Sunday, June 23, 2024

This $350 Lenovo Chromebook will change your mind about cheap laptops


Using the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i

June Wan/ZDNET

Once I was in school years in the past, I put my hard-earned, burger-flipping job {dollars} right into a Toshiba Chromebook 2. It had a beneficiant 13.3-inch show, value round $330, and regarded like a MacBook from afar. (I admit with embarrassment that the final bit was crucial to my shopping for determination.)

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The laptop computer obtained me by two semesters earlier than the battery began to empty itself with no regard for scholar life, the Wi-Fi would change off at random intervals, and that MacBook-looking show would actually detach itself. My school funding was gone however not forgotten.

Quick ahead to this week, once I started testing Lenovo’s Flex 3i Chromebook, first introduced at CES in January. In the event you’ve shopped within the sub-$350 market earlier than, then you already know simply how troublesome it may be to discover a laptop computer that is really viable. Viewing angles are by no means best, urgent on the touchpad can really feel such as you’re breaking a toy, and common compromises are felt greater than the rest.

However this $350 Chromebook from Lenovo adjustments every thing.

Using the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i


Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook

An affordable touchscreen laptop that punches above its price class.

After spending the previous few days with Lenovo’s comparatively low-cost laptop computer, I can not assist however envy school college students who’ve such competent computing choices on this worth vary at the moment.

To place issues into perspective, ask your self this: What do you worth in a laptop computer? Would you like a high-resolution show? Does it have touchscreen assist? What ports do you want? Does privateness matter to you?

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Irrespective of the place your thoughts takes you, there’s an opportunity that this Lenovo Chromebook will meet your calls for. The Flex 3i has a 1920 x 1080 decision show that may be folded backward into tent mode and pill mode, a wealth of ports together with HDMI, USB-C, microSD, and a headphone jack, and even a privateness shutter for once you’re not utilizing the webcam — or once you wish to know for positive that you simply will not pop right into a video name wanting all awkward.

A top-down shot of the Chromebook Flex 3i

The keyboard feels satisfyingly clicky, with sufficient cushioning to maintain inputs close to silent.

June Wan/ZDNET

Now, earlier than I fuel you up with what looks as if the most effective deal on the web since free TVs, let me make it clear that this Chromebook is not going to switch a MacBook or high-end Home windows laptop computer. The Flex 3i can barely deal with a 1080p video edit, the trackpad, realistically, solely has room for one to 2 fingers at a time, and the construct high quality is an absolute grand slam should you’re a fan of plastic and nothing but it surely. 

And whereas I am at it, it does not assist that once you set the laptop computer in tent or pill mode, the top-firing audio system grow to be back-firing audio system. It is like listening to somebody speaking, however their again is dealing with you. I digress.

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By and huge, the Lenovo Chromebook has greater than sufficient computing energy for many college students, distant employees, and informal customers alike, with 4GB of RAM and an Intel N100 processor. It is within the extra conventional apps and providers the place the Flex 3i actually shines.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i in tablet mode

Pill mode disables the keyboard and trackpad on the again.

June Wan/ZDNET

Issues like on-line content material creation, streaming films and TV reveals (or the NBA playoffs), and attending video conferences are dealt with with grace, and never as soon as did I hear any hissing noises or indicators of overheating. That is greater than I might ask for from a $349 laptop.

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The portability of the Flex 3i is the cherry on high. In comparison with the 16-inch MacBook Pro that I normally lug round, the Lenovo weighs lower than three kilos and it is as backpack-friendly as laptops come.

For $349, I problem you to discover a laptop computer with extra performance and advantages than the Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook. I am not saying that is the most effective laptop computer available on the market, however it could’ve simply been on the high of my shopping for record if I used to be nonetheless in school, and that is coming from somebody who’s had all of the experiences with shopping for $300 laptops.

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