Choosing the Best Chromebook: Samsung and Acer take top three choices
For the past few weeks, including through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Google Chromebook has been the top selling PC/Laptop at almost every major online retailer. There are quite a few different models to choose from, and with several top manufacturers offering similar products, while constantly updating their offerings, it can be hard to narrow down the best options for yourself or a as a gift. That’s why a group of our editors spent the past few days narrowing down the best options (based on price, functionality specs and availability). These are the selected few that made the cut.
Acer C720P Chromebook Touch (available at Amazon for $299)
At the top of our list is one that was just announced, the 11.6″Acer C720P Touchscreen. As the name implies, this is the first touchscreen Chromebook that is being offered, and Acer really packed a lot of features into the small 11.6″ frame. The screen is an LED-backlit Display (1366 x 768 pixels), that allows for multi-touch screen functions and supports up to 10-finger touch recognition. Inside you will have an Intel Celeron Processor 2955U (1.4GHz, 2MB L3 cache) based on Haswell micro-architecture. It’s one of the most powerful Chromebooks that you can get your hands on at the moment, and the 32GB SSD Drive and 2048MB DDR3L SDRAM Memory with Intel HD Graphics (128MB of dedicated system memory) helps it stand-out among any other Chromebook on the market.
The laptop also has the standard features of other Chromebooks, like featuring Bluetooth 4.0, a built-in HD Webcam, two built-in stereo speakers and three ports for easy connectivity (1: USB 3.0 Port, 1: USB 2.0 Port, 1: HDMI Port), it also has a full-size Acer FineTip Keyboard, coupled with a multi-gesture touchpad.
Chromebooks also have an amazing battery life, and this one is no different, featuring a 3-Cell Li-Polymer battery, Acer claims up to 7.5 hours of battery life per charge. All of this comes in a lightweight 2.98 lbs, it offers a larger SSD drive then most Chromebooks, and offers touchscreen features and impressive specs for just about $40 more than the average base-price of its competitors.
Samsung Chromebook (available at Amazon for $244)
This is the best-selling Chromebook on the market, based on sales reported by Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart) and for good reason. Though it may not offer the same features as the Acer model above, it does have a lower price-point, and comes in a 3G Model. Once again this model comes in the standard Chromebook size (screen size 11.6 inches) and also offers the same screen resolution (1366 x 768) but this model comes with a 1.7 GHz Exynos 5000 Series processor and 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM. This model also comes with an HDMI slot ,as well as a 2.0 USB port and a 3.0 USB port. You will get a 16 GB SSD, which may be smaller than the Acer, but is the standard for Chromebooks at this point.
It’s a powerful Chromebook, though its tech is starting to become outdated. It has a lower price-point, and the 3G model is something that may be a deciding factor for people that work outside of the home or office wireless networks.
Acer C720 Chromebook (available for $199 at Amazon)
This is the model that eventually would become the first touch-screen option, it has many of the same specs, though to keep the price down there are a few shortcomings. Again you will get the standard 11.6″ screen, though this model has a max resolution of only 720 pixels. That isn’t to say the screen is sub-standard, it still offers an anti-glare HD Widescreen with LED-backlit display, it’s just not as advanced as some of the other models on the market. It does feature an Intel Celeron Processor 2955U (1.4GHz, 2MB L3 cache) with the popular Haswell micro-architecture, making it one of the more powerful options you can buy in its class. You have the option of picking up the 16GB SSD Drive, with 2048MB DDR3L SDRAM Memory and this one again comes with Intel HD Graphics (128MB of dedicated system memory).
Just like the touchscreen model it comes with Bluetooth 4.0, a Built-in HD Webcam, two built-in stereo speakers, and the 3 main ports (USB 3.0 Port, USB 2.0 Port, HDMI Port) but since the touchscreen was announced for only a few dollars more, this model is becoming outdated as well. You can save a few dollars by forgoing the better screen and touch capabilities as the newer model, but that would be up to the you. as they do have almost the same specs in the end.
HP Chromebook 14 (available at HP for $299)
As you can see the Chromebook market is extremely tight right now, and you may be wondering about the HP 14. The HP 14 Chromebook is an impressive design, offering a larger screen than the traditional choices above. It features an Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz (2 MB Cache), 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM, a 16 GB Solid-State Drive and the 14″ screen boasts Intel HD Graphics. One small issue is that the larger screen supports the same 1366 x 768 resolution as the smaller options, making it less precise than the versions above. The model supports a full sized keyboard and dual speakers, but weighs a little more at 4.19 pounds.