5 Of The Best Chromebooks Under $300 In 2018 (With HP, Samsung, & Acer Picks)

Why should you spend $600 or more on a full Windows laptop when you mostly send emails, surf the web, and use apps for finding restaurant recommendations?

These days, there’s not much need to drop hundreds on a bulky computer when a Chromebook will meet your needs at a much lower cost (and in a slimmer package).

Not sure what you really need? We’ve searched hundreds of models to find the 5 absolute best Chromebooks under $300 in 2018 for any kind of user!

Picking The Best Chromebook Under $300

It’s important to change your expectations and shift your focus when looking for a Chromebook over a traditional laptop.

Chromebooks ditch the top-heavy Windows operating system and utilize tiny solid state drives for maximum speed and efficiency.

Designed with web browsing in mind over memory-intensive programs, the models listed below are perfect for light home use and a little gaming on the side.

When picking a Chromebook, the specs will often be very similar, so getting bogged down in the hardware details isn’t as important as with a notebook.

Instead, there are two main features you want to consider:

  1. Do you want a touch screen for using Android apps like a tablet?
  2. Do you need your Chromebook to flip around a full 360 degrees, or do you want a clamshell design?

When you’ve got those two main questions answered, it’s time to dive into the contenders for the best mid-range Chromebook!

NBN’s  cheat sheet

Top pick

Acer R11

In 2018, the single best overall Chromebook at this price range is easily the Acer R11. You get great specs, fast speeds, and a touch screen display that rotates a full 360 degrees.

You can’t really ask for much more in a Chromebook while staying below $300. There is one other option that may beat the Acer, however.

If you want a better processor for running Android apps, the Lenovo Chromebook just barely edges out the Acer R11.

The Contenders For Mid Range Chromebook

Acer R11

  • Full 360 degree rotating hinge
  • Touch screen display
  • Less physical storage capacity

Should this be your choice?

Like the low price of a Chromebook but still want to get a touch screen and have extra features like a hybrid 2-in-1 hinge? This should be at the top of your list of contenders while staying well under $300!

Let’s go ahead and start right off with one of the best Chromebooks available today.

You get it all with Acer’s R11 — performance, reliability, excellent design, and an affordable price.

With the low weight and 360 degree hinge, the R11 is essentially a hybrid 2-in-1 device that’s as slim and fast as a regular Chromebook.

If you want to spin this model around to sit up like a tent for video chatting, that’s no problem. If you prefer it to lay flat like a tablet or at 90 degrees like a laptop, those are easy fixes as well.

But what if you prefer the more standard clamshell design over a rotating hinge?

If you don’t mind giving up the touch screen feature, you can save yourself around $50 by going with Acer’s 15.6 inch Chromebook model instead.

With the industry-standard 4GB of RAM and a dual core Celeron processor in the R11, you can keep as many tabs open as you want and still get great performance.

The only downside to this model is that it comes with 16GB of storage space rather than the 32 or 64GB you can find with other machines.

Since a Chromebook isn’t really intended for storing large files anyway, that won’t be much of an issue for most users.

Hardware specifications for Acer R11
ProcessorIntel N3060 (Dual Core, 1.6 – 2.48GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6-Inch HD IPS 360 Degree Touch Screen Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life9 hours
Weight2.65 lbs

Asus Chromebook C202SA

  • Ruggedized design
  • Spill resistant
  • Only rotates 180 degrees
  • Not a touch screen model

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a fast, lightweight Chromebook that won’t break the first time it gets knocked off the counter? This should be your top pick for a durable and rugged Chromebook on a budget!

Chromebooks often beat out full laptops due to their thin and lightweight designs. That can actually be a downside if you need a durable device, however!

With the Asus C202SA you get the best of both worlds. This is a sleek little web browsing machine that can also handle rough use by toddlers and the occasional drop.

If your whole family uses the same Chromebook — or if you need a device that can take a beating in a backpack full of books — this should be your pick.

In terms of overall specs, this one is on par with or beats out most of the competition as well. You won’t need to worry about slow speeds or lag while watching videos or using Android apps.

There is one key difference from the previous contender to keep in mind, however.

While the Acer R11 spins a full 360 degrees to flip around like a tablet or prop up in tent mode, this model only rotates 180 degrees. In other words, you can lay it out flat, but can’t bend it back on itself.

The C202SA features double the storage capacity of the Acer, however!

If you save most of your data in the cloud and don’t need onboard storage, you can get this same model in a 16GB version for just over $200.

For users on a budget, that means you get the same durable design but at a fraction of the price.

Hardware specifications for Asus Chromebook C202SA
ProcessorIntel Celeron N3060 (2MB Cache, Up to 2.48GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display11.6-Inches HD 180 Degree Display, 1366×768 Anti-Glare Display
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.65 lbs

Samsung High Performance Chromebook

  • Very thin and light
  • Excellent battery life
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Like a standard laptop style in an ultra thin and lightweight model? For those who don’t ever use the touch screen feature, Samsung’s offering in our list of contenders should be your top choice.

When you don’t care about getting a touch screen display and would prefer a slim design and low price tag, Samsung has you covered.

This is the quintessential clamshell Chromebook model, at just slightly over half an inch thick when closed.

It doesn’t have any shortage of options despite that extremely thin profile. With a card reader, HDMI port, and 2 USB ports, you can plug this unit into nearly any peripheral.

In terms of hardware, this is one of the best units at the price range. Expect great speeds whether you are writing up some text in Word online or playing an Android mobile game.

Between the all-black style and large keys for comfortable typing, Samsung nailed the design here.

The best part?

The all-day battery life means you’ll be browsing Amazon, watching Hulu, and playing rounds of Angry Birds from sun up to sun down without having to plug in!

