In completely unrelated business, I was on Lenovo’s website to research a few things with their “Pick up at Best Buy” options and as I was perusing their Chromebook selection, I saw one I’ve not yet come across that – had I not been paying attention – I would have likely missed. It is a new/updated Slim 3 Chromebook (specifically the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook) that keeps what looks to be a lot of what we like in the current model, but upgrades many of the internal bits and smaller details. Oh, and it’s already marked down $135, too!
What’s the same
From the looks of the listing, it would appear that all the external bits are largely in the same place. Side-by-side, the Slim 3 and Slim 3i look to share very similar chassis and screen sizes, so I don’t think much will be changing on that front. A few things are definitely different, though, including the lack of upward-firing speakers on the new Slim 3i, a new color, and what looks like slimmer bezels around the screen, too.
Upgraded internals and ports
Though I love the surprisingly-good screen, keyboard, and trackpad on the Slim 3 Chromebook, the internals left me a bit disappointed. The MediaTek Kompanio 520 is a nice upgrade over the original Kompanio 500, but they are both slow processors in today’s Chromebook landscape. While the original Slim 3 is a good couch companion, the new Slim 3i should be quite formidable from a performance standpoint.
With the new 12th-gen Intel Core i3-N305 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the Slim 3i should be quite fast and still solid on battery life. The new N305 processor is in the small-core Alder Lake-N series, so efficiency should be fantastic (Lenovo lists it at 11 hours on battery). In our testing with the new, lower-end version of this particular processor (the N100), speed was no problem at all in the Lenovo Flex 3i, so I’m expecting big things from this processor both in terms of power and battery life as well.
The 300 nit, 14-inch FHD IPS touchscreen is back with 100% RGB coverage and based on what we have in the current Slim 3, I’d expect the keyboard and trackpad to be great to use, too. But this new Slim 3i adds in a few much-needed ports, giving users a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, and a full-size HDMI port to go along with the headphone/microphone jack and Kensington lock.
Already on sale – save $135
Perhaps the best part is the fact that this solid-looking Chromebook is already on sale. While it starts at an MSRP of $549, it is currently down to $414.99 on Lenovo’s site right now. While I haven’t had my hands on this device just yet, I do know that I really enjoy the Lenovo Slim 3 Chromebook and if this device simply takes that formula and increases the performance, RAM, storage, and port selection, I’m very intruiged by it. Lenovo has a fairly straightforward return policy, too, so if you want to give this one a go, I don’t think you’ll have a hard time getting it returned if it isn’t the one for you. But Lenovo’s deals can shift quickly, so don’t wait too long.