Best Chromebooks Under $200 2018 (With Touchscreen & Refurbished Picks)

You’ve probably been tempted to switch from a full Windows machine to a smaller Chromebook, but wondered if buying a whole new device is worth the cost.

You don’t need to spend much money at all to get a high quality Chromebook and figure out if the Chrome OS is going to meet your needs.

Not sure which unit is your best bet? We’ve rounded up the 5 best Chromebooks available online in 2018 under $200 from nearly every manufacturer!

Picking The Best Chromebook Under $200

At this price range, most Chromebooks are going to have the exact same overall hardware specs.

They will typically have the same amount of RAM, very similar processors, the same storage space, and the same screen size.

So what sets them apart from each other?

Each manufacturer includes different designs, from spill-proof keyboards to different speaker locations. These changes may radically affect whether a Chromebook will work for you or if you should move onto a different model.

There’s one other main issue to look at when you want to stay under $200 with a Chromebook.

Particularly if you want a touch screen display, many of the options at this price point will end up being refurbished rather than brand new.

To avoid going refurbished and still get the best features, you’ll usually have to bump up the price.

Ready to dive in? Let’s take a look at what budget Chromebooks are available so you can start browsing the web!

NBN’s  cheat sheet

Top pick

Acer CB3-532

In 2018, the best overall new cheap Chromebook priced under $200 is easily the Acer CB3-532. With its innovative speaker positioning and high quality touch screen, this is an excellent model for getting into the Chrome OS without spending much money.

If you want more RAM than the Acer offers however, you’ll need to go refurbished. In that case, the top pick under $200 will instead be the HP Chromebook 11.6” model.

The Contenders For Best Cheap Chromebook

Dell Chromebook 11

  • Rubberized edges
  • Comfortable palm rest
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Want to save as much money as possible and just need a portable device for web browsing? If you don’t mind giving up the touch screen, this should be your top cheap Chromebook pick!

For $150 you obviously can’t expect a top-of-the-line machine. If you want a solid Chromebook on a budget though, that’s all you need to spend.

Our cheapest contender is the Dell Chromebook 11, which provides the speed and high battery life you’d expect from a Chrome OS mobile device.

Dell managed to get the price so low by culling out one key feature — this isn’t a touch screen unit.

That may seem strange at first for a Chromebook, but some users just flat out don’t need that feature.

If your primary use for a Chromebook is to browse the web, send emails, or watch videos, then you don’t particularly need the touch screen function.

Losing the touch display does reduce the usefulness of Android apps however. If you plan to play with a lot of apps, you’ll want to look at our other contenders instead.

Although the Dell 11 isn’t a huge investment by any means, this model also includes a Noble wedge lock slot. If you’re concerned about security or potential theft, it’s quite easy to add a lock.

Between the rubberized edges for drop protection, the lock slot, and the focus on web browsing, this is a great cheap model to pick up for a middle or high school student.

Hardware specifications for Dell Chromebook 11
ProcessorCeleron N3060 (1.6GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display11.6″ HDF Non-Touch LCD Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.7 lbs

HP Chromebook 11.6″

  • Touch screen display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Refurbished unit

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a very low price tag while still getting a touch display? This should be your top cheap Chromebook pick, if you don’t mind getting a refurbished machine.

HP’s entry in our list of Chromebook contenders features very similar overall specs to the Dell Chromebook 11 listed above.

There’s one key change, though. This model includes the touch screen display, which can make a world of difference in your experience.

Why does that matter?

Adding touch functionality radically opens up your options in terms of how you browse the web and what kind of apps you use.

If you want to quickly edit photos with your fingers or play Android games, this is the way to go.

There is a catch, however.

Since HP released their new 2018 models the prices have all gone up. In order to get this Chromebook at under $200, you’ll have to pick up a refurbished unit.

In most cases that won’t be a big deal, since Chromebooks aren’t as prone to mechanical issues as full laptops.

We fully understand that not everyone will want to buy a pre-owned machine. If that’s the case for you, check out our other contenders below.

Hardware specifications for HP Chromebook 11.6″
ProcessorCeleron N3060 (1.6Ghz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6-Inch HD Touch Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life11.5 hours
Weight2.5 lbs

 

2018 Acer CB3-532

  • Great speaker positioning
  • Less RAM than the other models

Should this be your choice?

Prefer a new model over refurbished and want great sound quality? This should be your top pick for a low price Chromebook in 2018!

Acer knows a thing or two about offering budget computers with solid design, and that’s what you get with their 2018 Chromebook.

The CB3-532 is lightweight, has an attractive brush metal finish, and offers excellent battery life.

One of the best redesigns in this year’s model is easily the speaker placement, however.

With the speakers positioned on either side of the keyboard, you don’t get any muffled sound when using the Chromebook on your lap or at a table.

So how is the price so low for a touch screen Chromebook that isn’t refurbished?

You get less RAM with this model unfortunately. In general most users won’t notice a big difference, but you will need to have fewer tabs open simultaneously or you’ll start to notice some stuttering and lag.

The memory issue aside, get a whole lot of bang for your buck with Acer’s model in our lineup of cheap Chromebooks.

Want to save even more money? A refurbished version of this model is readily available at Amazon for $50 cheaper.

