and even beats the MacBook Pro.
Google’s Ambient colors feature makes the display really color accurate as well too. However, as with most 4K screens, this eliminates battery fairly quickly.
The included stylus is a great addition. It is pretty similar to the S-Pen that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Note phones. It is very smooth across the screen and is better for work than even the touchpad in some respects. You can even use it as a laser pointer for presentations.
Easily the best thing about the Galaxy Chromebook is that it has beefy internals. There’s the 10th Gen Core i5 CPU, the 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM, as well as the 256 GB of storage. Any heavy browsing, apps and games, etc. run very smoothly on the Chromebook as a result.
The bad news is that the load management isn’t great. The Galaxy Chromebook heats up and there is no fan to cool it down. There’s a passive cooling system, but that’s not enough.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook suffers from bad battery life and a few issues with apps on its version of Chrome OS. It also has inconsistent cooling and is quite expensive.
However, there are some bells and whistles which make it easy to work on. These include beautiful hardware, an amazing screen, and an included stylus.
Acer Chromebook Spin 13
With beefy internals like a 10th Gen Core i5 intel chip, and 8 GB of RAM, it won’t slow down with even 50 tabs open on Chrome. It will scream through most apps and games that you throw at it with Chrome OS.
Perhaps the best thing about the Acer Spin 13 is the 2K LCD. It’s crisp and vibrant, as well as beautiful. It has a 3:2 ratio like many competing versions, however, it can feel cramped for some.
The Acer Chromebook is in no shortage of ports. It has 2 USB-C ports for file transfers and charging, an HDMI port, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. It even has a 3.5 mm headphone jack as well as a USB-A port. It’s also great for the price at $630.
The bad stuff about the Acer Spin 13 is pretty minor. The 15 W CPU requires a fan for cooling, which means that it can heat up in a hot climate. The hinge is also slightly loose which makes the screen wobbly.
This is surprising since the Chromebook is built with aluminum and feels high-end to hold.
That being said, it does have a plastic keyboard frame and deck. This can be a problem for those that value good craftsmanship.
There is also a battery drain issue with the software. So heavy users will definitely take issue here.
HP Chromebook X360
While it doesn’t claim the 12 hours of battery life that the Pixelbook does, the HP X360 will last you a day and more comfortably. It has even gone up to 12 hours in one test.
As for performance, Chrome OS is zippy and fast on this one. It has an elegant, and durable design as well with a fantastic keyboard.
The chassis is made out of aluminum which means that it’s sturdy and won’t give up on you. The hinge will rotate all the way around to transform the Chromebook into a tablet.
Starting at $800, it’s cheaper than most of the high-end competition, and it gives you your money’s worth too. The beefy internals like 8 GB of RAM, 64 GB of eMMC flash storage, and a Core i3 intel CPU are welcome.
They will get you through your day in record speed. You can upgrade to a Core i5 model for a few hundred bucks which will push the price to $1000.
However, easily the worst part of the HP X360 is the dim, muted screen. If you’re looking for a great display, this won’t be the one for you. There’s also no included stylus.
ASUS Chromebook C436 2-in-1
The one thing I love about the ASUS Chromebook is that it has a fingerprint scanner. Most laptops and Chromebooks should have this feature now. It makes logging in security to your desktop such a pleasure.
The Chromebook also has an excellent keyboard and a nice design. It’s built with magnesium allow and has a 360-degree hinge. There are two USB-C ports, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. There’s also a microSD card slot.
However, there is no HDMI port or USB-A. That’s a bummer for those that want more functionality.
The internals are pretty good for the price point at $800. There’s a 10th Gen Core i3 processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That’ll get you through light work and is on the generous side of Chromebook internals.
The weakest point of the ASUS Chromebook is the battery life. Similarly-priced Chromebooks and even lower priced ones can get more hours out before the day is done.
On top of that, the Chromebook has a wonky trackpad that can make working a full day, a chore. You’re better off attaching a wireless mouse to the Chromebook.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free experience, the clear winner here is the Pixelbook Go. It has a clean software, great hardware, and impressive battery life.
However, if you’re looking for a screaming performance and the best screen out there, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook may be your go-to choice.
If you’re going for a compromise between the two, the HP Chromebook X360 is probably your best bet. It’s not as pricey, but still has great internals and a solid screen.
But here we recommend to choose the best Chromebook to buy in 2020 according to your budget, and your needs.