Best Chromebooks to buy in 2014

Published 
11 Sep 2014
Best Chromebooks header

What's the best Chromebook to buy in 2014? Read our in-depth guide to find out.

When you sit back and take stock of how you tend to use your computer or laptop, you'll probably realise that most of your time is usually spent working, browsing the internet and composing e-mails. For those with basic requirements, a cheaper laptop makes a lot of sense, but sub-£300 Windows laptops aren't always the answer. Many of these struggle with the most basic of tasks and trying to multi-task is often a complete nightmare.

Enter the Chromebook, an ultra-cheap kind of laptop made by Google and its various manufacturing partners which runs Chrome OS. This is a slimmed-down operating system built around online connectivity, cloud storage and running apps and extensions through the Chrome web browser. You don’t even have to be online to use all of a Chromebook’s functions as Google is constantly improving its offline support for its various apps, such as Google Drive and Gmail, so you’re able to carry on working with the latest synced version of your documents that then re-sync as soon as you’re back online.

They're the perfect solution for those who want cheap and easy to use laptops, so if a Chromebook sounds like the kind of laptop for you, here are our top picks for 2014.

HP Chromebook 14

HP Chromebook 14

Our Expert Opinion We were big fans of HP's original Chromebook 11 when it first launched last year and the Chromebook 14 is a bigger, better version of its more portable cousin. It's a little more expensive than other Chromebooks (£259 with 3G and £229 without), but it's build quality is second to none. 

Powered by an Intel Celeron 2995U processor, Chrome OS runs like a dream. Its 14in 1,366x768 resolution screen isn't great, but it's difficult to criticise it too much when the laptop is this cheap. 16GB of internal storage doesn't sound like a lot either, but the Chromebook 14 counters this nicely with its plentiful supply of USB ports and SD card slot. It's also got great battery life and the 3G version comes with a data SIM built in, letting you get online regardless of whether you have any Wi-Fi.

To read more about our current Chromebook of choice, read our full HP Chromebook 14 review.

KEY SPECS
Processor Dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
RAM 4GB
Size 344x240x20.6mm
Weight 1.9kg
Screen size 14in
Screen resolution 1,366x768
Graphics adaptor Intel HD Graphics
Total storage 16GB SSD
Operating system ChromeOS

Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102

Toshiba CB30-102 Chromebook

Our Expert Opinion Toshiba's first Chromebook may not look quite as exciting as HP's Chromebook 14, but it's equally powerful specification makes it a very worthy alternative. It's smaller 13.3in chassis also makes it much more portable when you're out and about, too, and we feel it's much more comfortable to work on than 11in Chromebooks. 

The CB30's speakers are another highlight, producing clear, loud audio despite being located underneath the laptop. It doesn't have a SIM card slot, sadly, but it's much cheaper than similarly-sized Chromebooks, currently clocking in around £200 at time of writing. 

Read our full Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102 review.

KEY SPECS
Processor Dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
RAM 2GB
Size 328x227x20mm
Weight 1.5kg
Screen size 13.3in
Screen resolution 1,366x768
Graphics adaptor Intel HD Graphics
Total storage 16GB SSD
Operating system ChromeOS

Acer C720 Chromebook

Acer C720 Chromebook

Our Expert Opinion For a long time, Acer’s C720 was our Chromebook of choice, and it still is if you're after one with a tiny 11.6in screen. It remains one of the fastest Chromebooks we've ever tested and it also has one of the best battery lives. 

This is all made possible thanks to its Intel Celeron 2955U CPU, which is one of Intel’s latest Haswell models. This ultra-low energy efficient powerhouse not only makes Chrome OS feel incredibly snappy and responsive, but it also helps extend its battery life. Its great range of ports gives you plenty of options to help expand its 16GB of internal storage as well, and its HDMI output is an extra bonus if you want to bring the Chrome OS experience to a larger screen.

Read our full Acer C720 Chromebook review.

KEY SPECS
Processor Dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
RAM 2GB
Size 288x204x19mm
Weight 1.3kg
Screen size 11.6in
Screen resolution 1,366x768
Graphics adaptor Intel HD Graphics
Total storage 16GB HDD
Operating system ChromeOS

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