So, you’re looking for the Chromebook with the best screen.
You’ve done your research. You’ve decided that a Chromebook is right for you. Now you’re on the hunt for the one with the best screen overall, and possibly the best resolution while you’re at it.
After all, the display is what you’ll be staring at the whole time you’re on your brand-new laptop, so it only makes sense to pick the very best one you can find. Right?
Since Chromebooks come in a variety of screen sizes, they also come in an assortment of screen resolutions and display technologies.
I wrote this huge guide. It has a brief introduction to fill you in about what to look for in a Chromebook with a good screen, display resolutions, and about TFT/IPS technologies. That’s about half of this article.
The second half goes into detail about the 6 Chromebooks with the best screens that I’ve hand-picked for you to consider.
If you’re comfortable with diving into it without learning about terminology, then go ahead skip to the review. If you know nothing about choosing the right one, then I suggest you read all of it (or at least skim it). This will help you make a better purchasing decision.
After all, the screen’s kind of important, no?
Okay, so let’s get going.
Last updated: 5/1/17.
To get the Chromebook with the best screen, you need to know a little bit about displays and resolutions
To give you a proper understanding on choosing the right laptop, we’ll go over a (brief) overview of the different types of displays, a tidbit about their resolutions, and a small bit about screen sizes. This way you can choose the very best Chromebook for your purposes.
Saying that you want the “Chromebook with the best screen” is like saying you want a “car with the best tires.” Car tires come in all types of builds for different purposes, such as city, off-road, all-weather, summer, winter, snow, dirt, mud, etc. It really depends on what your intent is and what you’ll be using your car for.
The same goes for Chromebooks. The perfect one depends on what you’re looking to use your laptop for. The “best” can be defined in many ways.
What kind of Chromebook are you looking for?
Do you want a Chromebook with the sharpest and clearest picture? Or do you want a Chromebook that doesn’t hurt your eyes after using it for a long time? Or maybe you want a display that doesn’t burn up the battery? There are different variables so doing your research is important.
Again, you’ll be looking at the display for the majority of the time you’re on your device, so it’s critical to make the right choice.
Now that we’ve gotten the boring stuff out of the way, let’s learn a bit about them, and then we’ll proceed to the list of Chromebooks with the “best” screens. If you think you’re already knowledgeable in this area, you can skip ahead. If not, read on. I promise it won’t be too much of a dread to read.
Chromebook display technologies: IPS vs. TFT
There are two main types of display technologies you’ll find when browsing Chromebooks on the market:
IPS stands for in-plane switching and is probably the best quality you can get. It offers multiple viewing angles meaning you can look at your Chromebook from almost any direction and still see a decent image.
It’s also widely used in top-of-the-line smartphones and high-end, expensive laptops (such as Macbooks) due to the sharpness and clarity of it, though this is also dependent on your screen’s resolution.
It also offers excellent, vibrant color quality compared to other types of display technologies.
Pros of IPS:
- Sharpness and clarity of text and fine detail
- Wide viewing angles
- Consumes less power
- Colors stand out
Cons of IPS:
- More expensive than TFT and other display technologies
TFT stands for thin-film transistor and is probably the most common technology used in smartphones. It offers decent sharpness and clarity compared to IPS displays but doesn’t have the wide viewing angles nor the color vibrancy.
Compared to regular traditional LCD displays, it’s a huge improvement.
TFT screens are also known to consume a lot of power, which can drain the battery on your laptop quickly. But the plus is that they’re cheaper to make, so the model you buy will likely be much cheaper if you’re looking for a budget Chromebook.
Pros of TFT:
- Cheaper compared to IPS displays
- Offers higher resolution compared to traditional LCD displays
Cons of TFT:
- Less viewing angles compared to IPS
- Less color vibrancy
- Picture sharpness and clarity is only decent
Okay, now that we’ve covered IPS and TFT, let’s move onto the next topic- LED and LCD.
But this one won’t be as detailed. I’ll just sum it up as there’s no reason to get too complicated.
LED or LCD? What’s the difference?
Both are pretty much the same thing. LED displays are technically LCD displays with backlighting, which means there’s an array of smaller efficient LED lights rather than traditional CCFLs to provide the backlighting. Confused?
- LEDs use LEDs to backlight.
- LCDs use CCFLs to backlight.
That’s pretty much all you need to know.
Which one is better? LEDs.
The thing to know is that all laptops use LCD displays. It’s just that some are either LED LCD or CCFL LCD. Chromebooks are pretty much LED LCD, which is what you want. I haven’t seen one that’s CCFL LCD, so you really have nothing to worry about.
