If you’re looking for the best laptop under £500, you’ve probably been considering a Chromebook. And if you’ve never used one before, you’ve probably been trying to wrap your head around the idea that it won’t work like a typical Microsoft or Apple machine. You’ve heard the rumours; they don’t need anti-virus, they need to always be connected to the internet, they won’t let you use any Microsoft Office software etc etc, and now you’re worried a Chromebook isn’t right for you…
Stop right there. I’m going to explain to you exactly what a Google Chromebook is, why I think they’re so awesome, and why you should consider getting one in place of a new laptop. Granted, Chromebooks won’t be right for everyone, but after using one for almost a year now I feel like they’re highly underestimated! And for their price I’m not entirely sure why people aren’t using them more already, especially in startups!
- 1 Best Chromebooks for 2018
- 2 WILDCARD OPTION
- 3 What Is a Chromebook Laptop?
- 4 Should I Buy A Chromebook?
- 5 SEE MORE: Which Are Cheaper: LED, LCD Or Plasma TVs? >>
Best Chromebooks for 2018
One of the most popular Chromebooks on the market at the moment, and with good reason. It gives you everything you’d want for a great price and in a stylish design.
With a 12-hour battery length, you are good to go for the day without panicking about how you’ve left your charger at home. The HDR webcam also makes it an excellent choice for anyone who frequently conducts video calls, or for any students away from home who catch up with family.
The full HD screen also makes watching movies a real treat, and background glare is minimised so if the sun is out it isn’t a big problem viewing-wise. The screen is 14”, which is really generous for a laptop of this price.
The 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage will keep you going without any hiccups.
Another ACER model, but a step up in technology. Debating over whether to get a traditional laptop or a tablet with a touchscreen? The R13 could be your answer. There is also 64 GB of storage for anyone who is constantly creating new content.
The best of both worlds, there is a 13.3” touchscreen with a 10-point touch display for increased precision. Great for anybody who prefers spot-on navigation. With versatile 360° hinges, you have four usage modes, so you can disregard the keyboard entirely if you wish.
The full HD display also makes viewing clearer, and the 12-hour battery life will surely come in handy on particularly busy days. Not only is it thinner than most other Chromebooks available, but it also features a fan-less design to cut down on noise. Fully transportable and silent? Yes, please.
The second of our five picks to feature the 360° rotatable touchscreen feature, this ASUS model lets you do whatever you need to do in the way you are most comfortable.
It may seem small with a 10.1” screen, but this makes it the ideal choice for anybody who needs to take it everywhere. It is incredibly light and thin, so can pop into your bag without you even feeling a thing in weight.
With a battery which lasts up to 9 hours, there is plenty of time for you to get everything done even if you are on the move away from a plug socket. Aesthetically, it is one of the top dogs – the all-metal body is a lot sturdier (and prettier) than most of the plastic rivals.
HP is well renowned for their laptop production, so I expected big things from this. I wasn’t disappointed.
I have already mentioned how I own this Chromebook, and with good reason. It may come in at just under £500, making it the most expensive on our top 5 rundown, but the style and silent performance make it a great bet.
Perfect for the mobile professional, it is really fast and lightweight which makes it a good on-the-go accessory. The backlit keyboard makes it easy to see even in low light conditions, and the fanless design will keep everything quiet, preventing you from turning heads in the library.
Continuous automatic updates and included virus protection will keep you safe and modern. With a 13.3” screen, you will be able to work and play with ease. It is worth mentioning that there are also 11.6” and 11.6” Touch Convertible models available for a lower price, but I think you may as well get the latest model (unless you desperately crave a touchscreen, in which case you can purchase the Touch Convertible version here).
With an 11” anti-glare screen, whatever you are up to is displayed perfectly with the Lenovo Ideapad.
The layout is basic and ergonomic, so incredibly easy to navigate at all times. With 64GB of eMMC storage, there is plenty of room to start building up your photo and app collections. Chromebooks also encourage online cloud storage, so in a sense, you are completely unlimited.
HD video and webcam capability will make all conversations and catch-ups crystal clear without any drained colour or lagging. The 8-hour battery life will keep you going for the full working day, and you can also charge up your other devices via USB connection when the Chromebook is turned off – ideal for anybody who only has one free plug socket available.
Hate electronic devices which come with a load of pre-installed third-party rubbish you’ll never use? Lenovo is committed to providing a clutter-free lifestyle, so McAfee LiveSafe and Microsoft Office come pre-installed, but that is it. No wasted RAM or memory, a clean load up, and complete freedom to personalise to your heart’s content.
