The best 5 affordable Chromebooks for distance learning

February 24, 2021 0 By boss

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As the pandemic drags on, your kids are likely still taking some or all of their classes remotely in front of a computer screen. Many school districts provide laptops for students, usually small-screen Chromebooks. These are affordable, easily managed for schools, portable and easy to use for students. If you can afford it, you may want to invest in a larger, more powerful laptop than that which your school district offers.

The most affordable way to learn from home is with a Chromebook laptop. Not only do they cost hundreds less than a traditional laptop like a Windows laptop or MacBook, but they’re also easier to use, thanks to the streamlined Chrome OS software. And you can find Chromebook models with displays larger than the undersized 11.6-inch Chromebooks that school districts typically issue. If you aren’t lugging the laptop to school every day, you could spring for a roomier display that means less scrolling through web pages and more room to work in Google Classroom and other online learning tools. The picks here all have larger, 13.3- to 15.6-inch displays.

Chromebooks range in price, from less than $100 to more than $1,000, but you don’t need to spend that much to get up and running for distance learning. Our favorite Chromebooks fall mostly in the $400-$700 range. If those don’t suit you, here are five additional budget Chromebook models that are currently priced at less than $500. We took into account factors and features such as cloud storage, the quality of the keyboard, battery life, ease of web browsing and even the inclusion of a headphone jack. If you’re looking to find the best Chromebook for students, this list, which we update periodically, should help.

Read more: Online education classes for every age and grade

Samsung

This refurbished Samsung Chromebook 4 model is marked down to $230 and features a 15.6-inch display powered by an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM. The downside? It supplies only 32GB of solid-state storage. The upside? It boasts a full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution display for a sharper picture and more work space than you’d get with the 1,366×768-pixel resolution found on other low-end Chromebooks.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This Samsung Chromebook has a smaller display than the above model at 12.2 inches, but the touchscreen display can rotate 360 degrees into tablet mode so you can play Android games — once homework is done, of course. The display boasts a sharp 1,920×1,200-pixel resolution and pen support for the included stylus. Inside, the system features an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Read our Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 review.

Josh Goldman/CNET

This highlight of this Lenovo two-in-one Chromebook is its 10th-gen Intel Core i3 CPU, which is common to many budget Windows laptops and has more than enough oomph to power the lightweight Chrome OS. The Flex 5 features a 13.3-inch touchscreen display with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution. It offers pen support but you’ll need to buy that separately.

Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.

Asus

This 14-inch two-in-one from Asus is currently discounted by $100 at Best Buy. It doesn’t include a pen like the above Samsung two-in-one, but it boasts a better processor in the Intel Core m3. With 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the other core specs are the same as you get with the Samsung.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This refurbished HP Chromebook 15 has a touchscreen display, but it can’t rotate all the way around into tablet mode. If you care more about power than your Chromebook doubling as a tablet, then you need to know that this model features an Intel Core i3 CPU, which is more powerful than Intel Pentium and Celeron chips commonly found in Chromebooks. It also supplies a generous 128GB SSD, which is double or quadruple the capacity on lower-priced models. In addition to touch support, the 15.6-inch display offers a full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution. 

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