Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 review: Configurable Chromebook for the classroom

(Image: © Ara Wagoner / Android)

Being a Texan girl, I remember using Dell computers all the way back in grade school. Dell laptops were some of the most consistent and classroom-friendly models around, and that continues to this day with a small, sturdy portfolio of Chromebooks that received a much-appreciated upgrade this past spring.

Dell released three new Chromebooks this year aimed at the education space: two clamshells in the 3100 and 3400 and a 2-in-1 version of the 3100. A 2-in-1's flexible design allows it to be used in a far wider range of environments, which is why I prefer it for most Chromebooks — but I especially appreciate them for students. This unassuming little Chromebook is made for bookbags and school desks, but even for someone who's now a decade out of high school — I'm so old now! — the 3100 2-in-1 is a great little Chromebook with a whole lot of potential under that unassuming grey lid.

The Good

  • 64GB models available at launch
  • Durable and adaptable
  • 2 USB-C and USB-A ports
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Great battery with faster charger

The Bad

  • Little bit bulkier
  • Looks boring
  • More expensive than competing models

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 Price and release date

As one of the best Chromebooks for Students, the Dell 3100 2-in-1 has been a highly popular Chromebook both among regular consumers and especially among school districts buying in bulk for their students. The demand has been so high in fact that the delivery dates for the 3100 have been showing as December to February for most of the last six months.

Sales for the Dell 3100 are rare, and you can't expect to see it on sale during Prime Day because Dell itself doesn't sell the 3100 on Amazon — though reseller listings do occasionally appear — but Dell tends to discount through its website around Black Friday and other major sales holidays. More important than finding a sale on the Dell 3100, though it making sure you get a good configuration: please, do yourself and your child a favor and buy either the 4GB/64GB model or the 8GB/32GB model.

It still boggles the mind that you have to pick one or the other, but since we do, here's the easiest way to decide:

  • If your kid keeps a million tabs open at a time, get the 8GB/32GB configuration.
  • If you kid downloads everything in sight — especially apps, games, and videos — get the 4GB/64GB configuration.

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 What's ready for the classroom

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CategoryDell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1
Operating SystemChrome OS
Display11.6 inches (1366 x 768)Gorilla Glass NBTTouchscreen
ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000
Memory4GB-8GB LPDDR3
Storage32GB-64GB eMMc
Expandable StoragemicroSD card
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11acBluetooth 5.0
Ports2x USB-C USB 3.1 Gen 12x USB-A USB 3.1 Gen 1Headphone / microphone combo jack
BatteryLi-Ion 42Wh (10 hours)65W USB-C AC adapter
Dimensions304 x 208 x 21.5 mm(11.96" x 8.19" x 0.85")
Weight1.41 Kg (3.10 lbs)
DurabilityMIL-STD-810G testedSpill-resistant keyboardRubber edge bumpers
AUE DateJune 2025

The Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 is 100% geared towards the classroom, with rubberized edges — including a raised rubber ring around the screen lid to avoid any damage if a kid slams the lid shut a little too roughly — reinforced ports, and an easy to remove bottom cover should a school's IT department need to swap out broken parts. Dell knows exactly how hard kids are on technology, and so it builds a Chromebook that's more or less life-proof for everyone.

The screen here is just as bright as the ASUS C214, with great accuracy for my taps, swipes, and zooms. The 2-in-1 form factor has an easy-to-use touchscreen, and when I showed the 3100 to an artist friend, they immediately started sketching out classic cartoon characters with ease in Google Keep and Chrome Canvas. And I zoomed through several rounds of Tri-Peaks in Microsoft Solitaire Collection without having to undo an errant move or tap.

The keyboard here is spill-resistant and "pick resistant" — because kids will try to pry out keyboard keys, apparently — with a resilience that's supposed to withstand up to 12 ounces of liquid. The keys are a tad narrower than most, with a slightly larger gap between keys to help young typers avoid accidentally hitting adjacent keys and it was pleasant to type on during my 2-hour flights to and from Texas.

I'm so happy this new generation of Chromebooks all have a USB-C port on each side, and having a USB-A port on each side is a welcome addition for students and teachers that have wired mice and flash drives that need to be used without relying on USB-C hubs. Unlike other models that stick ports at different locations on each side, the Dell keeps the USB-C and USB-A ports symmetrical between the left and ride sides of the chassis while arranging the buttons and single ports — microSD, 3.5mm, and a Kensington lock — evenly around the USB ports.

During lunch period, you can recharge most of your battery if you forgot to charge it the night before with the included 65W Power Delivery charger — the 3100 2-in-1 only takes 45W, but futureproof chargers are always nice — something that's easy to do when a Chromebook can run 10-12 hours in a single charge.

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 What needs more study time

Bigger isn't better

The 3100 2-in-1 belongs to the same hardware platform as the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 and several other models like the Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen, and has the same smooth performance, but the Dell 3100 is the largest physically of the 11.6-inch models I've seen so far, noticeably longer wider and longer than the C214. The edges and angles on the 3100 2-in-1 are more rounded, which makes it a wee bit easier to get your fingers around the lid to open, but also makes it feel pudgy at times.

Recessed poper button

There are small details on the 3100 that are nice — such as the rubber that rings the edge of the screen bezels — but other details almost seem like mistakes more than intentional choices. When I first received the 3100, the recessed power button made me think that the button hadn't lined up quite right properly during assembly. Upon receiving the second one with a likewise recessed power button, I realized that no, the power button is recessed on purpose, likely to avoid accidental presses.

Also, as someone who charged this laptop in her bedroom at her parents' house for a week, the LED notification light is far bigger and brighter than most Chromebooks that cross my desk. I recommend either shutting the Chromebook off completely so it doesn't blink at you all night or hiding the Chromebook inside a laptop sleeve so the light is hidden.

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 Should you buy it?

Dell 3100 2-in-1 in Epcot

With a solid keyboard, great battery life with an even greater charger, and the Dell durability we knew and trust, there's a reason this Chromebook took runner-up in our Best Chromebooks for Students roundup. I wish the pricing was a little more competitive — especially for the 4GB/32GB models that are $30-$80 more expensive than the ASUS and Lenovo variants.

4 out of 5

Considering how frequently Dell runs sales on its website, though, the pricing might very well even out when you go to buy, and for many, Dell's durability and extra USB-A port may well be worth the upgrade. Dell also takes the advantage of being the only new-gen Education Chromebook with a $419 64GB model available, which is the one I highly recommend buying given that this Chromebook will receive support until June 2025. Six years is a long time to skate by on 32GB of storage.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.