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With coronavirus keeping many of us homebound, there's a dramatic increase in the demand for laptops, especially affordable ones for students and those of us working from home. This has caused massive stock shortages for popular models of various Chromebooks, but we think there are still a few solid picks available that you can get in the $200-300 range.
All of the models we've selected are fast enough to handle at least a few Chrome tabs and applications running at once, and when they're available, we try to include models with large screens. We have a dedicated guide for the best Chromebooks overall, but this list is solely focused on budget options that are actually in stock right now.
HP 2-in-1 Chromebook 14": $399
This Chromebook isn't necessarily "cheap," but it is one of the few options currently in stock with a screen larger than 12 inches across. The internal hardware isn't anything to write home about, with an Intel Celeron N400 processor and 4GB RAM, but it has a robust 2-in-1 design. That means you can flip the screen around 360 degrees and use it like a giant tablet.
The main disadvantage here is that the 14-inch display only has a resolution of 1366 x 768, so it won't be quite as crisp as the screen on the currently-unavailable Samsung Chromebook 4+. Still, there are so few choices for Chromebooks right now that this is one of the best options for a 14" model.
- Best Buy
Samsung Chromebook 4: $230
While the Samsung Chromebook 4+ is sold out, the smaller (and cheaper) model is still available. It has an 11-inch 1366x768 screen, so while it's not as great for productivity work as the larger 14-15" models in this list, the greater portability might make it a better option for some children.
Other specifications include an Intel Celeron N400 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a built-in 720p webcam, and both USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports. It will receive Chrome OS updates until June 2026.
If you're enrolled in a school or university, you may be able to sign up for Samsung's educational discount, which drops the total price of the Chromebook 4+ on Samsung's online store to just $254.99.
Acer Chromebook Tab 10: $241
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 isn't a laptop, but it does run full Chrome OS, and you can connect any Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or wired USB accessories, if you have an adapter like this one). It has an ARM processor with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and a 2048 x 1536 display with stylus support.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will receive Chrome OS updates until August 2023. You can buy it from Newegg at the link below.