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Best Budget Chromebook Under $300 Reviewed

When you need a laptop that only covers the essentials, a budget Chromebook is a great option. Budget Chromebooks under $300 are now widely available, and their performance and reliability has greatly improved in the past five years.

Chromebook laptops are excellent for young students and adults who want to perform the most basic tasks. If you’re looking for a budget Chromebook under $300, you’ll have lots of options. The challenge is finding the right one for you.

Best Budget Chromebook Under $300 Reviewed

Finding a budget Chromebook laptop is easy but finding a good one is an entirely different story. The market is littered with affordable laptops that don’t cut it. They either have poor specifications or a build that won’t last more than a year.

For this reason, buying a budget Chromebook under $300 can be a challenging task. We’ve reviewed the 5 best budget Chromebooks on the market right now with their specifications, performance, and battery life.

Our Top Pick

Our Top Pick

Acer 14” Chromebook

Great Features for the Price

The Acer 14” Chromebook is perhaps the only budget Chromebook under $300 that offers a Full HD display. It also comes with the faster solid state drive instead of eMMC storage. It is sturdily built and offers great features for the price.

The Acer 14” has specs that you’d expect from more expensive laptops. For budget Chromebooks under $300, it’s hard to beat the price and performance of this laptop.

Great Alternative

Great Alternative

Asus Chromebook C202

Good Performance and Value

The Asus Chromebook C202 is Asus’s answer to budget Chromebooks. With an 11.6” touchscreen, a very sturdy rubber-padded design, and overall great build. It has a good battery life and all the ports you’ll need in your laptop.

The Asus Chromebook C202 is our top choice for ultra-portable budget Chromebooks under $300. We love this laptop for its simplicity, durability, and overall great offering.

Acer 14” Chromebook

AcerChromebook14

Specifications:

  • Intel Celeron N3160 Dual-Core Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 32 GB SSD Storage
  • 14” 1920×1080 LED Screen

If you can spend a little bit extra or want a larger, sharper screen, there aren’t many deals that can beat the Acer 14” Chromebook. This is perhaps the only budget Chromebook under $300 that comes with a full HD IPS display, making it one of the most feature-packed laptops you can buy in this price range.

The HD display is on a large 14” matte screen that has a good brightness of 236 nits. The screen is LED backlit, and this is its biggest selling point. Of course there is no touchscreen, so if you’re looking for that you’ll have to search elsewhere.

In addition to the screen, this budget Chromebook also comes with a 32 solid state drive instead of eMMC storage. Solid state storage is faster and provides snappier performance compared to eMMC storage you’ll find in other budget Chromebooks.

The higher resolution display will obviously use more battery, but it doesn’t seem to affect this laptop. Recorded battery times are always less than what manufacturers advertise, and the tested times on a full charge till depletion was an impressive 9 hours.

It also has surprisingly good speakers for the price. We also get two USB 3.0 ports on this laptop along with an HDMI port. There is no SD card slot on this device though.

Pros

  • Full HD screen
  • SSD storage is superior
  • Good battery life
  • Incredible value

Cons

  • No SD card slot
  • No touchscreen

ASUS Chromebook C202

AsusChromebook

Specifications:

  • Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16/32 GB eMMC Storage
  • 6” 1366×768 LED Screen

The Asus Chromebook C202 is our top pick for 11.6” budget Chromebooks because of its tried and tested design, overall build, and a good set of features. This Chromebook from Asus features a 180-degree hinge that allows it to go completely flat. The keyboard is spill-resistant, and the frame is rubber wrapped to withstand rough use and abuse.

You get a decent battery life out of this computer too, lasting around 10 hours on a single full charge. The backlit LED screen is better than most 11.6”, 1366×768 screens used in small laptops out there.

When it comes to ports, this Chromebook is loaded. It offers an HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports. There is also an SD memory card reader which can behave like additional storage space, if you want it to.

Pros

  • Great keyboard
  • Can withstand abuse
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Heavier than competition
  • Performance is inconsistent

Samsung Chromebook 3

SamsungChromebook3

Specifications:

  • Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16/32/64 GB eMMC Storage
  • 6” 1366×768 LED Screen

Featuring similar specs to the Asus C202, Samsung’s budget Chromebook is an elegant and modern looking laptop with a great set of features for the given price. With its lowest specs (16 GB RAM), you get a great laptop with excellent build quality for the money.

There’s no fancy 360-degree hinge here. Instead, Samsung uses a more traditional design decision without incorporating the hybrid features that have become so common.

They’ve focused more on bringing an exceptional screen for the money. Samsung is well known for its incredible screens, and they’ve shown they can incorporate them even in affordable laptops like this one. At 259, the screen is brighter than its competitors.

The battery of the Samsung Chromebook 3 is also really good. You can get up to 10 hours of work from this laptop. It also has the necessary ports you’re looking for: an HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card slot reader.

Pros

  • Incredible screen
  • Good battery life
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Bottom can get warm easily
  • Speakers aren’t great

Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook

LenovoFlex11

Specifications:

  • 1 GHz Quad Core Arm Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 32 GB eMMC Storage
  • 6” 1366×768 LED Screen

Lenovo has been performing strong with its Yoga and ThinkPad line of mid to high range laptops. With the Flex 11 Chromebook, Lenovo offers its tried and tested hinge designs to bring a 360 degrees hinge that allows it to go into a full tablet mode, ideal for note taking.

