The best student Chromebooks are affordable alternatives to Windows or Apple computers for both students and those who work in education. Because of their affordability and ease of use, Chromebooks are extremely popular with students — whether they’re returning to school or continuing to learn from home.
The vast majority of Chromebooks have similar feature sets. All use Google’s Chrome OS, which is lightweight and easier to use compared to Windows or macOS. Chromebooks don’t tend to be as powerful as the competition but they make up for this with their versatility. Thanks to Google Play Store integration, they can run a variety of apps and are ideal for those who are always online.
Almost everything you do on a Chromebook, outside of using third-party apps, will happen in a Chrome window. So while they’re not suitable machines for heavy software users, they’re extremely useful for researching, writing and presenting.
Strong battery life is another feature offered by most Chromebooks. This is handy for students, especially as a single charge can usually get you through a full day of school or college classes. Some even sport a touch screen display or the ability to fold the screen back into a tablet-style mode.
Chromebooks are easy on the wallet as well — a key feature for students. Whereas even the most entry-level MacBook will run you around $900 on sale, a midrange Chromebook can be purchased for as little as $300. Plus, for older students with an income or even teachers, there are premium options in the $500 to $700 range. For Prime Day 2022, you can even get an Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (number five on our list) for just $199 at Amazon.
What are the best student Chromebooks?
Students on a strict budget should consider the Samsung Chromebook 4. It offers a premium metal lid, snappy performance from its Celeron processor and long battery life, all for under $200 (at the time of this writing). It’s also extremely portable due to its lightweight frame.
The Samsung Chromebook 2 is a solid option for those looking to take the next step up — yes, the 2 being better than the 4 is confusing. The Samsung Chromebook 2 is thin, offers a lengthy eight hours of battery life, sports a vibrant QLED display and has fantastic speakers. It’ll cost $500 for a base model, and up to $700 for a top-of-the-line configuration.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is another great pick for young students just getting to grips with learning on a laptop. It offers decent performance, nearly 13 hours of battery life, and a tablet-style design but with an included keyboard for typing. All for only $250. It’s still a great investment if you need a cheap Chrome tablet that comes with a free detachable keyboard bundled in, and we’re excited to review its successor, the recently-announced Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3.
The best student Chromebook you can buy today
The best student Chromebook for those on a budget, the Samsung Chromebook 4 really impresses with its battery life. This laptop lasted for more than 10 and a half hours of web browsing on a single charge. The Chromebook 4’s aluminum top makes it look like a much more expensive computer — though it has a plastic base. This Chromebook’s performance is another highlight, enabling much faster multitasking than expect at this price point.
The Chromebook 4 is also lighter and thinner than competing 11.6-inch Chromebooks, though we wish its display supported touch input. Its screen is acceptable for plowing through work, but don’t expect to see colors pop or a lot of detail when watching movies or bingeing on YouTube. The speakers are okay, but you may want to supply your own headphones.
For students that have a limited budget, this Chromebook offers plenty for a relatively small price tag. It’s ideal for learning at home, while also offering some features that you can make use of when your work is complete.
Sometimes, it’s amazing how much you can get for $300 or less. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet, for example, is a 2-in-1 Chromebook that offers something Microsoft’s Surfaces and Apple’s iPads won’t: an included keyboard. Not only do you get that value, but the Chromebook Duet’s tablet display is excellent in its own right, with a surprising amount of color output and a crisp 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution. It’s so good it won the award for best budget laptop in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021.
The Chromebook Duet’s keyboard is definitely a little on the tight side, but at this price, any keyboard is a surprise and a steal. Making things even better, the Chromebook Duet features ChromeOS tablet optimizations that are long overdue to take advantage of all of its screen space. On top of all of that? It lasted for 12 hours and 47 minutes on our battery test, nearly 13 hours.
Read our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.
Taking away the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook’s 4K display was probably the best thing Samsung could have done to make this Chromebook a hit. Now it’s way more affordable even for students, but still sports a great QLED display and longer battery life — 7 hours 50 minutes vs the previous gen’s 5 hours 55 minutes. It’s also going to sound great, plus its Core i3 configuration provides a ton of speed for Chrome OS.
We weren’t as happy with the vertical travel in its keyboard, which is a bit shallow. This creates a slight learning curve you’ll adapt to over time. Plus, at $399 (Celeron) or $549 (Core i3), the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a pretty good value. We like it so much that we awarded it best Chromebook in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 review.
When shopping for a great student Chromebook, you’ll want to look for a machine that’s affordable, offers solid performance, a stylish design, and endurance. The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 nails that combination.
That’s due in part to its Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, which provides a ton of speed for Chrome OS (anything more would be overkill), and 8GB of RAM for managing all the Chrome tabs you can throw at it.
Plus, its sharp 2256 x 1504-pixel screen provides bright and vibrant picture output. On top of that, it lasted 11 hours and 54 minutes on our web-browsing based battery test. The only major issue you could have with the Spin 713 is its size makes it less portable than some alternatives. Granted, that’s an issue for all 13-inch laptops.
Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311’s solid battery life and great keyboard help it stand out in a student Chromebook field overflowing with small, budget-friendly options. It’s good enough to win a recommendation for best budget laptop in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021. Right now it is just $199 at Amazon.
With 1.6mm of travel distance, the Spin 311’s keys are surprisingly comfortable to type on for extended periods, and the battery held up for 12 twelve hours in our tests, making this a great choice for students looking to get some writing done while on the move.
Just don’t expect a great display, as the Acer Chromebook Spin 311’s 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display tends to leave videos looking washed-out and dim.
Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 311 review here.