Hardware specifications for Samsung High Performance Chromebook
ProcessorIntel Celeron N3060 (Dual Core 1.6GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6-Inch Widescreen HD Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life11 hours
Weight2.54 lbs

Lenovo Chromebook C330

  • Biggest storage capacity
  • Best overall specs
  • Highest price
  • Fewer ports than other models

Should this be your choice?

Want the absolute best hardware specs available in a Chromebook at this price range? The Lenovo’s speed and power will absolutely blow you away if you need to have tons of tabs open while running Android apps!

At just shy of $300, Lenovo’s C330 is easily the most expensive option in our list of contenders.

So why buy this more pricey Chromebook over a cheaper unit?

This option is all about the processor. Rather than the Celeron CPU found on other models, our Lenovo pick features an ARM processor specifically design with Android apps in mind.

That means you’ll get a much smoother experience when downloading Google Play games, photo editing tools, or even calendar apps.

With a 64GB solid state drive, this model also includes the largest physical storage space you’ll find in a Chromebook at nearly any price range.

With both a touch screen display and a slim design, there really aren’t many downsides to the C330.

Believe it or not, you can get a better machine than this one still, however.

If you don’t mind going slightly over the $300 threshold, Lenovo’s Chromebook Flex offers a higher quality IPS display panel.

As the name implies, the Flex can also rotate 360 degrees and prop up in tent mode, which is a huge bonus for anyone who likes versatility in their mobile device.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo Chromebook C330
ProcessorMediaTek MT8173C Processor (2.1GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display11.6-Inch FHD Touch Screen Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.64 lbs

HP 14-Inch Chromebook HD

  • Larger 14 inch display
  • Plenty of ports for peripherals
  • Heavier model
  • No touch display

Should this be your choice?

Looking for something a bit different that has more viewing area for watching widescreen videos? This should be your top pick if you want a Chromebook but don’t want to get a smaller 11 inch model!

We’re going to wrap up our look at the best mid range Chromebooks under $300 with something a bit different.

Rather than an ultra lightweight hybrid model, this HP Chromebook is instead a larger 14 inch version with much more viewing area.

If you prefer a bigger screen over a lower weight, this should be at the top of your list of Chromebook choices!

At 3.7 pounds it is a good deal heavier than the other contenders. That being said, HP’s Chromebook is still well under the standard weight of a full laptop.

As an excellent in-between option, this model is perfect for anyone who wants to try a Chromebook but doesn’t want to give up the screen size of a notebook.

Prefer a touch screen but still want the larger screen? Unfortunately there aren’t many options for new 14” Chromebooks with touch capability.

That being said, you can still find models with both features, like HP’s Flagship Business Chromebook – if you don’t mind picking up a refurbished unit.

Hardware specifications for HP 14-inch Chromebook HD
ProcessorIntel Celeron N2840 (1MB Cache, Dual Core, 2.16GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display14-Inch HD SVA
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life9 hours
Weight3.7 lbs

Should I Go With A Cheaper Chromebook Instead?

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking at the options available, you’ve probably noticed plenty of super budget Chromebooks under $200.

For the average home user who just surfs the web, sends emails, and writes up the occasional document, those can certainly get the job done.

You do lose out on some key features by dropping down to a lower price point, however.

Most noticeably, when you drop down in the $100 – $199 range you will typically find models with half as much RAM.

While touch displays are plentiful in our contenders above, cheaper Chromebooks won’t usually won’t usually offer that feature unless you find a refurbished unit.

Most machines in the $200 – $300 range will offer significantly more storage capacity with larger solid state drives as well.

On the opposite end, only a handful of Chromebooks exist above the $300 range.

They typically have the same overall specs as machines at this price range, and instead offer different features to justify their higher price tags.

The upgraded version of the Asus C302CA for instance is on par with any of our contenders above. It sets itself apart from cheaper models with an all-metal body and high end Corning Gorilla Glass screen, however.

If you want a slim device that’s extremely durable, those extra features can be well worth the expense.

Are Chromebooks A Good Pick For Gaming?

In the classic Windows computer sense of the term, no Chromebooks aren’t particularly suited for gaming.

You aren’t going to be playing GTA 5 or the latest Call Of Duty entry, for instance.

That being said, don’t discount Chromebooks entirely if you like to play games!

Since the Chrome OS revolves around web browsing, there are plenty of browser-based games you can still play online.

Chromebooks also recently added full Android app support, which has drastically and radically expanded their versatility.

From freemium gacha games to full paid RPGs and strategy entries, there are thousands of games available for Chromebooks today.

Looking for the best Chromebook specifically for gaming? We’d recommend the Lenovo model above for its better integrated graphics and higher end processor.

No matter which model you pick, make sure to invest in an extra SD card for space. Even small Android apps will quickly eat up 16 – 32GB of physical storage.

Won’t I Miss All The Full Windows 10 Programs?

Surprisingly, most people don’t even notice the lack of Windows executable programs when they make the switch to the Chrome OS.

You might not realize it, but most of your everyday computer tasks are probably already online anyway.

From online word processing tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Word, to browser-based photo editing tools like Pixlr or BeFunky, nearly anything you want to do can be done from Chrome.

When there aren’t online tools for creating documents in the cloud, you still aren’t out of options.

Now that Android apps run on Chromebooks, you can do nearly anything that’s possible on a full Windows laptop.

From chatting on Slack to finding a nearby restaurant through GPS, the Google Play store has you covered for nearly any kind of program you’ll need.

Buying A Chromebook With Great Performance At A Reasonable Price

What did you think of our top 5 contenders for the absolute best Chromebooks available under $300?

Whether you prefer Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, or Samsung, there should be a contender listed above that you will absolutely love.

Let us know which one you plan on picking up, and drop a comment below if you’ve seen any newer models that we should add to the list!

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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