LED displays are pretty much more efficient, bright, and offer thinner screens compared to LCDs. If you see a Chromebook with an IPS LCD or TFT LCD display, it’s probably LED-backlit as the majority of laptops on the market all use LED backlighting now.
This is just a tidbit I’d throw in here in case you’re on amazon browsing around and got confused over all the technical mumbo jumbo.
Okay, so now that we’ve covered IPS/TFT, LED/LCD, let’s now go over screen resolutions briefly.
What’s the resolution? How do you determine it?
If you have no idea what a screen resolution is, it’s basically the number of pixels that make up the display. It’s formatted as a pair of numbers (for example 1366 x 768) that denote how many pixels horizontally and vertically make up the picture.
- The first number is how many pixels are going horizontally (sideways) across the screen.
- The second number is how many pixels are going vertically (up and down) across the screen.
When you multiply these numbers together, you get the total number of pixels on the display. You know, it’s like doing multiplication. You take the number of units on one edge and multiply by the number of units on the adjacent edge to get the total number of units, like this:
So, why is screen resolution important?
It’s because it’s the main factor in determining how sharp and clear your picture is.
More pixels = higher resolution = sharper image.
The more pixels a Chromebook has stuffed into a display, the sharper everything will be in the picture. So that’s why it’s important to choose a Chromebook with a high resolution if you want the best screen and experience possible.
You’ll often see resolutions like the following on Chromebooks:
- 1366 x 768 (most common)
- 1920×1080 (less common)
- 2400 x 1600 (rare)
These are the three most common Chromebook resolutions on the market, and they go in order of increasing resolution.
- 1366 x 768 is the most common and you’ll find this generally in the budget Chromebooks with smaller displays.
(If you want something portable, I wrote a list of the Chromebooks with the smallest screens.)
- 1920 x 1080 is considered to be “full HD” which stands for full high-definition. This is pretty much the standard nowadays for what’s considered to be high-def and makes previous resolutions obsolete.
- Anything higher, such as the 2400 x 1600 is rare and specific to only the high-end Chromebooks.
As you climb up in display resolutions, prices will significantly jump. This is because a screen with more pixels is much more expensive to make than a screen with not as many pixels, and you also need more powerful hardware (processor and video card, whether integrated or dedicated) to run anything at higher resolutions.
So simply increasing the resolution means a more expensive screen and also makes more powerful hardware a necessity, which will increase the price overall.
Display resolution ties in with our last topic of discussion, the screen size. I’ll go over this quickly.
Screen size and resolution – they go hand-in-hand
Screen size matters because the bigger the picture, the more pixels are required to keep the image sharp and not pixelated.
For example, if you have a 1366 x 768 resolution on an 11.6’’ Chromebook, it’ll look pretty good.
But if you use the same resolution on a 15.6’’ Chromebook, the image will be noticeably less sharp and more blurred.
This is because you’re using the same number of pixels on a bigger picture, which “spreads” the pixels out. Fewer pixels per square inch means a lower pixel density, which means a blurry and pixelated picture.
Think about it. Imagine if you had a bunch of marbles that fit into a square cookie cutter, and you have just enough to fill in every single gap so that the whole cookie cutter is filled with marbles. Think of each marble as a pixel. If the cookie cutter were a Chromebook’s display and the marbles were pixels, you’d have a nice, full picture with a sharp image. Each pixel is a piece that displays the overall image on your display.
Think of each marble as a pixel. If the cookie cutter were a Chromebook screen and the marbles were pixels, you’d have a nice, full picture with a sharp image. Each pixel is a piece that displays the overall image on your laptop.
Now, get a bigger cookie cutter (still square), but don’t change the number of marbles.
Add the marbles in there. What happens?
You have gaps everywhere.
Now your picture is lower quality and doesn’t look as sharp.
This is similar to what happens when you go from a smaller screen to a larger one with the same resolution. Ideally, if you want the picture to remain sharp, you’ll need to increase the resolution of it. However, manufacturers don’t make Chromebooks that increase in resolution if the screen size increases, so it’s just something you’ll have to deal with.
This is how it usually goes:
- Pick a resolution.
- If you want the sharpest screen at that resolution, pick the smallest screen possible.
- If you want a bigger picture at the same resolution, expect an image quality drop.
That’s just the nature of it. There’s very little wiggle room.
If you want a bigger picture and you want it to look sharp, you’ll have to find a higher resolution Chromebook. There are a few exceptions here and there, but you’ll have to dig for it.
Let’s move on to the actual reviews.
