The 6 best Chromebooks in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The Pixelbook Go performs like a premium laptop for just $650, making it our pick for best Chromebook.
  • But there are also several worthwhile Chromebooks available for half the price.
  • The low cost and ease-of-use make Chromebooks particularly great for students.

Chromebooks are easy to use and generally cost less than most Windows laptops, making them a great choice for anyone in need of a simple laptop for getting online. And they’re only growing more popular, as research firm Canalys reported that Chromebook shipments increased by a record-breaking 287% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

We’ve tested many Chromebooks over the years and have also conducted plenty of research to find the best ones. Whether you’re in need of a cheap laptop for casual browsing or a daily work machine, there are several great options worth considering depending on your budget.

But it’s also important to understand the ways in which Chromebooks are different from other laptops. Check out our guide to deciding whether a Chromebook is right for you.

Here are the best Chromebooks in 2021

The best Chromebook overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook pick overall for how it brings high-end, premium sensibilities to a much more affordable price point. With all-day battery life and an amazing keyboard, it’s the one to beat.

Pros: Excellent display, incredible keyboard, lightweight and slim, long battery life

Cons: Fanless CPU, pricey upgrades, no biometric login, small-capacity storage

Google’s latest Chromebook to date, the Pixelbook Go, is also the one we’d recommend to most people who want the quintessential Chromebook experience.

With its approachable starting price, the Pixelbook Go offers up a surprisingly premium mobile computing experience that comparable laptops don’t even bother to. For instance, the Pixelbook Go features a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel (1080p) touchscreen with an embedded 1080p webcam as well as 8GB of memory (RAM). Some of these features,  aren’t even seen on the new entry-level Dell XPS 13, which comes with a non-touch display and 720p webcam. 

Where the Pixelbook Go falls is storage, with just 64GB of space to start, relying heavily on the fact that Chromebooks utilize cloud storage via Google Drive (online connectivity required). Still, it’s more storage than most Chromebooks offer at this price point. Also, with a rated battery life of 12 hours, it’s one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks around.

We love the Pixelbook Go for its incredibly quiet and comfortable typing experience as well as how it brings high-end sensibilities to a more approachable price. At its starting price (our recommended configuration), this is the absolute best Chromebook for the price. However, if you’re considering the most expensive configuration — with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 4K Ultra HD display — we’d suggest looking for a flagship Windows or MacBook laptop instead.

The best value Chromebook

Samsung 4+

Samsung’s 15-inch Chromebook 4+ packs the most value into a budget laptop that we’ve ever seen, with many modern niceties for so much less than most laptops with similar features.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM

For those looking to squeeze the absolute most value possible from a Chromebook purchase, it’s difficult to beat the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. You’re getting an incredible amount of laptop for its asking price — no question.

What you get is a sleek, subtle platinum-colored frame housing a 15.6-inch, 1080p display, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU backed by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s supported by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — along with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for connectivity.

All of this comes within a device that can last for up to 10 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge, and can search the web for you and answer questions with just your voice using Google Assistant. Save for biometric login and more local storage, there’s nothing else that this budget laptop leaves off the table.

If you’re a student looking for a new Chromebook before heading back to school in the fall, it’s worth checking out Samsung’s student discounts. The company offers a 10% education discount, which it says you can combine with other offers for savings of up to 30%.

The best 2-in-1 Chromebook

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 has a spacious screen and a sleek convertible design, making it a great choice for those who want a flexible yet affordable laptop.

Pros: Smooth performance, good port selection, great display

Cons: Speakers aren’t the best

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is an affordable, lightweight 2-in-1 Chromebook with a tall 3:2 screen. That extra height makes Acer’s Chromebook a particularly strong choice for those who want a basic laptop with more screen space for work or entertainment.

Since it’s a convertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713‘s display folds backwards so that it can be used as a tablet. Like many similar convertibles, the Chromebook Spin 713 can take on a few different forms thanks to its flexible design. 

For example, you can prop it up like a tent,  or tuck the keyboard under the display. Both modes are ideal for times when you just want to look at the screen without the distraction of a keyboard.

The model I’ve been using runs on Intel’s 10th generation Core i5 processor and comes with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution display, and an estimated 10 hours of battery life, impressive specifications for a Chromebook.

But Acer also launched a new version of this Chromebook in June 2021 that comes with Intel’s newer 11th generation processors, Thunderbolt 4 support, the option for a fingerprint reader, and the same 10-hour battery life.

Otherwise, the Acer Chromebook 713 stands out for its vibrant and spacious screen and comfortable keyboard. The speakers sound a little shallow since they’re located on the bottom of the notebook, and the fans can sometimes get a little noisy. But the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a winner all-around.

The older model with an Intel Core i3 is on sale for just $359 at Best Buy, which is an excellent price for a laptop of this caliber. Students should also check out Acer’s education discount program, which slashes 10% off certain prices and offers free shipping.

The best compact Chromebook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet offers a combination of portability and versatility that seems impossible to beat at this price.

Pros: Low price, portable and attractive design, included keyboard and cover

Cons: Only one USB-C port, performance can sometimes be sluggish

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet, which costs $270, is the right choice for anyone who prioritizes portability and affordability in a Chromebook. It’s smaller and cheaper than Apple’s least expensive iPad and comes with a back cover and keyboard case at no extra cost. It’s not a powerful laptop, but it’s suitable for anyone who wants an inexpensive device for basic tasks.

But don’t misinterpret that to mean that this Chromebook feels cheap. The tablet itself has a solid yet lightweight build that makes the Duet feel more expensive than it actually is. 

The tablet comes with an attractive textured back cover and detachable keyboard that provides a comfortable typing experience. They add a bit of heft to the tablet, but even with these accessories the Duet is small and light enough to tote around with ease. 

The top-firing speakers are surprisingly loud for this tablet’s size, and their location at the top of the tablet means you don’t have to worry about accidentally blocking them while holding the device. It also should last for 10 hours on a single charge according to Lenovo’s estimates.

But the Lenovo Chromebook Duet‘s performance makes it best-suited for easy everyday tasks, like using Google’s productivity services (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.), reading the news, and watching movies. The tablet can get a little laggy when switching between apps frequently, and it stutters when running graphics-intensive games. 

The Chromebook Duet also only has one USB-C port, so there isn’t much flexibility when it comes to connectivity. There isn’t even a headphone jack, although Lenovo includes a dongle in the box. Still, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet offers a tremendous amount of value for the price.

Students can get a 5% discount site-wide through Lenovo, but that doesn’t apply to products that are on doorbuster or clearance sales.

The best 13-inch Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14 G5

The HP Chromebook 14 is an excellent buy for those looking for that traditional laptop experience without spending a ton of cash. With lots of basic features but also versatility, we think it’s a winner.

Pros: Excellent price, lots of ports, long battery life

Cons: 1080p costs extra, tiny local storage

For those seeking a little more screen size and power from their Chromebook than a mere 10 or 11-inch device can offer, we suggest considering the HP Chromebook 14. This has many of the same features as your average 11-inch Chromebook, but with more space and a 14-inch, 720p screen crammed into a 13-inch-sized laptop.

The HP Chromebook 14 is both drop and spill resistant to a minor extent, and comes packing an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD for storage. Again, this device is assuming that you’ll be using cloud storage via Google Drive to supplement your local space. The included microSD card slot can help expand that local storage as well.

On top of that, the laptop has two USB-C 3.1 and two USB 3.1 ports, offering plenty of room for expansion in all sorts of ways, including displays. Finally, this Chromebook can last for up to 10 hours on a charge.

It’s currently $50 more expensive than the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, but comes with perks like a larger screen and many more ports. The Duet, however, has twice the amount of storage and features a 2-in-1 design unlike this laptop.

If you’re after a more traditional laptop experience but aren’t looking to spend a fortune, then this is the best Chromebook for that job.

Qualified students and teachers should also check out HP’s education discounts, which may result in savings of up to 35%.

The best premium Chromebook

A red Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 on a white background

Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a premium build that’s lightweight, sturdy, and colorful without the high price tag to match.

Pros: Attractive and lightweight design, excellent screen, solid performance

Cons: Battery life could be better, somewhat shallow keyboard

Chromebooks are usually less expensive than Windows laptops, but that doesn’t mean they have to feel cheap. Samsung’s $550 Galaxy Chromebook 2 is one of the best examples of this yet. It has a lightweight and slim aluminum build that comes in a flashy red color option, setting it apart from the gray slabs typically found elsewhere. 

Design alone isn’t enough to make a laptop worthwhile. But having a device that feels well-built and is light enough to carry around with ease certainly is, and Samsung’s Chromebook accomplishes that without question. At 2.71 pounds, it’s just a hair lighter than the MacBook Air.

But what really makes the Galaxy Chromebook 2 stand out is how the 2-in-1 design, vibrant QLED screen, and performance come together. Like most Chromebooks, it’s intended for light productivity and web browsing. 

The Intel Core i3-powered Galaxy Chromebook 2 handles my everyday workload with ease, although the fans pipe up once I have more than 25 tabs open in Chrome. But they quickly quiet down, and the laptop never feels sluggish while web browsing. 

Colors pop on the Galaxy Chromebook 2‘s QLED display, making this an especially good laptop for entertainment. It’s not significantly better than you’d get from other well-regarded Chromebooks like the Google Pixelbook Go or Acer Chromebook Spin 713, but it’s certainly crisper. Plus, Samsung’s Chromebook has much slimmer borders framing its screen, which makes it easier to focus on the content when watching videos.

The battery life is shorter than other laptops we’ve tested, considering it had 22% of its capacity left after our six-hour battery test. The keyboard also doesn’t have as much depth as I would like. But overall, this is a solid option for those who want a nice-looking Chromebook with a great screen and reliable performance.

Other great Chromebooks for school

HP Chromebook 11

The same Chromebook that might be suitable for most people isn’t necessarily going to cut it for schoolwork. Some Chromebooks might be over-the-top for middle school assignments, while the most basic Chromebooks could have a hard time keeping up with the demands of high school and college coursework. 

There are also some features that are particularly useful for students. Chromebooks for school should be lightweight and durable, for example, since students will likely be carrying them around between classes. Features like stylus support may also be more important than display resolution for classwork since students may need to jot down scientific formulas or math equations.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and Lenovo Chromebook Duet are examples of Chromebooks that we think are particularly great for school, but we also think they’re broadly appealing enough to recommend for general use as well. Here are a couple of other Chromebooks to consider for school.

1. HP Chromebook X360 14 — affordable size

Portability is undeniably important, but sometimes you really need the bigger screen to see what you’re doing or to multi-task. The HP Chromebook x 360 14 offers this without making the rest of the chassis too big, and it does so at a decent price. It even still delivers a 360-degree hinge and stylus support for total flexibility. And don’t forget to check out HP’s education discounts if you’re a qualifying student or educator.

