ChromeOS's growing pains complicate a low-profile, but highly capable $999 laptop
HP thinks freelancers want a sturdy premium Chromebook. Okay, let’s unpack that: the computer maker cites a projection from Statista indicating 86.5 million workers — or 50.9% of the US labor force — will be juggling gigs by 2027. And because Hewlett-Packard likes to go where the wind blows, it wanted to have a spotlight product that can reliably play hard and work hard, while remaining easy to maintain and troubleshoot. Apparently, that’s all in a Chromebook — specifically, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook.
An affordable tablet with a good bundled keyboard? Yes, please
I spent years as a daily ChromeOS user, but I’ve never been sold on Google’s desktop operating system on tablets. Whether on convertible laptops with 360-degree hinges or detachable two-in-ones like the defunct Pixel Slate, I’ve never actually wanted to interact with ChromeOS by touch.
This ain't your momma's Chromebook
When was the last time you were excited about a Chromebook? I know I can't remember. Sure, we've seen a couple of interesting devices through the years, like the Pixelbook and the Dragonfly, but have I literally jumped at the opportunity to review a Chromebook? Not until Framework announced the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition.
A utilitarian device that might not be sexy, but it sure can get work done
The Asus Chromebook Flip CX3400 may not be a newfangled gaming Chromebook, but thanks to quality internals, like the option to snag an 11th gen i7 with 16GB of RAM, the device performs quite well for a fanless low-power design. While the $980 price tag might take some people aback, developers and those who demand the best specs possible should be fairly pleased with what they get.
You get less power than the Spin 713 but the same awesome touchscreen
Chromebooks have traditionally fallen into one of two extremes: affordable Chromebooks with meager processors and even more meager screens or premium, ultra-powerful Chromebooks with shorter battery life. The best Chromebook around, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, falls in the latter category with a gorgeous 400-nit touchscreen, a beefy i5 processor, and just enough battery to maybe get through a short workday without needing a charger. But what if you wanted that premium screen and build quality with a little less horsepower and a little more longevity?
The Kompanio 828 makes for a Chromebook with average power and awesome screen time.
The Chromebook spotlight has been gobbled up by gaming advances and premium models like the upcoming HP Dragonfly Elite Chromebook and the Lenovo Flex 5i (14”). The bulk of this market is still consumed by budget and mid-range models that might not look sexy, but they have the assets you need. Take the Acer Chromebook 514, for instance: there are two models bearing that name, but you’ve probably only heard of the more premium Acer Chromebook Spin (CB514-1W) with its 11th Gen Intel Core processor. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a sweet Chromebook, but it’s $800 and difficult to find.
How did it take this long for us to get touchscreen Chrome OS desktops?
There’s no denying the appeal and portability of excellent Chromebooks, but they also limit you in screen size, and let’s face it: they’re too small. Unless you go full workstation and put the laptop on a riser while you use a separate keyboard and mouse, you’re just going to hurt your neck or back hunching over it. It’s not ideal, and if you opt for an external monitor, it won’t be a touchscreen like your laptop’s screen.