Chromebooks are great computers for a lot of different uses, but they are almost tailor-made for education. They’re designed to perform well even with modest specs, the software is hard to break, corrupt, or infect, and if a student breaks a laptop, they just need to log in on any other laptop in the school system to get back to work. There are a lot of great options to choose from, but our top pick is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214.
Best made better: ASUS Chromebook Flip C214
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C213 was one of the best Chromebooks for education for the last two years, but it was due for an update. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is an update that is worth the wait. This model is slightly slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, even with a slightly bigger battery. The 11.6-inch screen is still easy to see in a wide array of angles — and even in direct 3 PM Florida sunshine — and the zinc alloy hinge allows you to rotate the screen around 360 degrees into tent or tablet mode as needed.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is better in almost every way.
It still has two USB-C ports but has consolidated from two USB-A port to one. I’m personally okay with this change because if you need to plug in more than one USB-A accessory, chances are you’ve got a USB hub for them. The microSD slot on the side of this model is recessed, helping avoid accidental ejection, but the edges are sculpted so that a clothespin edge is the perfect size for inserting and ejecting cards. As a nail-biter, this small joy speaks to the attention to detail ASUS has taken with the rugged, reliable C214.
The currently available model — the C214MA-YS02T — only comes with 32GB of storage, but 8GB/64GB models should be coming eventually. On the flip side, though, one version of the C214MA-YS02T comes with the EMR stylus, which is a great inclusion and I have adored the usefulness of a stylus for precision tapping in tent or tablet mode. And when I’m reading fanfiction in bed, which is what I use it for most often.
- Exemplary battery life
- Stylus is nice
- Screen is readable in full sun
- Compact and rugged
- Spill-resistant keyboard
- Brand-new means harder to find
- Few discounts available
- Only 32GB storage right now
Best made better
ASUS Chromebook Flip C214
Rugged, reliable, and ready to pull an all-nighter.
This brand-new education model takes the already great C213 and improves on it in just about every way. The secondary camera is in a better position, the rugged, rubberized body is slightly slimmer, but the performance and battery are still rock solid.
Runner Up: Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1
Dell — like Lenovo and Acer — debuted an upgraded line of Education Chromebooks early this year, the clamshell Chromebook 3100 Education, a Chromebook 3100 2-in-1, and the 14-inch 3400. While the 3400’s larger screen is nice, non-touch Chromebooks are a nonstarter in 2019, but the 3100 2-in-1 ticks almost all the boxes we like to see in a Chromebook and does it without going too far overboard in the pricing department.
The 3100 2-in-1 has two USB-A and USB-C ports — one on each side — as well as a microSD slot and headphone jack, and while the extra USB-A port isn’t necessary, spares are always appreciated when they can fit in basically the same size chassis. There’s no stylus option here, which is a bummer, but performance is decent and there is an 8GB RAM configuration and a 64GB storage configuration.
While you can indeed save a few dollars opting for the clamshell version, I recommend most users get a 2-in-1 Chromebook and for studious children, a 2-in-1 is darn near required. Tablet mode is great for using away from classroom desks or in the car, and tent mode turns the 3100 into a digital art easel. It’s worth the extra cash.
- MIL-spec durability and spill resistance
- Plenty of USB-A and C ports
- 8GB model available
- Chrome updates until June 2025
- No stylus
- More expensive
- Configurations seem odd
Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1
Made for the real world, but priced above the classroom.
Dell has been making great computers for education longer than Chrome OS has been alive — and the durable product it puts out speaks for itself. Dell’s price tags reflect that legacy of quality, and while you can get higher configurations than the C214, even the base model starts from a higher price point.
Simple and streamlined Lenovo 300e Chromebook (2nd gen)
Lenovo makes my favorite Chromebook on the market right now — the Lenovo C330 Chromebook — and while the 300e Chromebook (2nd gen) is a successor to the original 300e, I love it because it’s essentially a ruggedized version of the C330 with a longer support life. Like the Dell 3100 and the ASUS C214, the 500e will receive Chrome OS updates until June 2025, meaning that if you buy this for your 7th grader, it will receive updates until they graduate high school.
The 300e sits in Lenovo’s refreshed education lineup between the non-touchscreen 100e and the stylus-included 500e, which isn’t available right now. The 300e is a touchscreen 2-in-1 with a rubberized, MIL-spec durable body that’s drop-resistant and features a spill-resistant keyboard. Port availability and configuration is the same as the C330, and the screen is the same, too, which means its bright and can be used in indirect sun.
