5 Best ChromeBooks For Students 2017

If you are still looking for the best Chromebook for students, you are probably hesitant about buying them due to them being limited in a few ways compared to regular computers right?

Rest assured…

I only use a Chromebook for my studies and I can guarantee you they are the best devices we can get today especially if we just want to be productive and get things done.

But…

That doesn’t mean you should just settle with the first Chromebook you see at the store. Ideally you want to pick one with the best features for school regardless of what your budget or what you study. 

Unfortunately…

With so many choices, brands, different technology and specifications that ChromeBooks have that is not such an easy feat.

The Good news is…

You need to look no further than this article. I’ve written a guide where you’ll learn exactly what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for one along with short list of the best Chromebooks for students as of 2017.

Top 5 Best Chromebooks For Students

For those who are too impatient to read a long guide on how to buy a Chromebook, already know what to look for or just want to check the best Chromebooks for students asap I’m listing them first. You can always refer back to the guide if there’s something that’s not clear.

The Best Chromebook For Students

ASUS C302CA Touchscreen Chromebook Flip

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 Portability Battery Display Connectivity Performance
 0 Stars  5 Stars  4.5 Stars  3.5 Stars  4.5 Stars
2.6 lb 10 hours 12.5″ touchscreen
Full HD
Wireless AC
x2 USB Type C
Intel Core m3 4GB
64GB eMMC
We Like We don’t Like

 Great Display
 Long Battery Life
 Good Performance
 High Quality Keyboard

 No regular USB ports
 Pricey

 

Summary: Currently one of the most popular convertible chromebooks as of 2017. Yes, you can also use it as tablet.And as you’ll see, if your budget is not too restricted, this is the chromebook that has nearly every feature you could ask as a student.

Starting with the most important and basic ones, weight and battery life, Like most Chromebooks this device doesn’t present an issue with either. Extremely light at 2.6lbs and with long battery life even for a Chromebook at 10 hours.

Many go as far as comparing this Chromebook to the high quality MacBooks. Its design is very similar to them: made of all aluminum with a solid build to it which makes it easier to get used to its tablet mode.

Another reason is the high quality keyboard which is the best out of this list: great travel and with very responsive keys. It’s also backlit with 6 stages of brightness. And its trackpad isn’t bad either : great response and  a solid click to it. You should have zero issues when typing those long and boring essays(apart from what to write about).

Images are sharp, bright with great viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel . It also has a full HD resolution. That along with its 12.5” display should be sufficient to work with multiple windows next to each other. As a bonus it has an anti glare screen to protect your eyes from long sessions of reading/writing on the highly illuminated library.

As for performance, you should have no issues even when dealing with +10 web browsing tabs. The reason being is the fact that it has one of the best processors a Chromebook can have today: Intel Core m3 which is on par with the core i3 and just behind i5 and i7 series that most high end computers have.

The only issue with this one (besides the price) are the ports, which like the MacBooks, has ditched the old USB-ports in favor of the new USB type C ports. This can be a bummer for some of you but shouldn’t be much of an issue if you buy an adapter or peripherals that work with it. Luckily, like every Chromebook presented here, it does contain an SD Card Reader if you need extra storage apart from the Cloud.

In a nutshell, this is a Chromebook designed with the future in mind. It will also be able to support the new wave of Android Apps coming to Chromebooks for those who are interested in them. If budget isn’t an issue, this is the best Chromebook for students you can get today.

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 Portability Battery Display Connectvity Performance
 0 Stars  3.5 Stars  4 Stars  5 Stars  3 Stars
2.8 lb 8 hours 11.6″ 1366×768
IPS Matte Display
WireLess AC
HDMI x 2 USB2.0
Celeron N3150 4GB
32GB eMMC
We Like We don’t Like

 Affordable Price
 Good Display and Performance
  Comfortable Keyboard & Great Number of Ports

 Average TouchPad
 Decent Battery Life

 

Summary:  For those interested in Chromebooks with a superb tablet mode and touchscreen features but can’t quite afford a Chromebook like the flip, the R11 is definitely the best Chromebook you can get at that price range while also being ideal for students.

Weight (2.8lb) and battery life(9 hours) are great like most Chromebooks out there.

However its display isn’t the best, but compared to other Chromebooks its not that bad for the price you are paying and actually quite good. Surprisingly, it has an IPS display to give you wide viewing angles along with more crisp bright and accurate colors.

Its resolution isn’t full HD but it’s still better than TN displays which most Chromebook seem to have. The tablet mode however works fine and you’ll be able to rotate its screen between portrait and landscape mode for a better reading experience.

