Chromebook Plus buyer guide 2024: Everything you need to know about these AI-powered laptops

Chromebook Plus buyer's guide 2024


This week, Google unveiled a new slate of Chromebook Plus laptops. Compared to traditional Chromebooks which typically feature entry-level specs, these new devices typically cost less than $700, offer more powerful hardware, contain a faster processor and provide greatly enhanced capabilities powered by Google Gemini artificial intelligence. AI is now used to streamline all sorts of Chromebook tasks, from composing emails and social media posts to editing photos and gathering information.

For help choosing the perfect Chromebook Plus laptop for yourself or the person you’re shopping for, check out our updated coverage of the five best Chromebooks for 2024.

Chromebook Plus buyer's guide 2024


In late May, Google released a massive update to ChromeOS for Chromebook Plus laptops. At the same time, many of Google’s Chromebook partners — including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo — released updated versions of their most popular Chromebook laptops. 

What’s all the hype about? Well, Google has infused cutting-edge, but very easy-to-use artificial intelligence capabilities directly into ChromeOS and many of the online applications people commonly use with a Chromebook Plus. 

So, combined with the hardware upgrades, the latest Chromebook Plus devices are, in some ways, now more powerful than Windows laptops and MacBooks, yet they’re considerably less expensive and easier to use. They do, however, require a continuous (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) internet connection to fully function. That said, offline apps (from the Google Play Store) and local storage can also be used when it’s needed.

We recommend any of the latest Chromebook Plus laptops to students and to everyday computer users who have continuous internet access and who are on a budget. They’re also ideal for people who are not too tech-savvy but still want to handle common computing tasks from a laptop computer.

The best new Chromebook Plus laptops

Our in-house team of tech experts has been closely monitoring everything that the latest version of ChromeOS has to offer and how these new features are being implemented. Here are some of our top Chromebook Plus picks from the just-released slate of new machines.

Best Chromebook Plus for everyday use: Acer Chromebook Plus Spin 714

Acer Chromebook Plus Spin 714


The new Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is an elegantly designed, two-in-one laptop that can also be used as a tablet. It offers a 14-inch WUXGA touchscreen display with a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution and a maximum brightness of 340 nits. It’s powered using a 13th-gen Intel Core i5-1335U processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. And this Chromebook Plus comes equipped with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for internal storage.

Other features include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 support, a backlit keyboard, up to a 10-hour battery life, a quick charge feature, MIL-STD-810H military-grade durability and a generous collection of ports.

For the average user, it’s ready to handle all of your everyday computing tasks with ease and more. It’s a great option for students and those who want an intuitive laptop with AI integrations that streamline common computing tasks.

Best Chromebook Plus for online gaming: Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE

Acer Chromebook 516 GE Cloud Gaming Laptop


This is one of the first Chromebook Plus cloud gaming laptops. It features a beautiful, 16-inch WQXGA IPS display with a 2,560 x 1,600 pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. You also get a 100% sRGB color gamut, so you can expect color accuracy and detail when gaming. 

This Chromebook runs using a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1240P processor and is nicely configured with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for internal storage. It also supports Wi-Fi 6E and comes with a customizable RGB gaming keyboard built in.

This Chromebook Plus is optimized for the NVIDIA GeForce Now gaming library, so you can expect a premium cloud gaming experience that takes advantage of the device’s multi-zone RGB and anti-ghosting keyboard.

The Chromebook Plus 516 GE is also equipped with a generous collection of ports and enough computing power to handle all of your everyday computing tasks, too. The integrated speaker system supports DTS Audio and uses a smart amplifier to help the laptop generate loud but crystal-clear audio. It relies on force-cancelling woofers that fire in opposite directions and in perfect unison to create a more immersive audio experience when gaming online.

What to look for when shopping for a Chromebook Plus?

You already know that a Chromebook Plus will be less expensive than most Windows laptops and all MacBooks. However, when choosing a Chromebook Plus, you have a bunch of options. All run the latest version of ChromeOS and take advantage of AI in the same way. All also give you access to the same cloud-based apps, services and storage options.

