Best overall

Acer Spin 5

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For similar money to the top of the line Chromebook you could get the excellent Acer Spin 5. With an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM as standard, it'll have more than enough power for the sort of tasks you'd be using a Chromebook for.

Throw in a 1080p touchscreen, large hard drive and, you know, Windows 10, into a sleek convertible body that costs under $500, and you've got a perfect reason to ignore Chromebooks forever.

Bottom line: Similar money to the best Chromebooks, but better in virtually every way.

One more thing: If you want a little more than an i3, no worries. This is Windows after all, there are choices!

Why the Acer Spin 5 is the best

Why spend $500 on a high-end Chromebook when you can have an excellent Windows laptop instead?

The $500 top line was placed, in part, down to our colleagues at Android Central and their choice for best Chromebook. The Samsung Chromebook Plus costs about that, and while it has a pen and a really nice display, it's running an ARM processor and Chrome OS.

Would you spend $500 on Chrome OS?

Is Chrome OS worth spending 500 bucks on?

The Acer Spin 5 loses out in some areas, such as having a lower-res display, but it makes up for it by having proper laptop specs. We're getting a 7th generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive as well as being a convertible with a touchscreen.

The killer feature though is Windows 10. It's still a much more powerful laptop operating system than Chrome OS, even with Android apps on it now. And it comes included with the Spin 5, and every other pick on this list.

Best budget

Lenovo Ideapad 110S

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Folks buying Chromebooks are often doing so because they're cheap. Really cheap. But when you can spend not much over $100 and get an excellent laptop like the Lenovo Ideapad 110S, there's no need to.

The hardware is on par with what you might expect from a lower-end Chromebook, with 32GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The display is low-res but still nice to use, and you get full Windows 10 and all the benefits it brings.

Bottom line: Don't just go Chromebook because they're cheap, check out the Ideapad 110S for a similarly priced, better experience.

One more thing: This is also perfect to give to the kids to get some school work done.

Best 2-in-1

ASUS Transformer Mini

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There's only one Chromebook with a pen right now, and it costs more than the Transformer Mini. This superb 2-in-1 is the Surface 4 Microsoft never made, with a great display, kickstand, pen, and keyboard all included as standard.

And with that pen comes Windows Ink, and with the detachable keyboard, you have a highly portable tablet you can use it with. Oh, and it has Windows Hello, too. Which is tremendous.

Bottom line: Well priced and offering Windows Ink for less than the best Chromebooks.

One more thing: With Windows Hello, too, this 2-in-1 ticks all the boxes.

Conclusion

The Acer Spin 5 is a great alternative to the best Chromebook around right now, but there's flexibility thanks to the strength of the Windows hardware ecosystem.

You can get a great budget laptop in the Lenovo Ideapad 110S, and get fancy without breaking the bank with the pen supporting Transformer Mini from ASUS.

Best overall

Acer Spin 5

See at Amazon

For similar money to the top of the line Chromebook, you could get the excellent Acer Spin 5. With an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM as standard, it'll have more than enough power for the sort of tasks you'd be using a Chromebook for.

Throw in a 1080p touchscreen, large hard drive and, you know, Windows 10, into a sleek body that costs under $500, and you've got a perfect reason to ignore Chromebooks forever.

Bottom line: Similar money to the best Chromebooks, but better in virtually every way.

One more thing: If you want a little more than an i3, no worries. This is Windows after all, there are choices!