The average laptop is more powerful than ever these days, but with increased capability comes an increased price. Most of us just do not require that much processing power to get through the day, and we are spending far too much money on (albeit awesome-looking) things that do far more than we require. There are considerably more affordable laptop computers that can accomplish these duties perfectly well for the average person who uses their laptop to surf the Web, send emails, and watch the occasional Netflix show. These devices are known as Chromebooks, and they are reshaping the personal computer market in novel and fascinating ways. Consider these tiny-yet-powerful computers to be nothing more than a powerful web browser with a touchpad and a keyboard—or possibly a large-screen extension of your smartphone.

These Chromebooks are fantastic for getting work done on a commute, on vacation, or even in the office when you need a little less firepower to get the job done. They are perfectly suited for practically all of the day-to-day chores that we demand from the Internet. Of course, not all Chromebooks are made equal, and some well-known organizations have hurried to develop their own version of Google Chrome’s renowned infrastructure. So, before you go out and buy that nice-looking Chromebook you’ve been eyeing online, take a look at our list of the best Chromebooks under $400.

Best Chromebook under $400 in 2021

1. Duet Chromebook from Lenovo

If you’re looking for a superb, low-cost Chromebook in 2021, the Lenovo Duet is hard to beat. The Duet, which looks like a Chrome OS version of Microsoft’s Surface Go, has a 10.1″ 19201200 display with an included keyboard attachment, making it one of the most affordable hybrid devices available today. In tablet mode, the Duet looks like a regular 10′′ tablet, and the 16:10 aspect ratio prevents the device from feeling excessively big in your hand. However, if you add the supplied kickstand cast and keyboard dock, you’ll have a full-fledged laptop with a touchpad for mouse compatibility. Of course, at $300, you shouldn’t anticipate anything comparable to the Surface Pro line of computers. Because the Chromebook is so small, the keyboard and trackpad are both somewhat cramped, and the MediaTek CPU is inadequate for anything other than basic browsing and productivity tools. Nonetheless, there are other advantages to this gadget, including all-day battery life, excellent color reproduction on the IPS panel, and surprisingly powerful dual speakers. Lenovo’s Duet will not transform the way you use computers in your daily life, but for $300, it’s difficult to go wrong. The Duet is not the only Chrome OS tablet available in 2021. Although it is not yet available for purchase, Asus’ impending CM3000 Chrome OS hybrid has been heavily leaked, with similar features and a slightly larger display. It should be available this summer.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet, 2-in-1, 10.1" WUXGA

Pros

  • Unbeatable price
  • Great hybrid design

Cons

  • Small screen might feel cramped
  • Slower processor

2. Samsung Chromebook 4

Samsung’s Chromebook 4 isn’t fancy, and that’s what makes it such an easy recommendation for anyone on a tight budget. This is a simple laptop with none of the frills or improvements found in most other Chromebooks on the market today. Many customers find that a basic device meets their requirements perfectly. The Chromebook 4 comes with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, as well as Intel Celeron N4000 processors, which are common for a low-end Chromebook in 2020. While the laptop is made of aluminum, it feels a touch cheap in comparison to the MacBook Airs of the world. However, it looks considerably prettier than anything given by the competitors in this price bracket. Despite the fact that the screen is just 720p, this laptop has a really excellent display for an 11.6′′ Chromebook. With a battery life of 12 hours, you should be able to get through the entire day at work or school without needing to rush to the power outlet. Overall, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is unremarkable. The keyboard is adequate, the trackpad is a little cramped, and the build has a reasonable amount of flex. However, the specs you receive for $249 are good, and it is by far the cheapest gadget on this list. While it does not excel in any one area other than pricing, the good news is that practically every consumer should be able to obtain one of these.

SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4 11.6-inch

Pros

  • Great value
  • Newest Celeron processor

Cons

  • Low-res screen
  • Aluminum feels kinda cheap

3. HP Chromebook 14a

HP is no stranger to Chrome OS—in fact, their Chromebook x360 14 is one of the best Chromebooks on the market right now. However, at $629, it is well out of reach for many Chromebook consumers. That’s where HP’s Chromebook 14a comes in, an amazing entry-level device for well under $300. In direct competition with Samsung’s Chromebook 4, HP’s main advantage here is the display. With a 14-inch display, HP’s Chromebook is practically the perfect size, albeit you’ll have to make up with a low-resolution 720p display. Most users in this price bracket should not notice, but it is something to consider before purchasing. Otherwise, the laptop is very similar to its Samsung competitor. The Celeron N4000 processor from Intel is here, giving a solid performance for surfing and media consumption at a reasonable price. 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage are very normal for this price range and should keep your laptop running well for at least a few years before any visible slowing occurs. HP also includes some pleasant extras, such as B&O-branded speakers on the left and right sides of the (backlit!) keyboard and quick charging up to 50%. At $259, HP’s Chromebook 14a is a decent option for anyone who finds the 11.6″ display on Samsung’s Chromebook 4 difficult to use on a daily basis. This laptop, on the other hand, has plummeted as low as $219, and at that price, it’s a complete steal. Although we recommend HP’s Chromebook 14a, it’s worth mentioning that many users have reported sporadic Wi-Fi difficulties during frequent use. A Chrome OS update released over the summer should have resolved the issue, but it is something to keep an eye on.

HP Chromebook 14-inch HD Laptop, Intel Celeron N4000

Pros

  • Great size
  • Solid performance

Cons

  • 720p display
  • Some WiFi issues

4. Acer Chromebook 14

Acer’s Chromebook 14, like HP’s Chromebook 14a, provides consumers with a significantly larger display than other inexpensive Chromebooks—and it does so in style. This is the greatest screen we’ve highlighted on this list so far, with a 1080p 14′′ display, and while it misses the low bezels offered by the HP Chromebook 14a, doubling the resolution certainly makes for a better experience in day-to-day use. In terms of construction, despite the laptop’s modest price, it has a premium-feeling aluminum body that seems more costly than it is. Unlike some of its competitors, Acer’s Chromebook has a sense of style. The Chromebook 14 is capable of basic surfing and media playback thanks to an Intel Celeron N3160 processor, albeit it lags behind Intel’s newer N4000. A strong 12-hour battery helps to explain the laptop’s size, and 32GB of storage ensures you can save some of your favorite movies and shows on the move. The Chromebook 14’s keyboard and trackpad are adequate but ordinary, and the laptop lacks upgradeable or expandable storage. The major trade-off here, of course, is the extra weight, albeit, at 3.42 pounds, you couldn’t do much worse. Overall, the Chromebook 14 isn’t the most interesting item on this list, but if you’re looking for a sturdy, basic laptop for less than $300, this is it.

Acer 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS Display Chromebook

Pros

  • 1080p display
  • Premium design

Cons

  • Older processor
  • Heavy

5. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

If the HP Chromebook 14a and Samsung’s Chromebook 4 compete in terms of specs and pricing, the same can be said for Acer’s Chromebook 14 and Lenovo’s Flex 5. It’s a little out of our pricing range at $405, but it’s close enough that we’re putting it in this round-up regardless. Although the Flex 5 retains 4GB of RAM, matching Acer’s model, the Core i3-10110U is a significant upgrade above the N4000 found in most laptops on this list, much alone the outdated N3160 seen in the Chromebook 14. Although the 13-inch 1080p display isn’t as huge as Acer’s, it’s a good compromise between screen size and portability, and the 360-degree hinge makes taking notes on the touchscreen a breeze. The Flex 5 has one of our favorite looks available on Chromebooks right now. It’s clean and basic, with a lovely matte surface that helps keep fingerprints at bay. Lenovo has also included a few quality touches, like a backlit keyboard and front-facing speakers, that help makes it a deal at $400. Regardless of how fantastic this laptop is, it’s natural if the tiny price increase deters some buyers. Still, if you can manage to pay a few extra dollars above our price restriction, the update will be well worth it in the long term.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13" Laptop, FHD (1920 x 1080)

Pros

  • Best processor in a Chromebook under $500
  • Great design

Cons

  • Slightly above our budget
  • Still limited to 4GB of RAM
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