Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Chromebooks

Florian Wimmer (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 09/15/2015

November 2018 Update. When it comes to inexpensive notebooks, devices with Google's Chrome OS have carved out a niche in the market. Chromebooks are usually a good choice for people who do not want to spend a lot of money, although they do require a permanent connection to the Internet to get the most out of them. In this article we will introduce the best models.

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The major manufacturers do not just sell Windows-based laptops, but have the rather inexpensive and frequently more portable Chromebooks with Google's Chrome OS in their portfolio. This particular operating system is based on the idea that most of the work a user encounters can be done using the browser. Chromebooks run a version of Linux with a very small footprint and utilize the Chrome browser running on top of the OS. Even though local web applications can be installed as well, the focus is clearly on cloud-based services accessed via the browser.

The notebooks in this category do not require a lot of processing power or hard drive space, so they are pretty stripped-down and carry a low price tag. Of course, there are drawbacks as well: popular applications such as Office or Skype will not run on Chrome. The only choice here is to use Google's own applications. Printing and hooking up USB devices can be a bit of a headache as well. Also refer to the following listings to find an affordable device:

The following table shows an overview of the best Chromebooks reviewed by Notebookcheck. If the ratings are equal, the latest review is listed first. The table can be sorted by clicking on its headers and filtered by entering text in the text field above it (e.g. "matte" or "touch").

Best Chromebooks as of November 2018

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
111/201786%Google PixelbookGoogle Pixelbook
Intel Core i5-7Y57
Intel HD Graphics 615
8 GB Memory
10 mm1.3 kg12.3"2400x1600glossy
209/201685%HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
Intel Core m5-6Y57
Intel HD Graphics 515
8 GB Memory
15 mm1.2 kg13.3"3200x1800glossy
307/201783%Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QVAcer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
8 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
22.4 mm1.4 kg14"1920x1080matte
410/2018
New!
81%Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
Intel Celeron N3060
Intel HD Graphics 400 (Braswell)
4 GB Memory, 64 GB eMMC
20.75 mm1.4 kg11.6"1366x768glossy
503/201781%Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YKAcer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
Mediatek MT8173C
PowerVR GX6250
4 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
15.5 mm1.5 kg13.3"1920x1080matte
610/2018
New!
77%Dell Chromebook 11 3181Dell Chromebook 11 3181
Intel Celeron N3060
Intel HD Graphics 400 (Braswell)
4 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
20.75 mm1.4 kg11.6"1366x768matte

Top 10 at the time of writing, current reviews first

Editors' Comments

1st - Google Pixelbook

Google Pixelbook
Google Pixelbook

Chromebooks are not only inexpensive system we know from earlier days, which is shown by Google: The inventor of the Chromebook sells its Pixelbook for about 900 Euros (~$1080), but can easily climb above 1000 Euros (~$1200) depending on the components. In return you get a convertible with support for pen inputs, which can also handle Android apps from Google's Play Store.

The fast processor, great build quality, and long battery runtime create an almost unique Chromebook, but Google also sacrifices some features: There is no classic USB connector or a card reader. Both features require an adapter, which are not provided. Our list of negatives is quite long, because the input devices are pretty loud, there are occasional WLAN dropouts, and there is some coil whine.

All in all, the Google Pixelbook is the only real high-end Chromebook, but it reveals a lot of small drawbacks that potential buyers will have to accept. We hope the next generation will be an improvement.

2nd - HP Chromebook 13 G1

HP Chromebook 13 G1
HP Chromebook 13 G1

HP's Chromebook 13 G1 is another comparatively expensive for a Chromebook with a base price of almost 500 Euros (~$600). A few hundred Euros more will get you a faster processor, but this will result in a very high price for a Chromebook. This does not make a lot of sense when you consider the limitations of the operating system. All SKUs get a high-resolution screen, good case, and reliable input devices, so the HP Chromebook 13 G1 should be on the short list of every potential Chromebook buyer.

Pricecompare

3rd - Acer Chromebook 14

Acer Chromebook 14
Acer Chromebook 14

Acer's Chromebook 14 is available for about 300 Euros (~$360), which is common for a Chromebook. The design is more grown-up compared to some of the earlier Chromebooks, because Acer wants to market it as an office device. This might actually work, thanks to the decent keyboard and long battery runtime. We also like the picture quality of the matte screen, even though it could be brighter.

The slow SD card reader and the limited performance are minor drawbacks, but the Acer Chromebook 14 is still a very fast device within its class and sufficient for everyday office tasks.

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Pricecompare

4th – Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1

Dell Chomebook 11 3181 2-in-1
Dell Chomebook 11 3181 2-in-1

Chromebooks have a bigger focus on the education sector, just like the small convertible Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1. It offers some qualities for classrooms like good keyboard, silent operation, long battery runtime, and a decent screen.

Disadvantages include the slow SD card reader, the mediocre speakers, and the limited maintenance options. The design is a matter of taste as well, but the chassis is very sturdy in return and should not have problems with tougher handling.

Pricecompare

5th - Acer Chromebook R13

Acer Chromebook R13
Acer Chromebook R13

Do you prefer a Chromebook convertible instead of a classic laptop with Chrome OS? Then you should have a look at the Acer Chromebook R13 with its touchscreen – but it is only useful for Android apps. We like the 1080p screen, the silent operation, and the great battery runtime. Downsides are the slightly unstable chassis, and limited maintainability – even though this is the case for almost all Chromebooks. The keyboard is not perfect for prolific writers, either. The Acer Chromebook R13 is still a solid Chromebook convertible if you can live with the limitations.

