2020 was a terrible year for many important things that I do not need to remind you of. But I think it was a great year for Chromebooks. For example, we saw several advanced options from companies other than Google. We saw mid-range choices come in lower prices, even before sales. And we saw a tablet that shows the potential of the form factor that did not have a terrible launch like Pixel Slate did. So it’s hard to choose this year’s Chromebook.
And there were many challengers. My choices ranged from the $ 279 Lenovo Duet Chromebook to the $ 629 Acer Chromebook Spin 713, with the $ 409 Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook splitting between the two from a pricing perspective.
You all also had thoughts. When I asked what you would recommend for the Chromebook for the year 2020, I received a number of comments.
Here are a few, with others happy to use older devices, who agree with one of my top three competitors and even my choice from 201
If you want premium, I really like the Asus Chromebook Flip 436FA. The i3 feels as fast as the i5 Acer Chromebook Spin 13, and the screen somehow feels a little bigger. 128 GB PCIe SSD can help you provide the extra performance. The fingerprint sensor, backlit keys, large glass touchpad and USI pen are very nice to use every day. The separation of the quad speakers sounds good. I often work an eight-hour day that it only runs on battery. It is also very comfortable for the eyes, with the lid open or closed.
My new Acer Chromebook 715 with full-size keyboard, including numeric keypad and touch screen, is my ideal computer. Those familiar with the Chromebook already know the amazing potential compared to Windows 10 computers. During the Black Friday sale, I was able to buy for less than $ 300 including shipping and 7% sales tax.
Obviously, a case can be made by anyone like the Chromebook the selected is best. And it’s probably … for them. So as I said last year with my choice in 2019, this is not about the “best” Chromebook. We all have different budgets, uses, preferences and requirements, so there is no “best” Chromebook for everyone.
That said, my choice for this year’s Chromebook 2020 is the Lenovo Duet Chromebook.
Now this is not a device I use often. I went through it, got away mostly positive about it, and I take it out every now and then. Because of what I do on a Chromebook, it really does not meet my daily needs.
Yes, I can, and have used it for general browsing, email, streaming video consumption and writing blog posts. But I also write code on a daily basis, so I need something with more horsepower and a bigger screen, or at least better screen support. I also need strong Linux performance for some of my coding projects.
Still, when I look at what Lenovo has delivered at a price of either $ 279 or $ 299, depending on the configuration, I have to admit that it is an incredible value. You get a high-resolution touch screen with included keyboard and stand. Honestly, the Lenovo Duet Chromebook is a small workhorse for under $ 300. And you can often find it on sale. As of today, Best Buy has 128 GB configuration for $ 249, a saving of $ 50.
Lenovo and MediaTek (who made the processor) should be praised for offering so much value for such a low price.
Here’s how I see it: There are still hundreds of millions of daily computer users who have not yet taken a chance on Chrome OS. In many cases, people may have a specific need that a Chromebook cannot meet. I get it. For many others in this group, they just have not tried Chrome OS.
For a low entry fee, this audience can take a chance on the Chrome OS on a Lenovo Chromebook Duet. And they do not have to worry about spending $ 400, $ 800 or even more to take the plunge. Simply put, I think the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a great bridge between alternative computing options and the Chrome OS. Not to mention, many current Chromebook users picked up one for a secondary device.
No, Lenovo Chromebook Duet is not the fastest option out there, but it’s fast enough for regular web and Android app use. And it supports external monitors for use on a desk or in the office. In addition, you can use it with a digital ink pen.
That’s enough to move people outside the Chromebook camp to the “hey, this is not bad” audience. And once there, they can explore other options that can be faster, offer larger screens, or offer some other features and functions that they did not know Chromebooks and Chrome OS even had. I think fingerprint sensors, multiple virtual desktops and solid Linux performance.
I really expected the Pixel Slate to do this back in 2018, but it was not meant to be. The device had a much higher price point in the first place, but with good reason: The internal hardware is much more capable and the screen is both larger and has a higher resolution than the Lenovo Duet Chromebook.
Design choices, such as the floppy-on-the-lap keyboard extension and base model with a bad Celeron chip, did not help. Nor the weight or condition of the Chrome OS at the time, which was not on par with the actual hardware. It was eventually fixed, but the damage had been done. So the Pixel Slate simply had no chance of appealing to new Chromebook owners on a broad basis at launch.
In comparison, Lenovo Duet has had good software support from day one, includes useful accessories for a full data processing package at home or on the go, and can be easily taken anywhere. It’s a great little device at a great price, and showed that even a cheap Chromebook can keep many people productive and happy with the Chrome OS. It’s not a “perfect” Chromebook; that the unicorn does not exist. But for the price you get lots of money.
Obviously, my opinion is simply that: my opinion. If you had to choose this year’s Chromebook for 2020, which may not be the Chromebook you might be using, what would it be and why?