Buying Guides

The Best Chromebooks for Students in 2016

Skye Hudson 05-08-2016

If you’re heading back to school this fall Back to School! Use the Internet to Save Money on Kids' School Supplies It's time to send the kids back to school, which means it's time to buy school supplies! We show you how to use the Internet so save money on their supplies. Read More , you might want to consider a Chromebook Make an Easy Switch to Chromebook Now (and Never Look Back) I've adopted, studied every Windows OS, adapted, and eventually learned to love each of them for different reasons. Are you curious to know why as of today, I'm a Chromebook guy? Read More . They’re perfect for students (I should know — I’m a recent graduate myself) because they’re cheap, light, fast, and do everything you need.


Think of them as laptops that run only Google’s Chrome browser. That might sound limited, but you can type documents in Google Docs Zoho Writer vs. Google Docs & Microsoft Word Online: Is It Time to Switch? If you're not completely satisfied with Office Online or Google Drive, try this free online word processor: Zoho Writer 4.0 comes with a clutter-free interface optimized for widescreen monitors. Read More that automatically save and research on the internet Turn Chrome Into a Research Hub With These Extensions The Internet is a wonderful resource for students, but these Chrome extensions can make the process of finding, marking up, organizing, and citing information a million times easier. Read More to your heart’s content — all for much less than an overpowered Windows laptop or MacBook.

But once you’ve decided to go the Chromebook route, how do you choose which is best for you? Well, it depends on what you need. Here’s a list of the best Chromebooks for students in 2016.

All-Around Best Chromebook

If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road Chromebook, check out the Toshiba Chromebook 2. It’s 13.3″, landing it square between the too-small 11.6″ Chromebooks and the too-big 15.6″ Chromebooks. It goes for about $300, making it neither the cheapest nor the most expensive Chromebook out there.


Performance-wise, though, it has everything you need: a Full HD 1080p IPS display, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a backlit keyboard. Its Celeron processor would be slow on a Windows computer, but Chromebooks are much less demanding, making this one of the fastest Chromebooks out there (you can even upgrade to an i3 processor if you want).


If you’re not searching for anything in particular, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a safe bet.

Buy: Amazon

All-Day Battery Life

If you’re going to be at school all day, freedom from power outlets makes your life a lot easier. With a Chromebook, it’s easy to get all-day battery life and spend your time working outside, taking notes in class, and even writing essays that evening.



The Asus C201 gets about 13 hours of battery life, which is amazing for any laptop or Chromebook. It also just happens to be one of the cheapest at $169 for the 2GB version (though the 4GB version is a little more expensive).
ASUS C201PA-DS02 11.6-Inch Laptop (Navy Blue) ASUS C201PA-DS02 11.6-Inch Laptop (Navy Blue) Buy Now On Amazon $289.99

The Google Store sells the C201 in Dark Blue, but you can find it on Amazon in Gold/Red or White/Light Blue. Its Rockchip processor isn’t the fastest, but it gets the job done. The little 11.6″ screen is only 720p, and the small size can make the keyboard feel cramped — but that also makes it inexpensive, lightweight, and super portable. If you want something that won’t weigh down your backpack and will last the whole day, definitely go with the Asus C201.

Buy: Amazon | Google Store ($169)

Touchscreen Hybrids

If you’re tired of traditional laptops and want something that can double as a tablet, you have two great options capable of running Android apps, if you switch over to the developer channel.


The first is the Asus Chromebook Flip — my personal Chromebook for the last year and one I couldn’t live without. I reviewed it a year ago ASUS Chromebook Flip Review and Giveaway Are you ready for a Chromebook with a touchscreen that also flips around to become a tablet? The ASUS Chromebook Flip brings the convenience and portability of a tablet with the keyboard of a laptop. Read More and loved it so much I bought one for myself. It’s a small 10.1″ device with a touchscreen that flips back on a 360-degree hinge so that you can use it in laptop mode, tent mode, presentation mode, or tablet mode.


After using a touchscreen on a Chromebook, it’s so hard to go back. Why use the tiny trackpad when you can scroll using the whole screen? Plus, the tent and presentation modes are perfect for watching videos on an airplane or during a train ride. At $249 for the 2GB RAM version, it’s cheap, but not the cheapest, though thankfully, the 4GB upgrade is only $279 (or $249 from Amazon).

