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Best Chromebooks 2021 UK: So Much More than a Budget Laptop

Budget to Premium Chromebooks for Every Budget

advice on buying the best chromebook for students and home working in uk

The best Chromebook is better value than a Windows laptop. And considerably cheaper than anything Apple has to offer. The operating system (OS), made by Google is designed to do the basics well. If you need a laptop for work or home, a Chromebook is a great choice. Plus, there are apps to do just about anything.  If you use your laptop for writing letters, emails, spreadsheets, watching videos or surfing the web, a Chromebook is perfect. Alternatively, for niche applications, take a look at the Google Play store to see what’s possible.

Why Switch to a Chromebook?

Switching from a Windows laptop to a Chromebook is easy. The main difference is that you’ll be doing everything online. Yes, you need wifi, but this is no different to a Windows laptop. Being able to access your files from any device is truly liberating! Plus, when the wifi fails, Chrome OS is designed to let you do most things offline too. Also, with a Chromebook, there’s no need to worry about security software. And everything updates automatically. Over time Windows laptops tend to slow. Chromebooks work differently, which means this doesn’t happen.

Can I run Microsoft Word & Excel on a Chromebook?

Perhaps you’re super familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint? No problem, with Microsoft Office 365 you can do everything within your web browser, on your Chromebook. No Windows PC or laptop is required! Alternatively, if you have a favourite Windows program and want to stay with the familiarity of Microsoft applications, take a look at Verum Best Windows Laptops.

There are 100s of Chromebooks on the market – some good, some average and some, less so! Verum has researched the market with the view of making a recommendation within each price bracket. Spending more gets you better components – Internally, a faster processor and more memory aid performance while a brighter screen and more responsive keyboard, give a better feel. That said, it’s possible to get a decent Chromebook for around £250 – take a look at the Verum recommendations below…

best buy review recommended Google Chromebook under £200 Verum Verdicts UK
Lenovo S345 – Best Cheap Chromebook

Best Cheap Chromebook:
Lenovo S345

This Lenovo Chromebook is great value. It has a well-balanced specification, is reasonably light and best of all, it’s cheap! This Chromebook won’t win any speed test but it does the basics well. In 2020, 4GB Ram should be considered entry-level and assuming you don’t plan to open dozens of tabs simultaneously, it works well. If you’ve previously used a Windows laptop, you may be thinking about the need for a fast processor (CPU). Of course, faster is better, but Chrome OS is considerably lighter (using less processor power) and therefore works efficiently with a smaller (& cheaper) CPU.

The Full HD screen is perfect for writing blogs, scrutinising spreadsheets and watching films. At 14” it’s bigger than some at this price point, but perhaps of greater importance is the compact design, meaning the overall dimensions of this compact laptop are only fractionally bigger than a Google Pixelbook Go – which costs three times the price.

Battery life is up to 10 hours (claimed). 

In terms of connectivity, everything is good (see specs below) although an HDMI port may be useful for some. If you need to plug your laptop into an HDMI projector or similar, then an easy fix is to buy a USB-C to HDMI lead for around £15.

If you’re looking for a well-priced Chromebook that will do all the basics well, then take a closer look at the Lenovo S345.

DISPLAY: 14” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.48kg | DIMENSIONS: 328x225x18 | CPU: AMD A4 9120C | RAM: 4GB | STORAGE 32GB | USB-C x2 | USB 3.1 x2 | MicroSD | Audio Jack

best buy review recommended Lenovo Google Chromebook under £300 Verum Verdicts UK
Lenovo S345-14AST – Budget Chromebook

Best budget Chromebook:
Lenovo S345-14AST

For a few quid more than the above recommendation, this Chromebook has the same quality credentials but with added oomph. On a Windows laptop, getting a fast processor (CPU) and plenty of storage are key to choosing the right specification – less so, on a Chromebook.

In terms of processor, Chrome works differently and is less power-hungry. Therefore spending big, to get the latest and fastest CPU is less important on Chromebook. However, if you open lots of tabs, constantly stream youtube while downloading a few apps and updating your social media, then extra power will help. Yes, it’s more expensive but the CPU in this model is around 30% faster (see Passmark)

Storage happens in the cloud on a Chromebook. This means you can access your files from any device and backup is sorted. – Plus, there’s no need for a huge hard drive on your laptop. That said, if you need to work offline (no wifi) some internal memory is definitely useful. And this model comes with a decent 64GB.

If the Lenovo S345 ticks your boxes and you can find a few extra quid, then it’s worth opting for the more powerful Lenovo S345-14AST. 

DISPLAY: 14” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.48kg | DIMENSIONS: 328x225x18 | CPU: AMD A6 9220C | RAM: 4GB | MEMORY 64GB | USB-C x2 | USB 3.1 x2 | MicroSD | Audio Jack

Lenovo S345-14AST
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best buy review recommended Asus Google Chromebook under £400 Verum Verdicts UK
ASUS Chromebook Silver C523NA-A20105 – Best Chromebook under £300

Best Chromebook under £300:
ASUS Chromebook Silver C523NA

This ASUS Chromebook looks like it should cost lots more. Similar to a MacBook, its aluminium chassis means it’s light, robust and has a quality feel. Adding to this, the big display is perfect for watching films.

Lightweight Chromebook

Surrounding the HD screen is a super slim bezel, meaning the overall laptop size, although bigger than the Lenovo above, it’s small for a big-screen (15.6”) laptop. Plus, it’s lighter than most comparative Chromebooks or Windows equivalents.

