With parents across the country faced with turning their homes into both classrooms and offices, many are finding that sharing a laptop with kids is no longer feasible. If you’re in need of some extra computing power, one of the most versatile and affordable options is a Chromebook. These Android devices are powered by Google’s raft of online services, so there’s often no need to download any additional software, making these laptops a great tool for the times.
This Chromebook from HP does what Chromebooks do best: strike a balance between value and performance. While the battery life and performance are average, this laptop is a reliable tool for creating online documents, organizing spreadsheets, streaming, and basic computing. Additionally, the Chromebook 14 features an integrated HP TrueVision HD webcam with dual-array digital microphones, and built-in speakers that are powered using Bang & Olufsen audio–making for high-quality Face-Time chats, web conferences, and all the other self-isolation essentials. ($250)
The price is right for this speedy and simple spin Chromebook from Acer. In fact, this laptop–which can also be used as a handy little tablet–was the choice of one Fast Company editor who was shopping for the perfect option for her kids. Equipped with a 360-degree hinge and a touchscreen, the dialed-in features set on this Chromebook ensure easy adjustments and personalizations for your specific uses. This laptop comes with a 32GB internal flash drive that is just big enough for backing up homework, while the 4GB of RAM is sufficient for lag-free multitasking. ($400)
Looking for a Chromebook that has staying power? The Acer Chromebook 314 has excellent battery life (which lasts up to 12 hours) and performs reliably. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, there’s no fingerprint reader, and it’s rather large–but what it doesn’t have in fancy trappings, it certainly has a crisp and bright display, a nice keyboard, and a sensitive touchpad that tracks well. If you’re looking for a high-performing laptop with great usability, impressive battery life, and smart design for less than $350, this is a highly recommended option. ($330)
This award-winning Chromebook from Dell should be listed as 4-in-1, as it can be used in four difference ways: as a traditional laptop, a tablet, a tent mode, and stand setup. And even if isn’t the most powerful Chromebook on the market, this device is surprisingly durable and easy to use–great for web browsing, writing, and binging shows. This computer far exceeds expectations. ($369)
Want a Chromebook that boasts a larger screen and Macbook-esque looks? This particular model features the largest screen that ASUS offers, but at a very little price. Additionally, the thin, part-aluminum design is quite sleek (which is not a common trait of Chromebooks), the 1080-pixel panel looks crisp, and the keyboard and touchpad work efficiently and reliably. One of the only gripes reviewers have with this model is that the speakers and audio output aren’t as high quality as one would hope. ($250)
If you need additional storage for your Chromebook, we recommend checking out the Patriot Supersonic Rage USB flash drive ($24), which boasts 128GB of storage and impressively fast speeds. Any problems you have with space will be immediately solved.
And if your child needs some no-fuss affordable headphones to listen to those online classes, JLab has some great options, starting at just $15.
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