Best student Chromebook in 2022

Best student Chromebook: Samsung Chromebook 4
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best student Chromebooks are affordable alternatives to Windows and Apple laptops 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.

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 touchscreen 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.

With Black Friday deals now in full swing, you can save even more on Chromebooks. Be sure to check out the previous link, our Black Friday live blog and our Black Friday laptop deals pages for the latest sales.

The best student Chromebook you can buy today

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Best Chromebooks: Samsung Chromebook 4

Samsung Chromebook 4 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Samsung Chromebook 4

The best budget Chromebook for students

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Display: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel
Dimensions: 11.3 x 8 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Thinner and lighter than competitors
+
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim display without touch
-
Mediocre audio

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. 

Best Chromebooks: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best budget 2-in-1 Chromebook

Specifications

CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB eMMC
Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200 pixels
Dimensions: 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches (docked)
Weight: 2 pounds (docked)

Reasons to buy

+
Lengthy battery life
+
Excellent screen for its price
+
Affordable, plus keyboard included

Reasons to avoid

-
Keyboard is best for small hands
-
Hinge could be stronger

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.

Best Chromebooks: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best premium Chromebook for students

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron | Core i3 processors
RAM: 4GB, 8GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB
Display: 13.3-inch QLED (1080p)
Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.7 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful design
+
Gorgeous QLED display
+
Improved battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Key travel could be better
-
Touchscreen input can be inconsistent

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.

Best Chromebooks: Acer Chromebook Spin 713

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best 2-in-1 student Chromebook

Specifications

Display: 13.5-inch, 2256x1504
CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U
GPU: Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Size: 11.8 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.0 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Bright and colorful display
+
Amazing performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre speakers
-
Small-sized keyboard

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.

Best Chromebooks: Acer Chromebook Spin 311 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best Chromebook for writing on the go

Specifications

CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek MT8183
Graphics: ARM Mali-G72 MP3
Display: 11.6 inches, 1366 x 768
Memory: 4GB
Storage: 32GB eMMC, 64GB eMMC
Size: 11.7 x 8.1 x 0.74 inches
Weight: 2.65 pounds
Ports: USB-C, USB-A
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11ac

Reasons to buy

+
Solid battery life
+
Exceptional keyboard
+
Tough Gorilla Glass screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim, low-resolution screen
-
No USB 3.0 Type-A port

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.

Why choose a Chromebook?

As we said up top, Chromebooks make ideal laptops for students due to their versatility, ease of use and affordability. That last point is crucial for those on a budget as you can oftentimes find Chromebooks for under $100.

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.

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

  • Don 1234567
    Why call them "student" Chromebooks? My computing needs are modest, but I'm not a "student." And most "students" are big into video games, videos, etc.
    I'm surprised you don't note the hardware dates on reviews of Chromebooks. That's the date after which you can no longer download any updates, including security patches. I've seen Samsung Chromebooks currently for sale, on their website that already were past their expiration date.
    I don't understand the emphasis on "thin" and "light" for computers that already are plenty thin and light. You might actually want some heft otherwise it's bouncing around too much when using your laptop on your lap (as I often do).
    Likewise I see no point to a metal case. I'm using a Samsung right now and it's all plastic. Which is just fine. Nice texture even, if anyone cares about that -- seems these have become mere commodities now, and they get scratched up quickly, so I don't really care about appearance.
    Another feature I'm looking for is USB-C charging. I want to be able to use the same charger for phone and Chromebook -- one less thing to carry around, one less cord, one less thing to lose or forget, etc.
    Another feature that would be great is 12VDC charging. I.e., charging in a vehicle (without using an inverter). Do any offer that? I haven't seen it.
    Reply
  • kapiuli
    Don 1234567 said:
    Why call them "student" Chromebooks? My computing needs are modest, but I'm not a "student." And most "students" are big into video games, videos, etc.
    I'm surprised you don't note the hardware dates on reviews of Chromebooks. That's the date after which you can no longer download any updates, including security patches. I've seen Samsung Chromebooks currently for sale, on their website that already were past their expiration date.
    I don't understand the emphasis on "thin" and "light" for computers that already are plenty thin and light. You might actually want some heft otherwise it's bouncing around too much when using your laptop on your lap (as I often do).
    Likewise I see no point to a metal case. I'm using a Samsung right now and it's all plastic. Which is just fine. Nice texture even, if anyone cares about that -- seems these have become mere commodities now, and they get scratched up quickly, so I don't really care about appearance.
    Another feature I'm looking for is USB-C charging. I want to be able to use the same charger for phone and Chromebook -- one less thing to carry around, one less cord, one less thing to lose or forget, etc.
    Another feature that would be great is 12VDC charging. I.e., charging in a vehicle (without using an inverter). Do any offer that? I haven't seen it.
    so, what do you think? Is it good or not ?
    Reply