Best Chromebooks of 2021

Harry Charles By Harry Charles - February 23rd, 2021
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As students are heading back to study, schools and parents might need to again consider the right Chromebooks that meet the needs of their children and students.

Chromebooks have emerged as a favourite in the race to provide schoolchildren with learning devices due to their affordable price, ease of use and build quality. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, a no thrills operating system where almost everything you need is built-in to the Chromebook itself. Cloud storage, Google products, security and speed are all stand out features streamlining the setup and management of multiple devices at once.

It may be reassuring to hear that all of the Chromebooks we will be looking at today are able to withstand even the most enthusiastic kids in terms of durability. With drop and water resistance, reinforced corners and hinges plus also anchored keys so even they don’t go walkabout.

We have divided our top Chromebook picks into four categories. The categories range from devices with the basics up to premium features such touch screen, pen, storage, and lastly screen.

Best Classroom Chromebooks

Great value devices that do the basics, with no premium features.

Top Pick: Lenovo 100e

We liked

+ Value
+ Water-resistant
+ Great Battery, 10 hours
+ Rubber grip
+ Lightest model out of all our top picks

We didn’t like

- Narrow screen viewing angles
- Low-quality webcam image

Runner-up: HP 11 G8

We Liked

+ Most trending
+ Anti-glare screen
+ Rubber edge
+ Drop-resistant 122cm

We Didn’t like

- Marginally more expensive
- Lower sensitive trackpad

There wasn’t much between these two devices so It may come down to the feel of it. I recommend heading to your local PB Tech store where they are both on display, and see which one chooses you.

Some Chromebooks are modular, meaning they can be flipped around to be used as a touch screen tablet!
Some Chromebooks are modular, meaning they can be flipped around to be used as a touch screen tablet!

Best BYOD Chromebooks

Versatile devices that work well in a classroom and home environment. Featuring touch screens.

Touch screens are great for hands-on kids who all seem to be born with gesture skills like swiping and pitching. Chromebooks with touch screens are fully utilized thanks to their 360-degree hinges for more versatility, such as Tent, Tablet, Stand, and Laptop modes.

Top pick: Asus C214

We Liked

+ Top rated model. 31 reviews. 4.5 stars
+ Front-facing Camera
+ 64GB HDD Storage
+ Drop resistant from 120cm
+ Tamperproof with Narrow keyboard
+ 12-hour battery
+ WiFi 5, which is 6x faster

We Didn’t like

- RAM is ‘hardwired’, so harder to repair

Runner-up: Lenovo 300e

We Liked

+ 20% better processor vs C214
+ Anti-glare screen
+ Slightly cheaper

We Didn’t like

- Slightly less drop resistant
- Half as much less storage
- Wifi 4
- 10-hour battery

For almost the same price, the Asus C214 is offering many specs that you would expect in high-end Chromebooks, such as a front-facing camera, lots of hard drive space, as well as WiFi 6. It’s little wonder why this device so popular.

Best Touch & Pen Chromebooks

Devices with touchscreens and integrated pens.

Pens offer students diversity to interact with their devices with a few added benefits such as, more accurate navigations, drawings and diagrams with pressure sensitivity. Plus it removes the hassle cleaning off grubby fingerprints on the screen and increases the students overall hygiene.

Top Pick: Lenovo 500e

We Liked

+ 20% better processor vs the 300e
+ Gorilla Glass screen
+ Spill proof
+ Front-facing camera (5MP)

We Didn’t like

- Aesthetically looks lower end
- No advertised battery life

Runner-up: Asus C214 + pen

We Liked

+ Twice as much storage than the 500e
+ 12-hour battery
+ Front-facing camera (5MP)

We Didn’t like

- Must lift device to access the pen in laptop mode

Lenovo is successfully covering all bases with incremental model upgrades at lower price points, though Asus being their biggest competitor, proves itself to be a winner in multiple categories with only one device. So if your buying for just one person a C241 may be a better fit.

Some of the more premium devices will boast the ability to use AR, bringing your learning to life.
Some of the more premium devices will boast the ability to use AR, bringing your learning to life.

Best Premium Chromebooks

Devices with all the previously specified premium such as touch screen pens, with upgraded components and screens.

All of the previously listed models above have screen resolutions of 720p and sizes of 11.6 inches to help save lower the price. But these Premium devices all have twice the resolution at 1080p, alongside 14 inch screen to play with.

Top Pick: Asus C433

We Liked

+ 8GB of ram, for using multiple apps
+ Stylish aluminium case
+ Less bezel with an 85% screen to body ratio
+ Free 100GB of Google 1 storage
+ Backlit Keyboard
+ Built-in speakers

We Didn’t like

- Stiff Hinges
- Still better off using headphones for audio

Runner-up: Google Pixel

We Liked

Full android app support
+ Brilliant display
+ Best performance in the whole range using an intel i5 processor
+ 13mm thin for kids with limited bag space
+ Great stylus support

We Didn’t like

- Lower quality speakers vs C433
- Larger bezels
- Expensive for a device that isn’t better than a flagship tablet or laptop
- Googles’ Pen is not included and cost $200 with no housing to store it in
- No USB Type-A ports

This was the easiest pick between first and second out of the 4 categories, as the Pixelbook's high price and numerous downsides extended the Asus C433's lead. However, there is no denying that the Pixelbook has some of the best hardware on the market, ironic that the makers of Chrome OS’s device have got us so conflicted.

If you haven’t yet found a device for your student or child, then check out the massive Chromebook Store!

Have you seen this cool Compare Tool? It allows you to check all the models' current prices side by side!

Written By

Harry Charles

I'm a... Creative, Rebel, Eternal optimist, Entertainer, Pop culture enthusiast (Radiohead, 1993.)

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