Image: Acer

CES 2021 may be taking a slightly different form this year thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s not stopping some of the biggest tech companies in the world from showing off their newest products. Take Chromebooks, for example: Plenty of new models are on virtual display at CES this year. Just like it was in 2020, the 2021 line of Chromebooks being shown off at CES are making these affordable, basic-use devices more functional for business than ever before.

These five new Chromebooks out of CES 2021 have their own unique characteristics, each suited to a different kind of work from writing to graphic design.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Powerful, but still affordable

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Image: Samsung

The first generation of Samsung’s Chromebook was expensive at $999, making it an impractically priced device for those looking for an affordable Chromebook. This year’s model, however, is taking design cues from the well-received, but expensive, 2020 model, with the latest version starting at just $550.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 can be used as a tablet or laptop and has support for any USI-certified stylus, so users won’t be tied to a Samsung S Pen if that’s not their preferred device (no stylus included). It also has a 13.3-inch QLED display, the same that Samsung uses in its televisions, so the screen should look sharp.

Samsung hasn’t set a release date, but said it will be available in Q1 2021 in both red and grey colors.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514: Built for the enterprise

Acer Chromebook Spin 514
Image: Acer

Acer’s latest Chromebook is its first with AMD processors and graphics, which it said will reduce boot time, extend battery life, and make the machine more responsive, along with adding some new gaming capabilities.

For those looking for an enterprise-deployable machine for remote workers, the Spin 514 is ideal. It’s available in a separate enterprise model that includes zero-touch enrollment, which makes sending a new machine to remote workers and getting it enrolled with enterprise administration automatic as soon as the machine is connected to the internet. With 2021 likely to be another year of remote work, the Spin 514 could be a boon for companies.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The Spin 514 and the Spin 514 Enterprise will be available in February and March, respectively. The 514 will start at $480, but the Enterprise edition will be a bit more costly at $750 to start.

ASUS Chromebook CX9: Privacy is front and center

ASUS Chromebook CX9
Image: ASUS

If you’re looking for a Chromebook that can take a beating, while also providing security features needed for staying safe on potentially unsecured networks, this latest product from ASUS is right up your alley.

ASUS’ new Chromebook CX9 is designed with the on-the-go professional in mind, in that it meets MIL-STD 810H ruggedizing benchmarks, weighs just 2.2 lbs, features Titan C security, has a fingerprint sensor, and a webcam shield.

Along with those mobility and privacy features, the CX9 will also be available with up to an 11th gen Intel Core i7, and will be Wi-Fi 6 capable. ASUS hasn’t provided any pricing information or a specific release date, only saying that the CX9 will be available starting in Q2 2021.

Dell Chromebook 3100: Work anywhere with LTE

Dell Chromebook 3100
Image: Dell

There’s no denying that ChromeOS has become more usable offline than it was in the past, but it’s still a cloud-based operating system that, when deprived of Wi-Fi, is severely limited in what it can do.

Enter the Dell Chromebook 3100, with its LTE WWAN capabilities and carrier support from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon in the US and unlocked carrier-agnostic version available in other countries.

SEE: Gartner’s top tech predictions for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The 3100 is also built with rubberized edges, a spill-resistant keyboard, can handle 30-inch drops onto steel, has a 14-hour battery life, and two USB-C ports. On the road, or worried about your Wi-Fi dropping out? The 3100 may be the business Chromebook for you. Dell plans to announce pricing and availability for the 3100 sometime in the spring.

ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5/C536: Work and play in one package

ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5/C536
Image: ASUS

A work computer doesn’t have to be put away once office hours are over, provided it has entertainment-friendly features like those ASUS included in the Chromebook Flip CX5/C536.

While at work, the 11-hour battery life will mean users can be away from an outlet and not worry about running out of power, and the surprisingly high 15 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD dwarf the hardware on other Chromebooks.

Once the work day ends, the 2-in-1 Flip CX5/C536 can remain your machine of choice, even for playing AAA games: It’s certified for both Google Stadia and NVIDIA GeForce NOW game streaming services.