Despite using a 360 degree hinge, the build of this budget Chromebook is quite durable. The tough build is its standout feature, and it mainly comes with a firm rubber bumper wrapped around the edges to prevent damages from accidental drops and bumps. There’s also a water resistant keyboard tray.

The Lenovo Flex 11 has a listed battery rundown of 12 hours. In actual testing, the laptop averages around 10 hours, which is quite good.

One cool feature that isn’t common in most budget Chromebooks is that this laptop comes with a USB Type-C port. In addition to this port, you get a USB 2.0 port, and HDMI port, and an SD card reader.

Pros

  • Sturdy, tough build
  • USB Type-C port
  • 360 degree hinge gives it versatility
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Touchscreen isn’t always responsive
  • Keyboard is uncomfortable

Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible

AcerR11

Specifications:

  • Intel Celeron N3150
  • 4 GB DDR3L RAM
  • 32 GB eMMC Storage
  • 6” 1366×768 LED-lit Screen

The Acer R 11 convertible is Acer’s answer to a budget Chromebook below $300. Like the Lenovo Flex II, the Acer R 11 features a 360 degree hinge that gives it the convertible features that have been so hot the past several years.

The lid of this budget Chromebook is made of aluminum, which is normally reserved for more expensive models. The aluminum does however flex a bit and feels flimsy. Inside is an island styled keyboard with a descent sized trackpad that is smooth and response.

The machine’s N3150 processor is quick and snappy, easily handling multiple tabs. Of course, this doesn’t mean it is designed for heavy workload. It is an ideal laptop for regular use and browsing.

One thing Acer is proud of with this budget Chromebook laptop is the latest MIMO 802.11ac wireless card in it. This card allows for faster internet speeds with compatible wireless routers.

When it comes to ports, the Chromebook has two USB ports. One is 2.0 and the other is USB 3.0. There is also an HDMI port and SD card slot for convenience. The battery life is on par with the best Chromebooks out there, lasting roughly 10 hours on a single charge.

Pros

  • Good performance
  • 360 degree hinge gives it versatility
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Flimsy due to aluminum construction
  • Webcam isn’t great

Buyer’s Guide

    Essential features in a budget Chromebook are the ones that can maintain good performance in your laptop. Because of the $300 limit, companies tend to skimp on quite a few features to keep the cost down.

    The most important set of features you want to look for in your laptop are the specifications. These include the processor and its speed, the amount of RAM, storage space, screen size and resolution, and battery life.

    Processor, RAM, and the type of storage space used in a laptop directly influence its speed and performance. Screen size, resolution, and battery life influence the laptop’s usability.

    In addition to these things, you also want to look at the laptop’s keyboards and touchpad. A budget Chromebook can have incredible specs, but if it has a problematic keyboard and/or touchpad the overall experience will be hampered.

    Budget Chromebooks under $300 are designed to be portable and used everywhere. You’re supposed to carry them with books, files, documents, and other essentials in the same backpack. This inherently makes them more prone to damage.

    Any budget Chromebook you buy should have a sturdy enough design to withstand everyday use. Most Chromebooks under $300 come with rubber reinforcement in regions prone to damage.

    You also want to look for a Chromebook with a water-resistant keyboard to prevent accidental spills from causing serious damage.

    Performance is mostly tied to the specs of a budget Chromebook, which have been discussed under Essential Features. However, two laptops could have the same specifications yet perform differently.

    This comes down to other nuances that each company utilizes. One of the most important is heat management. Though a budget Chromebook won’t produce as much heat as mid/high range laptops, it will produce some heat, and how that heat is managed influences the performance of the laptop.

    Another factor to consider is bloatware. A lot of brands incorporate preinstalled bloatware in their products, which can greatly reduce the performance of the laptop. You want to go for a budget Chromebook with as little bloatware as possible.

    Why a budget Chromebook over a Windows laptop?

    Chromebooks use Google Chrome’s operating system that is simplistic, streamlined, and performs all basic functions of a laptop. For school students and individuals not in need of powerful tools, they are ideal computers for everyday tasks.

    Windows laptops give more power to the users, but they are also more complicated to maintain and use. For this reason, Chromebooks have become a popular choice when you’re not ready to invest in expensive Macbooks and do not want to handle the complexity of Windows.

    Is a touchscreen important?

    The importance of a touchscreen depends on your use. Many regular laptop users use their touchscreens sparingly. This article has been written on a modern Ultrabook without a touchscreen as well.

    Touchscreens shouldn’t be deal breakers for you in your purchase if the rest of the specs are far superior. If you plan to use your laptop in a tablet mode, only then should you consider touchscreen capability essential

    Can I install Windows on a Chromebook?

    Installing Windows on a Chromebook can be difficult on most budget Chromebooks. This is because Chromebooks come with an entirely different BIOS, meaning Windows isn’t officially supported. You’ll have to install a replacement BIOS for your Chromebook, and it’s not necessary that every Chromebook model has one.

    Replacing BIOS is a risky process that we do not recommend as it has a chance to brick your device if not done correctly. If you want a Windows, you should opt to go for a Windows laptop instead.

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