Chromebook x360 14 (button)

2. Dell Chromebook 3100 — rugged and reliable

If having a durable laptop that you can toss in a backpack without concern is a top priority, Dell’s Chromebook 3100 is worth considering. Dell says it’s been tested to survive 5,000 micro-drops and 30-inch drops onto steel, and it also has a spill-resistant keyboard. Trusted Reviews put this to the test after accidentally spilling coffee on the keyboard, dropping it on a hardwood kitchen floor, and putting it in the hands of a four-year-old, finding that it held up. Dell’s Chromebook comes in either 2-in-1 or standard clamshell options, with the convertible starting at $369 and the regular notebook beginning at $249. Both starting options come with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and an 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display. It’s not a computing powerhouse by any means, but it’s a reliable machine for getting basic work done that should be more than capable of taking a tumble or two. Dell also offers a 10% discount on select electronics and accessories as part of its education discount program for those who qualify.

Chromebook 3100 (button)
Chromebooks we look forward to testing

Acer's Chromebook 314 partially open at an angle against a white background

Acer Chromebook 314: Acer is also launching a new 14-inch Chromebook that it says should get up to 15 hours of battery life. The laptop has a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen and only costs $270, meaning it could give our current value pick from Samsung some fresh competition. 

Acer Chromebook 317: Those who want the biggest screen possible on a Chromebook may want to check out the Acer Chromebook 17. Launched in June 2021 for $380, the company claims it’s the first 17-inch Chromebook. It runs on the latest Intel Celeron processors, has an estimated 10-hour battery life, and comes with two USB-C ports plus a few additional connections. All told, it sounds like it could be a compelling option for those who want an affordable laptop with a big screen.

What to consider when buying a Chromebook

Chromebooks aren’t designed like Windows or Mac machines. Instead of using an operating system (OS) with software that resides on the computer, Chromebooks run on a cloud-based OS called Chrome OS. It’s very simple and easy to use. In place of a productivity suite like Microsoft Office, you get Google’s services like the Chrome web browser, Gmail (email), Docs (documents), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentation), and Drive (cloud storage); all these applications and others are accessed via cloud.

This means all of your files will save to the cloud in Google Drive, so you never have to worry about losing them or saving a physical copy to your Chromebook’s storage. As you can guess, much of Chrome OS’s core functions work through the Chrome web browser.

Although Chromebooks are cloud-based laptops, they can work offline. There are some Chrome OS apps and programs you can download; Google’s office suite has an offline mode; you can read or save files locally on a local solid state drive (SSD), external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card (if the Chromebook has a memory card reader); and even install Android apps from the Google Play store (Chromebooks released in 2017 or newer). But, most of your activity will be online through Google’s apps or the Chrome web browser. If you need specific programs, like Adobe Illustrator, Premiere or Logic Pro X, that are only available for Mac OS or Windows, then a Chromebook isn’t the best buy for you.

Some of the newest Chromebooks are quite high-end, with sharp, vibrant screens, comfortable keyboards, latest ports (USB-C and USB 3.0), and fast processors (CPUs). Couple that with the fact that just about any Chromebook available today supports the majority of Android apps through Google Play, and you have some awfully capable machines. However, not all Android apps perform well on a Chromebook, and we recommend using the web-based option instead, if there is one. For example, streaming Netflix through the web browser is preferable to using the Netflix Android app.

Here are some key hardware specifications to look out for when shopping for Chromebooks:

  • Displays: If you’re concerned about how the text, images and video will appear on the Chromebook screen that you’ll be looking at while using it, we recommend looking for a 720p (1,280 x 720) resolution at a minimum, with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) being the gold standard. There are also 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) Chromebooks, but those are exorbitantly expensive whereas you can get a 1080p Chromebook for even $500. If you’re looking for a touchscreen, the majority of those come in 2-in-1 hybrid designs and generally start at around $700 for ones with decent hardware inside.
  • Processors: A benefit to Chrome OS is that it doesn’t require much power to run swiftly and efficiently, so most Chromebooks come with fanless processors either from Intel’s Pentium and Celeron lines or ARM-based chip designs. If you need more power for some reason, makers like Google and HP do sell Chromebooks with Intel Core processors at the highest end.
  • Memory: The memory (RAM) in your Chromebook dictates how many programs or browser tabs you can run simultaneously before the machine has to reload your content when accessed. Most Chromebooks come with just 4GB of RAM, though some higher-end models offer 8GB or as much as 16GB. We’d feel the most comfortable and free to work without limits using 8GB of RAM, but basic users will get away with 4GB easily.
  • Storage: Chromebooks rely heavily on the cloud storage services that Google provides via Drive, so most models come with between 16GB and 64GB of onboard space, which is usually expandable via a microSD card. More premium models in recent years have begun shipping Chromebooks with more storage via faster solid-state drives (SSDs) rather than cheaper flash memory. With Google Drive accessible in the Chrome OS interface as if it were local storage, we would strongly consider a subscription with your Chromebook purchase to save some upfront cost. If you’re that concerned with local storage, grab a microSD card or a thumb drive.
  • Ports: Most every single Chromebook is going to come with at least one standard USB port, likely the 2.0 edition in terms of data transfer speed. However, more modern and premium models have made the move to the sleeker, faster, and more versatile USB-C standard, so keep that in mind if you want the latest and greatest. Finally, don’t expect to see a lot of ports on Chromebooks, being inherently focused on simplicity and portability. Much of what Chromebooks lack in wired connectivity can be made up for with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best Chromebooks in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Google’s Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook for its long battery life, comfy keyboard, and solid performance.
  • But there are plenty of other worthwhile Chromebooks at different prices that come in other sizes.
  • Check out our guide to the best laptops for more buying advice.

Chromebooks have evolved quite a bit in recent years, offering performance and build quality that’s almost on par with Windows and MacBook laptops.

We’ve used a number of different Chromebooks over the years and conducted plenty of research to find the best ones. Whether you’re in need of a cheap laptop for casual browsing or a daily work machine, there are several great options worth considering depending on your budget.

But it’s also important to understand the ways in which Chromebooks are different from other laptops. Check out our guide to deciding whether a Chromebook is right for you.

Here are the best Chromebooks in 2021

The best Chromebook overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook pick overall for how it brings high-end, premium sensibilities to a much more affordable price point. With all-day battery life and an amazing keyboard, it’s the one to beat.

Pros: Excellent display, incredible keyboard, lightweight and slim, long battery life

Cons: Fanless CPU, pricey upgrades, no biometric login, small-capacity storage

Google’s latest Chromebook to date, the Pixelbook Go, is also the one we’d recommend to most people who want the quintessential Chromebook experience.

With its approachable starting price, the Pixelbook Go offers up a surprisingly premium mobile computing experience that comparable laptops don’t even bother to. For instance, the Pixelbook Go features a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel (1080p) touchscreen with an embedded 1080p webcam as well as 8GB of memory (RAM). Some of these features,  aren’t even seen on the new entry-level Dell XPS 13, which comes with a non-touch display and 720p webcam. 

Where the Pixelbook Go falls is storage, with just 64GB of space to start, relying heavily on the fact that Chromebooks utilize cloud storage via Google Drive (online connectivity required). Still, it’s more storage than most Chromebooks offer at this price point. Also, with a rated battery life of 12 hours, it’s one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks around.

We love the Pixelbook Go for its incredibly quiet and comfortable typing experience as well as how it brings high-end sensibilities to a more approachable price. At its starting price (our recommended configuration), this is the absolute best Chromebook for the price. However, if you’re considering the most expensive configuration — with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 4K Ultra HD display — we’d suggest looking for a flagship Windows or MacBook laptop instead.

The best value Chromebook

Samsung 4+

Samsung’s 15-inch Chromebook 4+ packs the most value into a budget laptop that we’ve ever seen, with many modern niceties for so much less than most laptops with similar features.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM

For those looking to squeeze the absolute most value possible from a Chromebook purchase, it’s difficult to beat the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. You’re getting an incredible amount of laptop for its asking price — no question.

What you get is a sleek, subtle platinum-colored frame housing a 15.6-inch, 1080p display, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU backed by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s supported by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — along with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for connectivity.

All of this comes within a device that can last for up to 10 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge, and can search the web for you and answer questions with just your voice using Google Assistant. Save for biometric login and more local storage, there’s nothing else that this budget laptop leaves off the table.

The best 2-in-1 Chromebook

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 has a spacious screen and a sleek convertible design, making it a great choice for those who want a flexible yet affordable laptop.

Pros: Smooth performance, good port selection, great display

Cons: Speakers aren’t the best

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is an affordable, lightweight 2-in-1 Chromebook with a tall 3:2 screen. That extra height makes Acer’s Chromebook a particularly strong choice for those who want a basic laptop with more screen space for work or entertainment.

Since it’s a convertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713‘s display folds backwards so that it can be used as a tablet. Like many similar convertibles, the Chromebook Spin 713 can take on a few different forms thanks to its flexible design. 

For example, you can prop it up like a tent,  or tuck the keyboard under the display. Both modes are ideal for times when you just want to look at the screen without the distraction of a keyboard — such as while giving a presentation or watching a movie.

The model I’ve been using runs on Intel’s 10th generation Core i5 processor and comes with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution display, and an estimated 10 hours of battery life. Those are impressive specifications for a Chromebook, considering most Chromebooks don’t come with as much power or storage since they’re primarily meant to be used with an internet connection. 

But Acer also launched a new version of this Chromebook in June 2021 that comes with Intel’s newer 11th generation processors, Thunderbolt 4 support, the option for a fingerprint reader, and the same 10-hour battery life.

Otherwise, the Acer Chromebook 713 stands out for its vibrant and spacious screen and comfortable keyboard. The speakers sound a little shallow since they’re located on the bottom of the notebook, and the fans can sometimes get a little noisy. But the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a winner all-around.

The best compact Chromebook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet offers a combination of portability and versatility that seems impossible to beat at this price.

Pros: Low price, portable and attractive design, included keyboard and cover

Cons: Only one USB-C port, performance can sometimes be sluggish

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet, which costs $270, is the right choice for anyone who prioritizes portability and affordability in a Chromebook. It’s smaller and cheaper than Apple’s least expensive iPad and comes with a back cover and keyboard case at no extra cost. It’s not a powerful device, but it’s suitable for anyone who wants an inexpensive and portable device for basic tasks.

But don’t misinterpret that to mean that this Chromebook feels cheap. The tablet itself has a solid yet lightweight build that makes the Duet feel more expensive than it actually is. 

