There’s no denying the season at this point. There are sales and deals and closeouts and clearances everywhere you look. Though the vast majority of the retail world has moved far beyond Black Friday being a single-day event, there’s doubt as to why this day became infamous for wild shoppers and even wilder deals over the years. There’s something about the nearness of Thanksgiving, its proximity to Christmas, and folks being off work that spins up into a bit of a buying frenzy that kicks off the holiday shopping season for everyone.
So, even though we’ve seen a big rise in the number of Chromebook deals and purchases over the past week or so, I wanted to get a post out there for those of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge and give you a few tips on how to shop smarter for Chromebooks amidst the discount chaos. If you know a few things to look for, you should be all set to avoid buying a Chromebook you’ll regret later.
I don’t usually issue such stern advice against a retailer, but for Chromebooks, Amazon has become a bit of a wasteland. Even if you know the exact model you are after, it can be hard to know who you are buying from, if the price is even in the range of reality, and if the model actually matches your expectations. With flat-out untrue titles that put “2023” in the description for a device that was introduced 5 years ago, I simply cannot recommend anyone shop there for Chromebooks when there are better options like Best Buy, Walmart, Costco and Target that don’t try to mislead buyers.
Use filters to sort by “on sale” or “deals”
Depending on where you shop (we clearly recommend Best Buy), you should be able to filter your results by discount. So instead of wading through regular-priced devices, you’ll only be seeing the stuff on sale. It makes comparing and contrasting something you want to buy far simpler and you’ll be able to make your decision a lot faster if you do this.
Check the processor
Probably the most important thing I can tell you is to check the processor under the hood on the Chromebook you intend to purchase. While I wish there was a single guideline I could tell you to stick to, it’s not that simple. We’re getting there with Chromebook Plus devices, but there are some insane deals on great devices that aren’t Chromebook Plus certified right now, so you don’t want to blindly miss out on those. So here’s how I’d go about recommending deals for someone asking when it comes to the processor powering the entire device.
- See if a Chromebook Plus model matches your price point. If so, you can know you are buying a great experience and you don’t have to worry. The new Chromebook Plus models are clearly labeled and the existing Chromebooks that got the upgrade are listed here (not clearly labeled at retail yet).
- If you aren’t liking what you see in the Chromebook Plus group, look for a handful of processors. I’ll only list a few below. Since there are so many amazing deals on current models, there’s really no need to get a device with a 2-3 year old chip inside at this point.
- 12th or 13th-gen Intel Core i3 or up (the chip model will tell you the generation. For example, the Core i3-1215U is a 12th-gen chip)
- Intel Core i3-N305 or Intel N100/N200 (these are the latest small-core Intel chips)
- AMD Ryzen 3 7320C
- Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 (no Chromebook Plus upgrades)
- MediaTek Kompanio 520, Kompanio 828, or Kompanio 1380 (no Chromebook Plus upgrades)
- 11th-gen Inteal Core i3 or better (no Chromebook Plus upgrades)
Check the RAM and Storage
Next up, you need to pay attention to RAM and storage. Again, Chromebook Plus devices solve this for you, but I’d highly recommend springing for a device with 8GB of RAM if you can. If not, 4GB isn’t a deal breaker. There are great devices with only 4GB of RAM like the Lenovo Slim 3 Chromebook, so don’t make this a hard line.
Also, if you stay at or above 64GB of storage, you’ll weed out many of the terrible Chromebooks you may accidentally buy because of a wacky deal. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with a device that only has 32GB of storage on it. Just don’t buy that.
Check the screen
Get as many details on the display as you can. Most spec lists show a brightness rating on the screen and that is important. If you are choosing between two similarly priced Chromebooks and one has a 350 nit screen versus 250 nits, go for the brighter screen! But also pay attention to resolution and screen size as well. It sounds obvious, but don’t get so blinded by the deal that you forget what you are using the device for. If it’s going to be your primary screen all day, you don’t want a 12-inch device like the excellent Lenovo Flex 3i even though it is 1080p and 300 nits. You need more space, so let that guide your purchase.
One quick note: In most cases, if they don’t list the screen brightness, it is probably on the dimmer side at 220-250 nits. That’s not a deal-breaker, but again, if you are comparing two devices that are close in price, you’ll want to choose the brighter screen. Also, if you abide by the processor list up above, I don’t think you have to worry about getting anything under 1080p. But if there is one I’ve somehow missed, don’t buy a Chromebook with a 1366×768 screen. Just don’t.
Check Chrome Unboxed
Outside of those factors, it’s tough to shield yourself any further against a bad purchase. That’s why we review Chromebooks all the time. And even though we constantly do, we’ve not had time to get our hands on every single one of them. Still, if you are unsure, check both our Unboxing and Review pages on the site and there’s a good chance you’ll find a more in-depth look at the device you are considering.
I sincerely hope this helps. We try to highlight deals and create reviews to help guide consumers through the process of buying a device that – many times – can be a bit of an unknown for many. We want to do all we can to assist in that process, and I do think if you follow the guidelines laid out above, you’ll make a purchase that you or your recipient will be happy with for a long time.