Best Chromebook for Programming: A Top 10 Guide

  • by Mduduzi

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Initially, Chromebooks were intended to be affordable laptops centered around the Google Chrome browser. Thanks to the expansion and popularization of cloud services, almost every application you need is accessible through the internet. This includes programming tools such as databases, integrated development environments, and text-editors, which we outline in our guide to coding on a Chromebook. However, in addition to the tools you’ll find online, the Chromebook does allow for offline programming. Even though this can be done with virtually every Chromebook, some Chromebooks may not be ideal or well optimized for heavy-duty tasks. So, what’s the best Chromebook for programming?

Top 10 Best Chromebooks for Programming

Best Overall – Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (82B80006UX)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 13.3 Inches (33.7 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-10110U  – 4.1 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Convertible
  • Lightweight
  • Decent battery life
  • Decent price point

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a built-in card reader

Review

Despite being one of the most recognizable laptop manufacturers, Lenovo isn’t well known for its line of Chromebooks. However, you’d be making a huge mistake by overlooking Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 as a viable programming machine. Lenovo seems to specialize in 2-in-1 Chromebooks. This one is no different. You can simply flip the keyboard back and use the Chromebook as a tablet.

It’s a 13 inch Chromebook with a vibrant 1920 x 1080 display, perfect for watching videos and coding late into the night. The 64GB eMMC 5.1 flash storage makes file transfers extremely fast while cutting down on boot times.

Despite running an Intel Core i5, the Flex 5’s battery can last up to 10 hours. It has a comfortable set of I/O options. You get two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A port, and an audio jack. Overall, the Flex 5 is one of the best value-for-money Chromebooks out there. It’s a perfect companion on your journey as a programmer.

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Best Value – Acer Chromebook 315 (NX.HKBAA.002)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 15.6 Inches (39.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Processor: Dual-Core Intel Celeron N4000 1.10 – 2.60 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Well built
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Features two USB-C ports
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Has only 32 GB of flash memory

Review

The Acer Chromebook 315 strikes the right balance between performance and cost. While it doesn’t come with full HD, the 1366 x 768 resolution should be sufficient for daily programming.

It’s compact and lightweight but has a robustness to it. The 315 is a 15.6-inch Chromebook that comes with a built-in webcam and dual speakers. As you’d expect, there are no dedicated numerical keys on the keyboard.

In addition to this, it features two USB 3.1 ports, two USB-C ports, and a memory card reader. This is important information. It means that if you want more space you can purchase and connect an external hard drive. The Acer 315 is rich with enough features to make it go above and beyond as a programming machine. It’s definitely one of the best Chromebooks on the market for software development.

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Best Quality – Samsung Galaxy Chromebook (XE930QCA-K01US)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 13.3 Inches (39.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-10210U 4.2 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Features a built-in pen
  • Features an amazing 4K AMOLED screen
  • Light-weight
  • High-quality build

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Subpar battery life

Review

There’s a misconception that all Chromebooks are low powered. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is here to squash those ideas.

It’s powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor. It has 256 GB of flash memory and 8GB of RAM (although 16 GB would be better). In-line with the current trend of convertible laptops, you can flip the keyboard bach and transform the Samsung Chromebook into a tablet.

For the I/O ports, you get a UFS and MicroSD card reader, and two USB-C ports. However, you may find the lack of USB 2 or USB 3 ports to be disappointing. One of the few other downsides to this laptop is the battery life. You can squeeze out six hours at most.

But if these aren’t big issues for you, then the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is one of the best Chromebooks for quick on-the-go coding.

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Most Compact – Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H-C679)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 11.6 Inches (29.5 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Processor: Dual CoreAMD A-Series 1.60 GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Features a convertible touch screen
  • Well built
  • Decent price point

Cons:

  • Features intrusive bezels

Review

If you’re planning on coding on the go, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is the machine for you. It’s prime for work and recreation. If you’re not using it for coding, you can simply flip the keyboard back and use the laptop as a tablet.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 comes with 4 GB of RAM. This can be stifling for programmers planning to run multiple offline applications. It may not be the cheapest or most powerful laptop on this list but the Acer Spin 311’s versatility and compactness make it a must-buy.

There’s nothing left to say, the specs speak for themselves. The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is one of the best laptops and Chromebooks for work and play.

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Best Compact Alternative – ASUS Chromebook C223 (C223NA-DH02)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 11.6 Inches (29.5 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Processor: Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3350 2.4GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Well-built
  • Exceptional battery life

Cons:

  • No micro-card reader

Review

The ASUS Chromebook C223 is a great alternative to the ASUS Chromebook Spin 311. It’s also priced similarly. The difference is while the Spin 311 is convertible, the C223 is not.

The ASUS C223 also has a slightly smaller bezel than the Spin 311. Bezels on both laptops take up way too much real estate. So it feels like you’re not getting the full experience from the laptop.

The C223 has exceptional battery life. It will last up to 10 hours. As with the Spin 311, you get a dual-core CPU and 4GB RAM.

There’s really not much to say. If you’re looking for a compact Chromebook that is strictly for typing, then the ASUS Chromebook C223 is for you.

