I tried buying a Chromebook from Amazon 4-Star

For context, Amazon 4-star is a new chain of physical store by Amazon, focused on selling popular products from Amazon.com with an average review of 4 stars or higher. I was intrigued by the concept, specifically in what kind of products that were on display. I found they were selling a ton of electronics, ranging from laptops, tablets, and smart home devices. There was also a section on popular miscellaneous items that Amazon sells (mostly under the Amazon Basics brand).

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I wanted to buy a Chromebook as a cheaper alternative to the MacBooks I've been using for development. Recently, ChromeOS started supporting Linux, which makes it a lot more useable for me. I figured it was time to pick up a Chromebook to see if it can become a personal travel laptop that I can use for development.

I went in with the intention of buying a Pixelbook, which despite being a slightly older model now, has the best keyboard/screen combo + processor offering at it's price point. The issue is that the store didn't have it in stock, potentially due to the fact that at the time of this writing, it has a 3.9 star rating on Amazon. There were some rugged Acer and Lenovo Chromebooks, priced cheaply but unable to compare to the laptops running Windows that sported better graphics cards at a similar price. The salesperson recommended the Acer Spin 13 for a higher-end model, which had a decent Intel 8th I-5 processor but priced at $820 with thick bezels. When I found the same model on Amazon.com from a third party seller for over $100 cheaper, the sales rep said they couldn't match that price. They do offer the standard 30 day return policy with no restocking fee which is nice. The other chromebooks, priced between $200 and $400, were a lot cheaper, but had poor screen dimensions, a less than stellar trackpad, and poor processors (e.g. the Intel Celeron).

I'll likely pick up a Pixelbook to try out at Best Buy, despite the shorter return window (14 days) instead. Alternatively, I might wait to see the reviews on the rumored new Pixelbook coming out soon to buy that instead.