Chromebooks are popular amongst users when it comes to compatibility with Linux, which is an open-source platform, free to use, and more secure than Windows. Also, it is easy to customize by users looking for tailor-made applications. But why Chromebooks and not any other Laptop?
Because Chromebooks are highly portable and offer a better web experience than windows or any other laptops.
According to the forecast by Statista, Chromebook sales are going to increase by 17% in 2020 as compared to the last year. Nowadays, Chromebooks are designed to improve every day with intelligent AI and modern voice assistants. They are becoming more sleek, stylish, and secure to continuously deliver improved performance for years to come.
Unless you want to bypass a versatile helping hand that can transform into anything you want it to be- a Notebook, stand-up Display, Tent, or Tablet- here are some handpicked popular models for you to get started with.
7 Best Chromebooks For Linux
1. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 will give you the functionality of both a tablet and a laptop without burning a hole in your pocket. Powered by MediaTek’s MT8183 octa-core processor and 4GB LPDDR4 Memory, the Chromebook is robust enough for Linux.
Spin 311 is an affordable option for those looking for a 2-in-1 convertible as it proves a complete 360° hinge. So you can rotate it to create a Notebook, Tent, Tablet, or stand-up display. With an 11.6″ IPS HD display, Acer Spin 311 also flaunts an antimicrobial Gorilla Glass to ensure damage security.
Apart from its 32GB built-in storage, you get an additional 100GB Google Drive space where your files will get backed up automatically. The Acer Chromebook comes with 15 hours battery backup, which would be sufficient for entire day use. With a 1.05kg lightweight body, it is easy to carry anywhere with ease.
Unlike most inexpensive Chromebooks, Spin 311 comes with plenty of connectivity options, including USB, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth – A versatile Chromebook indeed.
If you are looking for high-end features like 360° hinge, snappy speed, responsive touch screen, and a trackpad within a budget, go for Lenovo Chromebook C330.
It is powered by a MediaTek MT8173c chipset coupled with a 4GB RAM to ensure smooth performance. You get 64GB flash memory for storing your valuable files.
The C330 supports Linux apps out of the box, which is great for those in need of a Chromebook with Linux support. The ARM processor inside is also compatible with Android apps and performs better than Intel Celerons.
Astonishingly, the Lenovo Chromebook comes with a ten-point touch screen 11.6″ IPS display. If our previous pick let you down for its dim screen, opt for this Lenovo model to comfortably work under any low light condition.
With 10-hour battery life, this Chromebook ensures uninterrupted productivity through HDMI port, MicroSD slot, USB ports (A and C type), and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
If you are not up for the broad bezels and want a big-screen entertainment, thank HP Chromebook 14. This device comes with a 14″ micro-bezel display for users looking for durability, ease of use, speed, and portability. The dual-core AMD processor runs on 4GB RAM, and you get 32GB internal memory for file storage.
This is the best Chromebook for Linux if you are not into heavy user applications. All lightweight Linux applications shall run effortlessly. Also, other Playstore applications run quite impressively without any performance glitch.
With super comforting keys, a precise touchpad, and a compact chassis, HP Chromebook 14 is for students and professions who are always on the go. You can depend on it for a daylong battery backup of up to 13.5 hours. Moreover, with a decent 180° hinge, you get an added convenience of viewing multimedia from any angle.
When compared with HP Chromebook 15, this model wins with a backlit keyboard and an anti-glare panel. It only lacks in terms of screen size (14″ vs. 15.6″), but that clearly is not a concern when you are looking for a compact device.
For professionals looking for a heavy-working model, Google Pixelbook Go has a lot to offer. Pixelbook Go is available in the following three configurations- m3, i5, and i7.
These variants again come up with a maximum RAM and Memory up to 16GB and 268GB, respectively. Indeed with such configurations, these Pixelbook sets become the best Chromebooks for Linux. This Chromebook has fast-charging technology and offers 12 hours of battery backup to outlast most traditional laptops.
Irrespective of the variation you choose, Pixelbook Go has a 13.3” Full HD display to offer. Thus you get wide-viewing angles and life-like color to experience maximum immersion. Further, the stellar display is complemented with dual stereo speakers for an uncompromised multimedia experience.
