They may not have the powerful specs of their Apple and Windows counterparts, but Chromebooks are an innovative solution for the majority of users who perform most of their computing online. We looked at the most popular options and reviewed the Asus Flip C302CA, Samsung Pro, and Acer 14 Chromebooks in-depth below. These solutions covered a range for small businesses in terms of price and features. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.
Best Chromebook for Small Businesses in 2017: Asus Flip C302CA
We recommend the Asus Flip C302CA as the best Chromebook for small businesses in 2017 because of its combination of performance and price.
Chromebook Comparison Table: Asus Flip C302CA vs Samsung Pro vs Acer 14
|Asus Flip C302CA||Acer 14||Samsung Pro|
|Price as Reviewed||$499||$295||$549|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080||2400 x 1600|
|CPU Type||Intel Core m3-6Y30||Intel Celeron N3160||Intel Core m3-6Y30|
|CPU Speed||900 MHz||1.6 GHz||900 MHz|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 515||Intel GMA HD 3150||Intel HD Graphics 515|
|Weight||2.43 lbs||3.7 lbs||2.38 lbs|
|Battery Life||10 hours||12 hours||9 hours|
What Do These Terms Mean?
- The Screen Size is the size of the screen in inches, measured diagonally, and touchscreen refers to whether or not you can control your computer by touching the screen and moving your fingers (think of a tablet, like an iPad).
- The Resolution measures how many pixels, which are tiny dots of visual information, fit on the screen measured in length x width. The higher the number, the more detail and data can appear on the screen. 1920 x 1080 is a good resolution for HD screens.
- The CPU Type is like the brain of the computer and the Speed is how fast it works. Generally speaking, a higher Hz means a faster computer. However, it’s not uncommon for less Hz from one CPU type to perform faster than more Hz from another. Because of this, it also helps to look at independent benchmark tests (see Octane below). In most cases, 900 MHz or higher will be ample CPU speed for most small business Chromebook needs.
- Octane is a test that was developed by Google and is an independent measure of how fast you can expect your Chromebook to be under typical use — the higher the number, the better. A score of 8,000 should be the minimum you consider and 12,000 or better is ideal.
- RAM or Random Access Memory improves your computer’s performance when you’re performing multiple tasks at the same time, such as browsing the internet and keeping other tabs open for web-based apps. In most cases, 4GB or higher will be ample RAM for most small business Chromebook needs.
- The Hard Drive is the storage capacity of the computer. Since Chromebooks are intended for cloud applications and storage, they have much less internal storage than a traditional laptop. Google provides 100GB of cloud storage for free with each Chromebook, so most users won’t need much locally. 32GB will generally be plenty.
- The Graphics Card is much the same as the processor, except that it calculates your computer’s visual data to free up your processor for other functions. We included them in our comparison for general info, but if you’re knowledgeable enough to be debating between which graphics card you need for your Chromebook then you likely already know more than this guide is presenting.
Best Overall Chromebook for Small Businesses: Asus Flip C302CA
We recommend the Asus Flip C302CA as the best Chromebook for small businesses in 2017 because it treads the line between high-end Chromebooks and entry-level Windows-based laptops. Its high-end features, including metal body construction and backlit keyboard, HD touchscreen, convertible design, ample on-board speed and storage, and good battery life make it our recommendation for the best Chromebook for small businesses despite it being priced a little higher than the average Chromebook.
The Asus Flip C302CA’s specifications match or beat the Samsung Pro on almost every point — their CPUs and RAM are the same, and the Asus Flip C302CA has double the on board hard drive space. Despite the similar specifications, the Asus Flip C302CA performed the best on Google’s Octane benchmark test scoring 22,500 to 20,800 for the Samsung Pro and 8,000 for the Acer 14.
The Asus Flip C302CA’s screen resolution is lower, but still on par with most leading Chromebooks, and the touchscreen is lacking a stylus. However, for $50 less than the Samsung Pro as reviewed, these differences are negligible and not enough for us not to recommend the Asus Flip C302CA as the best balance between features, performance, and price.
The most significant difference between the Asus Flip C302CA and the Samsung Pro is that the Samsung Pro will support the Google Play Android app store natively out of the box. With expected updates to the Chrome OS forthcoming, the Asus Flip C302CA will likely support this in the future as well, but Google and Samsung have partnered to showcase this new feature on the new Samsung Pro.
Best Budget Chromebook for Small Businesses: Acer 14
If your business already relies on the Google suite of productivity apps, then a budget Chromebook may be another effective solution to help minimize your operating costs. Today’s Chromebooks can deliver a lot of power and features for a lower cost, as is the case with our recommended budget Chromebook for small businesses — the Acer 14.
The best budget Chromebook for small businesses doesn’t look like a budget laptop. The brushed metal shell and aluminium chassis give it the appearance of higher-end laptops, even Apple Macbooks, and house an impressive package of features and performance for the price inside.
Driven by a 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3160 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB eMMC hard drive, the Acer 14, introduced in 2016, is budget-friendly because of its older components but still delivers plenty of processing power to handle most of the work you will perform on it with ease. Of the three Chromebooks we reviewed, it came with the largest screen size, albeit at a lower resolution than the Samsung Pro and, most significantly, without a touchscreen. It also had the longest battery life. However, it carries the additional weight to match these features at almost a full pound heavier than both the Asus Flip C302CA and the Samsung Pro.
