Best Chromebook To Buy Late 2020: Skip The M1 MacBook Air — Check Out These From HP, Asus, Lenovo, Google

Chromebooks may offer a better choice for consumers, schools, and businesses than the new — and over-hyped — MacBook. Especially when Black Friday-like discounts are year-round.

The tech world is fixated on the new MacBooks with Apple’s M1 processor but Chromebooks are cheaper, more secure, and just as fast. And Chromebooks run both desktop applications and Android apps — something a MacBook could never do.

Chromebook sales are on fire: up 122%

Schools — very savvy users of technology — are moving to Chromebooks in large numbers, according to a report from market researcher Canalys.

“Chromebooks emerged as the centerpiece of the education segment’s digital response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Canalys said in a recent report.

Shipments surged 122 percent in the third quarter over the same period in the previous year, Canalys said. Hewlett-Packard is the No.1 supplier, shipping 3.2 million units in the quarter.

Education has turned to Chromebooks “to deliver a relatively budget-friendly and easy to manage” laptop, Canalys said.

Why buy a Chromebook instead of a MacBook or Windows laptop?

I can offer my answer to that question since I use and test a stable of new Windows laptops, MacBooks, and Chromebooks.

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Chrome OS and Chromebooks have come a long way in the past few years. Programs like Apple Music and Microsoft Office are now a cinch to use on Chrome OS (and Office on Chrome gets closer to the full-featured Office on Windows every year).

Maybe more importantly, many users (like me) can easily spend an entire workday inside the Chrome browser — where you can access almost any application. Plus, you have access to Android apps on the Chrome OS.

Look at it this way: the Chromebook/Chrome OS and Android have already achieved what Apple is trying to do, i.e., merge the macOS and iOS.

Chromebook / Chrome OS upsides:

  • Inexpensive: often priced between $400 and $600
  • Good performance on minimalist hardware*
  • Long battery life**
  • Lightweight
  • Multitasking like Windows now
  • Runs Android apps
  • Messages app well integrated into Chrome
  • Printing is easy now
  • Operating system updates painless, fast
  • Virtually no viruses on OS
  • Instant on / instant boot up
  • Popular apps like Apple Music

Top Chromebook choices: no Black Friday pricing necessary

Google Pixelbook Go: worth every penny. A great 13.3-inch display, one of the best keyboards of any laptop, amazing speakers (comparable to the 16-inch MacBook Pro), very light at 2.3 pounds, and fast. Starts at $649.

HP Chromebook x360 14c: a higher-end 14-inch Chromebook without a high price: the HP 2-in-1 with a 360 degree hinge, a 10th generation Intel processor: listed at $629 but is offered on Amazon (typically) for much less.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436: a premium Chromebook, the 2-in-1 Laptop, 14-incher is packaged in Magnesium-Alloy. With 128GB of storage, it lists at $999 but usually hundreds of dollars less at Amazon.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet: a Chromebook with a detachable keyboard and a 10.1-inch display: lists for $299 but often cheaper at retailers like Best Buy.

“Pricey” Chromebooks are also available such as the 13.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Chromebook that is tricked out with a 4K display and a 256GB SSD. It lists at $999 but Best Buy typically sells it for $799.

HP is also slated to bring out the premium HP Elite c1030, targeted at corporate customers, which will start at $999. It will offer the high-end build quality of much pricier Windows laptops.

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Notes:

*Chromebooks perform just fine with minimal specs: low-end Intel processors and small memory and storage requirements keep prices low. And no special silicon needed (like Apple’s new MacBooks).

**Battery life on my Pixelbook Go beats all of MacBooks and Windows 10 laptops. Typically I get a day and a half, sometimes two days with moderate use.

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