The Pixelbook Go comes with the so-called “Hush Keyboard.” This backlit keyboard barely makes any noise, no matter how vigorously you type.
The extra responsive touchpad is rather precise and does not take much hassle. Pixelbook Go doesn’t have any fans hence is noiseless. It also has an integrated Titan C security chip to ensure that your files and data are safe and secure.
With a 360° rotating screen, the Chromebook X360 is another 2-in-1 feature-packed device by HP. This mid-range Chromebook features Intel Celeron N dual processors under the elegant aluminum bodywork and clocks at 1.1GHz base frequency alongside a 2.6GHz burst frequency.
The X360 comes with 4GB SDRAM and 32GB flash memory. Given the Celeron processor, the Chrome OS and Linux distros will function moderately well unless you open multiple of them at once.
This device packs a 14” HD+ display with narrow bezels, making multimedia streaming and viewing quite a pleasure. The built-in stereo speakers and B&O audio tuning also guarantee an enhanced audio experience.
The widescreen viewing at the 3:2 aspect ratio makes it easy to view HD content without losing clarity. Its fanless design is complemented with a ceramic finish body to flaunt a perfect look from a distance.
The tablet mode is made extra convenient with the USI universal stylus support. Apart from that, the seamless metal keyboard deck provides comfortable tracking and typing.
To add to your convenience, Google Assistant comes integrated for a hands-free commanding.
Display: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1366 x 768 Pixels | Storage: 32GB | CPU: Intel Celeron (2.6GHz) | Wireless Communication Technology: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth| RAM: 4GB | Battery life: 12 Hours | Ports: VGA or HDMI | Audio: by B&O |
Powered by the MediaTek MTK8173C Processor and 4GB RAM, the Lenovo Chromebook S330 utilizes the versatility of the Chrome OS quite efficiently. If you are on the hunt for a robust processor that can competently run Linux distros, the S330 would be your ideal bet.
The sturdy plastic body provides superior built quality and yet is lightweight enough to wield with a single hand. The S330 greets you with a 14” FHD display powered with 1920x1080p resolution.
Even without an IPS display, the screen is reasonably bright at the maximum setting that promises a fine multimedia viewing experience.
The S330 comes in two variations: one with 32GB and the other with 64GB. The 64GB internal storage on this Chromebook is expandable with the dedicated MicroSD slot. Not to mention it comes with 100GB of cloud storage powered by google drive.
Speaking of battery, in about 1.5-2 hours, the S330 hits 100% charge that can last up to 10 hours.
With an LPDDR3 RAM inside, you get quick boot-ups, software loading, and much more. The built-in antivirus software ensures that your device is protected and keeps all malware at bay.
HP’s latest (2019) lightweight Chromebook incorporates every desired feature of a Chromebook in trendy and sturdy hardware. Under the hood, the device comes with an AMD A4-Series Processor and 4GB LPDDR4 RAM paired with a 32GB SSD. Thereby making it one of the best Chromebook for Linux.
This very affordable Chromebook offers a chic keyboard and an accurately responsive trackpad. The 14” display gives a 1080p resolution and brings out vivid and realistic colors. The trim 1.5kg device is quite easy to move around with.
Adding to that, the flexible brightness adjustments make it perfect for outdoor viewing.
HP TrueVision HD webcam with dual array microphone comes in-built. This enables smooth teleconferencing and recording, which is rare for Chromebooks. Apart from that, the touchpad is also quite intuitive, which can duplicate most functions of a traditional mouse.
The Radeon R4 integrated graphics card makes this HP Chromebook stand out from other devices within the price point. This ensures faster and smoother performance. The fans are strategically positioned so that you don’t block them when placed over your lap to avoid overheating.
Display: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1366 x 768 Pixels | Storage: 32GB | CPU: AMD A4-Series (1.6GHz) | Wireless Communication Technology: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth| RAM: 4GB | Battery life: 13 Hours | Ports: 2x USB 3.1 | Camera: TrueVision HD webcam
Chromebook runs on Chrome OS– a wonderful derivative of Linux. However, they do have certain limitations, especially when it comes to software development. The good news is that Chromebooks allow you to install your favorite Linux Distro and operate complicated and powerful integrated development environments like C++, Java, Python, etc.
