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Updated: 10 Best Chromebooks 2015: top Chromebooks reviewed

Chromebooks are budget laptops that are both odd and brilliant, low-impact and potent.

Running Google’s Chrome OS rather than Windows, they focus on what computing has been all about since the late ’90s, the web browser.

With low-impact processors and barely HD screens starting at 1366 x 768 resolution, most of these machines are also designed to last. Almost every Chromebook claims between 7 and 9 hours of battery life and comes within a few hours of that range, based on our testing. If you’re unclear what specs you should be on the lookout for when purchasing a Chromebook, we’ve developed a nifty little cheat sheet for you.

Prices will start to climb above the budget range, as is the case with the new Chromebook Pixel 2 ($999, £670, AU$1,320), a laptop whose specs put it in direct competition with the new MacBook, especially in the classroom, where Chromebooks are gaining significant market share. Despite the expanding Chromebook market, there should always be something within your spending limit.

At that point, it all comes down to size (and price), with Chromebooks available as small as 11.6 inches and as large as 14 inches. Always updated, here are our top-ranking Chromebook reviews…

best chromebook

The end all, be all of Chromebooks.

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with turbo boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 | Screen: 12.85-inch 2,560 x 1,700 IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260; Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 720p HD wide angle camera with blue glass | Weight: 3.3 pounds Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches (W x D x H)

Outfitted with a Core i5 processor, USB 3.1 (and USB-C) ports, a high-resolution screen, and more RAM than it will ever need, the Chromebook pixel sets a high bar for Chrome OS machines for years to come.

Power and performance aside, the Pixel is one of the few Chromebooks that feels like it has itself completely figured out. The build quality of this machine is exquisite and the design has been engineered down to a science. What’s more, its vivid screen – plus the impeccable keyboard and trackpad – all help to round out the Pixel as one excellent, premium package.

It’s impossible not to get hung up on the Pixel’s high price. For the same amount of money, you could buy two or even three Chromebooks or a decent Windows laptop. So before you we suggest you consider all the much more affordable options out there before investing so much money into this machine.

Read the full review: Google Chromebook Pixel 2

best chromebook

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 dual-core processor | Graphics: Intel HD 5500 Graphics with shared memory | RAM: 4 GB, DDR3L SDRAM | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p HD webcam |Weight: 4.85 pounds Dimensions: 1.0 x 15.1 x 10.1 inches (H x W x D)

If you’re considering the Acer Chromebook 15 C910 ($499.99, £249, AU$620) for your next laptop, then you’d better have big ideas. Compared to most other Chromebooks, the C910 has a bigger screen, bigger processing power and it comes with a bigger price tag.

It takes this series of laptops to two new places, as the first with a 15.6-inch screen and the first packing a fifth-generation Broadwell processor.

Specifically geared toward students and teachers – thanks to its rugged design and gorgeous visuals – the C910 is perfectly suitable for any consumer who doesn’t mind lugging around a few extra pounds and inches.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15 C910

Best Chromebook

Dell’s updated Chromebook is a star in almost every regard

CPU: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Celeron Bay Trail-M N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD for Intel Celeron processors | RAM: 4GB RAM (DDR3L, 1,600Mhz) | Screen: 11.6-inch HD, 1366 x 768 touchscreen |Storage: 16GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.91 pounds Dimensions: 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches

Don’t let the understated aesthetics of the Dell Chromebook 11 (starting at $249, £170, AU$320) fool you. Dell packed in features that are typically reserved for more expensive business notebooks into its Chromebook 11 in an effort to create a durable product for the education market. In the Chromebook 11, you’ll find a 180-degree reinforced hinge, rugged design, sealed keyboard and trackpad, and a great typing experience inside a portable package. In addition to using the Chromebook for school, students will appreciate the loud stereo speakers for multimedia and entertainment. There’s a new version of this Chromebook available. We’ve given our first impressions, here.