Okay, so now that you know a little more about Chromebooks displays, we can move onto the actual review. I’ve hand-selected 6 Chromebooks that have some of the best quality displays on the market.
But then again, a Chromebook with a good screen depends on what you’re using it for. Armed with all the knowledge you just gained, you should be able to make a wise decision. I’ll write some small details of what each model is suitable for and who it made be good for, but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the very best one.
You’ve learned a lot. You can apply this knowledge to more than Chromebooks. It also applies to Windows, Macs, and even TVs.
Let’s review some Chromebooks screens.
1. Samsung Chromebook Plus
This is one of the best screens on the market. Hands down.
Samsung has announced two new models, the Plus and the Pro (which is still pending) which made headlines all over the news. If you’re not a hardcore Chrome fan, just know that the Samsung Plus is one of the newest Chromebooks with all the latest features and also has one of the best resolutions out of any laptop.
It sports a 12.3-inch screen with a whopping resolution of 2400 x 1600 pixels. The screen is also a touchscreen and works with an included stylus pen.
It’s a convertible Chromebook, so it has a full 360-degree rotating display. Most newer models are all pushing towards making two-in-ones since it has better integration with Play Store apps. This seems to be the way they’re heading and will probably be the new norm.
The Samsung Plus features 4GB of RAM, 32GB of SSD storage, and an ARM-based CPU. It works with the pen so you can write, take notes, sketch, and even capture the screen.
The frame is also full metal so it has a very nice look to it.
Who this would be good for: A student, artist, or business professional. This Chromebook isn’t cheap, but it offers one of the best screens you can find in terms of resolution. Images and videos look super sharp. Colors are vibrant. Everything looks amazing with the Quad HD display. This is the Lamborghini of Chromebooks.
See more about the Samsung Chromebook Plus on amazon.
2. Acer 11.6 (CB3-131-C3SZ)
The Acer CB3 is one of the most popular and best-selling Chromebook of all time. And for good reason.
It features an 11.6’’ display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution with an LED-backlit screen. The resolution is simply average compared to other models, but on a smaller screen like this one, it really shines.
It has a matte finish (not glossy) with IPS technology, so both of these combined allows you to view it at many different angles with no glare. I work under bright lighting, so this really helps out. The display only shows visible glare when I’m outside.
As for specs, it features an Intel Celeron N2840 CPU clocked at 2.16GHz, which is decent, and it has Intel Turbo Boost technology for when you need it. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
With Intel HD graphics, it can render videos and play games without a hitch.
I may be biased, but it’s also the Chromebook I currently own and use myself.
Who this is good for: If you’re just looking for a cheap Chromebook with a good screen, this is for you. It’s sharp. It’s clear. And it’s viewable from many angles. You’ll need that in a laptop.
See more reviews about the Acer 11 on amazon.
3. Acer R11 Convertible (CB5-132T-C1LK)
The Acer R11 is one of the best convertible Chromebooks you can get. It’s the smaller version of the R13, but it doesn’t really lack anything other than a smaller display. It still packs a huge punch and shouldn’t be ignored.
It features an 11.6’’ HD widescreen with an LED-backlit display. It also has touch input, supporting up to 10 fingers simultaneously. It has a foldable, 360-degree display so you can position it however you want. Close up? Far away? Flat? Whatever you want, it can do it. The display is also glossy, so it’s very sharp and crisp.
It has a standard resolution of 1366 x 768, which makes it a good resolution and a good screen size at 11.6 inches. It’s also an IPS display for multiple viewing angles.
You can grab the R11 in 4GB RAM with 32GB of storage. It sports an Intel N3150 which is a Quad-Core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.08GHz.
If you like convertibles, this is an affordable one that’s also one of the best-selling models. It flips into 4 different modes so you can adjust it to suit your needs however you want it to be. Watching a movie? Flip it into immersive mode. Working on a project? Flip it into laptop mode. On the go? Use tablet mode. In a conference? Lay it flat. The different modes come in handy when you need them.
Who this is good for: If you want a two-in-one laptop and you want a good screen, this is one of your best bets.
Interested? Read more about the Acer R11 on amazon.
(Want a detailed, in-depth review of the R11? I wrote one just for you.)
4. Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431-C5FM)
The Acer 14 is one of the newer models to hit the market. It’s a traditional laptop (if you’re not into the whole convertible thing), and features some nice additions over the Acer 11.
For starters, it has full aluminum chassis, which makes it look very attractive and expensive. Imagine you, carrying a metal laptop around. It’s not heavy. Just expensive-looking.
