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Schools are planning to return to in-person learning this fall, but that doesn't mean your kids will stop doing much of their school work on a laptop. Many districts supply students with Chromebooks, but they are usually undersize and underpowered models. If you can afford it, you may want to invest in a larger, more powerful laptop for the upcoming school year.

The most affordable option is a Chromebook laptop. Not only do they cost hundreds less than a traditional laptop like a Windows laptop or a MacBook, but they're 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, 13.3- to 15.6-inch displays.

Chromebooks range in price from less than $100 to more than $1,000, but you don't need to spend that much to get up and running for distance learning. Our favorite Chromebooks fall mostly in the $400 to $700 range. If those don't suit you, here are six additional budget Chromebook models that are currently priced at less than $550. We took into account factors and features such as cloud storage, the quality of the keyboard, battery life, ease of web browsing and even the inclusion of a headphone jack. If you're looking to find the best Chromebook for students, this list, which we update periodically, should help.

Read more: Back to school 2021

Asus

This Asus model costs a reasonable $279 and features a 15.6-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 of onboard storage and a 32GB SD card. It features a full-HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution display for a sharper picture and more work space than you'd get with the 1,366x768-pixel resolution found on other low-end Chromebooks.

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This Samsung Chromebook has a smaller display than the above model at 12.2 inches, 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 1,920x1,200-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.

 

Josh Goldman/CNET

This 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 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. It offers pen support but you'll need to buy a stylus separately.

Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.

 

Lenovo

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.

Josh Goldman/CNET

This two-in-one Chromebook from HP is currently $200 off at Best Buy. It not only boasts a Core i3 CPU but also supplies a generous 8GB of RAM, which should result in peppy ChromeOS performance. The 14-inch touchscreen features full HD resolution and can rotate into tablet mode.

Josh Goldman/CNET

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 a 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.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 review.