Pricecompare

6th - Dell Chromebook 11 3181

Dell Chromebook 11 3181
Dell Chromebook 11 3181

The Dell Chromebook 11 3181 unfortunately has some disadvantages over the 2-in-1 version: The quality of the screen is much worse, the speakers are mediocre, and the build quality is too bad, even for such an inexpensive device. We like the keyboard and the compact dimensions as well as the battery runtime.

You might consider paying the additional 50 Euros for the Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1, which is a big upgrade in terms of build quality and screen.

Pricecompare

Best Chromebooks in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Google Pixelbook
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
59.2 (29.6, 29.6)
39.2 (18, 21.2)
38 (14, 24)
38 (19, 19)
32 (22, 10)
52.8 (39.2, 13.6)
Response Time Black / White *
36 (20, 16)
31.6 (11.6, 20)
23 (5, 18)
27 (16, 11)
12 (7.6, 4.4)
28.8 (16.4, 12.4)
PWM Frequency
819.7 (100)
1389 (44)
Screen
Brightness middle
473.9
355.5
192
214
315.1
213
Brightness
443
330
204
214
298
218
Brightness Distribution
80
90
88
90
89
94
Black Level *
0.35
0.804
0.23
0.1
0.78
0.21
Contrast
1354
442
835
2140
404
1014
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.9
3.75
10.9
3.52
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.7
7.15
31.84
18.36
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.4
4.35
3.99
3.86
10.8
2.6
Gamma
2.13 103%
2.35 94%
2.45 90%
2.42 91%
2.51 88%
2.283 96%
CCT
7643 85%
6269 104%
6380 102%
6276 104%
11496 57%
6861 95%
Noise
off / environment *
30.6
Idle Minimum *
30.6
Idle Average *
30.6
Idle Maximum *
31.7
Load Average *
33.1
Load Maximum *
34
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
38.8
39.2
30.6
29.1
33.2
33
Maximum Bottom *
38
46
29.5
32
43.2
42
Idle Upper Side *
29
29.4
23.9
24.2
28.8
27.6
Idle Bottom *
29.4
31
23.2
24.8
34.2
32
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1425
WiFi v1.3
835
404
773
540
805
772
Load
182
150
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
3.7
3.8
2.7
1.8
1.8
Idle Average *
8.7
6.2
6.2
4.3
4.9
Idle Maximum *
9.4
6.6
6.7
6.4
5
Load Average *
12
11
14
8.1
6.8
Load Maximum *
18
12.7
24
10.4
9.8

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
144.78 Points ∼43%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
HD Graphics 515, 6Y57
164.01 Points ∼49%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 32 GB eMMC Flash
142.28 Points ∼43%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
56.99 Points ∼17%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 64 GB eMMC Flash
40.362 Points ∼12%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 32 GB eMMC Flash
39.832 Points ∼12%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
268.1 ms * ∼7%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
HD Graphics 515, 6Y57
228.8 ms * ∼6%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 32 GB eMMC Flash
298.2 ms * ∼7%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
577.7 ms * ∼14%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 64 GB eMMC Flash
976 ms * ∼24%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1012.6 ms * ∼25%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
1163.3 ms * ∼2%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
HD Graphics 515, 6Y57
1055.9 ms * ∼2%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1240 ms * ∼2%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
3297.2 ms * ∼6%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 64 GB eMMC Flash
4901.1 ms * ∼8%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 32 GB eMMC Flash
4955.9 ms * ∼8%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
32334 Points ∼65%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
HD Graphics 515, 6Y57
28478 Points ∼58%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 32 GB eMMC Flash
27414 Points ∼55%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
10139 Points ∼20%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 64 GB eMMC Flash
7341 Points ∼15%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 32 GB eMMC Flash
7735 Points ∼16%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
441 Points ∼55%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
HD Graphics 515, 6Y57
347 Points ∼43%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 32 GB eMMC Flash
373 Points ∼46%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
138 Points ∼17%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 64 GB eMMC Flash
163 Points ∼20%
Dell Chromebook 11 3181
HD Graphics 400 (Braswell), N3060, 32 GB eMMC Flash
161 Points ∼20%
PCMark for Android
Computer Vision score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
6046 Points ∼74%
Storage score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
15296 Points ∼46%
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
10309 Points ∼100%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
180866 Points ∼71%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
1696 Points ∼83%
Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
5636 Points ∼20%
Memory (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
1750 Points ∼28%
System (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
4667 Points ∼28%
Overall (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
2972 Points ∼35%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
7480 Points ∼21%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
4073 Points ∼64%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1382 Points ∼29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1108 Points ∼4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1159 Points ∼9%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
2464 Points ∼58%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1220 Points ∼29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
4380 Points ∼53%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
595 Points ∼7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
3735 Points ∼58%
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T-K0YK
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173C, 32 GB eMMC Flash
671 Points ∼10%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
19.56 fps ∼51%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
33662 Points ∼76%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
42892 Points ∼95%

* ... smaller is better

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Florian Wimmer (Update: 2018-11-15)