The tablet comes with an attractive textured back cover and detachable keyboard that provides a comfortable typing experience. They add a bit of heft to the tablet, but even with these accessories the Duet is small and light enough to tote around with ease. 

The top-firing speakers are surprisingly loud for this tablet’s size, and their location at the top of the tablet means you don’t have to worry about accidentally blocking them while holding the device. It also should last for 10 hours on a single charge according to Lenovo’s estimates.

But the performance you get for this price make the Lenovo Chromebook Duet best-suited for easy everyday tasks, like using Google’s productivity services (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.), reading the news, and watching movies. The tablet can get a little laggy when switching between apps frequently, and it stutters when running graphics-intensive games. 

The Chromebook Duet also only has one USB-C port, so there isn’t much flexibility when it comes to connectivity. There isn’t even a headphone jack, although Lenovo includes a dongle in the box. Still, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet offers a tremendous amount of value for the price.

The best 13-inch Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14 G5

The HP Chromebook 14 is an excellent buy for those looking for that traditional laptop experience without spending a ton of cash. With lots of basic features but also versatility, we think it’s a winner.

Pros: Excellent price, lots of ports, long battery life

Cons: 1080p costs extra, tiny local storage

For those seeking a little more screen size and power from their Chromebook than a mere 10 or 11-inch device can offer, we suggest considering the HP Chromebook 14. This has many of the same features as your average 11-inch Chromebook, but with more space and a 14-inch, 720p screen crammed into a 13-inch-sized laptop.

The HP Chromebook 14 is both drop and spill resistant to a minor extent, and comes packing an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD for storage. Again, this device is assuming that you’ll be using cloud storage via Google Drive to supplement your local space. The included microSD card slot can help expand that local storage as well.

On top of that, the laptop has two USB-C 3.1 and two USB 3.1 ports, offering plenty of room for expansion in all sorts of ways, including displays. Finally, this Chromebook can last for up to 10 hours on a charge.

It’s currently $50 more expensive than the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, but comes with perks like a larger screen and many more ports. The Duet, however, has twice the amount of storage and features a 2-in-1 design unlike this laptop.

 If you’re after a more traditional laptop experience but aren’t looking to spend a fortune, then this is the best Chromebook for that job.

Other great Chromebooks for school

HP Chromebook 11

The same Chromebook that might be suitable for most people isn’t necessarily going to cut it for schoolwork. Some Chromebooks might be over-the-top for middle school assignments, while the most basic Chromebooks could have a hard time keeping up with the demands of high school and college coursework. 

There are also some features that are particularly useful for students. Chromebooks for school should be lightweight and durable, for example, since students will likely be carrying them around between classes. Features like stylus support may also be more important than display resolution for classwork since students may need to jot down scientific formulas or math equations.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and Lenovo Chromebook Duet are examples of Chromebooks that we think are particularly great for school, but we also think they’re broadly appealing enough to recommend for general use as well. Here are a couple of other Chromebooks to consider for school.

1. HP Chromebook X360 14 — affordable size

Portability is undeniably important, but sometimes you really need the bigger screen to see what you’re doing or to multi-task. The HP Chromebook x 360 14 offers this without making the rest of the chassis too big, and it does so at a decent price. It even still delivers a 360-degree hinge and stylus support for total flexibility.

Chromebook x360 14 (button)

2. Dell Chromebook 3100 — rugged and reliable

If having a durable laptop that you can toss in a backpack without concern is a top priority, Dell’s Chromebook 3100 is worth considering. Dell says it’s been tested to survive 5,000 micro-drops and 30-inch drops onto steel, and it also has a spill-resistant keyboard. Trusted Reviews put this to the test after accidentally spilling coffee on the keyboard, dropping it on a hardwood kitchen floor, and putting it in the hands of a four-year-old, finding that it held up. Dell’s Chromebook comes in either 2-in-1 or standard clamshell options, with the convertible starting at $369 and the regular notebook beginning at $249. Both starting options come with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and an 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display. It’s not a computing powerhouse by any means, but it’s a reliable machine for getting basic work done that should be more than capable of taking a tumble or two. 

Chromebook 3100 (button)
Chromebooks we look forward to testing

Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Samsung’s original Galaxy Chromebook from last year’s CES had an attention-grabbing design that’s uncommon for a Chromebook, but its high price and short battery life limited its appeal. Now, Samsung has addressed those criticisms with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a revamped version of its Google-powered laptop that comes at a cheaper starting price of $549.99 compared to the previous model’s $999.99 price tag. With a premium design, 13.3-inch QLED touch screen, and hopefully longer battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems like it could be a promising option for those on a budget.

Acer Chromebook 314: Acer is also launching a new 14-inch Chromebook that it says should get up to 15 hours of battery life. The laptop has a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen and only costs $270, meaning it could give our current value pick from Samsung some fresh competition. 

Acer Chromebook 317: Those who want the biggest screen possible on a Chromebook may want to check out the Acer Chromebook 17. Launched in June 2021 for $380, the company claims it’s the first 17-inch Chromebook. It runs on the latest Intel Celeron processors, has an estimated 10-hour battery life, and comes with two USB-C ports plus a few additional connections. All told, it sounds like it could be a compelling option for those who want an affordable laptop with a big screen.

What to consider when buying a Chromebook

Chromebooks aren’t designed like Windows or Mac machines. Instead of using an operating system (OS) with software that resides on the computer, Chromebooks run on a cloud-based OS called Chrome OS. It’s very simple and easy to use. In place of a productivity suite like Microsoft Office, you get Google’s services like the Chrome web browser, Gmail (email), Docs (documents), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentation), and Drive (cloud storage); all these applications and others are accessed via cloud.

This means all of your files will save to the cloud in Google Drive, so you never have to worry about losing them or saving a physical copy to your Chromebook’s storage. As you can guess, much of Chrome OS’s core functions work through the Chrome web browser.

Although Chromebooks are cloud-based laptops, they can work offline. There are some Chrome OS apps and programs you can download; Google’s office suite has an offline mode; you can read or save files locally on a local solid state drive (SSD), external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card (if the Chromebook has a memory card reader); and even install Android apps from the Google Play store (Chromebooks released in 2017 or newer). But, most of your activity will be online through Google’s apps or the Chrome web browser. If you need specific programs, like Adobe Illustrator, Premiere or Logic Pro X, that are only available for Mac OS or Windows, then a Chromebook isn’t the best buy for you.

Some of the newest Chromebooks are quite high-end, with sharp, vibrant screens, comfortable keyboards, latest ports (USB-C and USB 3.0), and fast processors (CPUs). Couple that with the fact that just about any Chromebook available today supports the majority of Android apps through Google Play, and you have some awfully capable machines. However, not all Android apps perform well on a Chromebook, and we recommend using the web-based option instead, if there is one. For example, streaming Netflix through the web browser is preferable to using the Netflix Android app.

Here are some key hardware specifications to look out for when shopping for Chromebooks:

  • Displays: If you’re concerned about how the text, images and video will appear on the Chromebook screen that you’ll be looking at while using it, we recommend looking for a 720p (1,280 x 720) resolution at a minimum, with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) being the gold standard. There are also 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) Chromebooks, but those are exorbitantly expensive whereas you can get a 1080p Chromebook for even $500. If you’re looking for a touchscreen, the majority of those come in 2-in-1 hybrid designs and generally start at around $700 for ones with decent hardware inside.
  • Processors: A benefit to Chrome OS is that it doesn’t require much power to run swiftly and efficiently, so most Chromebooks come with fanless processors either from Intel’s Pentium and Celeron lines or ARM-based chip designs. If you need more power for some reason, makers like Google and HP do sell Chromebooks with Intel Core processors at the highest end.
  • Memory: The memory (RAM) in your Chromebook dictates how many programs or browser tabs you can run simultaneously before the machine has to reload your content when accessed. Most Chromebooks come with just 4GB of RAM, though some higher-end models offer 8GB or as much as 16GB. We’d feel the most comfortable and free to work without limits using 8GB of RAM, but basic users will get away with 4GB easily.
  • Storage: Chromebooks rely heavily on the cloud storage services that Google provides via Drive, so most models come with between 16GB and 64GB of onboard space, which is usually expandable via a microSD card. More premium models in recent years have begun shipping Chromebooks with more storage via faster solid-state drives (SSDs) rather than cheaper flash memory. With Google Drive accessible in the Chrome OS interface as if it were local storage, we would strongly consider a subscription with your Chromebook purchase to save some upfront cost. If you’re that concerned with local storage, grab a microSD card or a thumb drive.
  • Ports: Most every single Chromebook is going to come with at least one standard USB port, likely the 2.0 edition in terms of data transfer speed. However, more modern and premium models have made the move to the sleeker, faster, and more versatile USB-C standard, so keep that in mind if you want the latest and greatest. Finally, don’t expect to see a lot of ports on Chromebooks, being inherently focused on simplicity and portability. Much of what Chromebooks lack in wired connectivity can be made up for with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
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The best women’s laptop bags in 2021 to keep your computer safe in style

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All of the best women’s laptop bags
All of our favorite women’s laptop bags.

  • Laptop bags are an essential way to protect laptops during commutes.
  • The best bags are protective, stylish, and spacious.
  • The Lo and Sons O.G. 2 is our favorite for its combination of protection and style.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether it’s for a trip to school, the office, or the coffee shop, a good laptop bag is an essential computer accessory.

A laptop bag’s most important job is to protect the device it’s carrying, so it should be able to withstand some impact. But a good bag should also fit everything you need while looking stylish enough to make you want to carry it everywhere.

We’ve spent months testing laptop bags to find the best ones. We’ve chosen options for just about every shape, style and budget – from classic briefcase style to luxurious totes and everything in between.

Here are the best laptop bags for women:

The best laptop bag overall

Best overall women’s laptop bag  Lo and Sons O.G
Best overall women’s laptop bag: Lo and Sons O.G. 2

The Lo and Sons O.G. 2 is fashionable, spacious, and versatile, offering the best blend of protection and style. 

If you are looking for a bag that oozes sophistication, the Lo and Sons O.G. 2 fits the bill. The premium materials and thoughtful design make it feel as luxurious as it is practical and protective, which is why it’s our top pick. It starts at $378 and comes in black, caramel, and gray. 

The nylon exterior is light, smooth, and water resistant, while the leather on the handles and trim feels sturdy yet sleek. The O.G. 2 has two large compartments – one exclusively for a laptop, and one main compartment with several interior pouches that could easily fit an iPad and other personal belongings.

A pocket on the bag’s back also opens up at the bottom to function as a pass-through luggage slip, which is a great perk for frequent travelers.  

