Chromebooks are cheap and effective computers that do well as document editors, web surfers, and media streamers. With Black Friday looming on the horizon, they're even cheaper: HP has a couple of capable 14" Full HD Chromebooks which you can get for as low as $149 from Best Buy.
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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.
A stylus looks cool in your hand (to say nothing of being useful) while sketching out a detailed drawing, but it's a lot less cool when it's sticking out of a charging port to juice up. The Universal Stylus Initiative want to change that with a plan to enable wireless charging for USI styluses — using the NFC technology found on many modern smartphones.
Demand for cheap but reliable PCs has never been higher since the global pandemic forced students across the country to shift to distance learning. Thanks to the affordability and dependability of Chromebooks, institutions are moving to Google's platform to bring students online, leading to tremendous sales growth worldwide.
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.
We all know how annoying it is when your internet connection suddenly drops out. While PC operating systems have built-in diagnostic features to help frustrated users get back online, Chromebook owners have had to download and install the Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics app manually. With the clock ticking on Chrome apps, it looks like Google's trying once again to bring user-friendly network diagnostics to Chromebooks, in the form of a new native tool.
Google is renaming that keyboard button on Chromebooks that lives just above the left shift and below tab. And nope, it's not "caps lock." On Chromebooks, it was previously called the Search or Launcher button, but now Google is rebranding it as the Everything Button and changing other shortcuts to make better use of it.
Dark mode has been a popular feature request among Chrome OS users for a long time. Although the OS uses a "light" theme by default, it has some random splashes of dark elements, including the launcher and the shelf. Last month, I explained in detail how bringing consistency to the current "light" theme would improve usability, but at the time, there was no information about when a true, system-wide dark mode would ship. Sure, the launcher search bar got a bit darker recently, but what people want is to turn off the lights and minimize eye strain when using their computers over extended periods.
Every weekend, we assemble the latest headlines, editorials, and exclusive content into the Android Police Newsletter and send it out to thousands of readers. If you're not one of those readers, you could be missing out on the most important stories of the week, as well as content you'll only find in the newsletter, like our Pixel 5 and 4a 5G Q&A. Here's all the important stuff featured in the Android Police Newsletter from October 18, 2020.