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With excellent performance for its low price, a great keyboard and trackpad, and a compact, light body, the Lenovo Flex 5 is the Chromebook to buy.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $330.
This model is identical to its predecessor, except for its newer processor. Both models perform the same, so get whichever is cheaper.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $450.
|Processor:||Intel Core i3-10110U or i3-1115G4||Screen:||13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch|
|Memory:||4 GB||Weight:||2.97 pounds|
|Storage:||64 GB SSD||Tested battery life:||10 hours|
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (13″) and Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″) are exceptional Chromebooks. In addition to being all-around great laptops, our recommended models offer faster performance than most Chromebooks under $500. Most cheap Chromebooks feel slow with just a handful of tabs open, but our picks can handle everyday workloads with aplomb. Lenovo also sells a slightly cheaper model with a Celeron 5205U processor and half the local storage, but most people are better off spending a little more for the faster performance and double the storage.
|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, lighter, and faster Chromebook with longer battery life, get the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. The Flex 5 is more than good enough for most people, but if you frequently have dozens of tabs open, run multiple Android apps, or use Linux on your Chromebook, the extra memory is worth paying more for—as a Chromebook enthusiast, I’d buy the Galaxy Chromebook 2. 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. (We don’t recommend the Celeron model, it’s too slow for its price.)
The Flip C536 has a large, 15.6-inch screen and a built-in number pad, but it’s too big and heavy to travel with frequently.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $0.
|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 it 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 using 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 old system lying around.