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Chromebooks have been going in and out of stock over the past few months, first because of the initial spike in working from home, and later due to the start of remote schooling. Thankfully, if you're still after a Chrome OS laptop, there are a few solid options in the $200-300 price 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.
It's a well-known fact that AMD has had an impressive year with its Ryzen series of processors. Thanks to its 7-nanometer process, the company scored massive leaps in performance compared to Intel's offerings, catching the attention of several manufacturers. With Ryzen 5000 and 5000U series launch around the corner, it was only natural for Google to begin developing a reference board designed around the new chipset, paving the way for flagship performance in Chromebooks.
With so many people working and learning from home these days, Chromebooks are a hot commodity. Acer's Chromebook Spin 713 would be a great choice even without being in our current predicament. It's a premium device with the hardware to match, but right now, Best Buy is offering it for a full $80 off, making this laptop a steal at $549.
Let's be honest: searching for a decent screen recorder for your Chromebook sucks. Most "free" screen capture software found online requires you to pay an expensive subscription to unlock essential features, like unlimited and high-resolution video recordings. Although a video capture card will give you full control, like the ability to record using your Chromebook's native resolution, not everyone wants to invest in a costly desktop computer. The developers at Google seem to have realized that people don't want to pay a subscription to get decent screen recordings, so they finally decided to add a native solution to Chrome OS.
Are you tired of hunting for your files? Let's be honest: diving deep into a labyrinth of folders to find essential files is super frustrating. Using the files manager's search function is cumbersome, and, if you're like me, you're probably annoyed how much valuable time is wasted clicking and searching. The developers at Google realized that people care about getting their tasks done efficiently, so they tackled the clicking problem head-on to see if they could limit the number of clicks people make to get to their important files. We finally have an early preview of their solution.
The demand for flatbed scanners and printers has never been higher since the global pandemic brought students and employees home. Although document scanning on a PC operating system is easy thanks to broad software support from manufacturers, Chromebook owners have had to rely on workarounds to digitize their papers on Chrome OS. With the release of the native print jobs app on OS 86, it looks like Google is close to bringing a native scan tool to everyone.
Acer is among the better-known Chromebook producers, churning out good to great Chrome OS devices every other month, including the first Snapdragon 7c-powered laptop with Google's software. But the company also has great regular Intel Chromebooks to offer, such as the Chromebook 715 we've reviewed favorably. Its 128GB i3 variant is currently available for only $349 on Walmart, which is $150 off. We've already seen it for only $329, but that was a refurb of the much weaker Intel Pentium 64GB variant.
It's been a rough couple of weeks for Google's Pixel Slate following our coverage of a severe hardware issue affecting the Core i5 edition. For many Pixel Slate owners, that hardware was a significant step back from Google's critically acclaimed Pixelbook, which has been praised for its stellar design and speedy performance. In what seems like a series of unfortunate events, the original Pixelbook now finds itself in a nasty predicament that, similar to the Pixel Slate situation, can't easily be fixed with a software update.
It's no secret that Google's Pixel Slate has been a colossal disaster since it launched in late 2018. Google was betting big on making a compelling tablet powered by Chrome OS, but the software quirks, egregious price, and awkward tablet experience made it a painful product to use. The good news is that Google fixed most of the weird software bugs with updates, resulting in a much-improved user experience that doesn't nearly impede your workflow as much as it did before. However, the Pixel Slate once again finds itself in a nasty predicament, and it's something that can't easily be fixed by updating the software.