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Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Chromebook 11 Inch HD Laptop (Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage, Intel UHD Graphics 600, Chrome OS) – Onyx Black

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In isolation, there’s a lot to like about the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i for the more basic, utilitarian computer usage – it has a comfortable keyboard, good battery life, and when you’re done working, you can flip the screen around and use it to stream videos. I’ve preferred using the Chromebook Flex 3i to a significantly more expensive Samsung Chromebook because it’s much more comfortable to use and for getting stuff done. Now for the big surprise. Where other ultra-budget Chromebooks stuff in dated Celeron N3350 and N4000 processors, the IdeaPad 3 has a 2019-vintage N4020 running at up to 2.8GHz. However, give it a little time and the IdeaPad 3 Chromebook turns out to be surprisingly useable. The flat keys don’t have much travel, but they do have a light and fairly crisp action with no wobbles or flexing in the middle.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11.6 Inch HD Chromebook - (Intel Celeron

I also appreciate that the IdeaPad 3 uses a USB-C cable for charging. This makes it easier to use a charging cord from another device if you can’t remember where you placed the AC adapter. Many bargain-basement Chromebooks still use proprietary barrel-style charging cables, which can be difficult and expensive to replace if your child loses them. Plenty of Typing Comfort Of course, there are now numerous affordable 2-in-1 Chromebooks to choose from, including the Acer Chromebook Spin. The general theme in that class of Chromebook involves low-power processing and limited storage. The Flex 3 is no exception.In terms of the physical design, Lenovo has made the best of a limited budget. The all-plastic construction feels cheap, but there’s a nice two-tone textured effect on the lid, which itself isn’t as weak and flexible as on some budget Chromebooks. Bar the massive bezel below the screen, it’s not a bad-looking device. READ NEXT: Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise review Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook review: Performance and battery life

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 11.6 Inch HD 2-in-1 Touchscreen Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 11.6 Inch HD 2-in-1 Touchscreen

Were this a Windows machine, that Intel Celeron chip, 4GB of memory and 64GB eMMC SSD would be enough to invoke fear of the almighty, as in almighty awful performance. But not in a Chromebook. First impressions of the keyboard and touchpad aren’t great. There’s something a bit cheap-looking and toy-like about the IdeaPad 3’s square chiclet keys – we’re a long way away from the classy, sculpted keytops found on Lenovo’s business-grade ThinkPad laptops. If the sheer quality of the Flex 3 is surprising, its core specifications are less so. Processing power comes from an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU. That’s a dual-core chip derived from Intel’s low-power and low-cost Atom line of processors, rather than the premium high performance Core family.

A Sleek, Modern Exterior (at a Cheap Price)

The scores in the Android Geekbench 5 benchmark are a little higher than the Celeron N4000-based Chromebooks, too, though not up there with the faster Pentium and Core i3 models. All told, the IdeaPad 3 feels a little snappier than some of its rivals in day-to-day browsing and general use.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 11.6 Inch HD 2-in-1 Laptop - (Intel Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 11.6 Inch HD 2-in-1 Laptop - (Intel

Yet, somehow, it’s actually quite acceptable for everyday use. As long as you don’t try and use it outside, or under particularly intense lighting, the screen is perfectly workable – movies and games played via Google’s Stadia streaming games service actually don’t look too bad at all. Just like its predecessors, the IdeaPad 3 is very much an entry-level Chromebook – in fact, it’s one of the cheapest available in the UK. It’s a strictly frills-free device: it has a conventional clamshell design, an 11.6-inch screen and a Celeron processor, so nothing unexpected in the slightest. So, is the IdeaPad 3 Chromebook 11 the Chrome OS bargain of the century or a cut-price duffer we should warn you of? Inevitably, the truth lies somewhere in-between. This might be a super-cheap Chromebook, but you don’t have to spend a whole lot more to find some competition.You don’t necessarily need to upgrade, however. Over a day or so of light use, including web browsing with a handful of tabs open at once, I found the IdeaPad 3 to be mostly free of sluggishness. It also took only around 10 seconds to boot up. I did encounter a significant slowdown when I was transferring a multi-gigabyte file from an external drive, but the system never froze up completely. This compact Chromebook shares almost identical dimensions with its 11.6-inch predecessors, though this year, the lid bumps out a miniscule amount in the middle third. This gives you an easy handhold when pulling open the laptop without having to sculpt in a divot at the bottom, like most Chromebooks. The laptop may only technically be one color, but the two-tone texturing between the left third and the right two-thirds feels wonderfully pleasant in hand and makes for an easy grip when carrying the wonderfully lightweight Flex 3i around.

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