There’s also a dedicated shoe pouch – a unique feature for laptop bags – located in an exterior zipper pocket on the main compartment’s side. However, this pouch must be unrolled from the main compartment, which can look a bit awkward and isn’t very consistent with the bag’s generally sleek design.

 The O.G. 2 comes in medium and large – though the laptop pocket is the same size on both bags.

The thickly-padded dedicated laptop pocket with spill resistant zippers makes this the most protective bag out of the ones we’ve tested. Its high-quality material, spacious interior, and beautiful, classic design help to cement its place as our best overall laptop bag.

The O.G. 2 Overnight Bag (button)
The best laptop bag for versatility

The Puffle by Go Dash Dot is the best women’s laptop for versatility
The best laptop bag for versatility: The Puffle by Go Dash Dot

The Puffle by Go Dash Dot is a fresh and fun take on the classic duffle bag with laptop protection and a clever design.

Go Dash Dot’s Puffle is a new take on the classic duffle in the style of what has become one of handbag world’s biggest trends: oversized pillow bags. The $218 Puffle has a fun and distinct look, but its versatility is what makes it a standout choice for those seeking laptop protection in a large everyday carryall. 

In fact, you could call the Puffle two bags in one. That’s because one of the bag’s main features is its small removable pouch that snaps to the back of its main compartment.  You can even connect the included cross-body strap to the pouch to create a mini purse, or even slip a belt through the rear loops to fashion it into a fanny pack. 

The Puffle’s main compartment also includes a padded, Velcro-secured 13-inch laptop sleeve as well as plenty of unstructured space to fit clothes and other belongings. The bag also sports exterior water bottle holders, a phone pouch, and another zipper pocket.

Like the O.G. 2, the Puffle also comes with a dedicated shoe compartment, but this one is zipper-protected and located near the bottom of the bag. It’s spacious enough to fit small boots and can also be accessed by opening the bag’s main compartment. This can be useful if you need more space in the main pouch, and the design is generally more functional and seamless than that of the O.G. 2.

It comes in Black, Denim, Iridescent, and Mint Chip, and is even machine washable, making it a great choice for those looking for an all-in-one laptop bag and purse solution.

The Puffle (button)
The best laptop bag for storage

The best women’s laptop bag for storage is the Bellroy System Messenger Bag
The best laptop bag for storage: the Bellroy System Messenger Bag

The Bellroy System Messenger Bag offers tons of room in a spacious and functional messenger style. 

Messenger bags aren’t for everyone. But those who love them will surely adore the Bellroy Systems Messenger Bag‘s clever construction. At $199, it’s not the priciest bag on this list but certainly skews toward the premium end. 

The large main pocket is closed through a unique fold-over design that uses magnets to clasp the top of the bag shut while a G-hook clasp folds it over and keeps it secure. This looks like it could be complicated to use, but it’s actually surprisingly intuitive while also offering protection against the elements.

Inside, the bag boasts a padded laptop sleeve that can fit a 16-inch laptop, a  smaller fabric divider capable of fitting an iPad, two collapsible side pockets for a water bottle or individual shoes, as well as small mesh zipper pockets for accessories. 

There is also a large zipper pocket on the rear of the bag that can be used for extra storage, or opened to function as a luggage pass-through. 

The bag is large and can get heavy when full, which might make it difficult for some to carry, especially those who already struggle with cross-body styles. However, the padded removable shoulder strap does ease some of the pressure, and we like that the weather-resistant nylon has a rugged feel to it.

Ultimately, the Bellroy System Messenger Bag is a well-made and a great choice for fans of the messenger style. It’s large enough to fit just about anything you might want to carry, and comes in Basalt and Black color options. Another bonus: it comes with a three-year warranty.

System Messenger Bag (button)
The best laptop bag for style

The best women’s laptop bag for style is the Dagne Dover Signature Tote
The best laptop bag for style: Dagne Dover Signature Tote

The Dagne Dover Signature Tote is a stylish laptop bag that offers lots of functionality.

If style is your top priority in a laptop bag, look no further than the Dagne Dover Signature Tote, which starts at $245. This bag is made out of colorful coated canvas and features a leather trim with handles that easily drop out of the way when you don’t need them.

This classic tote only has one large compartment that is secured by a zipper. Unfortunately, the zipper only seals the middle portion of the bag, leaving the ends exposed. This allows for easy access, but I prefer to have my belongings completely secured. 

The tote features a 13-inch laptop sleeve in the Classic model, and a 15-inch laptop sleeve in the Legend model. Both are secured by a thick strap with a strong magnetic closure. There are also dedicated interior pouches for pens and a phone, along with smaller pouches for other accessories as well as an interior zipper pocket. I found the detachable neoprene water bottle holder particularly useful as it prevented my beverage from sweating through to the other contents of the bag. 

The Signature Tote comes in Onyx, Bleecker Blush, Ash Blue, and Graphite, along with seasonal colors that are a bit more fun, such as Pinkish, Lime, and Pomelo. The Classic size costs $245, while the slightly bigger Legend costs $265. 

There are certainly plenty of good laptop totes out there, but few can match Dagne Dover’s  wide variety of fun colors. If you’re looking for a bag full of style and are willing to pay extra for it, then the Dagne Dover Signature Tote is the right pick.

Signature Tote (Legend) (button)
The best laptop bag on a budget

The best women’s laptop bag on a budget is the Targus 14 inch Cypress Slim Case with EcoSmart
Best laptop bag on a budget: The Targus 14-inch Cypress Slim Case with EcoSmart

The Targus 14-inch Cypress Slim Case with EcoSmart is compact, protective, and best of all: affordable. 

Sometimes the best bag is the one that gets the job done with the least amount of fuss. That logic applies to the $52.99 Targus 14-inch Cypress Slim Case, which is designed for holding your laptop and not much else.  

Despite the bag’s simplicity, it offers a decent amount of storage. I’m able to squeeze a computer, an iPad with a slim keyboard, and a book in the main compartment, while all of the power cords fit in the front pocket. It’s tight, but it works. 

It has one main compartment with a laptop sleeve, as well as a smaller front pocket with an organization panel for pens and other accessories. The back has a Velcro-secured luggage strap, and the bag also comes with a removable padded shoulder strap. That’s about it.

The bag comes in gray with black accents and is attractive but not particularly stylish. The environmentally-friendly design is made of a woven plastic that’s constructed from 12 recycled water bottles. The fabric doesn’t feel plasticky at all;  instead, it seems soft yet durable to the touch. The bag is thoroughly padded, adding a good level of protection from drops and spills. 

All told, the 14-inch Cyprus Slim Case with EcoSmart offers a tremendous amount of value for those seeking an affordable yet protective laptop bag. The style might be too utilitarian for some, but there is little doubt that this bag fulfills its intended purpose exceptionally well.

14-inch Cypress Slim Case with EcoSmart (button)
The best laptop bag for value

The best women’s laptop bag for value is the Targus 15 inch Newport East West Tote
Best laptop bag for value: Targus 15-inch Newport East-West Tote

The Targus 15-inch Newport East-West Tote offers plenty of pockets, weather-resistant nylon, and excellent laptop protection for significantly less than premium totes. 

At $102.99, Targus’ tote looks and feels as elegant as bags more than twice this price. 

Sure, the Newport East-West Tote lacks the genuine leather finishes of more premium bags, and the gold zippers don’t look as expensive as those on other models. But the build quality and overall appearance hold up nicely to the competition, making it an excellent value.

The tote is made of a black weather-resistant nylon material and features leatherette accents. The interior laptop sleeve can fit a 15-inch computer and is fastened by a Velcro strap. 

The main compartment also has an organizational panel of pouches for pens and other accessories, and an interior zipper pocket. On the back, you’ll find a luggage strap along with a side-opening zipper pouch, while the front has another zipper pocket for easy access to your phone.

The bag is spacious, well organized, and protective. The well-padded laptop sleeve is so deep that it runs the full length of the bag to keep  your computer thoroughly out of sight. Overall, this bag has more storage and a more fashion-friendly design than our budget pick, which might make it worth the extra money depending on your priorities.

Unfortunately, this tote has one major flaw: the interior fabric is a loud Hunter Orange and is only available in that color. This black and orange combination results in an unintended Halloween vibe that can certainly make the overall product unappealing to some.  

But for those who like to rock Halloween year-round — or don’t mind the interior color — this bag offers all the storage and protection you need at a reasonable price.

15-inch Newport East-West Tote (button)
Other women’s laptop bags we considered

Other women’s laptop bags we considered including the Dagne Dover Weston
Other laptop bags we considered including the Dagne Dover Weston

Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag: We love Dagne Dover bags, and the Ryan Laptop Bag is no different. This neoprene bag comes in lots of fun colors, has lots of pockets, and is thoroughly protective. Ultimately, we found the $135 price for a 13-inch bag and $155 for a 15-inch bag to be a little too expensive for a bag that could barely fit a laptop, iPad, book and accessories. 

Dagne Dover Weston Laptop Bag: The Weston is similar to the Ryan, but only comes in one size and offers fewer color options. Like the Ryan, it is made of neoprene and has lots of organized space for your belongings. The slightly rounder shape of the Weston gave it a little more room to store stuff, but the bag didn’t hold its shape well when carried — it sagged unattractively in the middle. Like the Ryan, the Weston is also priced at $135.

Targus 15.6-inch Cypress Briefcase with EcoSmart: This bag is a larger version of the slim case listed earlier. It features two large main compartments as well as a front pocket, and is big enough to fit just about anything work-related you can throw at it. This bag is made out of 20 recycled plastic bottles and comes with a padded shoulder strap for crossbody carrying. Even so, the bag can get too heavy to carry comfortably when it is full, while its $72.99 price tag seems a little steep for its utilitarian design. 

Targus 15.6-inch Cypress Convertible Backpack with EcoSmart: Targus took its 15.6-inch briefcase and added removable backpack straps to create a versatile bag that can be carried three different ways. The nicely padded backpack straps can easily be unclipped and tucked away in their own zipper compartment for easy storage. The bag comes with another strap, so it can be worn crossbody, as a backpack, or held like a briefcase. The versatility of the design means that the bag doesn’t look particularly stylish when worn in every position. This is particularly true in backpack mode where it looks like you have a briefcase on your back, not a  normal backpack. The bag costs $89.99 and is available in black and gray.

Lo and Sons Seville Tote: This luxurious leather tote offers one main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve secured by a leather-button strap, and plenty of interior storage. The exterior shell is interchangeable and comes with a nylon travel shell that is lightweight, water-resistant, and has a luggage sleeve. The Seville Tote is expensive — it starts at $346.80 — and lacks exterior pockets, which means there isn’t a spot for quick access to your phone and other essentials. This is a real drawback at this price, though the bag still has a lot to offer those looking for a premium tote.

