Around the time Google rolled out the “Switch to Chromebook” campaign, the landing page for Chrome OS devices underwent a major overhaul, and users were presented with a beautiful Material Design selector that aided in finding the right device for your personal needs and budget. In its initial iteration, the Chromebook landing page was little more than a curation of most recently launched devices and where you could purchase them. Over time, the selector has added some very useful tools that allow users to filter by form-factor, screen size, and brand. There’s even an option to sort by price. Handy.
At some point over the past couple of weeks, Google has added another useful tool to the Chromebook selector but we actually discovered it while poking around Best Buy’s Chromebook listings. The retail giant had recently started labeling Chromebooks with tags that include “Premium,” “Plus,” or no tag at all. I just assumed that this was Best Buy’s marketing team adding a little flare to the product listings to attract attention and draw buyers to products of interest. I was wrong. Later in the day, I happen to be on Google’s official Chromebook page and saw the exact same branding. There’s even a detailed description of each category of Chromebook.
Chromebooks with no tag are pretty much your run of the mill, budget models but that doesn’t mean that all of the devices in that category are cheap. As a matter of fact, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is in the no-name category and it punches quite a few boxes on the premium checklist. However, because the processor isn’t what we’d consider power-user level and it only has 4GB of RAM, it doesn’t make the cut for Plus or Premium.
Plus devices fall into what we would consider the “flagship” category when you’re looking at CPU and internals but they aren’t the most powerful and don’t over a massive amount of storage. Google labels them as having “fast performance, smooth video calls, and ample storage.” These devices include a number of 8th Gen Intel-powered Chromebooks such as the ASUS C434 and the Pixel Slate but you’ll also find 10th Gen Comet Lake Chromebooks like the HP x360 14c simply because it has an average 64GB of storage.
The Premium category brings the heavy hitters like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, ASUS C436, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. Some may find the last device in that list a bit odd as it is price exactly the same as the HP Chromebook x360 14c but remember, this isn’t about price. No, it’s how Google perceives the overall performance of a Chromebook and the Spin 713 comes with a Core i5 CPU and twice as much storage as the HP. I’d bet that the Acer is probably at the bottom of the bar for the Premium category. What’s really odd is that the Lenovo Yoga C630 is on the Premium list. Granted, it does have specs similar to the Acer 713 but the 15.6″ Chromebook is getting a little long in the teeth. Yes, it’s still a great performer and the 4K model has a snappy display but this Chromebook is getting difficult to find and it’s usually listed way over MSRP.
Google did do the right thing by listing the base Pixelbook Go as a Plus device will bumping the Core i5 model up to Premium. The performance differences are significant enough to draw a line between the two. Anyway, we thought this was a pretty cool discovery and a great addition to the Chromebook page that will help make picking a device a little easier letting users filter out models that they know won’t fit their needs. You can check out the Chromebook landing page and fiddle with the device selector at the link below.