2020 has been the year of the Chromebook, with millions of parents, students, school, and businesses scrambling for the lightweight laptops amid lockdowns and distance learning programs. This led to a massive shortage that manufacturers are still trying to restore steady supply from, and it's why the Chromebook deals back on Prime Day were pitiful. Black Friday sales are already in full swing, and thankfully one of the better Black Friday deals Best Buy had back during Prime Day is back again for anyone who missed it the first time and needs a compact, reliable Chromebook for their kids — or for themselves as they try to find a quiet place in the house to work.
A C330 by any other name
Old reliable Chromebook, new shell and support life.
While this Chromebook might not have been released until 2020, underneath that Platinum Grey shell sits the heart and soul of last year's fan-favorite Lenovo Chromebook C330, and it's now sporting the same sale price the C330 did on Black Friday!
How do I know the Flex 3 is the same Chromebook guts as the C330 in a newer, harder-to-blemish Platinum Grey shell? The ports line up exactly — even the full-size SD card slot (newer platforms use microSD) — we're dealing with the same MediaTek processor and 4GB of RAM. While that does mean this Chromebook is a tiny bit older, it still runs Chrome OS excellently and will be a great option for budget-minded shoppers as well as parents looking for a laptop their kid can use and abuse.
While I haven't reviewed the Flex 3 itself, the C330 was my run-and-gun Chromebook for most of 2019, and it never let me down whether I was on the couch, in the office, or writing at EPCOT waiting for fireworks. Battery life lasts the full school day and then some, and the the 2-in-1 touchscreen form factor makes it a great little laptop for students and those who want a lightweight computer they can just throw in their backpack and go.
Most Chromebooks for Students are sold out or price-gouged to Mars and back, but the Flex 3's $180 sale price will fit in most families' pandemic-strained budgets easily. The expiration date for the Flex 3 is June 2026, so if your kid treats it well, it should last them for several years before they outgrow it for something beefier in high school.
I wouldn't expect to see this Chromebook go much lower between now and Black Friday, like Best Buy dropping the Lenovo Duet down to $230 last week after putting it on sale at $250. $100 off a $280 Chromebook is already a significant discount and a more than worthy price for a laptop that'll get Chrome OS updates for the next 6.5 years.
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