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The 4 best budget laptops in 2021 for working, learning, and gaming

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The Pixelbook Go is our top pick because of its smooth performance, quality keyboard, and sharp webcam.
  • The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a solid choice for those who want a reliable budget 2-in-1 laptop.
  • The laptops listed are ideal for basic productivity, though we’ve included a gaming option as well.
  • Check out the best laptop deals for more savings.

It used to be that if you wanted a laptop with power and features, you needed to spend $1,000 or more.

While top-of-the-line models still fall in that price bracket, budget laptops in the $300 to $700 range are more than capable of everyday tasks. That’s all thanks to improvements in processors, graphics, and other chipsets, as well as standardization in features like USB and HDMI.

There are a few important factors you need to consider before making a purchase, such as operating system preferences, size, and above all else: what you intend to use it for.

We consider a “budget” laptop to cost about $650 or less, but we aim to recommend models that are even cheaper when possible. Gaming laptops are an exception because they typically cost more than general-purpose laptops.

Here are the best cheap laptops of 2021:

The best budget laptop overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go‘s ease of use, excellent keyboard, and long battery life make it a top choice for those who prioritize simplicity in a laptop. 

Pros: Excellent keyboard, long battery life, 1080p webcam, decent screen

Cons: Upgrade options are expensive, no biometric login

Google’s Pixelbook Go is one of the priciest options on this list, but there’s a good reason why. It nearly matches premium laptops that are almost double its price in a few ways, particularly when it comes to keyboard quality, general ease-of-use, and battery life.  

Google’s “Hush” keyboard is part of what makes the Pixelbook Go stand out, offering a comfortable yet unobtrusive typing experience that even rivals that of Lenovo’s laptops, as our full review mentions. It even has a 1080p webcam, a rare find even on laptops that cost over $1,000. That’s especially important now that we’re spending more time video conferencing and socializing virtually.

The base model comes with an Intel Core m3 processor (CPU), 8GB of memory (RAM), and a Full HD (1080p) touch screen. You’ll also get two USB-C ports, and Google says it should last for 12 hours on a single charge.

Like other Google laptops that have come before it, the Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook — meaning it’s designed for those who primarily use their laptops for web browsing, note taking, and other light tasks like streaming YouTube or Netflix. It runs on Google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight interface optimized for security and speed that’s designed to work best with an Internet connection. You can, however, access Google Play Store apps and save documents, spreadsheets, emails, and other data for offline use. 

Sadly, the Pixelbook Go doesn’t have the same 2-in-1 design as its pricier Pixelbook predecessor, so it doesn’t double as a tablet. It also doesn’t have any biometric login options like a fingerprint scanner, which is now fairly common on most laptops. But it’s perfect for anyone in need of a fast, lightweight laptop for basic productivity and entertainment.

The best budget Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 4+ showcase

The 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+ crams an insane amount of value into its below $300 list price, with hardware and features found in laptops twice its price and within a good-looking package.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM, no top-firing speakers

Anyone looking to get the absolute most value possible out of a Chromebook that might look a bit more premium in ways than even our top pick, we suggest the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. There’s no question that this Chromebook makes for a close second to our former top pick,  Acer Chromebook 15, as the best budget laptop period.

Samsung’s Chromebook 4+ is a sharp, slight 15-inch laptop that’s wrapped in a platinum-colored plastic frame featuring a 15.6-inch, 1080p screen, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU supported by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s expanded upon by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — as well as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for wireless connections.

This all comes driven by a battery that can reportedly last up to 10 hours and 30 minutes per outing. Finally, we love the addition of Google Assistant for voice-based search queries and other assistive tasks. While lacking biometric security and more local storage, this laptop leaves nothing else off the table. 

The best budget gaming laptop

Dell G3 laptop

The Dell G3 15 is an affordable gaming laptop with the latest Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics.

Pros: Compact design, specs on par with more expensive models

Cons: Shallow keyboard and touchpad, dim screen

If you enjoy gaming, but don’t want to shell out $1,000 for a gaming PC, the Dell G3 15 might be a decent option for you. The laptop has multiple configurations, but the base model is around $700, and it comes with Nvidia discrete graphics. 

A few factors make the G3 15 a solid option for gamers. The base model comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650GPU, a 10th-generation  Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive. Those are solid specs that should be able to smoothly run most games you want to play, though you’ll want something more powerful if you’re trying to run more demanding tasks like VR. 

You can also upgrade to a version that has 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX  1660 GPU and 512GB of storage for about $970.

At 5.2 pounds, the G3 15 is lighter and more compact than most budget gaming laptops. 

In terms of ports, you have a power jack, an HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ-45 port, one USB 3.1 port, two  USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. That will allow you to plug in a TV, as well as most peripherals you might want to use. 

However, for a computer of this price, you’ll be missing out on some features of higher-end gaming rigs. For example, reviewers found the display to be a bit dim, and the colors to be washed out. The keyboard and touchpad are also a bit shallow, something that might be important if you’ll be spending a lot of time gaming.

The best budget 2-in-1 laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers solid specifications and a flexible design that allows it to double as a laptop and a tablet at a price that’s hundreds of dollars below the $1,000 mark.

Pros: Great value, good performance, durable and attractive design

Cons: Fans can get noisy, dim and lackluster display

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 is a solid choice for anyone in need of an affordable, general purpose laptop.

It has a 360-degree flexible hinge so that you can use it as a laptop or tablet, and it comes with extra features less common on laptops in this price range. These include a physical webcam shutter for privacy and a fingerprint reader for logging in. 

For $554.99, you’re getting specifications that are definitely sufficient for handling tasks such as web browsing, watching Netflix, checking email, and taking notes with ease. I’ve been testing a configuration that comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, and I’m impressed with its comfortable keyboard, smooth trackpad, and long battery life. 

The IdeaPad Flex 5 comes in several different configurations that vary in availability, but elements like the reliable keyboard and trackpad should be consistent no matter which model you choose. 

That’s especially notable because the keyboard and trackpad are two areas where the gap in price between premium and mid-tier laptops can be very obvious. Lower-end models can sometimes have keyboards and touchpads that feel cheap, shallow, or finicky, but this is no problem with Lenovo’s budget 2-in-1. 

However, don’t push the IdeaPad Flex 5 too hard: the fans can get a little noisy if you have too many web browser tabs open.

What is a Chromebook?


Budget laptops we look forward to testing

Dell Inspiron 14 and 15: Dell’s new Inspiron laptops, launching on May 4, are taking a page from the company’s well-received XPS 13 laptop line. The new Inspiron models have an updated design with a nearly border less screen, making them look more modern and providing additional screen space in a compact design. They also come with improved webcams with noise reduction for clearer conference calls. Both the 14-inch and 15-inch models start at $550 and come with an 11th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB in the base models

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Samsung’s original Galaxy Chromebook from last year’s CES had an attention-grabbing design that’s uncommon for a Chromebook, but its high price and short battery life limited its appeal. Now, Samsung has addressed those criticisms with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a revamped version of its Google-powered laptop that comes at a cheaper starting price of $549.99 compared to the previous model’s $999.99 price tag. With a premium design, 13.3-inch QLED touch screen, and hopefully longer battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems like it could be a promising option for those on a budget.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514: Powered by the latest AMD’s latest mobile processors and offering 10 hours of battery life according to Acer’s claims, the new Acer Chromebook Spin 14 has potential to become one of our top picks for a budget laptop in 2021. It features a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen and aluminum build that could make it a compelling choice as a general-purpose laptop. It’s launching in March 2021 starting at $479.99.

Asus Chromebook Flip CX5: With a roomy 15.6-inch screen, Intel’s latest 11th generation processors, and Harmon Kardon speakers, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 seems like a promising option for those who want a laptop for light work and entertainment. It will be configurable up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, which is a lot for a Chromebook, and should last for 12 hours on a single charge. Asus announced the Chromebook Flip CX5 at CES 2021 in January and has not revealed pricing. But a product page on Google’s Chromebook Store suggests that the version with an Intel Core i3, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage could cost $549.

How to buy a budget laptop

There are a variety of factors you should consider when purchasing a laptop, particularly how much you want to spend and what types of tasks you intend to use it for. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision. 

Operating system: There are a few major computer operating systems out there. You’re probably most familiar with Windows, as it’s by far the most-used operating system, but there’s also Apple’s macOS, which is found on the company’s Mac computers (we didn’t include any Macs because they didn’t meet our price requirement for a budget laptop). And, the newest, there’s Google’s Chrome OS, which is targeted to those with basic computer needs revolves around Google’s web-based apps (Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, meaning that a lot of the processes happen online).

Specs and features: Some computers are more powerful than others. Things like the processor and amount of memory (RAM) will dictate how quickly your computer runs, while the amount of storage indicates how many files you can keep on your computer at once. There are also other factors, like the graphics chipset being employed. The type of software you run could also dictate how well a laptop’s components perform; for example, Google’s Chrome browser is notorious for being a memory hog.

The features have also improved. Premium components like a touchscreen and high-speed ports, like USB 3.0 and USB-C, have trickled down from high-end laptops to budget models. As you research, look for these or if the laptop is still utilizing older tech.

Size: Laptops come in a range of different physical sizes, however, the smaller ones generally sit in the 10- to 11-inch range, while the larger ones can get as big as 17-inches. That’s handy for watching movies, but it comes at the cost of portability.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best budget laptops in 2021

  • Budget laptops have come a long way and now offer better performance than ever before.
  • The Pixelbook Go is our favorite cheap laptop overall because of its great keyboard, smooth performance, and quality webcam. 
  • We’re in the process of testing more laptops throughout 2021, including new and existing budget models.
  • Read more: The best laptops of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

It used to be that if you wanted a laptop with power and features, you needed  to spend $1,000 or more. While top-of-the-line models still fall in that price range, budget laptops are more than capable of everyday tasks. 

Those who just want a machine for basic web browsing and word processing can find a promising laptop in the $300-$700 range. That’s all thanks to improvements in processors, graphics, and other chipsets, as well as standardization in features like USB and HDMI.

Of course, this is not to say all budget laptops are great – some are definitely better than average, while others aren’t worth your hard-earned cash. There are a few important factors you need to consider before making a purchase, such as operating system preferences, size, and above all else: what you intend to use it for.

For this guide, we consider a “budget” laptop to be a laptop that costs about $650 or less – we aimed to recommend those that fall below $500. Gaming laptops are an exception because they typically cost more than general-purpose laptops. 

