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Best student Chromebooks 2021: top picks for back to school season

Best student Chromebooks
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best student Chromebooks have become a necessity to a lot of people. With more students doing remote learning, these portables are more in demand than ever. There’s a reason why Google-designed Chromebooks have taken the US education sector by storm – or rather, a few reasons. 

Just the perfect devices for young minds, the best student Chromebooks are much more affordable, secure, generally lightweight and come with battery life that will last more than a whole school day on a single charge. They are also typically easier to maintain, all while giving students the tools they need for school and for after-school unwinding.

So, to get ahead of the game we’ve run down the best student Chromebooks on the market in 2021. And if you want a broader selection, check out our best Chromebooks and our best laptop for college buying guides instead.

Studying remotely? Let us show you how to use Microsoft Teams on a Chromebookhow to use Zoom on a Chromebook, and how to screenshot on a Chromebook.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)

1. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

A tablet and a Chromebook!

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 400 nits
Storage: 64 GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable+Long battery life+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Design can be a faff

Remember when tablets were going to take over the world? With the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook that might still happen! 

Using a hybrid tablet/snap-on keyboard design this is ideal for the classroom and students - combining easy tablet browsing for researching, easy Netflix fun when you kickback at home, but still offers a keyboard when you need one. 

With a powerful ARM processor that goes for 21 hours (yes you read that right) it’s an awesome computer package. The keyboard and trackpad let it down somewhat, but then you get that delicious Full HD+ display. Best of all it all comes in at a price that’s as low as you could hope for.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

Acer Chromebook 314

(Image credit: Acer)

2. Acer Chromebook 314

It’ll run all through the school day

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768) high definition
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life and performance+Bright, crisp screen
Reasons to avoid
-No touchscreen-Average power

Picture your perfect school Chromebook, and if it’s not the Acer Chromebook 314 then it’s pretty damn close, especially at this price. It’s not surprising if there’s one thing Acer knows, it’s how to build a solid student Chromebook. 

The only weak point – considering the price – is the processor, but for general school work and research the 1.1GHz Celeron is fine. It’ll struggle with lots of Chrome tabs but things are helped by the 4GB of memory.

We’re amazed there’s a Full HD 1080p display at this price, but the 314 range doesn’t offer touch, which can limit Android app use if that’s important. Another key student feature is the long battery life. Acer claims up to 14 hours and we recorded 13 hours of video playback making this a strong choice for school.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 314

HP Chromebook x360 12

(Image credit: HP)

3. HP Chromebook x360 12

A Chromebook too cool for school

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: : 12-inch HD (1366 x 921 3:2) touchscreen
Storage: 32GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+3:2 aspect ratio is good for productivity+Excellent value
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-Just HD display

Designed for the education market, the HP Chromebook x360 range is tougher than it might at first look, it’s also aimed at students on a budget. 

So this won’t eat into your pencil fund too much either. Costs are kept low with the affordable but dependable 1.1GHz Intel N4000 processor and 4GB of RAM. The balance extends to the 12-inch touchscreen that makes it portable, light but still perfectly usable. 

The main downside here is the HD-level 1366x921 resolution, but that’s offset interestingly with a 3:2 ratio that makes browsing and writing a more relaxed experience. It folds back into a tablet, offers a good range of ports and includes as an extra a dedicated stylus. While at this price still manages to look pretty funky.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook x360 12b

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

(Image credit: Acer)

4. Acer Chromebook Spin 311

Study hard, play hard

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6" HD (1366 x 768) 16:9 IPS touchscreen
Storage: 64GB Flash Memory
Reasons to buy
+More capable AMD APU+Fabulous flip design
Reasons to avoid
-Dim screen-Average battery

Unusually for Chromebooks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 opts for an AMD APU, that utilises the well-known Radeon graphics technology for better 3D capabilities - if you have time out of your studies to game! 

The dual-core AMD processor does offer Celeron beating abilities, by a little at least and so Chrome is going to remain more responsive. But importantly the Acer Spin 311 feels well made, it’s highly portable and though the screen disappoints a little by being a touch dull is perfectly usable. At just over eight hours the battery isn’t that strong for a Chromebook, but balancing that against the great price this is a strong choice. 

