Best Cheap Chromebooks for College Students

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Updated on: December 1, 2020

When reporting to college, finding a good laptop on your intended budget can be challenging. You will undoubtedly be stuck between buying an affordable model while still making sure that your choice is enough for all you will need.

Chromebooks are a good fit in this regard, primarily because of their affordability. Google has been directing a substantial level of attention to the US education market. Chrome OS has over 40% market share in this sector.

Chromebooks are favorably cheap. A typical mid-range model can cost you less than $200. The laptops are almost fully cloud-based, which means that your data will be directed to your Google Drive account.

In the case of loss, you will not lose any of your data. It will also be easy to replace your laptop. Chromebooks are additionally lightweight which makes them ideal for moving up and down in campus.

Some of the best affordable Chromebooks include:

1. Asus Chromebook C523NA-DHO2

The Asus Chromebook C523NA-DHO2 is relatively bigger than its competitors with a 15.6-inch panel. The display is crisp thanks to a 1080p touch-screen panel.

The details on the screen are quite satisfactory for a budget Chromebook. The display further features a super-narrow bezel coupled with anti-glare coating. The processing power on the device is the Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3350 CPU for fast performance. You get 4GB RAM in addition to 32GB for storage.

The Chromebook’s design is quite a bargain at its price, with a slim and light body made of metal. You get an aluminum chassis which excellently contrasts the black keyboard. Its 3.8-pound weight is well distributed across the Chromebook’s frame to feel light.

The device’s four USB ports mean that you won’t find it hard to connect to other gadgets. The USB-C port particularly offers ultra-fast data transfer speeds. A 180º hinge makes it possible to lay the device flat and share content with friends.

The laptop also shines in sound quality. It has dual stereo speakers with extra-large resonant chambers to produce high-fidelity audio. For safety purposes, the Asus Chromebook C523NA-DH02 has inbuilt antivirus protection.

The Chromebook primary shortcoming is with its battery life, which barely makes it to nine hours on normal use. The 720p webcam also takes blurry pictures, although it might be sufficient for a quick chat with a parent or teacher.


2. Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02

This device features an 11.6 inches anti-glare display with a resolution of 1366 ×768 resolution. The screen foregoes a touch-screen capability, which is a potential disadvantage.

The 2.65-pound body keeps the gadget lightweight. The snappy performance of the Chromebook is insured by the Intel Celeron N3060 processor coupled with Intel Graphics 400. The device’s 4GB RAM will be sufficient for surfing without any frustrating lags.

Asus seems to have particularly focused on durability when making this Chromebook. It features a rugged design and reinforced rubber guards. Comfortable grip handles in addition to a spill-resistant keyboard is particularly fit for use by kids. Asus has promoted the Chromebook as capable of handling drops of up to 3.9 feet.

Its touchpad and keyboard deck are made of silver plastic, and the keys are average. The keys have blue lettering, and the typing experience is average.

The Chromebook’s left panel features an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port, and a three-in-one card reader. The right panel houses an additional USB 3.0 port and a power jack. It features 16GB of eMMC flash memory.

There is a 180º degree hinge designed to allow easy viewing. The rubber grip on the Chromebook’s bottom, however, prevents it from laying fully flat. Asus claims that the device’s thermal module, battery, keyboard, and motherboard can be disintegrated in 10 minutes, which would significantly reduce repair time.

The Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is a solid budget model, especially for kids. Multiple-tab browsing can, however, prove to be slow.


3. Lenovo 11.6ʺ HD IPS Touchscreen 2-in-1 Chromebook

This device features an 11.6ʺ display panel with 1366 ×768 HD resolution. The IPS technology is suited for wide-viewing angles. The LED backlight is designed for energy efficiency.

The processor is the MediaTek MT8173C with Integrated MediaTek Graphics. The memory and storage are 4 GB and 32GB eMMc respectively. The weight is 2.65 lb, which is ideal for traveling around. It has omitted the DVD/CD drive to provide compactness.

The gadget’s 360º flip-and-fold design provides versatility with tablet, audience, laptop, and presentation modes. Users will appreciate the 720p webcam when communicating with family and friends.

The Chromebook enjoys a 4.4 rating out of 5 on Amazon. Customers claim, that this chromebook is perfect for watching Netflix, Youtube, Twitch and other online streaming services.


4. Samsung 11.6ʺ Chromebook with Intel N3060

This device has a solid design with a textured “metallic black” appearance that looks quite classy. The chassis features a smooth palm rest, and a softly rounded lip to ensure comfort. At 2.43 pounds, the Chromebook is sufficiently light for students to carry in a backpack.

The device shines in its resolution, which is quite vivid at 1366 ×768 with decent viewing angles. The resolution outshines its competitors at 259 nits. The colors on the laptop are impressively realistic, especially for a budget Chromebook.

Most of the other panels in the same category display cool and blue hues, Samsung has opted for warmer undertones.

The Chromebook has been fitted with a USB 3.0 port to enable high speeds for data transfer. The Intel Celeron N3060 Processor is supplemented with Intel HD Graphics 400, 32GB eMMc flash memory, and 4 GB memory.

The Chromebook will be sufficient for word processing and web surfing. It can last a whole workday of charge.

The gadget’s webcam will make your video calls all the more interesting with live filters like Big Eyes and Vintage. The selfies are also adequately-detailed. One underside of the device is that it gets a bit warm while in use although the plastic chassis acts as a good insulator on your lap.


5. Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook

The Toshiba CB35-B3340 is recognizable for its 13.3 IP screen. The panel is full HD (1080p) which offers realistic detail. The IPS further gives the laptop a viewing angle of up to 178 °, which means that you will be fine viewing the display from the sides.

The impressive display is the primary setting point of the Toshiba CB35-B3340.

The Chromebook’s weight of 2.95 pounds is perfect for commuter orstudentbags. It has a silver polish finish for that premium look. Its plastic cover and smooth edges make the device easy to hold and pick up.

The device sports a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 processor which ranks as quite power-efficient. You are assured of nine hours of battery life. There is hardly any stutter when running many applications.

You, however, cannot run the usual Windows software and apps, although you can use versions by Chrome for some of them. The Chromebook has been fitted with a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port, in addition to a full SD Card slot. The device’s 16GB SSD is pretty standard for a Chromebook.

The Chromebook provides a full-size keyboard. Chrome-specific keys have replaced the function keys at the top, and while this may be familiar to users who have previously used Chromebooks, it will be challenging for new users.

Its touchpad performs satisfactorily, in terms of speed and responsiveness. The Toshiba CB35-B3340 is a good selection for users who want to try out the Chrome OS.


6. Smartbook A116 Chromebook

The Smartbook A116 has a couple of useful pre-installed software, including Microsoft Office 2010, 7 Zip, Google Chrome, and Adobe PDF Reader. This set of software will especially be appreciated by business people.

The Intel Atom Z8350 CPU is designed to handle the daily requirements of working and video entertainment. The 2 GB RAM size is a downside, considering you can get cheaper models with 4 GB RAM.

It has a 32 GB hard drive. The quad-core processor is where the Chromebook shines over the competition, and it is a good choice for those elusive ultra-fast speeds.

You can link various media to the laptop as it is equipped with wireless WIFI, SD card port, mini HDMI, USB, and microphone/earphone port.

The device’s battery capacity of 6000 mAh, ensures 3-6 hours of continuous use-time. This battery life is not the best in the market, and you may opt to go for more battery hours in an alternative model.


7. Dell 3189 Chromebook

The Dell 3189 bends back into a nice tablet so students can make use of the touchscreen to share content with classmates. It has a gray plastic aesthetic which is quite plain.

The computer features rounded corners while a rubber strip covers the outside edge to guard against bumps and shocks. The hinges are adequately stiff to maintain the lid in place when bending the laptop into a tablet or tent but loose enough for kids to move.

It weighs 4 pounds, and its dimensions make it easy to fit it in the bags of middle and elementary schoolers.

The Chromebook sports an 11.6-inch display and a fairly low resolution at 1366 ×768. The colors will be vivid enough but not the best in the market. The screen impresses with its wide viewing angles from the top and bottom and sides. You will have no trouble collaborating while using this laptop.

The 3189 has a 2.48Hz Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 processor and 4 GB RAM. This combination will be enough for web browsing and streaming videos but not for heavy multitasking. You get nine hours of battery life, which is fine for everyday use.

The connectivity features on the 3189 include two USB 3 ports, SD card reader, a full-size HDMI port, and headphone/microphone jack. The 3189 is built with education use although you can still use it for business.


How to Choose a Good Chromebook for College?

The affordability of Chromebooks makes this breed of laptops ideal for college students. Here is how you can narrow down the available choices:


Chromebooks are available as laptops or two-in-ones. Do you want the versatility that comes with a 180º or a 360º hinge? If you intend to use your model as a multimedia device, opt for a convertible make for the flexibility.

Most Chromebooks aim to cut costs by sourcing for cheaper materials, and you will find that the most inexpensive ones are built of plastic. They will certainly not give you a premium look but will work just fine.

You should also opt for a durable gadget as the Chromebook will suffer various levels of abuse. Ensure that is resistant to falls, scrapes, and bumps, and even spilled liquids.


RAM determines how quickly multiple tabs run on the Chromebook. Most of them are have 4 GB RAM installed, which is adequate for medium-duty web browsing. Users who intend to stream videos while also running other tabs are better off with 8 GB RAM

Google expects owners of Chromebooks to depend on cloud-based services when it comes to storage like Google Drive. An internet connection will be enough to access your files. Those who plan to follow this route will be satisfied with 16GB or 32GB of storage.

This capacity is similar to the one in hand-held gadgets. You can get 64GB or 128GB to download multiple programs or apps or to run photo and video-editing apps.

The gadget’s CPU will be a major determinant to how fast it fulfills commands. Most Chromebooks are fitted with Intel Celeron chips which offer acceptable speeds. If you desire a Chromebook that can easily handle many Android Apps, your best bet is a Core i5 or Core i7.

The screen size relies on your needs. A 1366×768 screen is adequate for reading and writing while a 1920×1080 display is ideal for video and graphics.


Part of the Chromebook allure is their low prices. You will get a good model for between $200 to $400. These prices make it easier to replace, should your device get stolen or lost.


Buying a good notebook college, which is affordable, used to be a hassle. The advent of Chromebooks has changed all that, with some of the reputable brands in the tech market throwing their hats in the ring. For just over $150, you can get a model to write and read, and also watch your favorite shows.

These gadgets run on the Chrome OS, which is on a mission to centralize your work around your Google Account. Most applications are web-based, which means that you do not have to worry about losing your work. The models are also durable, versatile, portable, and secure, making them perfect for college students.

Categories: Computers