Best Windows alternative to Chromebooks 2022

Chromebook
Chromebook (Image credit: Windows Central)

Chromebooks are appealing for several reasons, and while Chrome OS has come on leaps and bounds over the years, there are still limitations you don't get with Windows. One of the big draws is the price and portability since several Chromebooks are on the smaller side. But if you'd rather have Windows, there are some great options, including the stunning Surface Go 3, which leads our list of best Windows alternatives to Chromebooks.

Best overall: Microsoft Surface Go 3

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Surface Go 2 Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft Surface Go 3

A high-end experience with a more affordable price

Reasons to buy

+
All-day battery life
+
Kickstand built in
+
Touchscreen with inking
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

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Keyboard not included
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Windows 11 Tablet Mode is still quite average
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Quite small

The Surface brand is desirable, and thanks to the Surface Go 3 it's no longer out of reach for folks on tighter budgets. Any model is easily a match for most Chromebooks, with the bonus of a touchscreen with inking support. Inking is an essential tool because the size of the Surface Go makes it a truly spectacular digital notebook when used with something like Microsoft OneNote.

The Intel Pentium processor, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM are perfect for lighter computing needs. While the optional Type Cover will get the best experience from it, it's not a compulsory purchase. You can alternatively just use any wired or wireless keyboard you may already have to type on the Surface Go and save a little money.

The Surface Go is a proper Surface but with a much more attractive price. And that's what makes it so special; it's a Surface for everyone. The pick of the bunch is the 128GB SSD model with 8GB of RAM and the Intel Core i3.

Best budget: Samsung Galaxy Book Go

Samsung Galaxy Book Go

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Samsung Galaxy Book Go

A great budget alternative to a Chromebook

Reasons to buy

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Excellent build quality
+
Nice size display, trackpad, keyboard
+
Fanless, thin design
+
Windows 11-ready
+
Samsung app ecosystem

Reasons to avoid

-
Processor performance is OK
-
Display quality is not the best
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Only decent battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Book Go is an affordable, ARM-powered Windows laptop powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c. The same processor is also available in some of today's affordable Chromebooks, but obviously, the Galaxy Book Go runs Windows instead.

The hardware is very good for the price, with a 14-inch, 1080p display paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is an optional 4G and 5G version if your budget is a little higher. Battery life could be a little stronger but the convenience of being always connected is definitely a strong point.

For a budget laptop, it certainly doesn't look budget, either, with a sleek, stylish chassis and a solid trackpad. Windows on ARM is still developing, but compared to a Chromebook it's potentially still a better option.

Best convertible: HP ProBook x360 11 G1

Hp Probook X360

Source: HP (Image credit: Source: HP)

HP ProBook x360

Type and touch without breaking the bank

Reasons to buy

+
Touch display
+
Lots of ports
+
Good battery life
+
Windows 10 Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower resolution screen
-
Quite small
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No USB-C

Several Chromebooks today have touch displays, but naturally, there are alternatives running Windows 10. HP's affordable ProBook x360 fits the bill with its 11.6-inch, 1366x768 resolution touch display that folds right round. A laptop like this has lots of versatility, for example, being folded over like a tent to give you that perfect angle for watching a movie without the keyboard in your eye-line.

You'll get an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. Not only that, but there's plenty of full-size USB ports, an SD card slot, and an HDMI output, which makes this cheap convertible notebook great for getting things done.

Convertibles have several advantages over both 2-in-1s and traditional laptops, and this excellent model from HP gives all of that at a really affordable price. It also gives you Windows 10 Pro, which itself a superb value add.

Best performance: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14-inch

Lenovo Ideapad 5 14

Source: Lenovo (Image credit: Source: Lenovo)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14

A 6-core laptop with powerful integrated graphics

Reasons to buy

+
6-core Ryzen CPU
+
Powerful integrated graphics
+
Matte display
+
PCIe storage

Reasons to avoid

-
No touch option
-
RAM isn't upgradeable

What would you say to the idea of a 6-core Windows laptop with outstanding graphics performance for similar money, less even in some cases, to one of the higher-end Chromebooks out there? Crazy, right? Not anymore. This 14-inch laptop from Lenovo boasts AMDs incredible new Ryzen 5 mobile, and it's frankly changed the game.

In the IdeaPad 5, you're getting the new Ryzen 5 with 6 cores based on the new 7nm Zen 2 architecture, albeit without hyperthreading, paired with 8GB of DDR4 3200MHz RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and 6 Radeon Vega GPU cores. Added up, that means excellent performance from both CPU and GPU in something that costs under $700.

And as it's a Lenovo you also get a brilliant keyboard and solid build quality, too. The display is a 1080p resolution IPS matte panel, and you get a bunch of ports and even a fingerprint scanner. It's an incredible value package.

The bottom line

Chromebooks are popular for several reasons, one of the biggest being their value. The Surface Go 3 is a little pricier than some of the competition, but it's worth every penny.

But some of the other choices here make more sense for other specific requirements, whether you're looking to spend as little as possible or get the absolute best performance you can for Chromebook money. We strongly recommend each and every one of the PCs featured here.