Here are the best cheap laptops:

The best budget laptop overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go‘s ease of use, excellent keyboard, and long battery life make it a top choice for those who prioritize simplicity in a laptop. 

Pros: Excellent keyboard, long battery life, 1080p webcam, decent screen

Cons: Upgrade options are expensive, no biometric login

Google’s Pixelbook Go is one of the priciest options on this list, but there’s a good reason why. It nearly matches premium laptops that are almost double its price in a few ways, particularly when it comes to keyboard quality, general ease-of-use, and battery life.  

Google’s “Hush” keyboard is part of what makes the Pixelbook Go stand out, offering a comfortable yet unobtrusive typing experience that even rivals that of Lenovo’s laptops, as our full review mentions. It even has a 1080p webcam, a rare find even on laptops that cost over $1,000. That’s especially important now that we’re spending more time video conferencing and socializing virtually.

The base model comes with an Intel Core m3 processor (CPU), 8GB of memory (RAM), and a Full HD (1080p) touch screen. You’ll also get two USB-C ports, and Google says it should last for 12 hours on a single charge.

Like other Google laptops that have come before it, the Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook — meaning it’s designed for those who primarily use their laptops for web browsing, note taking, and other light tasks like streaming YouTube or Netflix. It runs on Google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight interface optimized for security and speed that’s designed to work best with an Internet connection. You can, however, access Google Play Store apps and save documents, spreadsheets, emails, and other data for offline use. 

Sadly, the Pixelbook Go doesn’t have the same 2-in-1 design as its pricier Pixelbook predecessor, so it doesn’t double as a tablet. It also doesn’t have any biometric login options like a fingerprint scanner, which is now fairly common on most laptops. But it’s perfect for anyone in need of a fast, lightweight laptop for basic productivity and entertainment.

The best budget Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 4+ showcase

The 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+ crams an insane amount of value into its below $300 list price, with hardware and features found in laptops twice its price and within a good-looking package.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM, no top-firing speakers

Anyone looking to get the absolute most value possible out of a Chromebook that might look a bit more premium in ways than even our top pick, we suggest the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. There’s no question that this Chromebook makes for a close second to our former top pick,  Acer Chromebook 15, as the best budget laptop period.

Samsung’s Chromebook 4+ is a sharp, slight 15-inch laptop that’s wrapped in a platinum-colored plastic frame featuring a 15.6-inch, 1080p screen, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU supported by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s expanded upon by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — as well as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for wireless connections.

This all comes driven by a battery that can reportedly last up to 10 hours and 30 minutes per outing. Finally, we love the addition of Google Assistant for voice-based search queries and other assistive tasks. While lacking biometric security and more local storage, this laptop leaves nothing else off the table. 

The best budget gaming laptop

Dell G3 laptop

The Dell G3 15 is an affordable gaming laptop with the latest Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics.

Pros: Compact design, specs on par with more expensive models

Cons: Shallow keyboard and touchpad, dim screen

If you enjoy gaming, but don’t want to shell out $1,000 for a gaming PC, the Dell G3 15 might be a decent option for you. The laptop has multiple configurations, but the base model is around $700, and it comes with Nvidia discrete graphics. 

A few factors make the G3 15 a solid option for gamers. The base model comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650GPU, a 10th-generation  Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive. Those are solid specs that should be able to smoothly run most games you want to play, though you’ll want something more powerful if you’re trying to run more demanding tasks like VR. 

You can also upgrade to a version that has 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX  1660 GPU and 512GB of storage for about $970.

At 5.2 pounds, the G3 15 is lighter and more compact than most budget gaming laptops. 

In terms of ports, you have a power jack, an HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ-45 port, one USB 3.1 port, two  USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. That will allow you to plug in a TV, as well as most peripherals you might want to use. 

However, for a computer of this price, you’ll be missing out on some features of higher-end gaming rigs. For example, reviewers found the display to be a bit dim, and the colors to be washed out. The keyboard and touchpad are also a bit shallow, something that might be important if you’ll be spending a lot of time gaming.

The best budget 2-in-1 laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers solid specifications and a flexible design that allows it to double as a laptop and a tablet at a price that’s hundreds of dollars below the $1,000 mark.

Pros: Great value, good performance, durable and attractive design

Cons: Dim and lackluster display

With a convertible design, 10th generation Intel processor, and a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touch screen, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 is a solid choice for anyone in need of a general purpose laptop.

It has a 360-degree flexible hinge so that you can use it as a laptop or tablet, and comes with extra features less common on laptops in this price range. These include Wi-Fi 6 support, a physical webcam shutter for privacy, and a fingerprint reader for logging in. The AMD configuration of this laptop received high marks in reviews from PCMag, LaptopMag, and Digital Trends for its solid performance, excellent value, and high build quality for a laptop of its price. 

For $429.99, you’re getting a fairly recent 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM. While 4GB is a bit on the low end when it comes to memory, these specifications are more than enough for the tasks you’d expect to accomplish with a laptop that costs less than $500, such as web browsing, watching Netflix, checking email, and taking notes.

Budget laptops we look forward to testing

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Samsung’s original Galaxy Chromebook from last year’s CES had an attention-grabbing design that’s uncommon for a Chromebook, but its high price and short battery life limited its appeal. Now, Samsung has addressed those criticisms with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a revamped version of its Google-powered laptop that comes at a cheaper starting price of $549.99 compared to the previous model’s $999.99 price tag. With a premium design, 13.3-inch QLED touch screen, and hopefully longer battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems like it could be a promising option for those on a budget.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514: Powered by the latest AMD’s latest mobile processors and offering 10 hours of battery life according to Acer’s claims, the new Acer Chromebook Spin 14 has potential to become one of our top picks for a budget laptop in 2021. It features a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen and aluminum build that could make it a compelling choice as a general-purpose laptop. It’s launching in March 2021 starting at $479.99.

Asus Chromebook Flip CX5: With a roomy 15.6-inch screen, Intel’s latest 11th generation processors, and Harmon Kardon speakers, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 seems like a promising option for those who want a laptop for light work and entertainment. It will be configurable up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, which is a lot for a Chromebook, and should last for 12 hours on a single charge. Asus announced the Chromebook Flip CX5 at CES 2021 in January and has not revealed pricing. But a product page on Google’s Chromebook Store suggests that the version with an Intel Core i3, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage could cost $549.

How to buy a budget laptop

There are a variety of factors you should consider when purchasing a laptop, particularly how much you want to spend and what types of tasks you intend to use it for. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision. 

Operating system: There are a few major computer operating systems out there. You’re probably most familiar with Windows, as it’s by far the most-used operating system, but there’s also Apple’s macOS, which is found on the company’s Mac computers (we didn’t include any Macs because they didn’t meet our price requirement for a budget laptop). And, the newest, there’s Google’s Chrome OS, which is targeted to those with basic computer needs revolves around Google’s web-based apps (Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, meaning that a lot of the processes happen online).

Specs and features: Some computers are more powerful than others. Things like the processor and amount of memory (RAM) will dictate how quickly your computer runs, while the amount of storage indicates how many files you can keep on your computer at once. There are also other factors, like the graphics chipset being employed. The type of software you run could also dictate how well a laptop’s components perform; for example, Google’s Chrome browser is notorious for being a memory hog.

The features have also improved. Premium components like a touchscreen and high-speed ports, like USB 3.0 and USB-C, have trickled down from high-end laptops to budget models. As you research, look for these or if the laptop is still utilizing older tech.

Size: Laptops come in a range of different physical sizes, however, the smaller ones generally sit in the 10- to 11-inch range, while the larger ones can get as big as 17-inches. That’s handy for watching movies, but it comes at the cost of portability.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best women’s laptop bags in 2021

  • Laptop bags are essential: they need to be stylish, easy to carry, and durable.
  • Options range from techy styles with lots of pockets, to luxurious leather totes.
  • Our pick for the best laptop bag for women is the Ryan Laptop Bag from Dagne Dover.
  • Check out Insider Reviews for more reviews, guides, and recommendations.

Laptop bags are one of the trickiest accessories to get right. We all want something that is stylish and easy to carry, but also durable enough to withstand a long commute. 

Some people prefer to stuff their laptop in large, fashionable bags, but we recommend finding something that at least has a dedicated laptop compartment. Luckily, there are plenty of attractive and protective options available.

The new generation of laptop carriers runs the gamut from techy styles with tons of extras to fashionable tote bags in luxurious leather. We love all different kinds of bags and have included a mix on this list to suit a variety of worker’s needs.

We are currently in the process of testing a whole new batch of bags to see if they stack up to the ones already on this list. For now, the following four bags reign supreme.

Here are the best laptop bags for women:

The best laptop bag overall

dagne dover $135

The Ryan Laptop Bag from Dagne Dover is super functional, complete with the brand’s signature interior compartment system, and very cute.

Pros: Tons of compartments, detachable key fob, convertible straps, water resistant
Cons: Expensive

Laptop bags that actually look like laptop bags can be cute. The everyday-bag masters over at Dagne Dover have proved it with the design of the Ryan Laptop Bag, which is both stylish and very practical. 

It’s very similar to the brand’s best-selling Signature Tote, with a more durable, tech-friendly exterior made of water-resistant neoprene. The interior contains Dagne Dover’s signature compartment system. There’s a laptop sleeve, a key ring, several card slots, and mesh pockets to organize your workday essentials. A zippered exterior pocket allows you to stash items you reach for on the go, like your subway card, passport, and cell phone. 

The Ryan is available in both Medium ($135, carries most 13-inch laptops) and Large ($155, carries most 15-inch laptops) sizes and can be worn as a crossbody or shoulder bag.

“I wish the Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag had existed while I was in college, because it would’ve actually held up to all the heavy study materials and the laptop I carried around campus,” Insider Picks reporter Connie Chen wrote in a previous review

If you are a teacher or member of the military, you are eligible for a 20% discount on any Dagne Dover purchases you make. Simply fill out this form using your official education or military email address and the company will give you an exclusive code to use at checkout.

The best affordable laptop bag

Ytonet laptop bag

With nearly 1,000 5-star customer reviews on Amazon, the Ytonet 17-Inch Laptop Bag is a relative bargain that will not let you down.

Pros: Affordable, has a lot of compartments, expandable, water resistant

Cons: Not the most stylish

You truly do not need to spend a ton of money in order to find a good quality laptop bag you’ll actually want to carry every day. Sure, the Ytonet 17-Inch Laptop Bag is not the most stylish option on the market. But it’s not hideous, and it is practical and affordable.

This sleek, structured rectangular bag contains a multitude of compartments to hold everything you could possibly need for one workday (or a full week of them). Seriously, there’s an individual pocket for a cell phone, laptop, tablet, passport, pen, umbrella, water bottle, and even clothing! 