Buy: Amazon | Google Store ($249-$279)


Your second touchscreen option is the Acer Chromebook R11. It has a faster Celeron processor, but no 4GB RAM option. It’s a little larger at 11.6″, which could give you a better typing experience, but the white casing looks cheaper than the silver Chromebook Flip.
Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch, Intel Celeron N3150, 4GB DDR3L, 32GB, CB5-132T-C1LK, Denim White Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch, Intel Celeron N3150, 4GB DDR3L, 32GB, CB5-132T-C1LK, Denim White Buy Now On Amazon $449.99

Otherwise, its 360-degree hinge design mirrors the Flip’s design. If 10.1″ is too small for you, go for the R11.

Buy: Amazon | Google Store ($249)

Best Big Screen

If all this talk of 10.1″ and 11.6″ screens has you cringing, don’t worry! Larger Chromebooks exist — the best of these is probably the Acer Chromebook 15. This one might be a little harder to fit in your backpack, but if you really can’t give up that screen real estate, it’s the way to go.


The Chromebook 15 is pretty customizable, reaching from a 2GB RAM, HD screen, and 16GB storage configuration for $199 to a 4GB RAM, Full HD screen, and 32GB storage configuration for $349 — though prices are a little different on Amazon because it only offers the Full HD screen.
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ (15.6-Inch Full HD IPS, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD) Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ (15.6-Inch Full HD IPS, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD) Buy Now On Amazon $389.67

With this Chromebook, you get a spacious keyboard and trackpad, as well as upward-facing speakers for improved audio quality. Those willing to lug around a nearly 5lb beast might appreciate its roomier typing experience.

Buy: Amazon | Google Store ($199-$349)

Saving Money

If you’re broke, the cheapest Chromebook around is the Acer Chromebook 11. It features the bare minimum specifications: 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 720p HD screen, and a Celeron processor. It’s honestly not a bad device. It still has an IPS display and 9 hours of battery life. For being the cheapest device out there, it certainly could be much worse.


For the most basic Chromebook that will let you get work done without breaking the bank, the Chromebook 11 should be your choice. It outperforms even the cheapest Windows laptops Best Laptops Under $300: Everything You Need to Know Finding a good laptop for less than $300 is almost impossible these days, but can be done if you know what to look for. Here's everything you need to know to make a purchase you... Read More by a long shot.

Buy: Amazon

Which Is Your Favorite?

There are a lot of great Chromebooks on this list, but which one is best for you depends on your needs. Some people might love small 10.1″ devices, while others couldn’t imagine using them — a lot of it is just personal preference. Whichever you go for, though, it’s undeniable that these are great devices for students Get Productive Now With The Best Back-To-School Browser Set-Up From extensions to bookmarks that you will use throughout the school year, taking some time at the beginning of the term to get your browser ready will save you time later. Read More .

So which one suits you the best? Which will you be taking to class this fall? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits:Back to school by Maglara via Shutterstock

Related topics: Chrome OS, Chromebook, Laptop.

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  1. nancy
    October 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Thank you for all this infomration on Chromebooks. I found your site to be very helpful with our decision.

  2. Richard
    August 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Does it run Microsoft Office?

  3. Anonymous
    August 16, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I'm waiting right now with cash in hand for CTL to start shipping their new J5. It's a touchscreen convertible with 12 hours of battery life, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and a good bit more nice features. I had never heard of CTL til about a month ago, but apparently they're very big in the education market, and they have a rather extensive product line so I don't think they're some fly-by-night operation.

    I've communicated a few times with a couple of their employees, and they seem to be pretty responsive, though I'll admit I'm going to wait until I see a review or two before I buy. I've never been a blind early adopter. :)

    Here's a link to the product site:

    Can't wait to get it for public speaking purposes!

  4. Shamaila Zahid
    August 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    So, I was on the hunt for a lighter, cheaper alternative to a macbook. Seems I can go for any one of these, thanks for sharing!

    • Riley J. Dennis
      August 10, 2016 at 1:01 am

      awesome! glad to be of help :)