2022 Chromebook of the Year Framework

My pick for 2022 Chromebook of the Year

The calendar has flipped to 2023 and that means it’s time to share my pick for 2022 Chromebook of the Year. This is something I’ve done annually every January since starting the site. If you missed the prior editions, they’re available below:

As I do every year, I want to be clear about my Chromebook of the Year thoughts.

What my Chromebook of the Year pick is and isn’t

This is not meant to tell you what Chromebook to buy. Everyone has a different budget in combination with their own unique use cases and personal requirements. Nor am I saying which is the “best” Chromebook to have launched in 2022. I’m not one to provide a universal best choice for the reasons I just mentioned.

Instead, I select a ChromeOS device that I feel moved the entire category forward in one or more ways.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Lenovo Duet Chromebook

A perfect example of this is my choice for 2020. The Lenovo Duet Chromebook was affordable, had an excellent display and enough performance for every day basic web usage.

Here’s what I said when choosing that device:

“For a low cost-of-entry, this audience can take the chance of Chrome OS on a Lenovo Chromebook Duet. And they don’t have to worry about spending $400, $800 or even more to take that chance. Simply put, I think the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a great bridge between alternative computing choices and Chrome OS. Not to mention, many current Chromebook users picked one up for a secondary device.”

That’s why even though the Duet wasn’t the right device for me and my higher computational tasks, I chose it as a Chromebook of the Year. It provided that a Google hardware partner could make an appealing, capable device that the masses could afford. This year’s pick is also an appealing, capable device — very capable, in fact — but not an inexpensive one.

Contenders for 2022 Chromebook of the Year

Before sharing my pick, here are the devices that were the biggest contenders in my mind.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook and pen

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook wowed me with its capabilities and it’s a great device for the right user. The first, and still only, haptic trackpad on a Chromebook is innovative and improves the user experience. And the rechargeable USI stylus that magnetically attaches to the chassis is a nice touch too. But that’s not enough to justify the high price compared to other devices. Nor is it enough to move the needle for Chromebooks at large, however.

Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook is one of my favorite Chromebooks of 2022
Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet 3

Following on the heels of the 2020 Duet Chromebook and the 2021 Duet 5 Chromebook, the updated version of the former device was in the mix this year. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 improved over its predecessor in many ways. With a new chipset, it brought more performance. The slightly tweaked display provided a higher resolution and larger surface. The addition of a second USB Type-C port was welcome, as was the better keyboard. However, the price did rise a little and for not much more money, you can buy the larger Duet 5. So I don’t think this successor device offered that “pick of the year” magic as its predecessor.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review
The Acer Chromebook Vero 514

One the largest efforts towards a more eco-conscious device arrived this year in the Acer Chromebook Vero 514. I sincerely appreciate what Acer put together here. The chassis uses 30% post-consumer recycled plastic while the keycaps use 50% of the same materials. The trackpad is made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. And it’s all put together in a very well built package, combined with excellent performance. Personally, I think either the $499 or $599 upgraded models are an amazing value. While Acer’s approach here stood out to me from a responsible supply and materials standpoint, another device did something similar with additional benefits.

My pick for 2022: Framework Chromebook

Yes, regular readers are getting a double dose this device right now. I finished and published my review of the Framework Chromebook just a few days ago. And even though this $999 laptop doesn’t have a few hardware features of most other Chromebooks, it really is a game-changer.

2022 Chromebook of the Year The Framework Chromebook
The Framework Chromebook

How so? Name another Chromebook that is easy to open up to repair, replace or upgrade several key internal components. Find me one that doesn’t require being locked in to having only certain input/output ports. And is there another Chromebook device maker that sells nearly every part directly to consumers? There isn’t.

Yes, the Framework Chromebook is expensive at $999. No, it’s not likely the best choice for most Chromebook buyers.

What it is though is a statement. A setting of the bar for what Chromebooks could be like in the future, regardless of price point.

Framework Chromebook expansion modules
Expansion modules for the Framework Chromebook

Modularity and re-usability through upgraded internal components can offer longer life of such Chromebooks. I hope other device makers took notice of what Framework has done here. I’d love to see more Chromebook choices that bring the freedom and repairability of this laptop.

3D printed case for the Framework Laptop motherboard

By the way, if Framework ever does offer a motherboard upgrade like it does for the Windows edition, that old component will work as a Chromebox. There are 3D-printer files to make a case for the internals and to hold the expansion modules. You’ll have two ChromeOS devices in that situation!

For the reasons above, my pick for 2022 Chromebook of the Year is the Framework Chromebook. That’s certainly arguable, of course, and I’d love to hear what you might have chosen instead.

About the author

Kevin C. Tofel has covered technology since 2004. He's used ChromeOS since Google debuted the CR-48 in 2010, reviewing dozens of Chromebooks since then. He worked for Google's Chrome Enterprise team from 2016 to 2017, supporting the launch of Android app support. In his free time, he uses Chromebooks to learn software engineering at Launch School. In 2019, Kevin joined the CS Curriculum Committee at his local community college.

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5 thoughts on “My pick for 2022 Chromebook of the Year

  1. Great insights, Kevin. Aside from repair and upgradability, how does the user experience compare between the Dragonfly and Framework Chromebooks (assuming touch and ink aren’t important). Which do you prefer to type on and use? Thanks!

  2. I can certainly understand your decision. And I certainly don’t disagree with your reasoning. But mine differs. High end units like this tend to steer Chromebooks away from their original intent as consumer friendly devices that could perform most tasks that a user requires while costing far less. Recent Chromebook trends have resulted in levels of performance that many users don’t need, and which raises prices to a point which many cannot afford. My choice of Chromebook of the year would be a Lenovo Flex 3, a simple low cost ($100 at Best Buy) unit with can do 99% of what the Framewirk can for just 10% of the cost!

  3. Nice reasoned choices Kevin. I picked up the Duet 3 to replace my two year old original Duet and couldn’t be happier. While I wish Best Buy sold an 8gb model, the 4gb/128gb still holds its own. I keep my i5 Pixelbook Go with 8gb/256gb on my desk for heavy weight tasks including Linux apps, but the Duet 3 gets most of my attention day in and day out. Love the great screen, larger keyboard and usb c on both sides. J

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