Lenovo just rolled out a new Chromebook that could potentially throw down the gauntlet for the best budget device on the market. The Lenovo Chromebook 3 popped up on the company’s website this week for the impressively low price of $229 but we discovered an even cheaper model here at our local Walmart. So, we snatched it up to bring you an unboxing. What’s so special about this “cheap” Chromebook? Well, it only costs $169 and it could very well be the first device we’ve ever recommended in that price range. I’ll save the final verdict for the full review. For now, let’s unbox this thing.
The Lenovo Chromebook 3 (11) isn’t a flashy device and it isn’t going to win any awards for “best of anything” unless we’re talking about total value. In the past, buying a $200 Chromebook meant getting a puny, underpowered processor and usually 2GB of RAM. That’s where the Chromebook 3 could make a huge dent in the budget laptop market. The Gemini Lake-R processor is a solid CPU that’s capable of running Chrome OS without breaking a sweat. Matched with 4GB of RAM, this device will handle the tasks of most moderate users and that includes running Android apps and even some Linux packages. This model only has 32GB of storage compared to 64GB in the one on Lenovo’s site but it’s also $60 cheaper.
My biggest concern with this device as I unboxed it was the display. Many of Lenovo’s previous 11.6″ Chromebooks have had decent displays but lately, they have been defaulting to 220 nit TN panels that are absolutely horrid to look at. Sorry, not sorry. The Lenovo Chromebook 3 still uses a TN panel but thankfully, it is rated at 250 nits. Out of the box, I could immediately see that it’s an improvement over the lesser display found in devices such as the Chromebook S330. Score one point for the Chromebook 3.
Input methods on the Chromebook 3 are on par with Lenovo’s usual offerings which is to say, they’re better than most budget devices. The keyboard is pleasant to type on and despite what is obviously an inexpensive trackpad, the click is actually quite precise and satisfying. Around the outside, the Chromebook 3 offers 2 each USB-C and USB-A along with a MicroSD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack. That chassis is all plastic but didn’t feel cheap when I pulled it out of the box and the two-tone lid gives it a very unique look. I’ll be using the Lenovo Chromebook 3 in a variety of use cases over the next week. Then, we’ll see if this device could take the crown of the best budget device. Stay tuned. You can find the Lenovo Chromebook 3 from Walmart at the link below.