The best 5 affordable Chromebooks for back-to-school or distance learning

best affordable chromebooks

by Sophie Knight |
Posted on

Whether you’re returning to school or university, or embarking on a new distance learning course, a Chromebook is an affordable device offering the best of both worlds in that it can be used as a tablet as well as a laptop.

Over the past few years, personal computers and laptops have become integral parts of our lives. The pandemic saw a swathe of people suddenly working from home, needing their own tech to work or learn from their own studies or kitchen tables.

Technology is vital for our lives, and for our children too now - with more schools requesting children and teenagers have access to their own computers.

With so much tech on the market, it can be hard to narrow down what you need. If you’re looking for tech for your child returning to school or uni, or if you’re starting a distance learning course, a Chromebook can be one of the best options.

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop powered by Google; they use a cloud for storage, and run ChromeOS as their operating system. Chromebooks tend to be faster than other makes of laptop, and have plenty of storage abilities for school or university; they’re often the cheapest variety on the market, too.

Many feature touchscreens, which younger people are familiar with - hands up if your toddler can operate the touchscreen on your phone better than you can. An additional bonus is the battery life - Chromebooks are famous for having some of the longest-lasting batteries of any laptops.

Do Chromebooks work with apps?

Yes. Your Chromebook will feature all sorts of apps to help you work and play, available offline as well as connected to the internet. They will have built-in features such as photo editors and media players, and access to thousands of additional apps via the Chrome App Store.

Why is a Chromebook best for a child or teenager?

One of the biggest benefits to getting a Chromebook for a young person is their affordability; plus, they are generally pretty robust and sturdy, meaning they’ll be suitable for school bags or uni rucksacks. We all know that children and teenagers aren’t renowned for looking after their belongings. One worry about investing in an Apple Mac is the cost considering the general clumsiness of young people, so spending less on a Chromebook is a good idea. We do recommend looking into getting gadget insurance for your Chromebook, to be on the safe side.

Chromebooks are often more lightweight than Microsoft or Apple laptops; plus, most of them have a ‘flip’ function, making them more versatile and practical.

Which Chromebook should I buy?

As with all tech and laptops in particular, they all come with a variety of functions and abilities - and different price tags. Before you invest in a Chromebook, decide what you need it to, what your budget is, and how often it’s going to be used. This will help you create a list of desirable features, and you can then map them against what each Chromebook offers.

For children at school:

If your child is in secondary school - or even some primary schools - and a laptop is required, then durability is the most important function you’ll be looking for. The features and power are less important than the ability to remain in one piece by the end of term.

For young people starting university:

Now’s the time to look more at function and features, such as storage and power. Research the types of processor the Chromebook is using, and make sure it can stand up to intense essay-writing and research, and potential media production too. You can end up spending as much on a powerful Chromebook as on a Microsoft laptop, so make sure you’re investing in the right type for your requirements.

For distance learning:

If you’re starting a distance-learning course, then it’s less important that your laptop is portable and flexible, and more vital that it’s fast and powerful. You want to be able to keep up with the research and practical requirements of your course with decent power, a strong processor, and plenty of memory.

Here, we’ve shortlisted five of the best Chromebooks for back-to-school or distance learning, whatever your age.

<strong>Best Chromebook laptop</strong>

asus chromebook

Rrp: £699.99

Price: £599.99


If you’re looking to spend less than £1,000 but still get a powerful, speedy Chromebook, then this


  • Fast, reliable and powerful. 
  • 8 hours battery life


  • You’ll need to use a Cloud for storage if you have a lot of files. 

<strong>Best value Chromebook</strong>

lenovo ideapad flex

Rrp: £429.99

Price: £299


The Flex 3 is a great choice if you want a really flexible, lightweight laptop, and it boasts nine


  • Great value for money
  • Professional installation available at additional cost


  • Less storage 

<strong>Best versatile Chromebook</strong>

hp chromebook

Rrp: £581.99

Price: £540


Not only does this Chromebook look good, but it’s really versatile too. Whether you’re writing,


  • Battery lasts a great amount of time
  • Versatile as can be used as a laptop or tablet


  • Some reviews mentioned Chrome OS wasn't installed

<strong>Best Chromebook for graphic design</strong>

asus touchscreen chromebook
Price: £799.99


If you’re looking for a Chromebook for artwork and graphic design, then this is a great choice.


  • Fast, lightweight and powerful 
  • Security is all handled from the main Google server so its always up to date for safe browsing


  • Underwhelming standard RAM 

<strong>Best Chromebook for solid performance </strong>

acer chromebook
Price: £287


This laptop comes in at a great price if you’re looking for sturdy and reliable. We spoke


  • Good value for money 
  • best of both worlds


  • The heaviest Chromebook on our list 

Sophie Knight is a journalist and mum of two, and previously edited before moving on to write about family cars for Sophie went on to become Commercial Content Editor for M&B, CloserHeatEmpireYoursGarden News, and before deciding to dedicate more of her time to her family and write freelance.

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