Knowing this, when choosing the perfect Chromebook Plus, here are five key things to focus on:

  • Overall design: Choose between a Chromebook Plus that has a traditional laptop computer design or one that offers two-in-one functionality (that can also serve as a tablet).
  • Display size, type and resolution. The size of the display and its resolution directly impact how much on-screen real estate you have access to. Determine if a traditional display or touchscreen will serve you better, based on how you plan to use the laptop. All Chromebook Plus laptops can easily handle multitasking.
  • Size and weight: This impacts how easy the laptop is to carry around. Some of the new Chromebook Plus laptops are designed to be very thin and lightweight.
  • Processor: All Chromebook Pro laptops meet the core hardware requirements dictated by Google. That said, some offer faster and more powerful processors than others. The devices with better processors tend to cost more, but they offer better overall performance.
  • RAM and storage: Again, all Chromebook Pro laptops meet the core hardware requirements dictated by Google, but those that offer more internal storage give you more capacity to store data, documents, files, photos, apps and content locally on the device, so it’s accessible when you’re offline.

What is a Chromebook Plus?

When a Chromebook Plus is connected to the internet, it’s able to perform many of the same tasks as a Windows laptop or MacBook — like word processing, managing spreadsheets, photo editing, content creation, video calling, casual gaming, email management, web surfing, online shopping and streaming music and video. It also effortlessly runs all sorts of other cloud-based applications.

The new Chromebook Plus laptops build upon what the traditional Chromebooks can do, but combine more powerful hardware with an incredibly advanced version of the ChromeOS operating system that infuses artificial intelligence tools to make your everyday computing tasks much more efficient and automated. 

Since Google works closely with its hardware partners to develop and sell Chromebook Plus laptops, it has implemented minimum hardware requirements for these devices and has mandated that most be priced below $700.

The latest Chromebook Plus laptops still come in a traditional laptop or a two-in-one design. All offer at least two times the processing power and performance of a traditional Chromebook. Some feature a touchscreen display, while others focus on being lightweight and extremely compact. All, however, offer a battery life of at least 10 to 12 hours and have a display that offers at least 1080p resolution (although some offer higher-resolution screens). 

These devices all boot up in less than 10 seconds. Since the applications these laptops run are primarily cloud-based, users always have access to the latest versions of the operating system and their apps. There’s no need to do any manual updates, ever. And, Chromebooks automatically backup your work in real-time, so it’s almost impossible to lose work if you lose power or an internet connection.

Additionally, all Chromebook Plus laptops come with all of Google’s most popular applications and services preinstalled — like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Chrome, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Maps and YouTube. These laptops also run Microsoft 365, as well as popular applications like Zoom, Adobe Photoshop, Canva and Adobe Express. As an entertainment device, all of the Chromebook Plus laptops run apps for popular music and video streaming services.

If you’re an avid user of social media, a Chromebook Plus gives you an assortment of AI-infused tools to help make the content you create and post more appealing. When it comes to gaming, the Chromebook Plus laptops will connect you to many of the popular cloud gaming services (like GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass).

All Chromebooks now offer the Everything Button. It’s a single button on the keyboard that allows you to quickly find whatever you’re looking for almost instantly — whether this involves performing a Google search or locating a document, file, photo or email. Think of it as a supercharged version of Google Assistant or a Search field. You can type or ask questions to find what you need when you need it. And you can also use it to control compatible smart home equipment.

Are Chromebook Plus laptops worth it?

This all depends on your personal, school or work computing habits. If you’re on a budget and need access to popular applications, plus be able to handle everyday computing tasks, we recommend one of the latest Chromebook Plus laptops. 

Regardless of which brand your new Chromebook Plus is from, we think one of these machines is well worth the investment. They’re easy to use and have built-in security and privacy features. They’re also very versatile in terms of what they’re capable of. And they’re less expensive to purchase and maintain, compared to a Windows laptop or Apple MacBook

We also love that Google has committed to updating the ChromeOS operating system every two weeks and plans to dramatically increase the ways AI is used throughout all aspects of a user’s experience with these devices. The new AI infusion offered by Google Gemini is pretty darn impressive. 

As long as you have continuous internet access (and only need to work offline occasionally), one of the latest Chromebook Plus laptops can be a perfect tool for yourself, a child, or anyone who’s not too tech-savvy.

For more help choosing the perfect laptop, check out our coverage of the six best laptops under $500, the five best laptops for 2024, the six best laptops under $1,000, the six best gaming laptops for 2024, the five best laptops for college in 2024 and the five best budget laptops for 2024.

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