Read the full review: Dell Chromebook 11 (2015)

Best Chromebook

A flipping premium Chromebook for almost nothing

CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C (quad-core, 1MB cache) | Graphics: ARM Mali T624 | RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 1.96 pounds | Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.2 x 0.60 inches (W x D x H)

The Asus Chromebook Flip isn’t perfect, but it’s an excellent little piece of kit. And for $249 (about £160, AU$337), it’s so temptingly affordable that you might want to pick one up just to have a Chrome OS device on hand – even if you already own a MacBook or Windows laptop.

Aside from the alluring price tag, the Flip is one of the best built Chromebooks to pave the way forward for more convertibles. Touchscreen functionality feels a bit more thought out, with a screen that actually rotates for once.

All the while, the Flip meets all the core tenants of an excellent Chrome OS machine, including stellar battery life. If you’ve been ho hum on Chromebooks before, this is definitely one to … flip out about. (Sorry.)

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

Best Chromebook

A versatile Chromebook experience for a reasonable price

CPU: 1.83 GHZ Intel Celeron Processor N2930 | Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB PC3-10600 DDR3L 1333 MHz | Screen: 11.6″ HD (1366 x 768) dsplay with 10-point multitouch | Storage: 16GB eMMC storage | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Bluetooth® 4.0, 802.11 a/c WiFi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.86 lbs Dimensions: 11.6″ x 8.34″ x 0.70″

This is one of the “sexier” Chromebooks available, showcasing Lenovo’s eye for style. However, the best feature is the N20p’s 300-degree hinge, which lets you flip the N20p’s display backward all the way into stand mode (or ‘tent’ mode, whatever you prefer), which lends itself nicely to viewing movies or showing presentations.

The touchscreen controls also work in a pinch for recreational activities such as watching shows on HBOGo viewing or Pinteresting. Still there’s some difficulty when using it as a tablet, as Chrome isn’t entirely tailored to touch as a largely browser-based operating system.

It’s not very tuned for business use, but the Lenovo N20p offers great versatility for a leisure device. Plus with two USB ports (one 3.0), and HDMI port and an SD card reader, this Chromebook delivers a great bang for its buck.

Read the full review: Lenovo N20p Chromebook

Best Chromebook

A gorgeous 1080p screen makes this Chromebook a real contender

CPU: 2.16GHz Intel Celeron Processor N2840 (dual-core, 1MB Cache, up to 2.58GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4 GB DDR3L | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1090 TruBrite TFT display | Storage: 16GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 72608, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.95 pounds Dimensions: 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches (W x D x H)

More RAM than other Chromebooks

For $329 (about £205, AU$382), the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a gorgeous and affordable laptop that doesn’t have many weaknesses. It comes with more RAM and a full HD 1080p screen, making it a step up from other models in this class, like theSamsung Chromebook 2 and Acer C720.

But potential buyers should note that the Toshiba Chromebook 2 moves the Chromebook category closer towards the territory of an affordable Windows 8.1 laptop. So you might be overpaying if you’re not purchasing this laptop specifically for the Google ecosystem.

That being said, the 1080p screen is a huge bonus and the laptop speakers made by Skullcandy are booming. Add it all up and the Toshiba Chromebook 2 might be an ideal streaming system for everything from YouTube and Google Play to Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Read the full review: Toshiba Chromebook 2

Best Chromebook

With incredible battery life, the Chromebook 13 is a winner

CPU: 2.1GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 CD570M-A1 (quad-core) | Graphics: Nvidia Keplar | RAM: 2GB DDR3 (1,333MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1.920 x 1.080 | Storage: 16GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 3.31 pounds Dimensions: 12.9 x 9 x 0.71 inches (W x D x H)

Powered by Nvidia’s ARM Cortex A15-based Tegra K1, this Chromebook packs a lot of punch in a tiny frame. Users will love its 13.3-inch 1080p resolution screen, as well as its portability. At 3.31 pounds, the Acer Chromebook 13 is a relatively light laptop.