You can pack for a short business trip using just this one bag. There’s even an expandable zipper to give you more room, effectively turning your laptop bag into a duffle. The bag has a 4.6-star rating based on nearly 1,300 Amazon customer reviews and has been praised by Travel + Leisure.

The best stylish laptop bag

best laptop bag for women - dagne dover

The Dagne Dover Signature Tote is as attractive as a far less useful bag, but with all the functionality of the more utilitarian Ryan Laptop Bag.

Pros: Lots of interior pockets, fits 13-inch or 15-inch backpack, high-quality materials

Cons: Expensive

Dagne Dover really knows what its doing as far as work bags go. The Signature Tote is very similar to the more utilitarian in appearance Ryan Laptop Bag we chose as our top pick, only it doesn’t look like a laptop bag at all.

If style is a top priority for you, you can’t go wrong here. The Signature Tote is made of coated canvas with leather trim. It has a classic and simple silhouette that won’t go out of style or clash with anything in your closet. 

Dagne Dover’s founder and CEO Melissa Mash sums up our feelings about the tote best: “It’s no longer good enough to just be ‘arm candy’. Nowadays we expect the services and products we use to multitask, to be data-driven, and to work harder,” Mash told Insider Reviews’ director of content strategy Ellen Hoffman in a previous interview. “Dagne Dover is the only brand in the handbag market that does so while continuing to be stylish and organized.”

This bag comes in a bunch of colors and four sizes, but the Classic ($245) and Legend ($265) styles are the only ones large enough to fit a laptop. Inside both models is a padded compartment large enough to conceal a 13-inch or 15-inch laptop, respectively, three pen loops, a phone/MetroCard pocket, a detachable key leash, and a neoprene water bottle holder. 

Just about everyone is a fan of the Dagne Dover Signature Tote. “I lead a fast-paced, on-the-go life and expect functional products that can adapt to my needs and perform beyond expectations. I want a product that fuses style with athlete-caliber function. [Dagne Dover’s] Classic Tote does — and then some,” Hoffman wrote in her review. The bag had also been featured by Best Products, Travel + Leisure, The Strategist, and Harper’s Bazaar

If you are a teacher or member of the military, you are eligible for a 20% discount on any Dagne Dover purchases you make when you fill out this form using your official education or military email address. The company will give you a special discount code to use at checkout.

The best travel laptop bag

best laptop bag for women

The O.G. 2 Overnight Bag from Lo & Sons is a stylish upgrade for the frequent professional traveler.

Pros: Water resistant, stylish, comes in two sizes, easy to carry, optional key leash

Cons: Expensive

Our affordable pick is a great option for travel but if you’re looking for an upgrade, the O.G 2 Overnight Bag from Lo & Sons should be on your radar. Its predecessor comes highly recommended by Insider Reviews editors.

Not only are the overnight bags super cute, with a water-resistant nylon exterior available in a variety of chic, understated colors, they’re extremely functional for overnight trips or use as an airplane personal item. One of the more unique features is the adjustable back panel that slides over a rolling luggage handle for easy transport as you move from security to your gate. You can choose from two sizes: medium ($378.00) and large ($398.00).

Carry the bag top-handle or use the attachable messenger strap and toss it over your shoulder. A series of pockets, including a padded laptop sleeve and a side pocket for shoes, make organization easy. Lo & Sons says the internal laptop sleeve for both sizes of the bag fits up to 13-inch laptops. Some 14-inch and 15-inch laptops can fit inside of the main compartment of the bags, but do not fit inside of the padded laptop compartment.

“With all of the smart features, I’ve found I’m able to fit just about everything I need for a weekend away in this one bag,” writes Insider Reviews reporter Remi Rosmarin of the previous model. Travel experts at Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping are also big fans.

Better yet, the O.G. 2 linked here has a dedicated laptop sleeve, and it has been reinforced for stability when fully packed up.

Other women’s laptop bags we look forward to testing

Everlane The Oversized Carryall
  • Everlane oversize Caryall: This large catch-all bag has a dedicated laptop compartment and comes from the maker of our much loved – but now discontinued – Everlane Form bag.
  • Cuyana Tall Structured Leather Tote: Cuyana is known for its sustainable and ethically-sourced bags. This tote features a dedicated laptop compartment and is made from Italian leather from a woman-owned factory. 
  • Bellroy System Messenger bag: This laptop bag is for travelers on-the go. It has a padded laptop pouch and lots of pockets – including ones that pop out and back in when not in use. The bag’s luggage slip also fits over travel luggage handles.
  • Go Dash Dot Puffle bag: This fun bag is Go Dash Dot’s take on the classic duffle bag. It can be worn on  the shoulder or as a cross body. It has a dedicated laptop compartment, as well as an interior zipper that can release a shoe compartment for  more depth.
  • EaseGave laptop bag for women: This stylish and affordable bag has a dedicated padded laptop pouch with a reinforced bottom and comes in 13 different colors.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best budget laptops

  • Today’s best budget laptops offer more value than ever, bringing solid performance and premium designs at an affordable price.
  • Our pick for the overall best cheap laptop is the Google Pixelbook Go, which offers smooth performance, a great typing experience, and a 1080p webcam for hundreds of dollars less than many flagship devices.
  • We’ll be testing more models throughout 2021, including new inexpensive Chromebooks that were announced at CES 2021.
  • Read more: The best laptops of 2021

The smartphone may be the hub of our digital lives, but the computer still plays a key role, especially now that many of us are continuing to work and socialize from home. 

It used to be that if you want a laptop with power and features, you would need to spend more than $1,000. While you still have to spend upwards of $1,000 for the best features and performance, budget laptops are more than capable of everyday tasks. Those who just want a machine for basic web browsing and word processing can find a promising laptop in the $300-$700 range. That’s all thanks to improvements in processors, graphics, and other chipsets, as well as standardization in features like USB and HDMI.

Of course, this is not to say all budget laptops are great – some are definitely better than average, while others aren’t worth your hard-earned cash. There are a few important factors you need to consider before making a purchase, such as operating system preferences, size, and above all else: what you intend to use it for.

For this guide, we consider a “budget” laptop to be a laptop that costs about $650 or less – we aimed to recommend those that fall below $500. However, if you can afford to spend more than that, you will be able to get something more powerful and arguably better than the computers on this list.

Here are the best cheap laptops:

The best budget laptop overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go‘s ease of use, excellent keyboard, and long battery life make it a top choice for those who prioritize simplicity in a laptop. 

Pros: Excellent keyboard, long battery life, 1080p webcam, decent screen

Cons: Upgrade options are expensive, no biometric login

Google’s Pixelbook Go is one of the priciest options on this list, but there’s a good reason why. It nearly matches premium laptops that are almost double its price in a few ways, particularly when it comes to keyboard quality, general ease-of-use, and battery life.  

Google’s “Hush” keyboard is part of what makes the Pixelbook Go stand out, offering a comfortable yet unobtrusive typing experience that even rivals that of Lenovo’s laptops, as our full review mentions. It even has a 1080p webcam, a rare find even on laptops that cost over $1,000. That’s especially important now that we’re spending more time video conferencing and socializing virtually.

The base model comes with an Intel Core m3 processor (CPU), 8GB of memory (RAM), and a Full HD (1080p) touch screen. You’ll also get two USB-C ports, and Google says it should last for 12 hours on a single charge.

Like other Google laptops that have come before it, the Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook — meaning it’s designed for those who primarily use their laptops for web browsing, note taking, and other light tasks like streaming YouTube or Netflix. It runs on Google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight interface optimized for security and speed that’s designed to work best with an Internet connection. You can, however, access Google Play Store apps and save documents, spreadsheets, emails, and other data for offline use. 

Sadly, the Pixelbook Go doesn’t have the same 2-in-1 design as its pricier Pixelbook predecessor, so it doesn’t double as a tablet. It also doesn’t have any biometric login options like a fingerprint scanner, which is now fairly common on most laptops. But it’s perfect for anyone in need of a fast, lightweight laptop for basic productivity and entertainment.

The best budget Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 4+ showcase

The 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+ crams an insane amount of value into its below $300 list price, with hardware and features found in laptops twice its price and within a good-looking package.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM, no top-firing speakers

Anyone looking to get the absolute most value possible out of a Chromebook that might look a bit more premium in ways than even our top pick, we suggest the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. There’s no question that this Chromebook makes for a close second to our former top pick,  Acer Chromebook 15, as the best budget laptop period.

Samsung’s Chromebook 4+ is a sharp, slight 15-inch laptop that’s wrapped in a platinum-colored plastic frame featuring a 15.6-inch, 1080p screen, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU supported by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s expanded upon by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — as well as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for wireless connections.

This all comes driven by a battery that can reportedly last up to 10 hours and 30 minutes per outing. Finally, we love the addition of Google Assistant for voice-based search queries and other assistive tasks. While lacking biometric security and more local storage, this laptop leaves nothing else off the table. — Joe Osborne

The best budget gaming laptop

Dell G3 laptop

The Dell G3 15 is an affordable gaming laptop with the latest Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics.

Pros: Compact design, specs on par with more expensive models

Cons: Shallow keyboard and touchpad, dim screen

If you enjoy gaming, but don’t want to shell out $1,000 for a gaming PC, the Dell G3 15 might be a decent option for you. The laptop has multiple configurations, but the base model is around $700, and it comes with Nvidia discrete graphics. 

A few factors make the G3 15 a solid option for gamers. The base model comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650GPU, a 10th-generation  Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive. Those are solid specs that should be able to smoothly run most games you want to play, though you’ll want something more powerful if you’re trying to run more demanding tasks like VR. 

You can also upgrade to a version that has 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX  1660 GPU and 512GB of storage for about $970.

At 5.2 pounds, the G3 15 is lighter and more compact than most budget gaming laptops. 

In terms of ports, you have a power jack, an HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ-45 port, one USB 3.1 port, two  USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. That will allow you to plug in a TV, as well as most peripherals you might want to use. 

However, for a computer of this price, you’ll be missing out on some features of higher-end gaming rigs. For example, reviewers found the display to be a bit dim, and the colors to be washed out. The keyboard and touchpad are also a bit shallow, something that might be important if you’ll be spending a lot of time gaming.

The best budget 2-in-1 laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers solid specifications and a flexible design that allows it to double as a laptop and a tablet at a price that’s hundreds of dollars below the $1,000 mark.

Pros: Great value, good performance, durable and attractive design

Cons: Dim and lackluster display

With a convertible design, recent six-core processors from AMD, and a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touch screen, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 is a solid choice for anyone in need of a general purpose laptop.

