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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Review: Great ChromeOS Experience On A Budget
Laptops can be differentiated on several factors - like gaming, enterprise, personal, and so on. Plus, they can be classified on the OS they run like macOS, Linux, Windows, or ChromeOS. I recently came across the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook, which as the name suggests, runs ChromeOS. This Chromebook from Lenovo packs several premium features including an HD touch display, powerful battery, and so on.
- Touchscreen support
- Supports Android apps
- Includes microSD card reader
- Camera privacy shutter
- No fingerprint reader
- Thick bezels
I've been a Windows user for a long time now with just a brushing experience with Chromebooks. I used the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook and the difference was obvious. I now had easy access to Google Play apps, which required third parties on a Windows laptop. Apart from this, I accessed all the features of what a Chromebook offers, including the cons. Here's my detailed review of the same.
- Display: 11.6-inch IPS 250nits Glossy HD panel with touch support
- CPU: Intel Celeron N4500
- GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x
- Storage: 128GB eMMC 5.1
- Battery: 42WHr
- OS: ChromeOS
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Design
Like most Chromebooks in the market, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook also features a petite design, especially when compared to devices running macOS or Windows. One of the unique aspects of this Lenovo Chromebook is the flexible hinge that lets you seamlessly switch to a tab mode. Moreover, the small body lets you easily hold the device in tab mode, which is often difficult on large laptops.
I used the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook in tab mode for watching videos and browsing the internet and found it to be very comfortable. When compared to large laptops like the Lenovo IdeaPad or Yoga series, the tab mode on the Chromebook is much more comfortable, thanks to its smaller display and frame.
Apart from this, one can notice the multiple ports on the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook. It includes a microSD card reader, which is a huge plus point. It also features top-facing speakers, giving you crystal clear audio output. And just like a tab, there's a dedicated volume rocker on the side above the power button. Plus, it includes Lenovo's signature camera shutter for enhanced privacy.
The top panel features a unique design, where one half packs a gradient texture for better grip. The Lenovo and the Chrome logos make a distinct impression. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is a handy device that can easily slip into your backpack or tote bag.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Display
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook features an 11.6-inch IPS LCD with an HD resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The display supports 250nits of peak brightness featuring 50 percent Glossy NTSC. More importantly, the Chromebook offers touchscreen support, letting you seamlessly work on it.
The 11.6-inch for a laptop feels a tad bit small, especially when you've used large 14-inch or 15-inch laptops. On the other hand, this display size is ideal when you're in the tab mode to watch videos or swiping on Candy Crush. That said, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook features very large bezels.
In the era of narrow bezels, the massive chin and the overall thick bezels on this Chromebook weren't very pleasing. Also, I found the brightness of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook to be an issue, especially when working outdoors. If you're inside, the video quality is superb. But the same can't be said when you carry it outside.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Performance
Coming to the performance of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook, I can say it's seamless and glitch-free. Here, the Chromebook draws power from the Intel Celeron N4500 processor paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. The RAM and storage feel like typical Android specs and the overall experience is also familiar. There's a microSD card slot for seamless data transfer as well.
As a comparison, one can check out the Asus Chromebook CX1101, which draws power from the Intel Celeron N4020 and includes 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Before diving into the details, one should under a Chromebook isn't like a typical Windows laptop. Hence, I didn't run many benchmarks, except for Geekbench. The Geekbench test revealed 588 points in the single-core test and 1000 in the multi-core test. The Geekbench scorecard feels like a typical Android phone result. I hardly faced any issues while using the Lenovo Chromebook, including accessing the internet or working on it offline.
The ChromeOS Experience
The real-life performance and experience of using a Chromebook lie in ChromeOS. It's basically like using a giant Android device with support for Google Play and all the apps in it. You get the complete Chrome experience with Android apps. If you want an Android app on your laptop, you will generally need a third-party platform like BlueStacks.
But with a Chromebook, it's simplified. Just click on the Google Play icon and download the app of your choice - easy peasy. If you've been working on a Windows laptop, you're already used to Microsoft Office that comes pre-installed. But with a Chromebook, you either have to work on Google Suite or download the Office app.
Personally, I've been a long-time Windows user. Switching to the ChromeOS experience took some time to get used to. I mainly used the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook to watch videos, browse the internet, and play a couple of games. When it came to work-related tasks, I found the device to be a bit uncomfortable due to the small display with its large bezels.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Battery Performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook features a 42Wh battery that the company claims to last up to 10 hours, depending on the tasks at hand. Since I used it mainly for streaming videos and playing games, the battery drained out in less than eight hours. I felt the Chromebook battery backup is close to a tab, which can last up to a day.
Coming to the charging, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook takes less than three hours to completely charge. Overall, the battery backup on the Chromebook is satisfactory, especially if you're using it for long video streaming or casual gaming and browsing.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook Verdict
We generally buy gadgets that suit our needs and also our budget. To note, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook starts from Rs. 29,619, which is roughly the same as a premium smartphone. Falling well under Rs. 30,000, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook makes a good choice to get - depending on the tasks you need it for.
If your work mainly involves working on a web browser, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is the right choice for you. If you're looking for a device to get your children for their online classes or for yourself to attend online meetings, this Lenovo Chromebook will come in handy.
Simply put, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook, like all other Chromebooks, is designed for video streaming, web browsing, casual gaming, and also to easily access Android apps on a laptop. If you have a budget of under Rs. 30,000, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is a good laptop for you.