Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″)
With excellent performance for its low price, a great keyboard and trackpad, and a compact, light body, the Lenovo Flex 5i is the Chromebook to buy.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $304.
|Processor:||Intel Core i3-1115G4||Screen:||13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch|
|Memory:||8 GB||Weight:||2.97 pounds|
|Storage:||64 GB or 128 GB SSD||Tested battery life:||8 hours|
The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″) is an exceptional Chromebook. In addition to being an all-around great laptop, our recommended model offers faster performance than most Chromebooks under $500. Many cheap Chromebooks can’t handle a video call and an open document at the same time, or they feel slow with just a handful of tabs open. But thanks to its Core i3 processor and 8 GB of memory, our pick can handle everyday workloads with aplomb. The Flex 5i’s predecessor, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″), is a decent option if you find it in stock and on sale with a Core i3 processor, but it has only 4 GB of memory, and its guaranteed update support runs out a year sooner.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is smaller, lighter, and speedier than the Flex 5 and lasts longer on a charge, but it’s quite a bit more expensive.
|Processor:||Intel Core i3-10110U||Screen:||13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch|
|Memory:||8 GB||Weight:||2.71 pounds|
|Storage:||128 GB eMMC||Tested battery life:||11 hours|
If you’re willing to pay more for a smaller and lighter Chromebook with longer battery life, get the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. The Flex 5i is more than good enough for most people, but if you want a sleeker, more portable Chromebook, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the best option—if I had to carry a laptop around all day, this is the one I’d buy. Unlike our other picks, this model has only USB-C ports; if you own older peripherals that use USB-A, you’ll need a dongle or dock to accommodate them. (Note that we don’t recommend the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with a Celeron processor, as it’s too slow for its price.)
|Processor:||Intel Core i3-1115G4||Screen:||15.6-inch 1920×1080 touch|
|Memory:||8 GB||Weight:||4.3 pounds|
|Storage:||128 GB SSD||Tested battery life:||11.5 hours|
If you need a bigger screen and a number pad, the Asus Chromebook Flip C536 (C536EA-BI3T3) is the best option. Its 15.6-inch touchscreen provides more room to do work or enjoy media, but it also makes the laptop bulkier. We don’t recommend this 4.3-pound laptop if you need to take yours to work, class, or even a coffee shop—it’s best used around the house. If the C536 is unavailable, the virtually identical Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 (CM5500FDA-DN344T) is another great option.
It can be difficult to find a decent Chromebook in stock during the back-to-school shopping season. If none of our picks are available, we recommend setting up stock alerts through NowInStock.net or browser extensions like Keepa. If you can’t find a new Chromebook anywhere, consider a used Chromebook—but double-check the official end-of-support date before you buy. You can also turn an old Windows or Mac computer into a Chromebook, if you have an aging system lying around.
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