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5 Best Chromebooks For Developers in 2021

As a developer, especially when you’re getting started, you need to have a computer that works with you to develop your ideas into a reality.

A Chromebook can be your development machine if you want a device that runs a lightweight operating system and grants you good performance in the long run.

Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS and you can find some high-performance model in the market.

Regardless of what you’re building, having the best Chromebooks for developers can significantly boost your performance and because the laptops are lightweight, you will be able to code on the move.

List of Best Chromebooks For Developers in 2021

The following options have been chosen from various price ranges. They are highly recommended for developers.

  1. HP Chromebook 14 – Recommended Chromebooks for Developers
  2. Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 – Core i3 with 4GB RAM
  3. Lenovo Flex 5 13” – Fairly Powerful 10th Gen Processor
  4. Samsung Galaxy XE930QCA – Expensive, powerful Core i5 processor
  5. Acer Spin 311 CP311-2H-C3KA – Very compact and portable 2-in-1

1. HP Chromebook 14 – Recommended Chromebooks for Developers

If you are on a budget and you want the best Chromebook for developers then you should definitely consider the HP Chromebook 14.

Chromebooks have been synonymous with affordability for a while now and this unit holds up to that reputation.

The specs are low, but you do get good value for money when you pick this device. It runs on an Intel Celeron processor that’s accompanied with 4GB of RAM.

The performance is optimized for lightweight workloads which means as a developer, you need to be prepared for that when going for this computer.

That said, you can get away with some light programming work like front end web development on this computer.

It can handle some moderate workloads but attempting demanding applications like Android studio might be a stretch owing to its budget CPU.

That said, you get a fresh design with its brushed white body and keyboard. The screen on this device is also a full 1080p resolution allowing you to not only work, but also consume content with high clarity.

The device measures 14 inches and is highly recommended when you want a balance of performance and dollar value.

2. Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 – Core i3 with 4GB RAM

This is the best Chromebook for developers for users with moderately demanding development environments.

This unit runs on a Core I3 processor that’s backed by 4GB or RAM. All this runs off a 128GB SSD that results in fast performance, compared to the lower end Chromebooks.

That said, this device will be able to handle some moderately demanding development environments with ease as you have a moderately powered CPU.

Furthermore, you get a full HD screen that can get really bright which makes it good for programming in brightly lit places. A downside of the screen is its very reflective which will result in a lot of glare if you have a light source behind you.

As a 2-in-1, you can use the device in laptop mode or bend it over backwards completely and use it in tablet mode. Furthermore, you can also use it in tent mode which adds to its versatility.

While the specs are not the greatest, you get a powerful Chromebook that you can comfortably use for your development workloads.

3. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13” – Fairly Powerful 10th Gen Processor

Not only does the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 look stylish, it has a powerful processor that lets you develop apps and services more freely.

This 13-inch laptop has a 1920 by 1080 resolution display which offers great quality especially at that small a screen size. Its also a touch screen display, meaning you can use a stylus pen when designing your apps.

It uses a 10th generation Intel Core I3 processor and also runs on4 GB of DDR4 memory. This gives it high performance especially when running lightweight applications.

You also get 64GB of SSD storage. This is slightly on the lower side but is still sufficient for programming.

Its moderately high performance and portability makes this the best Chromebook for Developers. You can work from anywhere and being a 2-in-1 device allows you to set it up in multiple configurations for extra comfort.

It is fairly powerful and will easily support some of the best text editors like Sublime and Atom. At the same time, the 4GB DDR4 Ram will facilitate easier multitasking and allow a smoother workflow.

4. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook – Expensive, powerful Core i5 processor

For those who work on more demanding applications or use development environments that are quite resource intensive, this is the best Chromebook for developers.

Right off, it comes with an Intel Core I5 processor which is not common for Chromebooks that are usually built for light tasks.

For that reason, you get more juice to run much heavier tasks on this computer. At the same time, you get 8 GB of memory which will make multitasking a breeze. Furthermore, the specs will allow you to emulate virtual devices when testing your builds.

Being one of the most powerful Chromebooks in the market also makes this one of the most expensive devices of its kind.

Because of the great performance, you will hardly need to switch computers when dealing with harder tasks and at the same time, you get a light device that you can carry around comfortably.

It comes with an AMOLED screen and 256 GB of storage which is sufficient enough for most of your projects. It’s a 2-in-one touchscreen device and comes with a stylus.

5. Acer Chromebook Spin 311 CP311-2H-C3KA – Very compact and portable 2-in-1

This unit uses an Intel Celeron processor which is not built for high performance. However, it is the best Chromebook for developers who want a very compact and portable device.

The unit has 4GB memory and 64GB of storage which makes it ideal for only light workloads. You can’t get the best performance out of this but for light development work and some mild scripting tasks, the laptop will perform well.

You get access to a whole suite of Google apps that will not only keep you productive while programming, but also help you track your progress and plan for other things.

It has an 11.6-inch HD screen that offers good color quality and clarity and the battery is rated for up to 15 hours of usage, however, depending on your what you’re developing and the environment you’re running, you can get much less than that.

This machine is ideal for developers who are just starting out, however, for more experienced and advanced users, its performance causes it to fall a little short. Nevertheless, you get good value for money.


Can you Code on Chromebooks?

Well you most certainly can.

There are many ways you can code on Chromebooks, one such way is explained in the view below:

How to Find the Right Chromebook for Developers?

The first Chromebooks started shipping out in 2011. The OS was new and people were a bit skeptic about how Chrome OS would perform and whether it would be a good choice when compared to some of the already available Operating Systems at the time.

The fact that the laptops were also cheaper did not help and furthermore, the laptops missed a lot of features and you couldn’t use many apps.

In 2018, Google announced support for Linux in Chrome OS and this was a huge deal because it meant that developers could now use the Chromebook as a standalone development machine.

In a move that was meant to shift a lot of developers’ attention towards these moderately low-spec machines, Google made it possible not only to build mobile and web apps, but also to run and test them.

Why Use a Chromebook?

The Chrome OS and its applications in their entirety are very lightweight. As a result, you get a machine that can run for several hours longer on their batteries, compared to other laptops.

If you are looking for stability, you can rest assured that Chrome OS will not disappoint. Not only is it backed by Google, you also get a mature operating system that has been in active development and production use for almost a decade.

Compared to other laptops, Chromebooks are significantly cheaper and they also come in smaller and slimmer sizes. They are great for travel and have become some of the most popular laptop brands in recent years.

They have minimal hardware requirements so having an Intel Celeron or an AMD Athlon CPU will still give you good performance.

Also Read: Best Chromebooks for Graphic Design

Developing Applications with a Chromebook

best chromebooks for developers
Visual Studio Code – a very popular IDE for Chromebooks

With integration of programs like Google Calendar, you will be able to plan for your application development and release schedules. Adding support for Linux opens you up to even more utilities you can use for development.

You can install popular text editors like Visual Studio Code (VS Code) and use it to write code in almost any programming language.

Because it’s a lightweight application, VS Code doesn’t require high specs hence you wouldn’t need to go for the expensive and more powerful devices. At the same time, the app is functional enough to provide a great development environment.

With Linux support, you can work on the terminal and even install other editors like Vim or fully fledged IDEs like IntelliJ.

Also Read: Best Chromebooks for Video Conferencing

Final Words

Chromebooks use the Chrome OS which is a Linux based operating system and of course, we all know that Linux is one of the most preferred OS by coders and developers.

Hence Chromebooks intrinsically have the functionality to serve as great coding machines.

In this article, we looked at some of the best Chromebooks for developers taking into consideration the many price ranges.

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