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 311 

Acer Chromebook 714

(Image credit: Acer)

5. Acer Chromebook 714

Seriously solid, if not especially stylish

Specifications
CPU: Intel Pentium 4417U – Intel Core i5-8350U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 610 – UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 – 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 Touchscreen
Storage: 32GB – 64GB flash memory
Reasons to buy
+Seriously solid metal chassis+Strong battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly dated styling-Keyboard a little mushy

The best student Chromebook to come out in 2020 might just be the Acer Chromebook 714 whose premium and seriously solid chassis is just the ticket for students who need just a bit more power and ruggedness. It’s not especially stylish, sadly, but that decent performance and strong battery life makes up for its lack of fashion sense. And, aren’t those all the more important if you’re meeting with clients, tackling paperwork and balancing the books all day? In fact, the quad-core processor is good enough for light content creation tasks, making it a boon for those photography and film students on the budget as well.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 714

HP Chromebook 11 G7

(Image credit: HP)

6. HP Chromebook 11 G7

Small, but perfect for little students

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11-inch HD (1366x768) touchscreen
Storage: 16-64GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent price+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Average performance

We had to include the new HP Chromebook 11 G7, as it's effectively a rugged and lower cost version of the HP Chromebook x360 12. While it has a similar and perfectly capable Intel Celeron processor with the 4GB of memory, the key change is to a standard HD 16:9 ratio display in a fixed laptop body. 

The rugged aspect comes in a military-grade build that offers IP41 dust and water resistance. Under testing we’d expect you to enjoy a good 12 hours of day-to-day use. The base model only offers 16GB of storage, but there are 32GB and 64GB options available.

Lenovo Chromebook C340-11

(Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo Chromebook C340-11

A Chromebook that’ll turn heads

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11-inch HD (1366x768) touchscreen
Storage: 64GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Solid convertible design+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Wide bevels

With a large number of near-identical specified Intel Celeron Chromebooks you can’t blame Lenovo for offering a metallic pink Chromebook C340-11 as an option. If you want to standout in the classroom this is how to do it! To be fair, Lenovo have done a standup job of creating an excellent education-aimed Chromebook. 

At a budget price using the reliable Intel Celeron N4000 there’s enough power for your classroom needs. Importantly we measured 12 hours of runtime, so it’s going to keep you going all day. The toughscreen might just be HD but it’s touch, responsive and bright, the main downer is the wide bevel that feels dated now.

Dell Chromebook 3100

(Image credit: Dell)

8. Dell Chromebook 3100

It’s black, rugged and made by Dell

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4020 1.1GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) screen (optional touch)
Storage: 16GB-32GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Solid and durable+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Can be sluggish-Heavy for its size

Dell has a dedicated line of education Chromebooks and the lower-end is the Dell Chromebook 3100 series, the next step up being its Dell Chromebook 3400 line.

With this entry-level model, Dell has embraced functional design, which means this isn’t a Chromebook to excite, it’s a Chromebook to educate. Two big pros are its rugged design with solid hinges that offer it fold-back two-in-one design and a long battery life so nothing interrupts studies.

The latest 2020 model features an updated Intel Celeron N4020 at 1.1GHz processor, backed with a healthy 4GB of memory. Storage is poor at 16GB and the 1366x768 screen is nothing to write home about. Also, if you want to get the most from Android apps on this ensure you get a model with the touch screen.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 3100

Acer Chromebook 15

(Image credit: Acer)

9. Acer Chromebook 15

Bigger means better Chromebooks

Specifications
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Amazing battery life+Lovely big screen
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe too big-Not the best touchpad

There’s a lot to love about the Acer Chromebook 15 and that’s not just because it’s using a larger 15.6-inch display! 

To start, that display is a delight being IPS, Full HD, touch enabled and a decent size, though you have to keep in mind the extra weight lugging this will bring. 

We were also impressed by the budget Intel Pentium processor as it did a solid job of keeping up with our demands, a step up from the Celeron models. But perhaps the thing that could give this student Chromebook top marks in your book is the 14-hour battery life we recorded.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15

Asus Chromebook Flip

(Image credit: Asus)

10. Asus Chromebook Flip C436

Turn classroom heads with this Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14-inch Full HD (1920x108) screen
Storage: 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Good performance+Premium build
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-Not very robust

The Asus Flip has been around almost as long as Chromebooks have, and each release has remained solid yet stylish workhorses. The latest Flip C436 updates the magnesium-clad chassis with the latest 10th-gen Intel processor, so this thing is fast. Backed with plenty of memory and storage this student Chromebook will crunch through classwork. The 14-inch display balances portability, size and weight perfectly.

It is expensive but you get a lot for your money, but is it the sort of thing you’d want to give to a young schoolchild? Probably not, but older students will get so much out of this and the extras like finger-print security.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C436

Back to School 2020 is certainly going to be different, and we’re here to guide you through what you'll need. Whether you’re truly going back to school or remotely attending classes online, we’re rolling out a series of in-depth guides for students, teachers and parents to ensure you're buying the right technology and accessories.