Hardware specifications for 2018 Acer CB3-532
ProcessorIntel Celeron N3060 (Dual-Core, 1.6 – 2.48GHz)
RAM2GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6″ IPS HD Touch Screen Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life12 hours
Weight2.76 lbs

Samsung Chromebook 3

  • Spill resistant design
  • High battery life
  • No touch screen
  • Highest price

Should this be your choice?

Prefer Samsung over Dell and don’t care about getting a touch screen? This should be your top pick, especially if you want a durable design.

If you want a durable, high quality Chromebook, look no further than the Samsung 3.

With 4GB of RAM you won’t worry about slow speeds while browsing, and the battery life is absolutely killer.

The real draw here is the spill resistant keyboard though, which will keep your Chromebook alive and kicking for years to come.

Like the Dell 11 listed above, this Samsung model ditches the touch screen and just offers a standard display.

It also has the highest price in our lineup of contenders, coming in at just a few dollars shy of a full $200.

Since you are losing out on the touch screen display, you may want to go refurbished and save some extra money.

The Samsung Chromebook 3 is available for nearly $50 less if you pick it up pre-owned through Amazon.

Hardware specifications for Samsung Chromebook 3
ProcessorIntel Celeron Processor N3060 (1.6 – 2.48 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6-Inch Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life11 hours
Weight2.54 lbs

Asus C300MA

  • Bigger screen
  • Comfortable keyboard design
  • Refurbished unit
  • No touch display

Should this be your choice?

Want a Chromebook but don’t like the idea of an 11 inch tablet size display? This should be your top pick if you want a bigger screen on a Chrome OS device!

All of our contenders listed above stick to the standard 11.6 inch screen, which is normal for most Chromebooks.

But what if you want more viewing area?

That’s where this Asus model comes in, bumping up the display to a more spacious 13 inches.

While the weight goes up slightly, you get something more akin to a standard laptop size.

If you watch a lot of videos or otherwise need more display space for tasks like photo editing, this is a great way to still stick with the faster Chrome OS.

Unfortunately (and you had to know this was coming) to stay under $200 but still get the bigger screen, you have to make two concessions.

First off, this is a refurbished unit. Second, you don’t get the touch display functionality.

Those are two trade offs you simply have to make to stay at a low price but still get the bigger 13” screen.

There are some bonuses to the size trade off though, like a more spacious, comfortable keyboard design.

Hardware specifications for Asus C300MA
ProcessorIntel Celeron N2830 (2.16 – 2.41GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display13.3-Inch Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.08 lbs

What’s The Real Benefit To Picking Chrome OS Over Windows 10?

Plenty of people have noticed the lower price tags on Chromebooks and been tempted to switch over, but balk at the thought of losing Windows 10.

Honestly, you don’t actually give up much. Most users will find they don’t even miss the Windows programs, especially now that Chromebooks can download Android apps.

From photo editing tools to games, the Google Play Store offers pretty much anything you need.

The biggest issue to get used to will be the compact keyboard designs on Chromebooks. Most of them ditch the caps lock key for instance, and instead rely on keyboard combo shortcuts.

Once you’ve overcome that hurdle, Chrome OS has some big benefits over a memory-intensive operating system like Windows.

First and foremost, there are no constant Windows updates. That’s huge, as the majority of speed slowdowns on laptops are from Windows processes running in the background.

With far less bloatware to eat up CPU cycles, you’ll notice a much smoother overall web browsing experience on Chrome OS.

How Am I Supposed To Use A Laptop With So Little Storage Space?

This is the big question asked by anyone who looks primarily at the specs when picking a new laptop.

16GB of space is next to nothing, and even a small collection of photos or music will eat up that space immediately.

For desktop users who typically get 1TB or more of space on their hard drive, this is a big change to wrap your head around.

The key here is that you need to think of a Chromebook differently than a standard laptop or desktop machine.

They are meant for streamlined efficiency and speed while web browsing or using apps, rather than providing physical storage space.

With a Chromebook, you need to save your data to the cloud, instead of storing files on a hard drive.

Keeping your files backed up to an online storage is frankly more safe anyway, since all your data will be there even if your device eventually dies.

If that’s not to your liking, don’t forget that Chromebooks come with card slots for extra storage space.

It isn’t hard to throw in an SD card and significantly increase your storage capacity in an instant. You’ve probably already got a microSD sitting around from an old camera anyway, or if not they are available cheaply at any big box store.

Should I Risk Going Refurbished To Save Money?

This is really an issue of personal preference, as some buyers have been burned with pre-owned devices in the past and don’t want to risk it again.

In most cases, refurbished laptops arrive clean, fully wiped of all previous data, and physically repaired so they are like new.

If you aren’t sure, do yourself a favor and read the reviews of refurbished models before making your purchase.

There are guaranteed to have been plenty of buyers before you who took the plunge. They can offer a gold mine of information on what to expect from a refurbished model.

Be sure to also take a look at who exactly is selling the refurbished model. If the seller is the original manufacturer, you can expect much better support if there’s a problem.

Going through a third party seller on the other hand is more dicey, and you’re less likely to get a replacement or quick repair if something is broken.

If you want to save as much money as possible, especially when you need to stay under the $200 range, going refurbished is a great option for your bank account!

Fast Web Browsing At A Low Price

With these five options, you should easily be able to find the best Chromebook under $200 to meet your requirements!

What did you think of our picks, and have you seen any other cheap Chromebooks we missed out on? Let us know in the comments section below!

Andrew knows how hard it is to find the right laptop, that’s why he aims to deliver best know-hows to people in needs.

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