What are the best Chromebooks to buy in 2021?

Chromebooks have become great alternatives to Windows laptops, but also to MacBooks. For the start of the school year, we have chosen the best Chromebooks of the moment for you.

TOP 3 of the best Chromebooks

A good balance

Acer Chromebook CB514

  • Solid performance
  • Good autonomy
  • 8 GB RAM, 128 storage
373 € The choice of the moment

Acer Chromebook Spin 514

  • Powerful for a Chromebook
  • Good finish
  • Good value for money
699 € The hybrid that surprises 8/10

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

  • A rather practical hybrid format
  • Android apps
  • A more than fair value for money
The test 299 €

From somewhat cheap "netbooks" intended for students, Chromebooks have come a long way over the past ten years. If Google's high-end adventures (who still remembers the Google Chromebook Pixel?) Have been a failure, third-party manufacturers have learned from these experiences.

Today's Chromebooks are more powerful and much better finished than their ancestors. Beyond their often attractive price, their great strength is Chrome OS. The fast, easy-to-use, virus-free operating system. Perfect for children or grandparents, but not only! They can be a great machine for a student or a telecommuter.

Nowadays, most of them use entry-level processors from Intel. The slap put to the industry by Apple with its Apple M1 processor, however, pushed Google to take an interest once again in ARM chips. A trend that is starting to be noticed since part of the Acer range this year uses MediaTek SoCs.

But if the hardware has made progress, it is especially on the software side that things have improved. From a glorified browser unable to launch an offline word processor at launch, we have moved on to a real OS. Google has even overtaken Apple since it has been possible for several years to launch Android applications on your Chromebook. These aren't always ideal for laptop use, but the vast majority of Chromebooks use a touchscreen.

Windows on a Chromebook?

Even more interesting, Google is now working with Parallels to virtualize Windows directly in ChromeOS. However, this function remains limited to high-end business models, but it suggests much more flexibility in the future for the OS.

That said, think carefully about your uses: Chromebooks are great machines for light office or media consumption, but you can't ask for much more. If you have essential software or peripherals. If so, an entry-level Windows PC will probably be a better choice.

Very popular in the United States, especially in education, Chromebooks remain confidential in our regions. The brands are therefore cautious and do not launch their entire range with us. Thus, it is Acer which dominates this selection, being with Asus one of the few to push Chromebooks into France.

We've sorted it out to bring you the best Chromebooks around. For the best laptops around, read our dedicated guide.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514 The choice of the moment

Baker product sheet 699 €
  • Powerful for a Chromebook
  • Good finish
  • Good value for money
Available at 699 € on Boulanger

Until now, the vast majority of Chromebooks have used Intel processors, most often very underpowered Pentiums. This is why seeing models arriving with AMD Ryzen chips that are otherwise more efficient is particularly interesting. In terms of form, this Acer Spin 514 is very classic, with a 14-inch screen with fairly thin edges. If the machine is compact, its weight (1,6 kg) limits use in tablet mode.

On the other hand, we are very pleasantly surprised by the quality of manufacture, the metal frame really exudes solidity. The connection is complete with 4 USB ports (including 2 USB-C), an HDMI socket and a microSD card reader. If we appreciate the presence of a Full HD IPS panel, it lacks brightness. There is therefore no question of working in full sun.

But the big highlight of this machine is clearly its Ryzen 5 3500U processor. Accompanied by 8 GB of RAM, the chip offers excellent performance and especially ten hours of autonomy. Enough to start a full day without needing a charger. The latter is also in USB-C format, always practical if you want to minimize the number of cables to carry with you.

The icing on the cake, the Acer Spin 514 is offered at an extremely attractive price. We have here one of the best value for money in the Chromebook universe.

Where to buy the
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 at the best price?
  • Baker € 699 Discover the offer
  • Cdiscount Marketplace 659 € Discover the offer
  • Rakuten Marketplace 699 € Discover the offer

Acer Chromebook CB514 A good balance

Rakuten Marketplace product sheet 373 €
  • Solid performance
  • Good autonomy
  • 8 GB RAM, 128 storage
Available at € 373 on Rakuten Marketplace

With its all-metal construction, this Chromebook offers a surprisingly good finish at this price point. If the colors of the screen lack accuracy, on the other hand we greatly appreciate the Full HD definition and the matte touch finish which greatly improves readability.

The configuration surprises in a good way. If the Pentium N4200 processor is very classic on this kind of machine, the 8 GB of RAM and the 128 of SSDs are less so. This allows very comfortable everyday use. Not to spoil anything, the autonomy reaches ten hours. Connectivity side, it's very classic with a headphone jack, two USB ports and a USB-C connector. Sold for 499 euros, this Acer C514 is no longer very young, but is distinguished by solid performance and an attractive price.

Where to buy the
Acer Chromebook CB514 at the best price?
  • Rakuten Marketplace 373 € Discover the offer
  • Amazon Marketplace 571 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac Marketplace € 1 Discover the offer

Acer Chromebook CB314 For small budgets

Amazon product sheet 359 €
  • Acceptable performance
  • A very good autonomy
  • And a small price
Available at 359 € on Amazon

If your budget is limited, it is once again at Acer that you will have to seek your happiness in the form of the CB314. Sold under the bar of 500 euros, it still offers a technical sheet far from being ridiculous. It is thus built around a Pentium Silver N5030 and accompanied by 8 GB of RAM. However, we regret that the internal storage is limited to a 64 GB SSD. This is not much, even for a computer designed primarily for cloud use.