Yes, it is a Chromebook, but not under £500. And just so brilliant that I had to include it. I guarantee you will be tempted.
Pixelbooks are obviously brilliant industry leaders as Google themselves make them. The price is justified, with a 4-in-1 design which allows you to use the laptop just how you want to.
Use as a regular laptop when at work or finishing your essay, use like a tablet when on the train, or put it in tent or entertainment mode when you’re watching a film at home.
Touchscreen capability offers pretty good precision as it is, but the Pixelbook Pen (sold separately) provides ultimate intricacy. Great for any creative souls out there who love making and editing pictures. The 12.3” screen shows everything clearly and spaciously.
More good news – the Pixelbook is the first Chromebook to have Google Assistant built in. Press the key and say “Okay Google” and you are ready to go. If you can’t live without Google Home Assistant or Alexa, then this will make life even easier.
The latest 7th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor will keep everything running super speedy, so you can multitask without fearing a crashed system for up to 10 hours.
What Is a Chromebook Laptop?
Chromebooks run on Google’s Operating System – so using one won’t be like using any other laptop you’ve tried before. There’s really nothing to download. You can use it straight out of the box; you sign in with your Google account and away you go.
Instead of having a documents folder like you would on a usual laptop, on a Chromebook you have your Google Drive. Whenever you create a document, save a picture, or download a file, it’s all stored on your Drive in the cloud for you to access on any device with your Google Account.
I know what you’re thinking; some big named celebrities trusted that darn Apple Cloud and look where that got them. You don’t want your nudes splashed over the front page of newspapers! Google is doing everything it can to keep your files secure though; and Chromebooks are automatically updated (for free) with the latest security software. So that’s one less worry on your mind.
Speaking of creating documents though, let’s answer the question I’m sure is burning on your tongue right now. Can you use Microsoft Office on a Chromebook? Well, you can’t install anything on a Chromebook unless it’s an App, so in the traditional sense no. Luckily for us, Microsoft prepared for this and they have free MS Office apps for Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc which you can install and use to start working on your documents right away.
If you can drag yourself away from MS Office for just a second though (stop kicking and screaming, this’ll be good I swear), I’d like to introduce you to Google Docs. These are what Chromebooks encourage you to use and they work in much the same way as MS Office does. You can create and edit Word Docs, Spreadsheet Docs and Presentation Docs. You can do this on or offline, but they’ll only be saved to the cloud when you have access to the internet. Without the internet they’ll still be saved to your Chromebook.
My best piece of advice for anyone considering whether or not they should buy a Chromebook is to try out Google Docs. Anyone with a Google account can use Google Docs, you don’t have to have a Chromebook to get started. If you can get to grips with these programmes, and trust me they aren’t difficult, then you’ll probably get along with a Chromebook just fine. If not, at least you can still get Microsoft Apps!
Oh, and don’t worry about importing in any of your old files, or sharing Google Docs with other people. You can save them in Microsoft formats before sharing with friends or coworkers, or just pop a link to the original document in an email. Google makes it pretty easy and straight forward to know who can see your documents and how to share it with them; they even let you share a document with someone else and allow them to edit it at the same time as you so you can both see your adjustments in real time! I know, the future is incredible.
Should I Buy A Chromebook?
If you’re a student, a Chromebook is one of the best laptops to take to and from school or University. It’s quick and easy to take notes down on it, and you can have Google hangout calls with friends and family using the webcam and microphone. Essays are no problem; you can easily convert your Google Docs into PDFs, or send them to a tutor as a Microsoft file. You can watch Netflix on your Chromebook, and listen to Spotify so those won’t be an issue.
If you want one for work, make sure you don’t need to install any software there isn’t an app for and you’ll be fine. If you’re looking for a casual laptop for home; mainly for using the internet and watching videos, this is a perfect budget option. And with some incredible deals around they’re cheaper than ever.
But just like everything in life, Chromebooks won’t be for everyone. Looking for a gaming laptop? Give this a miss. Although you can download any games that are in the Google App Store, you won’t be able to play the latest blockbusters from Steam. Looking for a laptop you can edit videos on and create big pieces of art on? Again, not right for you.
If you’ve been trying to decide between a Chromebook or a laptop, you’ll find the answer for yourself when you decide on the functionality you need it for.