For those interested in using this Chromebook for most of their schoolwork, a great keyboard is a must. Luckily, this one has a high quality keyboard with a good travel distance for a comfortable typing experience. The TouchPad isn’t bad either:has great sensitivity but there’s a loud clicking sound users complain about  which is due to its deep travel distance so you have to press it hard sometimes. If you find it annoying, that issue can easily be solved with an external mouse.

For performance it’s got an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB RAM so you should have no issues rendering websites with it and having multiple tabs opened,. It will still be quite fast. You may see it operate a bit slower when you try to load websites with a lot of multimedia (not that bad actually) but this is only noticeable when you compare it with other Chromebooks at a higher place. Since this is for school purposes, note taking and research, this shouldn’t be a problem. It has no problems when rendering YouTube videos if you are concerned about watching a few lectures with it unless of course you go for high resolution videos(remember it’s not a full HD display!).

As a bonus, it has all the ports you may ever need for school. An HDMI for external displays and presentations, x2  regular USB ports for flash drives and an SD Card to increase its storage capacity which is actually more than you would expect from its price (32GB).

Overall this is a great convertible Chromebook. Perfect for those on a budget still interested in apps (future Android apps too!) and with every feature you may need for school: a great keyboard, superb portability and decent performance. 

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ASUS Chromebook C202SA

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 Portability Battery Display Connectvity Performance
 0 Stars  4.5 Stars  3 Stars
 4.5 Stars  4.5 Stars
2.2 lb 10 hours 11.6” 1366×768 Wireless AC
HDMI
Celeron N3060 4GB
16GB eMMC
We Like We Don’t Like

 Extremely Lightweight 
 Resistant Design
  Great Typing Experience
  Long Battery Life

 Average Display

 

Summary:

Are you a student looking for most resistant and durable Chromebook from all the constant physical damage from being constantly on the move yet with enough performance for schoolwork? Then consider buying this one.

This one has been designed with education in mind for both kids and adults: it’s reuggerized from all sides to survive physical damage and falls. How? It uses rubber for its base to make sure it’ll never drop off from your table plus the rest of the material used and design also provides it with a rock solid feel to it. That’s not all, 
the screen goes back to 180 degrees protecting it from forceful manipulations that may damage your screen (my current display has been damaged this way).

As far as weight and battery life go, it remains the most portable Chromebook shown here at 2.2lb and with 10 hours of battery life which is on par with the expensive ChromeBook Flip.

However , it doesn’t have an IPS display nor is it a touchScreen. Surprisingly, it does have a full HD Resolution so you should not have issues watching videos and lectures in full detail.

Although it doesn’t have  a backlit feature, the keyboard is of high quality and is one of the best features this chromebook offers, a huge plus for schoolwork. The keys themselves do not feel cheap and have a lot of travel to them giving you a comfortable typing experience.

Performance wise it does a lot better than Chromebooks on its price range, web browsing even with multiple tabs should be no problem. This is due to its celeron N3060 processor along with a 4GB RAM which does perform a little better than the R11 presented above. 

All in all, this Chromebook is a great alternative for those on a budget who can’t afford to have the R11 and are looking for reliability with a bit increase in performance.

If you are looking for a Chromebook with less fancy features such as touchscreen and tablet mode features but with note taking, research and most importantly durability in mind, this is for you.

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Dell ChromeBook 13

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 Portability Battery Display Connectvity Performance
 0 Stars  5 Stars  4.5 Stars  5 Stars  5 Stars
3.2 lb 13 hours 13.3″
Full HD
WireLess AC
HDMI x2 USB 
Celeron 3215U 4GB
16GB eMMC
We Like We Don’t Like

 Epic Battery Life
 Best Performance
 Excellent display size and
resolution
 High Quality Keyboard and TouchPad

 Very Pricey


 

Summary:  You have probably noticed so far the Chromebooks shown above were all below 13”, which is OK  for multiple windows opened simultaneously and next to each other but not the ideal size we would all love to have.

This may not be a problem for most students but for those who are used to having a resource and a note editor both on the same screen it’s a invaluable feature. This Chromebook has the best display just for that: a screen with full HD resolution and 13” of size.

That’s not all, it’s processor, Celeron 3215U , is faster than all the chromebooks shown on this list and it also has 4GB for RAM. Needless to say, you’ll get the best performance with web browsing,apps and note editors with this one.

Other than that, it has everything you need from a Chromebook for a student : portability, all the ports you need (HDMI and USB) and an epic battery life (13 hours), the latter being its most salient feature.

The KeyBoard and TouchPad is of high quality as well. It’s responsive with a deep travel and it’s even backlit. The touchpad is smooth with no noise when clicking it.

