Chromebooks have come a long way. Once an option-of-last-resort for those looking to buy a super-cheap laptop, improved design, hardware and access to Android apps have made Chromebooks a legitimate option for both work and fun.
The one exception: If you're into serious gaming, video editing or other hardware-intensive tasks, you'll still need a machine running Microsoft Windows or Apple's MacOS. Otherwise, Chrome OS is more than sufficient for basics like email, getting on the internet, creating documents or working with spreadsheets -- especially if you're already working with Google's apps.
This collection includes some of the newest and best Chromebooks we've seen over the last few months. Have a look.
Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured in this gallery.
The Chromebook x2 is versatility incarnate: a convincing laptop and a killer tablet. It's got a great display, a keyboard that's comfortable to type on and surprisingly peppy performance.
And in tablet mode, it's thin and lightweight, responsive to touch, and perceptive to orientation.
Starting at $599, the Chromebook x2 also comes with the stylus and keyboard included -- a major distinction from the other premium hybrids that require you to buy them separately, adding hundreds more to the price.
Originally priced at $500 but now selling for about $100 less, the Chromebook Plus V2 is another hybrid that you can use as a laptop or tablet. You can also put it in tent mode for a video chat or set it up like a kiosk for watching movies.
Weighing in at under 3 pounds, this Chromebook's Intel Celeron 3965Y CPU has enough juice to power any Android or web app. And you also get two cameras: an f/1.9, 13-megapixel camera with autofocus above the keyboard and a 1-megapixel front-facing lens at the top of the display.
Not all Chromebooks are basic -- or cheap. The $1,000 Pixelbook was one of the first to prove that they can also be powerful and chic.
The Pixelbook has a more refined design than many lower-end Chromebooks, and makes for a great everyday work machine. It's convertible design means it can be propped up like a tent, flipped over like a stand or folded back like a tablet.
In late 2018, there were rumors that Google was developing a followup to the Pixelbook, but the purported Pixelbook 2 hasn't yet materialized.
With a new brushed-aluminum design, the Flip comes equipped with a 14-inch FHD display as well as an Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and up to 128GB of storage (plus capacity for 2TB more via microSD).
With the 500e, Lenovo remains steadfast to the Chromebook premise, delivering an inexpensive laptop-tablet combination that just works -- and with surprisingly few limitations. It has a comfortable keyboard, responsive (included) stylus and solid battery life.
We found the 500e to be a zippy performer -- quick to turn on, launch apps and load up webpages. And it clocked in at just shy of 11 hours in our battery test. Not bad.
A classic Chromebook: cheap, chubby and prepared to take a beating. The $269 Lenovo Flex 11 has a rubber bumper that allows it to withstand a 2.4-foot (75cm) drop. It also has a water-resistant keyboard tray (up to 1 cup of water or 220ml), reinforced ports and a sealed touchpad to avoid any electrical damage in case of accidental spills.
It's not perfect: they keyboard and touchpad aren't great -- but if you're looking for a super-cheap laptop with a touchscreen that's also extra-durable, it's a solid choice.
Unveiled at CES 2019, HP has retooled one of its entry-level laptops to run an AMD processor -- making it one of the first of its kind. (Acer's Chromebook 315 is the other.) Overall, the design and specs aren't especially noteworthy, even for a Chromebook: 14-inch display, 4GB of memory, 32GB of storage. But a decent 14-inch laptop that starts at $269 is compelling -- and a price that low likely portends a coming war between Intel and AMD.
Dual USB-C ports and 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi help round out the package. Originally available only to commercial customers, you can now buy the Chromebook Spin 13 on Amazon, starting at around $750.
Lenovo's first premium two-in-one came debuted in Oct. 2018. Starting a $600, it comes equipped with a backlit keyboard, an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and 64GB of storage.
And the 15-inch display, which can be configured with either full-HD or ultra-HD resolution, converts from laptop mode to tablet mode.
Google's Pixel Slate isn't a conventional Chromebook -- it's a tablet. But the optional $200 Pixel Slate keyboard transforms it into a fully functional laptop. It starts at $599 -- but once you add Google's pressure-sensitive Pixelbook Pen stylus and that keyboard, that total price climbs closer to $900. That puts it in the range of some tough competitors including Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's Pad Pro.
Still, the Pixel Slate has a great display, solid construction, and a wonderful keyboard.