Best Chromebooks Under $300

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Need an extra computer at home? These inexpensive models from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung will get the job done.

By Melanie Pinola

For those in need of a no-frills laptop—a device for checking email, surfing the web, and doing homework or basic word processing—a Chromebook is a great way to save money.

While a new Mac or Windows laptop can easily cost you $1,000, a well-made Chromebook—one that can tackle everyday tasks, including video calls—can be purchased for as little as $300. 

Compared with a pricier counterpart, a Chromebook may have lower-end components, such as a slower processor and a smaller hard drive. But that’s not as big a problem as you might think, in part because Chromebooks use less-demanding cloud-based apps and you don’t need a ton of oomph to run, say, Gmail or Google Docs.

Chrome OS, the operating system that powers Chromebooks, greatly resembles Google Chrome, the world’s most popular web browser. So if you’re a Chrome user, getting up and running on Chrome OS isn’t hard.

Chromebooks can also run Android apps, unlocking the ability to use an even greater variety of software, including popular options like Adobe Lightroom for editing photos. These apps can be downloaded from the Google Play store, just like you’d do on an Android smartphone.

Our Chromebook tests are similar to those for Windows and Mac laptops. We look at how well the processor performs under different workloads, how comfortable the keyboard is to type on, and how long the battery lasts. We also take display quality into account, evaluating how accurately the screen represents colors and how wide the viewing angle is. The goal is to give you an accurate, easy-to-understand idea of what it would be like to own the device.

Right now there are 53 Chromebooks in our ratings (available to CR members), all of which are made by well-known companies such as Acer, Asus, and HP.

The following list features some of the best low-cost options ranked in order of Overall Score.

Acer Chromebook 314

You should be able to find this 14-inch Chromebook for just under $300. It’s a traditional notebook (not a laptop/tablet hybrid) with a MediaTek processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 32GB of flash storage space, which is similar to but slower than the solid-state drives found in premium laptops.

The standout features are long battery life, clocking in at just under 16 hours for web browsing, and a large, comfortable keyboard. The trackpad is spacious, too, allowing for easier swiping gestures for, say, shifting back and forth between web pages or showing all open windows. And at 2.8 pounds, the model is light enough to carry comfortably across campus or between office floors.

So what’s not to like? Our testers noted that performance is somewhat on the pokey side, but if you’re using the device to do typical Chromebook tasks (e.g., working inside of a web browser), you should be fine. The 14-inch display tends to produce somewhat pale colors, but that shouldn’t matter too much if you’re staring at work documents all day.

Acer Chromebook 314 C922-K04T

HP 14A

This 14-inch Chromebook is one of the better-rated models in our ratings, despite retailing for around $200. It has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of flash storage space.

CR testers praise the long 13-hour battery life and relatively light weight of 2.9 pounds. They also like the anti-glare display and the easy-to-read keys on the keyboard.

The performance is about average for a Chromebook, which means the model will be fine for routine tasks such as browsing the web and working in Google Docs.

HP 14A-NA0023CL

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go

This 14-inch model has an Intel Celeron processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 64GB of flash storage.

Our testers point out the admirable battery life (almost 13 hours for web browsing and almost 8 for more demanding loads) and the comfortable keyboard.

Performance is about average and the display is merely so-so, but as long as you treat this as a low-cost productivity device as opposed to the only computer you’ll ever need, you should be okay.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go

Asus Chromebook CXB170CKA-BCL64N6

If you want lots of screen real estate, this Chromebook has a 17.3-inch bright, anti-glare display, plus an Intel Celeron processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and a 64GB flash drive. It also has a built-in microSD memory card reader and four USB ports.

In our tests, the battery lasted nearly 12 hours for web browsing and just over 8 hours for video streaming.

The main downside, as expected for a Chromebook this size, is the weight: 5.3 pounds. That makes the device less suitable for schlepping between coffee shops. 

No other model recommended in our ratings at this price level has such a large display. But if you’re willing to pay a bit more, the 15.6-inch Acer Chromebook CB315-2H-25TX, which usually costs around $350, is a solid option, too.

Asus Chromebook CXB170CKA-BCL64N6

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3

This is an 11.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible, which means the keyboard can be fully bent behind the display via a 360-degree hinge, allowing you to use the device somewhat like a tablet or prop it up on a table in “tent mode” to more easily share your screen with others.

The specs are modest: a MediaTek processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 32GB of flash storage. MediaTek specializes in inexpensive processors, but our testers found the performance here to be somewhat slow even with relatively simple tasks, such as editing text and browsing the web. The battery life isn’t too shabby, though, at 12 hours for web browsing and 10 hours for watching high-res video.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2023, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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