Samsung Chromebook 11.6″ WiFi - This companion currently retails for approximately $243 on Amazon. It features a Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual Core Processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM and a 16 GB Solid State Drive. The usual suspects like 2 USB ports (3.0 and 2.0) along with an HDMI port ensure that you’ll be able to connect to your usual set of accessories. While not the most powerful of Chromebooks, at this price point, it’s an impulse buy for many, and was one of the first to set the market on fire.
Acer C720 Chromebook - This gentleman is one of the new kids on the block. The C720 is a bit sleeker than the older Samsung 11.6″ WiFi, and better yet, it’s priced at $199. This has seen it rapidly scale the ranks of Amazon’s bestsellers and has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. A Dual core 1.4Ghz Intel Haswell processor keeps it ticking along, and 2GB of memory along with a 16GB SSD come with the package. One of the beauties of this machine is that it’s rated at 8.5 hours of battery life and this should prove sufficient for all those who like to browse the web while sitting next to the pool.
Acer C720P Chromebook – The C720P is essentially identical to the C720 in terms of looks and specifications, but one thing stands out. That’s right, this beauty features a touch screen. Like many others, I have not fully appreciated or realized the need for touchscreens in laptops, and maybe I won’t for some time to come, but the C720P has one, and can be had for $300. The added feature does have one drawback though; it’s rated as having 7.5 hours of battery life. The good news is that if you are indeed into touchscreens, then you’ll still consider it a steal of a deal.
HP Chromebook 14 - Many, including myself, were excited to learn of HP’s entry into the Chrome OS arena. It’s not that the other OEMs did a terrible job, although some might argue that they did, but it was more a feeling of excitement to see what a new player would bring to the game. Does this new player have any tricks up his sleeve that we had not previously seen? Will he woo the crowd with special features and looks? Sure enough, the Chromebook 14 brought a new design to the table, and was reminiscent of laptops that we had grown to love. Smooth lines, two-toned colours and beautiful curves gave it an identity of its own. You can currently have ‘the 14′ for $300 on Amazon. Like those who have gone before, it comes with an Intel Celeron 2955U dual core processor clocked at 1.4Ghz. The processor is accompanied by 2GB of ram, a 16GB SSD, and and the usual compliment of connective ports.
Chromebook Pixel – I know it’s not a best seller, and it was never intended to be, but this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Pixel. Introduced in February of this year, the Pixel caught everyone off guard. It was a Chromebook that looked sleek and sexy, well machined, and featured a touch screen. This monster, unfortunately, was priced at $1300 for the Wifi version with a 32GB SSD. As if $1300 were not a big enough insult, the wifi version was accompanied by an even more expensive $1500 LTE version that had 64GB of storage. Both models had 4GB of ram, featured a core i5 processor and bore a noteworthy screen resolution of 2560×1700. At the time of release, it featured the highest screen resolution of any notebook on the planet. As with all good products, opinions were divided. Many expressed discontent with the price but it was always seen as a device for developers, and one to show other OEMs what Chromebooks could look and feel like. Considering the much publicized rise of Chromebooks this year, I think it’s fair to say that this move paid off and paved the way for what turned out to be a great year for Chrome OS.
We bid sayonara to 2013 and wait for more surprises and the continued development of Google’s Chrome OS in 2014.