This Chromebook does have some minor issues: it doesn’t multitask very well and the laptop itself only comes in one color. But for the price ($279 about £165, AU$300), you’re likely to enjoy the simplicity and productivity, as you learn to overcome the design limitations.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 13

Best Chromebook

A Chromebook that’s as cheap as it is excellent

CPU: 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 | Graphics: value | RAM: 2GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM |Screen: 11.6-inch diagonal HD LED-backlit IPS display (1366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 2×2 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: 720p webcam |Weight: 2.3 pounds Dimensions: 0.69 in (H) x 11.69 in (W) x 7.56 in

The HP Chromebook 11 (starting at $279, £179, AU$399) is smooth and usable. While Chrome OS is limited by definition, between us growing more comfortable in web apps and those apps growing in power – and Chrome OS maturing – we’re bumping into those limitations far less often.

This laptop is punchy enough to make the experience slick, cheap enough for anyone on a budget (or an impulse buy for the well-off), but something that still feels solid. It is a delight to own and use.

Apple and the other premium manufacturers should look at this little gem of a computer and applaud what has been achieved. The Chromebook 11 shows that it’s possible to create a product with a little bit of the magic and joy you get from an Apple laptop without charging four figures for it.

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 11

Best Chromebook

A good budget option at a cheap price

CPU: 1.7 GHz Intel Core i3-4005U Dual-core | Graphics: Intel HD 4400 DDR3 SDRAM Shared | RAM:4 GB DDR3L SDRAM | Screen: 11.6″ 1,366 X 768 | Storage: 32GB | Optical drive: none |Connectivity: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth 4.0 + HS | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.76 pounds Dimensions: 0.8 x 11.3. 8.0 inches (HxWxD)

In terms of power and endurance, you can’t argue with the Acer C720 Chromebook (starting at $199, £199, AU$399). When you just want to get on the web quickly to answer emails or look something up, the C720 is ideal. For parents, it’s also a perfect “homework machine,” as long as you can get a printer hooked up.

This is a true web appliance, a fine system for families. The Google account log-in gives each user a personalized interface, and just a few keystrokes completely wipe the system. That limits the risk substantially in sharing the system with others.

One key criterion we use in evaluating a device is whether we’d actually want to use it every day. Even taking this laptop’s flaws into account, it’s something we definitely would want to use, for the price. If you’re an educator and buying in bulk, try the Acer C740.

Read the full review: Acer C720

Best Chromebook

A colorful Chromebook that balances price and performance

CPU: 2.16 GHz Intel Bay Trail-M Dual Core Celeron N2830 Processor | Graphics: value | RAM: DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, 2 GB, up to 4 GB | Screen: 13.3″ 16:9 HD (1366×768) | Storage: 32GB | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n Built-in Bluetooth V4.0 | Camera: HD Web Camera | Weight: 3.08 lbs Dimensions: 13.0 x 9.1 x 0.9 inch (WxDxH)

The Asus C300M ($249, £219) is a perfectly balanced device for coffee shop warriors, commuting accountants and peripatetic teachers. With more than nine hours of battery life, this 13.3-inch device will keep you going all day long.

It also performed admirably on all of our benchmarks, and it even features a solid set of ports for those of you needing multiple connections. Like most other Chromebooks, this laptop isn’t winning any innovation awards, but it is a good-looking, steady performer at an incredible price.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook C300M

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Updated: Samsung Galaxy S7 release date, news and rumors

Update: A new rumor suggests we could see the Samsung Galaxy S7 as soon as January 2016.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge reinvigorated the flailing smartphone brand giving it a new lease of life with a fresh design and some brand new features.

Samsung is going to have to do a lot of work to be able to repeat the trick again, but there’s much more that can be improved upon in the new phone.