If the machine is relatively compact for a 14 inches, the finish does not leave lasting memories. The keyboard in particular is soft and not very pleasant to use. Connectivity is provided with 4 USB ports (including two in USB-C format), but we regret that the HDMI output is absent for subscribers. A microSD reader completes the picture and can be practical if you are a little cramped in the SSD.

Finally, we are very pleasantly surprised by the autonomy: the CB314 thus exceeds twelve hours on a charge. It also has the good taste of using a USB-C socket, which allows the imposing block provided to be swapped for a more compact one.

Where to buy the
Acer Chromebook CB314 at the best price?
  • Amazon € 359 Discover the offer
  • eBay Marketplace 395 € Discover the offer
  • Rakuten Marketplace 404 € Discover the offer
  • Cdiscount 422 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac Marketplace € 468 Discover the offer
  • Baker € 699 Discover the offer
See more offers

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook The hybrid that surprises

8 / 10 Product sheet See the Cdiscount test 299 €
  • A rather practical hybrid format
  • Android apps
  • A more than fair value for money
Available at 299 € on Cdiscount

If the vast majority of Chromebooks adopt a classic laptop PC format, there are however a few hybrid models built around a tablet. This is the case with the surprising IdeaPad Duet from Lenovo. Despite its very low price, this small machine is sold with a detachable keyboard and a protective cover acting as a kickstand.

Even if they clearly do not have the quality of an iPad Pro and its Magic Keyboard, the IdeaPad Duet and its keyboard offer a decent finish. However, the small size of the keyboard and touchpad may be a problem. Do not count on writing the next Goncourt on it!

The tablet format of the device allows it to take full advantage of the compatibility of ChromeOS with Android apps. The system itself switches between tablet mode and laptop mode as soon as you plug in the keyboard. Under the hood, it's a MediaTek P60 chip that animates this little world. If it is sufficient for light office use, it quickly shows its limits for the most demanding applications. The autonomy is however quite good, with more than 8 hours of use.

Despite many limitations, Chromebook may appeal to small budgets looking for versatility. We tell you more in our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet.

Where to buy the
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook at the best price?
  • Cdiscount 299 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac € 299 Discover the offer
  • Darty 299 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac Marketplace € 312 Discover the offer
  • Lenovo € 314 Discover the offer
  • Cdiscount Marketplace 316 € Discover the offer
  • eBay Marketplace 321 € Discover the offer
  • Topbiz 347 € Discover the offer
  • Baker € 349 Discover the offer
  • Amazon Marketplace 360 € Discover the offer
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Chromebook + cloud gaming = Perfect marriage?

Being primarily designed for web applications, Chromebooks are the perfect candidates for cloud gaming use. No need for a beast of war to play a video stream!

A Chromebook running the Shadow app

Even though Shadow is in small shape, the competition hasn't fallen asleep with strong cloud gaming offerings from Microsoft and Nvidia. Its GeForce Now offer is now available directly on Chrome OS. Here again, you can therefore access your Steam games directly on your machine, with a subscription available for free, or from 5,49 euros per month to take advantage of certain features (priority access, RTX or longer game sessions).

At Microsoft it is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which gives access to a hundred games for 12,99 euros per month. With its 10 euros per month, Google's Stadia is also available and compatible with Chromebooks.

Despite their limited power, Chromebooks can quite become muscular gaming machines as long as you take out a suitable subscription and add a good controller to them.

Choosing the right Chromebook

What is ChromeOS?

As the name suggests, ChromeOS is built around the Google Chrome browser and, therefore, all Google web applications like the Google Doc suite (Microsoft Office equivalent). On a Chromebook, they can be used without an internet connection. The system is particularly sober and therefore works well on machines with a light technical sheet. This also makes it possible to have a PC with a limited storage capacity, since the majority of documents will be synchronized with Google Drive: 100 GB of additional storage offered for the purchase of a Chromebook.

What can I do with a Chromebook?

In short, Chromebooks are mainly machines dedicated to office uses: word processing, spreadsheets, etc. via the Google suite of applications. You will be able to enjoy all the content available on the web through the browser, Netflix and other services of SVOD, YouTube, etc., but not run regular PC games.

On the other hand, Chromebooks are now compatible with the Play Store, which allows them to install the majority of Android applications and therefore to be more versatile than in the past. Finally, Google Assistant has also recently been available on Chrome OS and allows you to perform voice commands with the famous "OK Google". Finally, some cloud gaming services are also available on ChromeOS such as Nvidia GeForce Now.

Does Microsoft Office work on Chrome OS?

If the Google office suite is more than sufficient for the vast majority of uses, you may need or simply prefer Microsoft Office. Until recently, the Android version of the latter performed flawlessly, but Microsoft recently announced the end of its support for Chrome OS.

To take advantage of Office on Chrome OS, it will therefore be necessary to go through the web version which unfortunately loses a number of advanced functions.

Can you use Chrome OS on any PC?

Want to try Chrome OS? This is possible thanks to CloudReady, a distribution based on Chromium OS, the open source version of the operating system.

The latter can work directly from a USB key or be installed on the hard drive. What therefore give a facelift to an old PC lying around in a corner.

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