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Most Versatile – ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 (C434TA-DS384T)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 14 Inches (35.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Processor: Intel Core m3-8100Y 3.4GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Above par build quality

Cons:

  • High price point

Review

An 11.6-inch laptop may not be ideal for some programmers. That’s why it may be better to get yourself a slightly more expensive laptop with a larger screen like the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434. It has a gorgeous high-resolution 14-inch screen surrounded by a thin bezel.

It’s versatile but can’t completely be converted into a tablet. Nevertheless, the laptop is thin and lightweight. It only weighs just above three pounds (1.3 KG). This makes it easy to carry around. The OS- C434TA-DS384T version of the laptop runs on an Intel Core m3 CPU. However, there are two other versions of this model which run on an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 and Core i5 respectively.

It might be a little expensive but it’s well worth it. It’s definitely one of the best Chromebooks for software development.

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Best Battery Life – Google Pixelbook Go (GA00526-US)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 13.3 Inches (33.8 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Exceptional battery life (12 hours max)
  • Excellent build quality
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons:

  • High price point

Review

If you’re going to get a laptop running Google Chrome OS, then you might as well purchase a Chromebook developed by them too. As you’d expect, the Google Pixel Go laptop is optimized to run Chrome OS and handles heavy-duty Linux coding quite well.

In addition to this, you can expect the laptop to run for a maximum of 12 hours on a fully charged battery. However, this may vary depending on which version of the Google Pixelbook you choose. The version we reviewed sports a 4K 13-inch touch screen with dual stereo speakers.

This laptop has exceptional build quality and is lightweight. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and has 16GB of RAM. Despite this, it only weighs 2.3 pounds. This makes it perfect for the traveling programmer. The Google Pixel Go is a stunning laptop; well worth the price of admission.

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Most Affordable – HP Chromebook 14 (14a-na0050nr)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 14 Inches (35.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Processor: Intel Celeron N4000 2.6Ghz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Exceptional pricepoint
  • Features a thin bezel
  • Well-spaced keyboard
  • long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • Isn’t upgradeable

Review

What makes the HP Chromebook 14 a great alternative to Acer’s entries on this list, is the thin bezel. You have your choice of full HD, HD, or touch screen output. Every version has virtually the same hardware specs

This Chromebook is beautifully crafted. It’s a high-resolution 14-inch laptop. It runs on an Intel Celeron N4000 CPU The keyboard’s keys are well spaced out, making them perfect for long hours of typing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature a dedicated numerical pad.

It has only 32 GB of storage. Once again, if you want more space we suggest you either purchase an external drive or use cloud storage (like Google Drive).

Nevertheless, it runs Google Chrome OS quite well and the 32GB should be enough to install Linux and run an IDE or two. Whether want to use it for web development or building Android apps, the HP Chromebook is one of the best laptops for programming.

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Best FHD Chromebook – Lenovo Chromebook C340 (81T90002UX)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 15.6 Inches (39.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-8130U 3.4Ghz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Fully convertible
  • Gorgeous Full HD screen
  • Well Constructed
  • Decent battery usage

Cons

  • Keyboard keys are a little soft

Review

The best Chromebook isn’t necessarily the most expensive. That’s why the Lenovo Chromebook C340 is a great alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. Much like the Flex 5, it’s a 2-in-1 laptop running on a high-powered Intel Core i3 CPU (although, we wish it was a Core i5). It also has a hefty 15-inch display.

Some may not be happy with the amount of RAM it has and unfortunately, it’s not upgradeable. However, this should be enough for basic coding. The keyboard is completely removable so it works as a fully-fledged tablet. On the exterior, the top is made from aluminum while the base is made from ABS.

The keyboard keys are slightly rubberized and can feel a little soft or sticky. However, these soft caps may be more ergonomic than hard keys. It doesn’t much I/O to speak of but it does come with the latest standards in Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth.

The Chromebook C340’s specs and features make it a great Chromebook for development.

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Best 2-in-1 Chromebook – Lenovo Chromebook Duet (ZA6F0031US)

Specs:

  • Display Size: 10.1 Inches (25.6 cm)
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1200
  • Processor: 8 CoreMediaTek P60T 2.0GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 128GB GB Flash Memory

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Features a detachable keyboard
  • Above-average battery usage

Cons:

  • Pen sold separately

Review

The Ideapad Duet Chromebook is the first Chromebook on this list not to use an AMD or Intel CPU. Instead, it uses the Mediatek Helio P60T CPU which packs a whopping eight cores. It’s perfect for multi-threaded programming.

In terms of graphics, it uses an integrated ARM Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. Of course, since it’s more tablet than it is a laptop so it’s not really upgradeable. In addition to this, it doesn’t have a lot of I/O ports. You’ll need to keep excess files online.

The latest Chrome OS works quite well on it. Thanks to the touch screen, it’s perfect for mobile application development and testing. The high-resolution display is perfect for viewing videos and as well as working on the visual side of programming.

There’s not much else to say. If you’re looking for an extremely portable and lightweight Chromebook at a decent price point, then this is the best Chromebook for you.

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In Summary

In this guide, we explored ten of the best Chromebooks. We covered their specs, pros, and cons. By the end of this guide, you should be able to decide which Chrome OS-based laptop you’d like to program on. Nevertheless, we hope you’ve found the above text to be helpful. As always, thank you for reading.