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The Best Chromebooks of 2013

Untitled-2 This year has seen the Chromebook go from being a nascent curiosity of the geek elite to a best-selling mainstream device synonymous with accessible, safe and secure web browsing.

Updates to the Chrome OS powering the devices has seen a move towards a more traditional computing experience, with a new app launcher, notification centre and, most notably, the arrival of near-native “Chrome Apps”. With all of this in the mix the future of Chromebooks looks bright.

And despite some late autumn sales figures showing lacklustre movement of non-Samsung Chromebooks more companies, including Dell and ASUS, are set to join the Chromebook bandwagon in 2014 thanks to fantastic growth over the rest of the year.

In this post we take a quick look at the 3 Chrome OS devices released this year that we thought stood out amongst the rest.

HP Chromebook 14

Launched: November 2013 | RRP $299 Not the 11" Version

HP’s 11-inch Chromebook may have fallen foul of acceptable product standards (resulting in a product recall) but its bigger brother was a hit from the start.

Available in a range of pretentiously named colours, and sporting some powerful innards, HP’s latest 14-inch Chromebook was priced to sell at $299. With additional models rumoured to be on the way – possibly including one with a backlit keyboard – the HP Chromebook 14 will remain a solid buy for many months to come.

Acer C720

Launched: November 2013 | RRP $199*  acer-chromebook-c720p-tile

Acer seemed keen to please everybody with their latest model. The C720 is available in a confusing choice of sub-models, each with just one or two minor upgrades to the base version that shipped with a Haswell CPU, 2GB RAM and a 16GB SSD.

The latest (and arguably most tempting) variant to be added to the C720 family is the C720P – which features the same specs as the base model but adds in a finger-friendly touchscreen.

Minor differences aside it was the $199 base version that proved most popular, becoming one of Amazon.com’s biggest sellers over the Xmas period.

Google Chromebook Pixel

Launched: February 2013 | RRP $1,299

chromebook-pixel1Powerful? Check. Fantastic looking? Check. Touch-friendly? Check. Affordable? Err, no check.

Google’s Chromebook Pixel arrived early on in the year to much acclaim. Powered by a powerful Intel i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and as much as 64GB of SSD storage the Pixel was every Chromebook users’ dream device.

Sadly, thanks in part to the materials, high-end parts and super hi-density touchscreen, it was priced out of the reach of most users. But then it wasn’t ever aimed at Joe Public as much as developers looking for a powerful-yet-portable cloud computing machine.

Also released this year was the HP Chromebook Pavilion 14; a number of revised versions of 2012′s Acer C7; and a education-only Lenovo Thinkpad Chromebook. 

  • Christian Koncz

    For the price, surely the HP14 was the best model this year. Love the Pixel, but that price and battery life are really unacceptable for a mainstream consumer. The Acer felt too cheap and the HP11 was way underpowered. Can’t wait to see the Toshiba and Asus chromebooks that will be announced at CES.

  • Steven

    Best chromebooks? Why would you even make this an article? There’s only like 3 of them.. lol

    • Wesley Files

      As the article says, there were six distinct units introduced this year. Add to that the additional configurations for the HP 14 and C720/P and that number comes to 9 choices if you only considered 2013 models.

  • Wesley Files

    Colors with completely accurate names are pretentious? Don’t think that I didn’t notice that spelling of color, so is turquoise not that common in…..your location? Turquoise is definitely common in the United States; popular with the Native Americans.

    I didn’t understand what the difference would be between the ARM based CBs and the x86 based ones, so when I bought my Samsung Series 3 in January, it just seemed like such an obvious choice after all the reviews said it was lighter, brighter, slimmer, had a longer battery life and better keyboard and touch-pad.

    Now I fully understand the difference and trade-offs. Yet……I feel hard-pressed to say I’d actually buy any of these over the Series 3 if I was buying one now. I think I’d still feel the C7 line wasn’t attractive or polished enough, I think I’d still feel the HP 14 wasn’t light enough, the Pixel not cheap enough, the HP 11 lacking in ports.

    I would definitely tell myself to get a case for the Series 3. It scratches like chalk.

  • http://toddlohenry.com/ Todd Lohenry

    I wish you would have posted this a week ago. :-D

  • TechWings

    I love my Pixel. The only time I touch the Zenbook Prime is to upload music to Google Play Music, but there’s a fix for that coming soon, so…

  • Bob Magilica

    I have an HP Chromebook 11 and the charger works fine. I think that if there weren’t any cases of overheating this would be one of the most popular laptops on the market. Great price and great value. BUT, one of the biggest problems I have is the ARM processor. Not powerful enough.
    If you are the type of person that wants a computer for work this might work. If you want to do things like play games, use twitter, and stuff like that, go for the 14.

    • Wesley Files

      Absolutely, I mean, they stopped selling the HP 11 so no one could buy it for a while. The whole thing actually had (and still has) me worried that it could have ruined the Chromebook platform’s momentum.

      I know exactly what you mean about games (I’m not a Twitter user), but I still think the ARM based Chromebooks feel really snappy if you’re a bit careful with tabs or what’s running in the background and use some smart extensions for resource management. I mean, as my earlier comment here suggests, I still think the Samsung Series 3 is worth the trade-off even in the face of the entire 2013 lineup of Chromebooks.

  • john

    Acer 720p. It just replaced a failing Mac Air that has been messed up since the last update and keeps asking me for my password. This new Chromebook is a bargain and if you stuck and Apple logo on it you wouldn’t know the difference. Great job GOOGLE! Apples days of dominance are done and if they do not start dropping prices they will not have any customers left. They can’t even make a phone that has a battery that can last a full business day. For that area I will stick to LG, MOTO X and of course SAMSUNG Note and S4. I have Samsungs Chromebook as well. Also excellent product and unbeatable for the price.

  • bars44

    I bough a Samsung first but returned because first HSN was telling it for $329. I sent it back & bought the Acer. It has a faster processor. But the mane reason, it has more connections..as in 3 USB..1 HDMI…a VGA…& Eithernet port. However, the battery is really bad. Just over 2 hrs is about it. BTW…the Acer is a 710 model, @ 4GB ram & 320 GB storage…another Plus for the Acer. At the time I bought it from Amazon For $219.00 + Free Shipping. Acer does have some 2GB/16GB models. I do wonder why Samsung decided to charge $50 More. I see Toshiba is selling their CB for $279.00. Again I wonder why that price.