Lenovo makes the grade

Chromebooks are known for being able to take a beating, thanks in no small part to the durability requirements Google has for Chromebooks for Education. Pick-proof and spill-resistant keyboards, drop-resistant screens and chassis, and extra-strong ports help make classroom Chromebooks a hit for home users, too, and if you're looking for one that can go the distance without breaking the bank, Lenovo's got what you need.

It's not the new C340 line (yet), but it's more sturdy and offers the same excellent performance in a more life-proof shell without making you shell out big bucks.

At a glance

Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen

Bottom line: With the same processor and performance as the ASUS C214 and Dell 3100, Lenovo undercuts its competition with ThinkPad-like quality and a price tag that can't be beaten for a 2019 laptop.

Pros:

  • Rugged but awesome-feeling housing
  • Six years of support
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Grease/oil magnet
  • Only 32GB storage
  • Thicker than competitors

Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen What makes the grade

Ready for fact-finding and fanfics

Category Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen
Operating System Chrome OS
Display 11.6 inches (1366 x 768)
250 nits brightness
IPS multi-touch
Processor Intel Celeron N4000
Memory 4GB LPDDR3
Storage 32GB eMMc
Expandable Storage microSD card
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports 2x USB-C USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1
2x USB-A USB 3.0
Audio 2W stereo speakers
Headphone / microphone combo jack
Battery Li-Ion 42Wh (10 hours)
45W USB-C AC adapter
Dimensions 290 x 204 x 20.85 mm
(11.41" x 8.03" x .8")
Weight 2.9 lbs (1.35 kg)
Auto Update Expiration June 2025

Lenovo's Chromebooks have been my favorite because they feel lovely in-hand and in the lap when jotting up a quick report on the bus. The 300e's black/grey body has three textures: a nicely grippy diamond texture on the outer shell, a horizontal grain on either side of the trackpad, and a slightly gravelly feeling texture that sits at the bottom of the screen and surrounding the keyboard keys. All three work well together to keep the 300e from feeling like just another boring black Chromebook, but I especially love the texture below the keyboard where I rest my palms and wrists as I type.

Typing on the 300e feels great, especially for a sub-$300 Chromebook: the keys have a good travel distance, don't feel too mushy, and typing on one for hours and hours doesn't wear out my hands the way other keyboards can. The 300e can take advantage of the C330's popularity when it comes to keyboard covers, too, if you like having an extra layer of protection on your keyboard.

As far as performance goes, the 300e 2nd Gen uses the same processor and hardware platform as the ASUS C214 and Dell 3100 2-in-1, and it chugs along at the same perfectly smooth speed. The battery usually lasted me 8-10 hours on a single charge, more than enough to get through the school day and a couple of hours of homework before you'll need to hunt down a charger.

TexturesLogosPortsTent mode

I'll admit the 300e is bigger than both the C214 and C330 in every dimension, but at the same time, the 300e feels the best in my hand, especially when carrying it between classrooms and cafes. It's hefty in the best way, and its beefiness helps it feel like a more solid Chromebook compared to the C214 and especially next to the Dell 3100 2-in-1.

Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen Why it fails to stand out

Smudge City

Despite the very, very luxurious feel of the 300e's diamond-textured top and bottom, the 300e seems to soak up any oil, sweat, and grease from your hands. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have a grease magnet than the scratch-prone casing on the C214, but just keep in mind you'll probably want to run a microfiber cloth over the screen and the casing regularly.

The 300e is a solid little Chromebook with the best pricing on a new education model around — over $60 less than ASUS's and Dell's new 32GB models — but the 300e can get easily overlooked thanks to just how similar it is to the far more readily-available and current Best Chromebook Lenovo C330, which is available in 64GB in a far more pleasing Blizzard White for less.

This isn't helped by the fact that the 300e is only available in a single 4GB/32GB configuration. While 32GB with a microSD card for expansion is workable in 2019, this Chromebook will be supported until June 2025; 64GB of internal storage would be far easier to work with for the next six years. MicroSD can finally be used by some apps, but not everything can go on microSD, and microSD can sometimes get ejected and remounted when waking a Chromebook from sleep.

Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen A fantastic laptop for everyone

Ready for class

Once the Lenovo C340-11 hits the market, it's going to outshine the 300e, but if you're looking for a reliable Chromebook for accident-prone kids (or husbands) that won't break the bank, the 300e will be a much better fit. And since this laptop will be supported until 2025, you can rest assured that it will earn its affordable price tag two or three times before it hits its EOL date.

4.5 out of 5

Do I wish there was a 64GB option available? You bet. But otherwise, this little workhorse is a champ I'd be more than confident to run around with at the parks as we head into our year-end insanity. This Chromebook more than earns its spot in Best Chromebook for Students.

Simple and streamlined

Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen

This sturdy Chromebook is great for the classroom or the couch.

Lenovo knows how to make a great little 2-in-1, and this Chromebook takes much of the same specs and form factor from the handy, helpful C330, adds rubber bumpers, drop resistance, and a spill-resistant keyboard, and bumps the AUE date out to June 2025.

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