We don’t expect to see the new handset until early 2016 though – usually Samsung takes time out in early March to announce its flagships at MWC in Barcelona, so we expect it to be the same again this year.

However, rumors are already beginning to roll in for the new phone so here’s everything we’ve heard so far.

What is it? The next flagship phone from Samsung’s Galaxy S line.When is it out? We expect early in 2016, potentially MWC in late FebruaryWhat will it cost? Expect expensive – it’s bound to be one of the more costly phones to buy next year.Samsung Galaxy S7 concept

When it comes to the new Samsung Galaxy S7, we want to see Samsung departing from the usual design of a standard, blocky phone.

What we want now is something innovative, something that pushes the boundaries and takes into account all the awesome technology Samsung keeps promising.

So here’s how we think it should shake down – techradar’s Galaxy S7, complete with all the technology Samsung has talked about… and some of our own desires too.

The main difference is, again, the screen. If Samsung is going to make a success of the Gear VR, it needs a better screen, and leaping forward to 8K will make shoving the phone on your face a pin sharp experience.

The other big thing we’re hoping to finally see is the iris scanning technology that supersedes the fingerprint scanners we’re seeing everywhere. With dual hi-res scanning cameras on the front, with enhanced aperture, simply turning the phone screen on will prove who you are.

The edges of the super sharp screen are now properly pushed to the side of the phone, with the notifications now showing properly either side – the S6 Edge has the curves as decoration, but now they’re actually going to be used.

And bass-rich speakers on the top and bottom will utilise Samsung’s omni-sound technology to make the phone a true media marvel – no more backwards-facing tinny sound here.

Of course, TouchWiz still remains… but hey, there’s only so much we can hope for…

Samsung has recently been unveiling its Galaxy S flagships at MWC and releasing them shortly after, which in 2016 would mean a launch in late February or March. However an analyst at SK Securities reckons the Samsung Galaxy S7 could be unveiled as soon as January for an early February launch.

We’d take that with a grain of salt but it’s not the first time we’ve heard word of an early launch. A rumor from the South Korean website Newsis apparently cites insider sources who claim that Samsung started work on the Galaxy S7 about 2 to 3 months ahead of its usual schedule.

If this is true (and that’s a big if, as the sources of this rumor are unclear and unverified), it could just mean that Samsung is eager to start work on the S7 as soon as possible to give it a longer development period.

Samsung Galaxy S6

However some people are getting excited because it could mean that Samsung is gearing up to launch the Galaxy S7 early, we might see a second Galaxy S flagship handset in 2015. In fact December has already been mooted as a potential Samsung Galaxy S7 release date, while another source points to a more vague late 2015 date – although we reckon that’s highly unlikely.

Traditionally, Samsung usually releases one Galaxy S and one Galaxy Note flagship device a year, so it would be a big departure if it released the S7 in 2015. This rumor could just be a case of getting lost in translation, so we’d recommend caution when taking it at face value.

Given that Samsung has only just overhauled its flagship design for the Galaxy S6 we’re not expecting massive changes in the Samsung Galaxy S7.

One rumour has suggested it’s going to be much bigger than the Galaxy S6 with a 5.7-inch screen – we’re taking that with a big pinch of salt though as it sounds quite out there.

On top of that the Galaxy S7 may be built of a different type of metal. Sources claim the company is experimenting with magnesium based alloy that will make the phone stronger whilst keeping it light and allows the heat out when the processor is working hard.

A slim metal and glass build seems likely and whatever we get it’s likely to be premium, especially as there’s a rumor that the battery won’t be removable specifically because making it so would compromise the design.

Interestingly there’s talk that Samsung could offer the Galaxy S7 in two different sizes. One with a 5.2-inch screen and one with a 5.8-inch one and supposedly at least one of them will have a 4K display. Given there’s already the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ though we wouldn’t hold our breath for a phablet version of the S7.

Then again a benchmark believed to be for the Samsung Galaxy S7 claims it has a 5.7-inch display, so maybe it will be growing. It lists a 1440 x 2560 QHD one though rather than 4K.