This Chromebook doesn’t have the fastest CPU, which as mentioned earlier is less important for running ChromeOS. It has an ok 4GB of RAM, meaning that it will handle most tasks assuming you keep too many tabs open.

Big screen

If you’re looking for a big HD display on a small classy Chromebook, then this Asus is a great buy.

DISPLAY: 15.6” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.43kg | DIMENSIONS: 358x249x16 | CPU: Celeron N3350 | RAM: 4GB | STORAGE 64GB | USB-C x2 | USB 3.1 x2 | MicroSD | Audio Jack

ASUS Chromebook C523NA
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best buy review recommended tablet, tent, convertible Acer Google Chromebook under £500 Verum Verdicts UK
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713-1WN – Best Chromebook under £600

Best Chromebook under £600:
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713-1WN

This Acer Chromebook does a lot, very well. It’s robust, has an impressive specification and has all the bells and whistles. The aluminium chassis means it’s light and is less likely to bend or warp, compared to plastic alternatives. The touchscreen and touchpad are made from Gorilla Glass giving this Chromebook an edge over competitive laptops when it comes to durability. 

The screen is taller than most laptops. This gives a greater workspace for your apps and multiple windows. Plus, the touchscreen folds through 360 degrees meaning this laptop can be used as a tablet.  This is made even easier as it comes with a Wacom stylus pen. 

The processor is fast, it has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This Acer Chromebook feels well balanced, although the RAM sits at the minimum end of our specification requirements. 

If you want a great laptop and manage to find this great deal available & in-stock, the Acer Chromebook Spin comes highly recommended.

DISPLAY: 13.5” 2256 x 1504 | WEIGHT: 1.5kg | DIMENSIONS: 346x210x17 | CPU: Pentium Gold 4417U | RAM: 4GB | STORAGE 128GB | USB-C x2 | USB 3.1 x2 | MicroSD | Audio Jack

Acer Spin
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best buy review recommended Google Chromebook Ultimate Verum Verdicts UK
Google PixelBook Go – Best Chromebook

Best Chromebook:
Google Pixelbook Go

The PixelBook Go is worth the extra cash. Smaller, lighter and faster than cheaper Chromebook alternatives. Plus, it’s also thinner, lighter and more affordable than a MacBook Air. If you’re looking for an amazing laptop, then the Pixelbook Go is near perfect.

Rather than plastic or aluminium, Google has opted for a chassis made from ‘finely painted magnesium’ – it’s rigid and ultra-light. With rounded corners and a textured base, owners say that it’s tactile and a pleasure to use.

Backlit keyboard & touchscreen

The backlit keyboard also comes in for much praise, with the quiet keys having a positive feel. The full HD touchscreen enhances the high-end specification and the speakers face upwards either side of the keyboard to give good sound quality. 

Internally, the specification is well balanced and performs well. With an Intel i5 processor and 8 GB RAM, there’s plenty of oomph for using multiple tabs & power-hungry apps. Plus, you get 128GB of storage which is plenty, as most of your storage will be in the cloud.

If anything can be criticised, it’s the connectivity. You’re limited to a couple of USB-C ports and a headphone jack. No slot for an SD card. Saying that the Chromebook ecosystem is all about wireless. Who needs cables anyway!

If you want the ultimate Chromebook, that’s ultra-light, super thin and works brilliantly, then the Google PixelBook Go is for you…

DISPLAY: 13.5” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.1kg | DIMENSIONS: 311x207x14 | CPU: Intel i5 | RAM: 8GB | STORAGE 128GB | USB-C x2 | Audio Jack

Google Pixelbook Go
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best buy review recommended Google Chromebook under £200 Verum Verdicts UK

Great budget Chromebook
Lenovo S345
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best buy review recommended Asus Google Chromebook under £400 Verum Verdicts UK

Big screen & great value Chromebook
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best buy review recommended tablet, tent, convertible Acer Google Chromebook under £500 Verum Verdicts UK

Affordable & convertible
Acer Spin 13
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best buy review recommended Google Chromebook Ultimate Verum Verdicts UK

The Ultimate Chromebook
Google Pixelbook Go
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Should you buy a budget or premium Chromebook?

The first Chromebooks on the market were sold as a budget alternative to Windows. They’ve remained true to this, although Google has introduced premium models with a view to attracting more high-end buyers away from Microsoft and Apple. 

Today, Windows and macOS remain much more powerful than Chrome, but in truth, most of us don’t use this level of computing power. The exceptions are video editing and high-end games. For browsing the internet, emails, social media and most work requirements, a Chromebook is perfect.

The top-end Google Pixelbook Go costs an eye-watering £1329. More than double the entry-level version. For the extra cash, you get three things – faster components, more memory and a better screen. 

Faster is definitely better, but will you use the extra power? If you want to keep dozens of browser tabs open or have an eye on some of the more power-hungry apps, then a quicker CPU could be good – or maybe opt for a Windows or macOS laptop?

Cloud storage rather than onboard memory underpins everything Chrome does well. If you want to keep your files on your own device, maybe think about external storage?

The FullHD screen that comes on the standard Pixelbook Go is excellent. And yes, the 4k display is better, but it’s a 13.5” screen and at this size, it’s nearly impossible to see the difference.

In summary, if you want the best Chromebook, choose the Google Pixelbook Go. 

Back Up Your Files – Best Hard Drive


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