It comes with x2 USB ports which is enough for students and general consumers/ However it has a micro SD card reader instead of a full size SD Card slot. Unfortunately, it’s pricey and more so if you go one step forward and opt to buy it with an Intel core i3 processor.

However if you stay with this configuration, this is the best 13” Chromebook you can get with every feature optimized to the fullest for writing assignments, educational apps, note taking and doing research on the web.

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ASUS Chromebook C300SA 13.3 Inch 

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 Portability Battery Display Connectivity Performance
 0 Stars  4 Stars  4.5 Stars  4.5 Stars  4.5 Stars
3 lb 10 hours 13.3″ 1366×768 Wireless AC
HDMI
Celeron N3060 4GB
16GB eMMC
We Like We Don’t Like 

 Lightweight 
 Long Battery Life
 Great number of ports

 Average display quality

 

Summary:  This Chromebook is an old model but the main reason why it made it here is the price. It is very affordable with a lot of good features for students.

Starting with portability and battery life, this Chromebook excels at both. Only 3.0lb nearly the same weight as the MacBook Air, which is pretty lightweight for a 13” display. Its battery life is epic, more than most Chromebooks, clocking at 10 hours or so. Save for final exams, you’ll hardly ever need to bring a charger to school.

However it’s not made as aluminum like the more expensive Chromebooks. Although it’s made of plastic, it doesn’t feel flimsy or weak and  its actually very thin so you can easily fit it in your schoolbag.

Next is the keyboard, its not backlit but has a great feedback and it’s easy to type on. The TrackPad is actually great even though it’s made out of plastic: wide, responsive and with a great click to it.

As far ports go, you got everything you may need for school and for more productivity back home: x2 USB regular ports or an external mouse and flash drive, HDMI for your external display and a SD Card Reader for extra storage .

It’s performance isn’t bad either, like all the Chromebooks we listed here it has 4GB for RAM and an Intel Processor (Celeron N3060) which is enough for school purposes: fast web browsing for research and word processing.  It doesn’t have noisy fans but that’s because it doesn’t need too many of them, it doesn’t get too hot even when using it for longs periods of time.

As an added bonus, you can install Ubuntu Linux on it with no issues if you are a programmer.  Just Remember to stick with the 4GB configuration otherwise you will have issues when having several tabs open and multitasking in general.

So far so good? Well, even though its display size is ideal for any type of work it has mediocre brightness levelsas well as poor viewing angles. You will also have issues when trying to stream videos and watching videos at a higher resolution too since its only 1366×768. High definition videos will look blurry on it. The sound speakers are placed at the bottom which ruins the sound quality and they are not loud enough for those interested in multimedia. But these both features shouldn’t be an issue unless you plan on watching tons of lectures or wasting watching movies and videoclips during school.

If you were disappointed with the price of the dell Chromebook 13 but still in need of a Chromebook with a bigger display size for schoolwork as long as you stick with word editing and web browsing this one shouldn’t hinder your ability to be productive at school.

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How to Buy The Best Chromebook For Students

Although the specs behind a Chromebook aren’t nearly as important as for computers in general, you’d still want to get the best features for your money . Plus there are a few features you need to look for that will make your Chromebook more useful for school and you also want to avoid the bad ones. Trust me, in the Chromebook world there are really really bad ones.

Portability & Battery

Most Chromebooks out there have great portability and long battery lives, even the really really bad ones. But there are quite a few that are over 4lb, those are the ones you want to avoid  even if they excel in everything else.

Aim for one around 3lb. The lighter they are the better but that may translate into a higher price. However it’s worth every penny. 

Why? Easy to carry means you’ll be likely to have it right in front of you at all times ready to blaze through your reports or continue your research for your next paper/exam. There’s just no point in buying a heavy Chromebook whether you are a student or not.

Since they all have a decent battery life. Get teone with the longest battery life you can afford that way you’ll be doing your assignments in the most remote places around campus and outside of campus without wasting time trying to charge it. Luckily, most Chromebook have 8-10 hours, which is nearly enough for an entire school day.

Keyboard

This is where it starts to get tricky. There are a lot Chromebooks out there which are very very affordable, the main reason is that manufacturers decided to go cheap on their design and built when making them. 

As a result Chromebooks can have very horrible keyboards. Just watch the reviews in amazon and posters around social media sites like Reddit and forums complaining about keyboards either being too flat or cramped (this happens in very small Chromebooks).

If you are a student a really bad keyboard isn’t gonna help in keeping you motivated to do your schoolwork on anytime. Don’t go for cheapest Chromebooks because that usually translates to the worst keyboards. Look for reviews with the keywords “deep travel” “responsive” whenever you shop for one.

