The Top Chromebooks for Students in 2023

Chromebooks have become incredibly popular in schools across the country, and for good reason. They’re affordable, secure, easy to manage, and offer everything students need to learn in a digital classroom. With so many models available, how do you pick the right one? This comprehensive guide will walk through the key factors to consider and review the top Chromebooks for students in 2023. Whether you’re a parent, student, or school administrator, read on to find your perfect match!

Key Factors To Consider When Buying a Student Chromebook

While Chromebooks share the same operating system and general functionality, there can be big differences between models when it comes to pricing, specs, features and overall user experience. Keep these factors in mind when picking out the student Chromebook that meets your needs.

Processing Power and RAM

The processor and RAM determine how smoothly a Chromebook runs. You’ll want a machine powerful enough to avoid slowdowns when multitasking between open tabs and apps.

Look for an Intel Celeron processor or better. Celeron chips provide good enough performance for most schoolwork. For more demanding tasks like video editing, consider a Pentium or Core processor.

Aim for at least 4GB of RAM. This allows for better multitasking. Lower RAM works for basic usage but can lead to lag when multiple apps and tabs are open.

Battery Life

Students need batteries that can last through a whole school day plus homework time at night. Battery life is determined by the size of the battery and efficiency of the processor.

Look for at least 10 hours of battery life. Chromebooks typically advertise 8-12 hours of usage. Battery saving settings like lowering screen brightness help conserve power as well.

Consider battery life a priority. Even if a model checks other boxes, poor battery life under 5 hours can ruin the overall experience.

Durability

Chromebooks live a rough life traveling to and from school in backpacks, being used in busy classrooms, and more. Durability features are must-haves for student devices.

Look for reinforced bodies and spill-resistant keyboards. Features like rubber bumpers help absorb shock when dropped. Spill resistance prevents liquid damage in accidents.

Prioritize models with Gorilla Glass screens. Gorilla Glass protects screens from cracks and scratches better than standard glass.

Check hinge design. Hinges should open to at least 180 degrees and feel sturdy in hands-on testing.

Connectivity

Chromebooks rely on an internet connection for functionality. They should have reliable wireless connectivity and Bluetooth.

Ensure the Chromebook has fast WiFi and Bluetooth. WiFi powers all apps and cloud storage. Bluetooth allows connections to headphones, speakers, and other peripherals.

Cellular options provide internet anywhere. A built-in 4G LTE sim lets students stay connected without WiFi, but isn’t essential.

User Experience

The keyboard, trackpad, display, and more impact the student’s experience using the Chromebook on a daily basis.

Look for a comfortable, responsive keyboard. Students will type a lot. Test keyboards in person if possible. Look for well-spaced, not too shallow keys.

Check trackpad responsiveness. Dragging, gesturing, and tapping should be smooth without stuck spots. Cursors shouldn’t jump around.

Consider display quality. Bright screens with good color accuracy and viewing angles make content easier on the eyes.

Evaluate portability. Smaller 11″ models are more portable while 13-14” screens make seeing content easier. Lightweight builds under 3 pounds are ideal for kids.

Price and Value

Chromebooks provide a lot of functionality for the price compared to Windows laptops. Set a budget while keeping performance needs in mind.

Consider entry-level models under $300. They meet basic needs for many students with good-enough performance.

Expect to spend $400-600 for more power and features. Stepping up in price provides better processors, storage space, materials, and displays.

Weigh tradeoffs between lower and higher priced models. Consider battery life, processors, and durability rather than just cost.

The Top 5 Chromebook Picks for Students

With the key factors covered, let’s look at five of the best Chromebooks recommended for students in 2023.

1. Acer Chromebook Spin 311

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 combines solid performance, durability, and value.

Specs:

  • Intel Celeron N4000 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 11.6” HD touch display

Key Features:

  • All metal body and Gorilla Glass screen
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • 2 USB-C, 1 USB-A ports
  • Garage stylus included

Pros:

  • Very durable for the price
  • Good processor and battery life
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • Small amount of storage
  • No backlit keyboard

Price: $270

The Spin 311 is a great choice for elementary schoolers thanks to its combination of durability, touch capabilities, and price. The included stylus lets kids draw and take digital notes. It’s also powerful enough for older students who don’t mind the smaller display.

2. Lenovo 500e Chromebook

Lenovo designed the 500e Chromebook from the ground up for education environments.

Specs:

  • Intel Celeron N4000
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 11.6” HD touch display

Key Features:

  • MIL-STD 810G military grade durability
  • Built-in stylus
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A ports

Pros:

  • Extremely durable design
  • Great performance and battery life
  • Student-friendly features like a flat chassis

Cons:

  • Small screen less ideal for older students
  • A bit heavy compared to other 11” models

Price: $290

Lenovo’s military testing ensures the 500e survives whatever students throw at it. The guts are similar to the Spin 311 but with slightly better durability. It’s perfect for younger kids in need of a rugged laptop.

