The Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Flex 3i is great at an affordable price

I don’t do this often, but I’m very happy with this little Chromebook I feel like I can’t wait for the full review to be ready to share a little bit about it. We have a few more videos queued ahead of the Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Flex 3i, so the official review won’t come until later. However, for now, I want to share a bit of my early experience using this affordable Chromebook at home on a regular basis and why it impresses me so much.

First, let’s clarify availability. Lenovo says this device should become available this month (May 2023), so I fully expect to see it land at Best Buy in the very near future. Plus, the price should still be around $349, and I’d expect the configuration I was using (Intel N100, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage) to cost exactly that.

And this is great news! For this price, I’m a little surprised at how powerful this Chromebook is. Sometimes we get units with higher specs than those already available at retailers, which makes it hard to get a good idea of ​​what low-spec hardware is going for. As for this, my impressions are for the entry-level model, and these impressions are very good.

The screen is a winner

I’ll stick to three key features of this Chromebook to focus on today that make it stand out in its weight class; And the first up is the screen. in 12.2-inch 16:10 1920 x 1200 IPS display Peak brightness reaches 300 nits, which makes a huge difference when you compare this Chromebook to other affordable devices.

Having a display that doesn’t collapse in the trickiest of lighting situations and looks great in most standard rooms is a lot of fun on a $349 Chromebook. I can’t begin to count how many of the least expensive Chromebooks over the years have failed miserably in this category, so seeing Lenovo care and not skimp in this area is a breath of fresh air.

The performance is very strong

But a great showing can easily be undone by a late processor. Fortunately, these new Intel small-core processors in the Alder Lake family (N100 and N200) are the real deal, and they offer amazing usability and very solid battery life.

I’ve been using this Chromebook at home in the evenings and during the weekends and there hasn’t been a single situation where my standard workflow is compromised by the processor. The 4GB of RAM in our review unit causes small throttling issues from time to time, but the processor never feels taxed. With Octane scores over 40,000, I’m not surprised; But I sure am happy about it.

The structure is solid and reassuring

Finally, most cheap Chromebooks fall apart when we get down to the chassis. Obviously, when it comes time to cut corners, all-aluminum objects are first on the cutting board. This usually leaves us with all-plastic Chromebooks that feel like they could bend and break under their own weight. Well, maybe this is a little hyperbolic, But you know the feeling of picking up a cheap laptop and feeling the entire keyboard surround the arc like a piece of rubber. It’s worrying.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Chrombook Flex 3i proves it. While not quite on the level of the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook (obviously), this small plastic laptop feels confident and firm, and there are no real concerns about bending and creaking when using it. I’m not entirely sure how Lenovo achieved this, but it’s a trait other manufacturers need to replicate.

More coming soon

With the combination of screen, performance, and build quality in this monitor, you can see why I’m excited to see this Chromebook ready to hit the market at $349 right. I’ve talked before about the shift we’re likely poised to see at the lower end of the Chromebook market, and after using what I feel is the flagship device of this movement for a little while, I’ve only confirmed my suspicions. Affordable Chromebooks just got better.

I need some time to replace the other hardware I’m reviewing on the desk and really push this little guy around, but I’m already confident he’ll do the job just fine. And if Lenovo offers the upgraded version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for about $50 more, we’d be looking at one of the easiest Chromebooks to recommend ever. I look forward to sharing more soon!

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