In this regard, here are some Linux distros you are absolutely going to love:
Void Linux is a Linux distro made from Monolithic Linux Kernel. The OS comes with an excellent ‘package manager’ featuring a wide range of software packages in its repository. Due to its monolithic architecture, you can run important system components like drivers, memory manager, file system, etc. in Kernel mode. It facilitates faster system calls by eliminating the usage of the processing cycle while switching to kernel mode.
It also comes integrated with XBPS “source packages collection” to build & modify software directly from the source. Moreover, you can find ample software in binary packages to power up your device needs.
The most appealing feature of Void is ‘runit’, a compact yet powerful alternative to Systemd. Read more here. It enables you to keep your code size small, further minimizing your chance of encountering bugs as a programmer.
Unlike other Linux distros, Gallium OS was tailor-made solely for Chrome devices. The OS is based on Xubuntu (an Ubuntu derivative)- a faster and lightweight alternative for Chrome OS that delivers better performance than any other distros for Chromebook.
Gallium offers a generous amount of apps to use. Combine it with other Linux repositories; you have thousands of well-curated apps for grabs.
It supports multiple kernels, allowing you to set alternative kernels while operating. Meaning, if one kernel fails, then the system automatically switches to another, which prevents ‘system stalls’. Plus, the developers have also removed all unnecessary kernel modules to improve boot time and reduce memory usage.
The distro comes with a disabled kernel watchdog timer. Plus, the devs have reduced the minimum GPU frequency over time. So you are all set to witness some notable improvements in the power saving department. Overall, the best Linux distro for Chromebook to date.
Phoenix Linux perfectly impersonates the Chrome OS, offering a similar experience for users looking forward to switching their OS. Apart from providing faster boot, Phoenix comes with a lot of interesting features in its sleeve. For instance, it supports USB installation as well as other boot methods like Legacy BIOS and UEFI.
The biggest takeaway is the use of ‘Openbox’ configuration, which allows you to run applications faster and easier. However, you won’t find as many pre-installed applications like Gallium OS.
Since it is a successor of Cub Linux, Phoenix offers the same intuitive and user-friendly interface. All apps and settings are located in the bottom bar for better convenience. Coming to the performance, Phoenix OS consumes less RAM, resulting in a more solid battery life. Plus, it only takes 370 MB disk space, which makes it the best Linux distro for Chromebook for users looking to use dual OSes.
NayuOS is a customized derivative of Chromium OS featuring some amazing improvements to light. It allows more customization, security, and compatibility to Chrome devices.
Replacing Chrome OS with Linux distros is pretty challenging, especially for technologically-challenged individuals. However, installing Nayu OS is a breeze. Simply install chromium through a bootable USB stick and install NayuOS on top of it.
For security, NayuOS follows strong security policies similar to Chrome & Chromium. It comes with sandboxes that provide better isolation while running a process. For example, you can restrict access to others by installing or using a separate file system inside a sandbox.
For developers, NayuOS comes with a wide range of development and networking tools such as Python, gdb, rsync, tcpdump, etc., which you won’t find in Chrome OS. It is by far the best Linux distro for Chromebook that also serves as a major development tool for developers.
Lubuntu is a lightweight version of Ubuntu that lets you enjoy the qualities of a powerful LINUX distro in low-end Chromebooks. The OS runs flawlessly even on devices with less than 1 GB RAM. It recently migrated from LXDE to the LXQt environment, allowing you to run applications without overheating your devices.
Since it is a compact version, you can’t expect much in the GUI department. However, the built-in Arc Theme brings a decent UI on the table embellished with elegant Papyrus icons. So, you may have to spend some extra time tweaking some settings to set a custom GUI.
Although Lubuntu is targeted for devices with low-spec hardware, it hardly restricts your user-experience. You are free to use applications from other distributions as per your device’s capacity.
These high-performing Chromebooks are fast, simple, and designed for daily computing. But if you find any other models promising effortless multitasking, suggest to our readers in the comment section below. Cheers!