Android Central Verdict
Over the past couple of years, we've seen a lot of different changes come to the Chromebook market. With the Slim 3 Chromebook, Lenovo threw all of those to the side and just released a no-nonsense option that has a few hidden tricks. Instead of worrying about RGB or displays with fast refresh rates, the Slim 3 Chromebook is one of those devices that "just works."
Display is 1080p and features a touchscreen
MediaTek processor is surprisingly capable
Only 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage
No fingerprint reader
720p webcam with privacy switch
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When you look out at the landscape of Chromebooks, it's easy to get lost in the wave of never-ending choices. Sometimes, you just want to get in, find a solid Chromebook, and get out without being inundated with extra features that likely don't really matter.
Every manufacturer of Chromebooks does offer something that fits the bill, including Lenovo. More recently, the IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook made its way to the masses, and we're going to see whether it's worth consideration or if you should be looking elsewhere.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook: Price and availability
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook was announced at Mobile World Congress 2023, before making its way to retailers in May 2023. Despite being announced with two different colors, the Slim 3 Chromebook is currently only available in Abyss Blue and retails for $319 from Lenovo.
|Category||Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook|
|Display||14-inch, 1920 x 1080, 16:9, 300 nits|
|Processor||MediaTek Kompanio 520|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6|
|MicroSD Card Slot||Yes|
|Camera||720p HD w/ privacy shutter|
|Ports||1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 1x 3.5mm audio combo jack, microSD card slot|
|Additional features||Dual speakers, Touchscreen display|
|Battery||Up to 13.5 hours|
|Camera||720p w/ privacy switch|
|Dimensions||12.83 x 8.73 x 0.73-inches|
|AUE date||June 2033|
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook: What you'll like
I have to admit that I was surprised to learn that Lenovo packed a 1080p display into the Slim 3 Chromebook, especially at this price point. Usually, this is an area where a lot of the best cheap Chromebooks fall flat, even if they excel pretty much everywhere else. Thankfully, that's not something you'll have to worry about with the Slim 3 Chromebook.
Making things even better is the fact that the display is actually a touchscreen despite it not utilizing a convertible design. This might not be a big deal to some, but the more I come to rely on touchscreen Chromebooks, the more I enjoy being able to just reach up and tap something if I need to.
I also wanted to make mention of the screen brightness. Lenovo claims the display maxes out at 300 nits, but I almost feel like something else is going on because it feels much brighter than that. Even at its max brightness, I'm not getting blinded, but I can comfortably see everything, and that's not something that I can say about Chromebooks that cost twice as much (or more.)
Obviously, for less than $350, you're not going to find a Chromebook running the latest Intel 13th Gen processors. So, in order to keep the cost down, Lenovo opted for MediaTek's Kompanio 520 SoC, which was announced in late 2022, keeping it relatively up-to-date.
|Benchmarking Test||Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook|
|Wirple HTML5 3D Benchmark||1246|
There's no denying that this is an entry-level chip, but it's still proven to be more than sufficient for most of what I need. If you're a heavy multi-tasker, then you might be better served elsewhere, but for just basic browsing, it's a solid experience.
Don't expect this to do much in the way of on-device gaming, meaning that you won't be able to play Steam, and some Android games might not perform super well. But thanks to the rise in popularity of streaming games in the cloud, that probably won't be a big deal for many anyway.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook: What you won't like
Taking the price into consideration, it's really difficult to find much to complain about with the Slim 3 Chromebook. But my biggest gripe has to do with performance, as you're stuck with only 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage.
For one, I ran into the RAM limits fairly quickly, but that's mainly because I live with a bunch of Chrome tabs and windows open throughout the day. But honestly, I would've been ecstatic if Lenovo managed to pack 8GB of RAM into this Chromebook, even if it kept the 64GB of storage.
Usually, I applaud Lenovo for its excellent keyboard and trackpad, despite the fact that I still prefer the haptic option found on Chromebooks that cost three times as much. However, I've become a bit disappointed with the Slim 3 Chromebook's trackpad.
For whatever reason, it just doesn't seem to want to always register taps or even clicks. It works fine most of the time, but I've found myself reaching up to tap the screen more and more. I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but there's definitely no debris in the way that might prevent the trackpad from clicking down.
My last gripe, albeit to a lesser extent, is that if you find yourself purchasing the Slim 3 Chromebook, you'll also want to consider a USB-C hub or docking station. On the Chromebook itself, there's only one USB-C port, one USB-A port, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and a microSD card reader. As such, you're out of luck if you want to plug this into a monitor, let alone the fact that even if you have a monitor with USB-C, you'll still need a way to actually make sure your Slim 3 Chromebook is charged.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook: The competition
If you're in the market for a cheap Chromebook, there are so many different options that it might make your head spin. Luckily, there are a couple of Chromebooks that give Lenovo a run for its money, starting with the HP Chromebook 14a. It features a 14-inch display and is powered by Intel's Celeron N4120 SoC paired with the same 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, all for just under $300.
Those who like the idea of a budget Chromebook but need a bigger screen might want to check out ASUS' CX1700 Chromebook. This packs a massive 17.3-inch FHD display and is powered by the Intel N4500 SoC with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. But thanks to the larger screen size, you might enjoy the full-size numpad on the right side of the keyboard deck.
But in the event that you're not completely sold on the Slim 3 Chromebook, we recommend keeping an eye out for a good deal. We've seen even the best Chromebooks discounted shortly after they launch, let alone the deals that crop up around Prime Day and the holiday season. Chances are that you'll be able to find exactly what you're looking for without needing to pay retail prices.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want a cheap Chromebook.
- You need a lightweight Chromebook for school or travel.
- You only plan on using this for basic tasks.
- You need a Chromebook with long battery life.
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want to do any kind of multi-tasking.
- You want a Chromebook with a convertible design.
- You don't want to buy a USB-C hub or docking station to pair with it.
It doesn't get much more basic than the Lenovo Slim 3 Chromebook, and that's honestly a good thing. With the exception of the touchscreen, you don't have to worry about RGB lights like Acer's Chromebook 516 GE or anything of the sort. Instead, you'll get a Chromebook that doesn't break the bank while performing admirably for the majority of tasks.
Of course, there are things that I would've liked to see, but for just $319, it's really tough to complain too much. So, if you need a cheap Chromebook that gets the job done, then the Slim 3 Chromebook is about as good as it gets.
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
The IdeaPad Slim 3 is so good, I gave my Flex 5i to a local student. It's amazing to have a Chromebook that can do the basic writing and streaming tasks I want to do without a fan. The battery life is impressive. The touchscreen shocked me (I had no idea it had that). And when I connect my own mouse, keyboard and monitor to do my writing, it's perfect. I don's miss having a backlit keyboard or an Intel i3 processor at all. And fully support through June 2033? What a value.Reply