It received high marks in reviews from PCMag, LaptopMag, and Digital Trends for its solid performance, excellent value, and high build quality for a laptop of its price. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 also comes with a few extra features that are less common on notebooks in this price range, such as a fingerprint reader and webcam privacy shutter. 

For less than $600, you get an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor, which just launched about one year ago so it isn’t very old, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. While it’s a great value for the price, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The biggest common complaint among reviewers is that the display is too dim and lackluster.

Other budget laptops we considered

Lenovo Ideapad 320
  • Acer Predator Helios 300It’s impressive to see as sophisticated a gaming rig as the Acer Predator Helios 300 clock in under $1000. At 5.1 pounds, it’s more portable than a lot of gaming laptops and produces a very high refresh rate for many games, and an excellent keyboard and touchpad. It holds its own against much pricier gaming laptops in real-world gaming tests. However, while $955 is cheap among capable gaming PCs, we felt it was too close to the $1000 mark to name the Predator Helios 300 a top budget pick.
  • Asus VivoBook F510UAThe Asus VivoBook is far from the cheapest laptop on this list, but if you’re looking for something with the look and feel of an ultrabook, the VivoBook gives you good bang for your buck. It’s thin and light, at just 3.57 pounds, and with a Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM, it performs about on par with more expensive competitors in benchmark tests. However, it lacks some key features that our cheaper recommendations have, including a touchscreen and all-day battery life.
  • Acer Aspire E 15: The Acer Aspire E is a bit more expensive than some of our top picks, but it offers excellent value for its price tag. It has a ton of ports, almost 9 hours of battery life, and beats most of its competition in benchmark tests. But a bulky plastic design, lack of a touchscreen, and somewhat washed-out display keeps us from recommending the Aspire E as the best value for your money.
  • Lenovo Ideapad 320: For folks on a very tight budget, Lenovo’s Ideapad 320 is one of the cheapest Windows laptops you can buy. It comes with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive — usable, but not great specs. And with an Ethernet port, HDMI, headphone jack, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port, it should have enough ports for most people’s accessory needs. That said, if you can afford something better, we recommend going for that instead. The 1,366 x 768-pixel display is quite low-resolution, and the battery only lasted a measly 4 hours in battery tests.
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: Microsoft has earned a reputation for making classy-looking laptops that rival the design of Apple’s devices, and that’s one of the reasons Microsoft’s budget-laptop stands out. The Surface Laptop Go is a less expensive version of Microsoft’s main laptop that comes with some compromises, like a low-resolution screen and no keyboard backlighting. But, for $549, you’re still getting an Intel Core i5 processor, which should offer plenty of power for general productivity and web browsing, particularly for those who prefer Windows over Chrome OS. However, unless you really only want a computer for light web browsing and don’t plan on saving much locally on the laptop itself, we’d recommend spending at least $649.99 for the mid-tier version with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. While Microsoft’s laptop is worth pointing out, we felt the ones highlighted in this guide provided for value overall.

Budget laptops we look forward to testing

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Samsung’s original Galaxy Chromebook from last year’s CES had an attention-grabbing design that’s uncommon for a Chromebook, but its high price and short battery life limited its appeal. Now, Samsung has addressed those criticisms with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a revamped version of its Google-powered laptop that comes at a cheaper starting price of $549.99 compared to the previous model’s $999.99 price tag. With a premium design, 13.3-inch QLED touch screen, and hopefully longer battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems like it could be a promising option for those on a budget.

Acer Chromebook Spin 14: Powered by the latest AMD’s latest mobile processors and offering 10 hours of battery life according to Acer’s claims, the new Acer Chromebook Spin 14 has potential to become one of our top picks for a budget laptop in 2021. It features a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen and aluminum build that could make it a compelling choice as a general-purpose laptop. It’s launching in March 2021 starting at $479.99.

How to buy a budget laptop

There are a variety of factors you should consider when purchasing a laptop, particularly how much you want to spend and what types of tasks you intend to use it for. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision. 

Operating system: There are a few major computer operating systems out there. You’re probably most familiar with Windows, as it’s by far the most-used operating system, but there’s also Apple’s macOS, which is found on the company’s Mac computers (we didn’t include any Macs because they didn’t meet our price requirement for a budget laptop). And, the newest, there’s Google’s Chrome OS, which is targeted to those with basic computer needs revolves around Google’s web-based apps (Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, meaning that a lot of the processes happen online).

Specs and features: Some computers are more powerful than others. Things like the processor and amount of memory (RAM) will dictate how quickly your computer runs, while the amount of storage indicates how many files you can keep on your computer at once. There are also other factors, like the graphics chipset being employed. The type of software you run could also dictate how well a laptop’s components perform; for example, Google’s Chrome browser is notorious for being a memory hog.

The features have also improved. Premium components like a touchscreen and high-speed ports, like USB 3.0 and USB-C, have trickled down from high-end laptops to budget models. As you research, look for these or if the laptop is still utilizing older tech.

Size: Laptops come in a range of different physical sizes, however, the smaller ones generally sit in the 10- to 11-inch range, while the larger ones can get as big as 17-inches. That’s handy for watching movies, but it comes at the cost of portability.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What we know about the laptop that was stolen from Nancy Pelosi’s aide during the Capitol siege

nancy pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sanitizes the gavel after Vice President Mike Pence walked off the dais during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.

  • Since the deadly siege on the US Capitol, lawmakers have reported various items stolen from their offices. Misinformation surrounding the items has already started to spread.
  • A laptop that belonged to an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the items reported stolen.
  • Here’s what we really know about the laptop, and some of the claims that have been shared about it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When US Capitol staff returned to work following the violent insurrection by pro-Trump extremists, they found broken windows and their offices pillaged.

A laptop that belonged to an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the items reported stolen.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, announced last week that the aide’s laptop, which he said was “only used for presentations,” was taken from a conference room in the Capitol.

While far-right activists have already started spreading misinformation about the device – with some claiming it was taken by US Special Forces because it contained evidence of election fraud – there is no evidence that’s the case.

The disinformation has stemmed from comments made by Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney.

McInerney has falsely claimed that Antifa is responsible for the riots and that panic over the laptop, which he claims is full of damning information, is why Democrats sought to impeach President Donald Trump.

Read more: The right-wing conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol siege are going to instigate more violence

Ken McGraw, a public affairs officer for US Special Operations Command, told USA TODAY on Wednesday the agency had nothing to do with the missing laptop.

“We have not received any reports or information that anyone in Special Forces or any other Special Operations Forces units entered the US Capitol on 6 January and stole Speaker Pelosi or any other congressional members’ laptops during the riot,” he told USA Today.

Another false viral claim about the laptop alleged that Trump was at Cheyenne Mountain military base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, looking at “evidence” taken from the laptop.

According to Snopes, this claim seemed to stem from a post on the right-wing social media platform Parler, which has since gone offline after Amazon stopped hosting the website due to violent content.

The post also falsely claimed Pelosi was “stopped at the border” and would be brought to an “undisclosed location” as a result of the “evidence.”

However, according to Trump’s public schedule, he has not visited Cheyenne Mountain. Save for a trip to Alamo, Texas on January 12 to visit the border wall, the president seems to have not left DC since the Capitol siege.

There’s also no evidence Pelosi took a trip to the border. Snopes reported the Parler post was shared on January 6, however Pelosi was in Congress late January 6 and into the early morning hours of January 7, finishing the certification of the electoral votes.

The laptop isn’t the only device that was taken during the insurrection. CNN reported that House Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina reported an iPad stolen.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon tweeted a video that showed rioters stealing a laptop, USA Today reported.

There have also been false claims about papers being stolen from offices in the Capitol.

Brendan Keefe, an investigative reporter at Atlanta’s WXIA-TV station, debunked a letter that people online claimed was stolen from Pelosi’s desk.

The fake letter, which Keefe edited to show it was photoshopped, appeared to show Pelosi giving the mayor of Portland advice about how to blame Trump for civil unrest.

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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How to partition a hard drive on a computer and create multiple drive locations

hands using keyboard computer
You can partition a hard drive on a Windows PC using the Disk Management utility.

  • You can partition a hard drive on a computer to create multiple drive letters with a single drive. 
  • You can use the Disk Management utility in Windows to partition a drive by shrinking an existing partition and then formatting the new unallocated partition.
  • Remember that a partitioned hard drive is still just a single device, so you should have a reliable backup of both partitions. If the drive fails, both partitions will be lost.   
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Partitioning a hard drive is like turning one hard drive into two. By creating a partition, you’ll have two drive letters (such as “C” and “D” drives), and formatting one partition does not affect the other, as if they were two physically separate drives. 

It’s common, for example, to partition a hard drive into a separate system and data drives so Windows and applications are stored separately from your documents, music, and other data. You don’t need any special software to partition a drive; you can do it with the Disk Management utility in Windows. 

How to partition a hard drive 5
When you’re done, you’ll see two drives in File Explorer rather than just one.

When the formatting is complete, you will have a new partition on the hard drive. It will behave like a completely new drive in Windows. Remember, though, that if the hard drive physically fails, you will lose all your data on both partitions. That’s why it’s essential to have a reliable backup. And note, you can’t back up one partition to the other because a failure will destroy both partitions.

Here’s how to partition a hard drive. 

How to partition a hard drive

1. To start, make sure you have enough free space on the drive to create the new partition. To check, open File Explorer and see how much free space is on the drive.

  • Note: You can only add a partition to free space, so if the drive is mostly full of data and files, you won’t be able to create a partition. 
How to partition a drive 1
Check your free drive space in File Explorer.

2. In the Start menu search box, type “Disk Management” (or just “partition”). 

3. Click “Create and format disk partitions” when you see it appear in the search results. 

4. Right-click the drive you want to partition. (Be careful and make sure you’re choosing the right drive.) 

5. In the dropdown menu, click “Shrink Volume…”

How to partition a drive 2
To create a new partition, shrink the existing partition.

6. In the Shrink dialog box, enter the size you want the new partition to be in the field called “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB:” 

  • Note: If you have a 1 TB hard drive and you want one partition to be 400 GB, and the other partition to be 600 GB, enter “600000.” This will shrink the original partition to approximately 400 GB (slightly less, in reality) and add a new partition that’s 600 GB.

7. Click “Shrink.”

How to partition a drive 3
Choose the size to shrink the original partition by – this will be the new partition size.

8. Now you have a new partition, but it’s not yet usable space – in Windows parlance, it’s “unallocated.” Right-click the new partition, and in the dropdown menu, choose “New Simple Volume.” 

How to partition a drive 4
To finish the process, format your new unallocated partition.

9. Complete the setup wizard by choosing the drive letter and format (NTFS is almost always the right choice). 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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