Most folks either love or hate Chromebooks but in spite of what you might think they make good gifts for the holidays. They are all nice laptops that with the exception of one, are some of the cheapest notebooks around.
The hardware inside the Chromebooks in this list is very similar, with exceptions noted where pertinent. There are models with wi-fi, 3G, and 4G to cover all connectivity needs.
If you're not sure if a Chromebook is right for your gift recipient, it's worth taking a look at the reading material below that shines some light on Google's Chrome OS and the hardware that drives it.
Acer has been making Chromebooks for a while, and this latest model should be on everyone's gift list. It is running Intel's latest Haswell processor technology, making it one of the fastest Chromebooks around.
Hardware specs for Acer C720-2848 Chromebook:
The C720-2848 is now available at major retailers starting at $199 as configured above. There is a model for $249 that bumps the memory up to 4GB and a new model with a touch screen that appears later in this collection.
This Chromebook is not the thinnest nor lightest available but is still highly portable for the cost.
This laptop kicked off the thin, light, and inexpensive Chromebook. At roughly the size and weight of the MacBook Air by Apple, this is probably the best-selling Chromebook.
The Samsung Chromebook uses the same ARM processor technology found in most tablets. The lean Chrome OS powering all Chromebooks doesn't require a lot of horsepower, and this model runs nice and fast. The ARM technology has an advantage over some Intel processors in that it is gentle on the battery.
The Samsung Chromebook is available for $249 at retailers, both big box and online.
This is one of the thinnest and lightest Chromebooks currently available, as demonstrated in the side view above.
This variant of the Chromebook covered in a previous slide adds a touch screen for $100. It is otherwise the same as the $199 C720, with 2GB of memory.
Chrome OS is not fully optimized for touch operation but it's getting better all the time so this model may appeal to those on your gift list.
Note: this is available for order at time of publication from Amazon for $299. Amazon states it should ship soon but in limited quantities and it cannot guarantee delivery for everyone in time for Christmas.
The model with touch screen is the latest variant of this Chromebook from Acer.
Laptop giant HP has produced a couple of Chromebooks including this one with a 14-inch screen. It is the Chromebook with the largest display and may appeal to someone on your gift list.
This Chromebook is using the latest Haswell processor technology from Intel and reviewers have been impressed with the performance and battery life.
The HP Chromebook 14 is available from various retailers for $299. There is a version with 4G/LTE for $349 which also comes with 4GB of system memory.
Note: HP recently released an 11-inch Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11, that is no longer available for purchase. It was removed from the market due to a problem with the power adapter that was prone to overheating. While it will probably reappear in stores, that's not likely to happen in time for holiday shopping. That's the only reason this Chromebook doesn't appear in this collection.
This is not the smallest Chromebook but for those who might find a big display to be beneficial it might be the perfect choice.
Those who have someone on the gift list who has everything and is difficult to shop for, this Chromebook may be the perfect choice. It is undoubtedly the best Chromebook available with a price tag that proves it.
When I reviewed the Pixel earlier this year I named it one of the best laptops I've used. The build quality is first-rate and the design is as good as any laptop on the market.
The Pixel has a beautiful high-resolution display that supports touch control. It also has an Intel Core i5 processor (pre-Haswell) that runs Chrome OS faster than any Chromebook on the market.
The battery life of five hours is not as good as other Chromebooks due to the aging processor technology inside. Here's hoping Google will update the Pixel with Haswell technology that should greatly increase the battery life.
The Chromebook Pixel is available from Google for $1,299 and there's a model with 4G/LTE for $1,449 that also doubles the internal storage to 64GB.
Additional ZDNet coverage:
The Pixel is drop-dead gorgeaous, with a full metal body that is very stylish.