The screen is almost as impressive as the body. It has a high resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, so if you’re looking for true full-HD Chromebook, the Acer 14 is your answer.
The display is also IPS technology, so you can view it at a wide variety of angles. It also has that matte finish, so it won’t glare when there’s a bright light present.
For the CPU, it has an Intel N3160 Quad-Core processor at 1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.24GHz. With 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, you can multitask and store all your downloads from the ‘net onto this laptop.
It also has Intel HD graphics for gaming and HD videos. The picture is good. The resolution is one of the best compared to other models. And the specs are powerful.
This one’s for the enthusiast.
Who this is good for: A power-user. Someone who wants it all. Power. Performance. And an amazing screen with crystal clear picture. This is one of the fastest Chromebooks with one of the best screens and highest resolutions you can get.
Interested? See more details about the Acer 14 on amazon.
5. Acer Chromebook 15 (CB5-571-C09S)
Okay, this is a huge Chromebook. Just wanted to get that out of the way before we continue.
The Acer 15 is the biggest model on this list. It has a huge 15.6’’ screen, which makes it the biggest screen size you can currently buy. It features IPS technology with 1920×1080 resolution for a true HD experience.
With an intel Celeron Dual-Core CPU 3205U clocked at 1.5GHz, it can handle moderate to advanced tasks without a hitch. It has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for multitasking and local saving.
The CPU also has integrated Intel HD graphics for light gaming, videos, and even photo-editing apps, if you please.
If you want a Chromebook with a big screen, this is your thing. A huge picture with a high resolution makes your experience super clear and crisp. This is a Chromebook with one of the best setups.
Who this is good for: Entertainment or productivity. You can watch videos, movies, YouTube, Netflix, and more on the big picture in high definition. And you can work with documents, spreadsheets, homework assignments, takes notes, and more with the extra screen size you have and read everything easily with the clear text due to the awesome resolution.
See more reviews about the Acer 15 on amazon.
6. Asus Flip 2 (C302CA-DHM4)
The Asus Flip 2 is the next computer in the Flip series. The first one was a huge success. Now, the newer version does it even better. With an upgraded screen, specs, and even increased storage and RAM, you can do more.
This is a convertible laptop with a full 360-degree hinge. It functions as both a laptop and a tablet and transitions between the two modes instantly- no matter what you’re doing.
It’s been equipped with a bigger screen over the original Flip. It has a 12.5’’ screen with a full-HD experience. It’s also touch-enabled too. The display is anti-glare and has a wide viewing angle to make it easier to show off things to others or yourself. It also has a light sensor that reduced reflections when it’s bright, so it works similar to any modern smartphone. This reduces eye strain and eye fatigue. That’s awesome.
Oh, and the display is also a full 1920 x 1080 pixels for that HD experience.
The keyboard has also been improved with a full-size setup. It offers minimal key float so you get that feedback response, and also has a palm detection sensor built into the touchpad so it can differentiate between your finger and unintentional palm movements. That’s intuitive.
It’s powered by an Intel Core M3 CPU clocked at 2.2GHz, and features 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. That’s a lot of room for storing your pictures, videos, and other media without needing to use Google Drive or buying an external drive.
The best part? It only weighs 2.6 pounds. You can carry this anywhere due to the lightweight which makes it extra portable. The Flip 2 has it all- a powerful spec sheet, a good screen, and touchscreen input with convertibility to handle apps, games, work, entertainment, note-taking, and more. It’s got it all.
Who this is good for: Anyone who wants a Chromebook with a high-resolution display and has all the bells and whistles. It’s one of the best two-in-one Chromebooks of 2017 and is definitely worth considering due to the amazing technology it has.
Check out the Asus Flip 2 on amazon here.
Based on all of the models on this list, I’d suggest either the Flip 2, Acer 11, or Acer 15.
These three Chromebooks would have to be my go-to recommendations based on all factors combined.
If you want an affordable and cheap one with a decent display, go for the Acer 11.
If you want a big screen with a full-HD resolution, go for the Acer 15.
If you want the best technology with all the newest improvements, along with a good screen and one of the best resolutions, go for the Asus Flip 2.
Did you find the best one?
Well, there you have it. We’ve gone over everything from how screens work, to display resolutions, to picture sizes, to choosing the right display, and a brief review of the Chromebooks with the best screens. By this point, you should be able to choose a model for your needs. I hope this guide has helped you make your decision easier
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. If you have anything to add to their list, let me know as well.
Consider telling a fellow Chromie about this buyer’s guide if it helped you out.
Thanks for reading.