3. Google Pixelbook Go

Google’s flagship Chromebook blends premium hardware, beautiful design, and great performance.

Specs:

  • Intel Core m3 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 13.3” full HD touchscreen

Key Features:

  • Lightweight magnesium alloy body
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 2 USB-C ports, headphone jack
  • Built-in Google Assistant

Pros:

  • Speedy performance
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Sturdy lightweight design
  • Vibrant touchscreen display

Cons:

  • More expensive than most Chromebooks
  • Not as durable as education models

Price: $649

The Pixelbook Go is ideal for high schoolers and parents looking for a premium Chromebook experience. With its Core processor and 8GB RAM, it flies through tab-heavy browsing, streaming, and multitasking.

4. HP x360 Chromebook

HP’s convertible Chromebook is packed with features at an affordable mid-range price point.

Specs:

  • Intel Pentium Silver N6000
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 14” full HD touch display

Key Features:

  • 2-in-1 design with touchscreen and stylus
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Bang & Olufsen speakers
  • 2 USB-C, 1 USB-A, and microSD slot

Pros:

  • Great performance for the price
  • Crisp audio and video
  • Lots of connectivity

Cons:

  • Battery life just okay at 10 hours

Price: $520

With standout features like a 14” screen, backlit keyboard, and included stylus, the HP x360 is excellent for older students. It has ample power for demanding coursework and extra ports compared to pricier competitors.

5. ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

ASUS made the C214 to handle anything students throw at it, literally.

Specs:

  • Intel Celeron N4000
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 11.6” HD display

Key Features:

  • Durable rubberized exterior
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Flip design with touchscreen
  • 2 USB-C, 1 USB-A, and microSD

Pros:

  • MIL-STD 810G military durability
  • Cheaper price for the build quality
  • Improved processor over previous model

Cons:

  • Small screen and storage
  • No stylus included

Price: $340

The Flip C214 rivals top education Chromebooks in toughness at an affordable price, although the smaller screen makes it better suited to elementary schoolers. Students of any age will appreciate the durable chassis and ports for external storage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chromebooks for Students

How is Chrome OS different than Windows or Mac laptops?

Chrome OS is Google’s operating system built for the web. Chromebooks run apps and store files in the cloud rather than locally on a hard drive. They rely on an internet connection for most functionality. Chrome OS is simpler, more secure, and cheaper than Windows.

Do Chromebooks work offline?

Chromebooks can perform basic tasks like writing documents and playing pre-downloaded media offline. However, most apps require an internet connection. Work done offline syncs to the cloud when reconnected.

Can Chromebooks run Microsoft Office and Adobe apps?

Chromebooks have web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office software that work offline. Adobe recently brought Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator to Chrome OS. Some models also support Android apps.

How does virus protection compare to Windows laptops?

Chrome OS self-heals from malware and unwanted software. Virus protection is built-in, so there’s no need for third party antivirus software. Chromebooks are much more secure than Windows PCs.

What kind of storage do Chromebooks have?

Most Chromebooks include either 32 or 64GB of onboard storage, which is manageable given their cloud-based nature. Some models have SD card slots or USB ports to add external storage.

Can Chromebooks run games or graphics/video editing software?

Chromebooks have limited support for graphics-intensive software and 3D games compared to Windows laptops. However, web and Android-based apps work well for basic photo/video editing and gaming.

What is the Google Management Console used for?

Schools use the Management Console to configure, control, and secure groups of Chromebook devices. Administrators can pre-install apps, set user permissions, auto-reset devices, and monitor student activity.

What accessories work with Chromebooks?

Chromebooks support standard USB peripherals like mice, keyboards, headsets, and webcams. Bluetooth accessories like speakers, headphones, and styluses also pair seamlessly. Some printers may require an app or cloud printing service.

Putting It All Together

Finding the right student Chromebook means balancing academic needs, price constraints, and device usage. Focus first on durability since student laptops take a beating. Prioritize battery life, sturdy construction, spill resistance, and Gorilla Glass. Processing power comes next. Look for Intel Celeron processors or above and at least 4GB of RAM to multitask smoothly. Perks like touchscreens, backlit keyboards, and included styluses make some models more kid-friendly. And remember–Chromebooks provide premium hardware, features, and value compared to typical Windows laptops.

Hopefully these Chromebook recommendations and buying considerations help students, parents and educators find the perfect match. With the right device, kids can focus on learning and get the most out of the digital classroom. Have fun exploring the latest Chromebook options! Let me know if you need any other Chromebook buying advice.

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