Display

Display quality starts to really get bad with most Chromebooks too. They can have horrible viewing angles, very low resolutions and very low brightness levels. While this is not an issue for a student who will primarily use a Chromebook for schoolwork, it’s something to keep in mind if watching videos & displaying features are important to you.h

Resolution and Size

At the end it’s really down to personal choice, if you are used to having multiple windows side by side to write your reports, type some notes from textbooks, you’d want a high resolution and a big screen size such as the Dell Chromebook 13 and ASUS 13. Chromebooks like the Dell which have a full HD resolution while being 13” will give you the best viewing experience but their prices starts to go up significantly. Luckily 1366 x 768 displays are  sufficient for school work and basic tasks which most Chromebooks have.

The Worst Screen Sizes

Try to avoid 15” inch Chromebooks and very small size Chrome Books (10”), the latter is way too big & heavy for a Chromebook which again defeats the whole purpose of buying a one if you are a student. A 10” inch Chromebook will be more than likely have a very uncomfortable (cramped) keyboard and will take a toll on your eyes if you plan to do long reading sessions with it.

Performance

I bet you were expecting Chromebooks to perform pretty bad right? But actually most of them are actually quite fast for what they were designed to do: web browsing.

But as a student you’d still want a bit more than that : for doing research with multiple tabs, using word documents, spreadsheets, etc, all at a decent speed not too much (otherwise you might as well get a regular computer) but just enough to make it yours a productive and comfortable device.

CPU & RAM

These two features will determine how fast you can do your web browsing, watch YouTube videos ,do your word processing and  multitasking between these apps.

Intel Celeron & 4GB RAM

Stick with this configuration for processor and ram size, this is the perfect combo without going overboard. You’ll have a decent web browsing speed and be able to multitask with multiple tabs open as well (but no more than 10 tabs). Avoid Chromebooks with 2GB of RAM if you can , otherwise you’ll experience a few freezings from my time to time when trying to multitask unless you don’t mind dealing with that.

i3 Core & Core m3

These two processors are a lot faster than the Intel Celeron series if you can afford them by all means get them just watch out for their price, some of them can be quite expensive. For example, the dell Chromebook 13 shown above, has the option to add a i3 core processor but the price range starts to get really really high which again defeats the whole purpose of picking up a Chromebook.

ARM-based Processor

Some Chromebooks go as low as going with processors that are designed for tablets and smartphones, for web browsing purposes only this could be enough but that may not be enough for schoolwork especially if you like to have multiple tabs open, a word processor and a few pdf files for your assignments.

Storage

While Chromebooks do come with an SSD for storage(the fastest type of storage), which make them have insanely fast boot up times. As you may have noticed they also with very very small storage capacities. This shouldn’t be an issue though as most of your work will be stored in the Cloud (you get 100 GB of free storage).

Storage size comes down to personal preference since you have many other options. For example, you can also buy an external SD Card and permanently leave it on your Chromebook for extra storage.

Ports

To get the most out of your Chromebook for schoolwork you’d want:

SD Card Reader: As mentioned above if you want extra storage without using the Cloud. Almost all Chromebooks have one.

HDMI: cool for presentations and external displays without having to buy or use adapters.

USB 3.0/2.0: x2 regular USB ports would be ideal, one for your flash a drive and another one for an external mouse (I find trackpads are slow for getting work done period).

USB-C: However the newer Chromebooks will start to give you type USB-C and nothing else. They have the advantage of being compatible with future devices and will let you charge your Chromebook much more easily even if you forget your charges!

How? Just borrow anyone’s phone charger. They have the same type of connection.

However you would have to buy a  mouse/USB drive with an USB-C port or buy an adapter to use them.

Apps

All Chromebooks support all the apps you’ll need for school: Word and Excel are both supported on Chrome and you can always use google docs and sheets, you don’t need an internet connection to keep working on your projects as many would have you to believe.

School related apps are relatively simple: flashcards, textbooks, applications for memorization and calculators and don’t really need a high end Chromebook or anything special to run them.

Android Apps

However with the advent of Android support for Chromebooks, you’ll have way more apps available for you and they will work in offline mode too. If this is important to you , then you may want to invest on a recent Chromebook (they’ll likely to be more compatible) such as the Chromebook Flip and Acer R11 we showed above but it is very unlikely there will be anything extremely useful for school coming from Android Apps in fact quite the oppossite (a lot of games!) .

But it’s always nice to have the extra features for entertainment and to keep your sanity in check. Here is a list of the latest Chromebooks (the ones that will support Android apps) if you are interested.

Bottom Line

More extra features are always a nice bonus if your budget allows. And as long as you keep your needs quite simple, find the best chromebook for students and school in general isn’t that complicated nor does it have to be expensive.

Comments?

If you have any suggestions, questions or any tips for us Chromebook users please let us know!