This story was originally published and last updated .
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.
Asus released its first Android 11 beta build last week — not for the latest ZenFone 7 line but yesteryear’s ZenFone 6. It’s not typical for companies to treat their older models with latest Android updates before their current flagships, but nothing seems to be going straight in 2020, so what the heck. The ZenFone 7 and 7 Pro are at last catching up with their predecessor as they’re now getting their own Android 11 beta program, which you can sign up for right away.
The processing power common to flagship phones means you can expect mobile games to run smoothly on them, but for most devices, that gaming prowess is an afterthought or an added bonus. The ROG Phone 3, launching soon in the US, pairs top-shelf internals with custom hardware and software tailored to creating an excellent gaming experience — and that laser focus on performance means it's great at other things we all use our phones for, too. But nagging flaws more expected from budget phones make it hard to recommend to any but the most ardent mobile gamer.
Asus revealed the Zenfone 7 and 7 Pro last month, following months of rumors and speculation. If you don't plan on sticking with the stock ROM, Asus has now released the bootloader unlock tool for both phones, as well as kernel source code packages for developers to try out.
The fall semester's starting up, and with many schools opting for remote learning, Chromebooks are hotter than ever. Unfortunately, that means that most are out of stock. If you're fine with a refurbished unit, Woot is offering some higher-end Chromebooks right now for decent prices.
Asus landed a surprise hit with the Zenfone 6 last year, combining a clean build of Android with an affordable price tag and a unique flip camera. This year, the company wanted to build on the momentum it gained with its special device and went all-in on its custom camera arrangement with two new Zenfone 7 devices, both now housing three lenses. The upgrade to a 90Hz AMOLED panel is also more than welcome.
ASUS’s big flagship launch for the year is just around the corner. But two days before the company will officially take the wraps off its ZenFone 7 series, a couple of leaks have popped up to reveal what at least one of the upcoming models is going to look like. That nifty flip-up camera from last year’s ZenFone 6 looks set to make an appearance once again to give the phone a clean, notch-less front.
ASUS has been improving on its ZenFones with every generation, which means we have high hopes for the ZenFone 7 line. A YouTube live stream event for the ZenFone 7 launch has just been listed for August 26th, less than two weeks away.
The ROG Phone 3 debuted just a few days ago with some pretty ridiculous specs, but the high refresh rate is what the ROG Phone line is primarily known for. This latest version has a display said to be capable of 144Hz, but it seems that ASUS has a 160Hz mode in testing that anyone with an ROG Phone 3 can activate with one ADB command.