The only area where the C330 beats out the 300e is in storage options: the 300e (2nd gen) is only available with 32GB of storage, where the C330 — as well as most other Chromebooks in this new generation — have 64GB options available.
- Rugged, rubberized body
- Long-lasting performance
- Six years of support
- 10-hour battery life
- No stylus option
- Only 1 USB-C and USB-A port
- Only 32GB storage
Simple and streamlined
Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen
Like a C330 but rugged with a longer support life.
Lenovo knows how to make a great little 2-in-1, and this Chromebook takes much of the same specs and form factor from the handy, helpful C330, adds rubber bumpers, drop resistance, and a spill-resistant keyboard, and bumps the AUE date out to June 2025.
Best Chrome Tablet for Education: ASUS Chromebook Tablet
Chrome OS tablets are still relatively new — we needed Chrome OS’s tablet mode to get to a certain point before Chrome OS tablets were truly usable without a keyboard — and right now, there are two kinds of Chrome OS tablets available: ultra-premium tablets like the Pixel Slate and budget-minded Education tablets like the ASUS Chromebook Tablet.
Chrome tablets make a lot of sense for younger students, as they’re lighter, easier to grab with smaller hands, and most education models have a stylus for doodling or tapping away at education games. If your child wants to play some games, watch some videos, and do some reading or drawing, a tablet is the best fit, and you can pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard when they’re old enough to need more serious typing than the on-screen keyboard.
Very little distinguishes the ASUS version from those put out by CTL and Acer apart from color and availability — all three have the same 9.7-inch screen, include a stylus, and feature the same 4GB/32GB memory configurations. Acer’s version is a beautiful blue, but hard to come by these days, and the drab grey CTL is primarily sold through Education channels rather than on the open market. ASUS’s model is easy to find and features a scratch-resistant black back cover.
- Includes a stylus
- MIL-spec durability
- Easy to find
- Good for younger users
- No USB-A port, only USB-C
- No 64GB option
- Expensive for what it is
Best Chrome Tablet for Education
ASUS Chromebook Tablet
Great for doodling, reading, and watching.
For younger users that are consuming content more than writing it, this tablet is perfect for watching videos, drawing in art apps, and easing children into Chrome OS before they start using regular Chromebooks in school.
Budget pick: Lenovo C330 Chromebook
As mentioned before, this is one of our favorite Chromebooks on the market right now. It doesn’t have the durability ratings that we’ve come to expect on education Chromebooks, but that’s proven to be a non-issue. I’ve been beating up on this Chromebook for six months, and while it has a few scratches on the bottom, it’s held up like a champ through overstuffed backpacks and typing anywhere and everywhere around Walt Disney World.
This Chromebook features the same port configuration and processor as the 300e, but it does come with double the storage space, and while you can certainly get by on 32GB Chromebooks, having that extra space for downloading music and movies — I mean important research materials — is lovely and means you won’t have to rely on cloud storage as often.
That shiny, shimmery white looks ten times better than all the boring rubberized black most Education models are sports. Also, since the C330 has been a popular model, there are tons of cases, skins, and keyboard covers available for it at low prices and a wide selection of styles, meaning you can take this shiny Chromebook and make it your own.
- Great, long-lasting performance
- Good keyboard
- 64 GB of storage
- Shimmery white shell stands out
- Not rated for durability
- Only 1 USB-C and USB-A port
- Shorter support life
Lenovo Chromebook C330
The best Chromebook around is great for students, too.
This shiny white Chromebook might not be rated for durability the way most Chromebooks are, but it can last over 10 hours, won’t weigh down your backpack during an all-day excursion, and with 64 GB of storage, you won’t run out of local space anytime soon.
When picking a Chromebook for your child or your studies, you may be tempted to go with a non-touch model, but fight this urge! Touchscreen Chromebooks are more expensive, but are far easier to interact with, especially for students that may be playing educational games or using artistic apps to doodle away the boredom. Styluses are great for art apps — and for people who tend to fat-finger their touch targets as I do — but it’s okay to skip it if you don’t think you need one.
11.6 inches is the standard side for Chromebooks — education and regular — because it’s small enough to be easily portable while still being big enough to get your work done on. While 13-14 inch laptops make sense for teachers that stay in one room most of the day, for students lugging laptops between periods, smaller and lighter is better. Quality 14-inch touchscreen Chromebooks also run over $500, but if you want something larger than a standard notebook, head on over to our Best Chromebooks guide for those recommendations.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.
Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation’s Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google’s Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You’ll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
August 7, 2019 at 06:50AM