Galaxy S6

Another rumor states that the Galaxy S7 may be coming with a curved screen. According to supply chain sources the phone will be launching with a flexible display after Samsung put in some big orders with Taiwanese manufacturers. It may end up being a separate version of the Galaxy S7 much like with the Galaxy S6 Edge, but it’s interesting all the same.

A new trademark filing suggests Samsung is working on its own new super-strong display technology called Turtle Glass. It’s set to replace Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 and we may see it launch on the Galaxy S7.

There’s even talk that Samsung will go further and deliver a foldable phone, but this seems incredibly unlikely. Even if the technology is in place (which is a big if) it’s doubtful that Samsung would risk something so new and untested on its flagship.

In recent years HTC has been a significant rival to Samsung, launching similarly impressive phones at around the same time, so we’d expect the HTC One M10 could be a Samsung Galaxy S7 rival. Very little is known about it yet but it’s sure to be stylish and likely to be very powerful.

Other than that there’s the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, which are likely to still be selling very well by early 2016, while the Sony Xperia Z6 or whatever Sony’s cooking up next could steal some attention away from Samsung too.

An AnTuTu benchmark shows a phone believed to be the Samsung Galaxy S7 as having a 16MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing one. Those are the same camera specs as the Galaxy S6, but that has one of the best smartphone snappers around so that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Another AnTuTu benchmark has also leaked showing a duo-camera on the phone in a similar vein to the HTC One M8.

Galaxy S6

There’s no word on what size the battery will be yet but according to one rumor it won’t be removable as it’s apparently not possible to have a removable juice pack without compromising the design. Given that the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a sealed battery this doesn’t really come as any surprise.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 will almost certainly launch with Android Marshmallow. In fact snaps of supposed internal Samsung documents regarding its Android Marshmallow update have made their way onto social networking site Weibo, and appear to confirm the rumored Galaxy S7 codename ‘Jungfrau’ and a key spec of the upcoming flagship.

That spec is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, which is expected to launch later this year and is set to feature in some of the biggest phones of 2016. That Snapdragon 820 rumor has since been echoed by other sources and in a benchmark.

The fact the Snapdragon 820 chip is being linked to the Galaxy S7 is interesting, as Samsung ditched Qualcomm’s offering for the Galaxy S6, instead exclusively using its own Exynos processor. Samsung didn’t disclose the reasoning as to why it opted to do this, but the current top-tier Qualcomm chip – the Snapdragon 810 – has been plagued by reports of overheating and patchy performance.

Perhaps this is a sign of Qualcomm’s return to form in the chipset market, although it’s too early to confirm either way. However while Qualcomm has been touted as the maker of the Galaxy S7’s chip, other benchmark results have leaked onto the internet that claim to show Samsung’s next SoC, the Exynos M1, could potentially power the new Galaxy.

These benchmarks show the hardware used to make the Exynos M1, and it looks like it uses a series of custom ARM cores. Intriguingly the benchmarks also show that the Exynos M1 is much more powerful than the Snapdragon 820 in almost every aspect.

While we’d advise taking these benchmarks with a pinch of salt it would mean that the Samsung Galaxy S7 could be a more powerful handset if it again shuns Qualcomm’s hardware. Whatever processor we get we’re expecting to see 4GB of RAM, not least because the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has that already.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is bound to have a fingerprint scanner, just like the Galaxy S6. There’s also a rumor that Samsung will add a microSD card slot to next year’s phone, but internal storage may take a hit, with only 32GB and 64GB models currently rumored.

There’s no word yet on what the Samsung Galaxy S7 will cost but we can tell you right now that it will be very expensive. While a price cut would be nice we’d be surprised if Samsung launched it for any less than it initially charged for the Galaxy S6. If we had to guess we’d say it could start at up to around £600 / $650 / AU$1,100.

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