The Asus Flip C302CA and Samsung Pro both come with more powerful CPUs, the same amount of RAM, and true SSD hard drives that will outperform the Acer 14 on benchmark tests, but for an additional ⅔ of the cost.
For most business users, the Acer 14 is plenty of computer at a very good value. However, it doesn’t measure up to the performance of either the Asus Flip C302CA or Samsung Pro, is missing some increasingly common features like a touchscreen, and is the oldest of the three models we reviewed.
Best Chromebook for Android Apps: Samsung Pro
The Samsung Pro will be debuting in April and is the most advanced Chromebook we reviewed. It’s also the most expensive. So what do you get for $549, and what makes it different?
What truly sets the Samsung Pro apart is that it’s one of the first Chromebooks to be released in 2017 with full native support for the Google Play Android app store out of the box. Samsung and Google are partnering to use the new Pro model (as well as the Samsung Plus) to launch one of the most exciting features of the new Chrome OS — compatibility with the Google Play Android app store. This will allow you to download, install, and run almost any Android app on your Chromebook, much the same as you would on your Android phone or tablet.
The Samsung Pro comes equipped with many of the same specifications as the Asus Flip C302CA, including the CPU and RAM, but with half of the on board hard drive space (although this isn’t much of an issue since most of your storage will be on the 100GB that Google provides you with for free in the cloud). Despite the similar specifications, the Samsung Pro fell short of the Asus Flip C302CA on Google’s Octane benchmark test scoring 20,800 to the Asus’ 22,500. It greatly outperformed the budget-friendly Acer 14, however, which came in at 8,000.
The Samsung Pro also supports the highest screen resolution of the three Chromebooks we reviewed, is the lightest of the three, and is the only one that comes with a stylus for its touchscreen.
This model defies the expectations of Chromebooks being budget laptops with a lot of compromises. An HD touchscreen, stylus, convertible design, plenty of power under the hood, and a reasonable battery life put this at the higher-end of its peers. It could even be a reasonable replacement for many Windows-based laptops at twice the price. However, it’s a fair criticism to say that this defeats the purpose of a Chromebook — that is, as a budget-friendly solution — and what held it back from being our recommended best Chromebook for small businesses overall versus the Asus Flip C302CA.
What is a Chromebook?
Google has all but cornered the budget laptop market with their Chrome OS and the machines that are powered by it, Chromebooks. Based on Google’s Chrome OS, which is based on their hugely popular Chrome web browser, Chromebooks are like stripped-down laptops. By keeping the software to a minimum and by utilizing faster solid state disk drives (SSDs), the Chromebook frees up memory and processing power for faster internet browsing and web application use.
Chromebooks are something of a revolution in the computer market. Rather than installing software and saving data directly onto your computer, you can save and load the same information to and from the cloud. For those who are already using cloud-based business productivity apps, the Chromebook is a perfect solution: you can access all of your applications much faster – and for less money – than with a Windows laptop.
When they’re paired with a high-speed internet connection, web-based productivity tools like the Google Suite of Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Sheets, social media, and other software as a service (SaaS) apps open up a world of computing that was previously only available when it was installed directly onto the laptop. And with the newest versions of Chromebooks in 2017 being compatible with the Google Play Android app store, you can download, install, and run almost any Android app the same as they would on any Android phone or tablet. This makes Chromebooks an entirely unique class of computers — and one that delivers an exceptional value for your small business.
Primary Small Business Chromebook Options
There are many other Chromebook for small businesses options on the market that may be a better fit for your business’ needs. Here are some of the others that we liked and what makes them unique:
|Chromebook||Price||Screen Size||Touch?||CPU Type||CPU Speed||Octane||RAM||HD||Weight||Battery Life|
|Asus Flip C302CA||$495||12.5”||Yes||Intel Core m3-6Y30||900 MHz||22500||4GB||64GB||2.43 lbs||10 hours|
|Samsung Pro |
|$549||12.3”||Yes||Intel Core m3-6Y30||900 MHz||20800||4GB||32GB||2.38 lbs||9 hours|
|Acer 14||$295||14”||No||Intel Celeron N3160||1.6 GHz||8000||4GB||32GB||3.7GB||11 hours|
|HP 13 G1||$482||13.3”||No||Intel Core m5-6Y57||1.1 GHz||28500||8GB||32GB||2.65 lbs||8 hours|
|Acer 15||$199||15.6”||No||Intel Celeron N3060||1.6 GHz||14200||2GB||16GB||4.3 lbs||14 hours|
|Dell 11||$320||11.6”||Yes||Intel Celeron N2840||2.1 GHz||8500||4GB||16GB||2.7 lbs||10 hours|
|Acer 15||$345||15.6”||No||Intel Celeron N3205U||1.5 GHz||14200||4GB||32GB||4.8 lbs||9 hours|
The Bottom Line
If your small business already takes advantage of cloud-based productivity apps like the Google Suite to help minimize your operating costs, then a Chromebook is the next logical step in your needs. Ostensibly a traditional laptop, Chromebooks rely on the cloud for your apps and storage, which allows them to be stripped of expensive components that are no longer necessary. These pared down tools are then easier, faster, and lighter to use when paired with a high-speed internet connection — all at a lower price than a Windows-based laptop.
The Chromebook market is growing quickly, but there are already a good range of options depending on your needs and budget. We recommend the Asus Flip C302CA as the Chromebook with the best combination of features, performance, and price for your small business.