Chromebooks have shown up in the market as an alternative to cheap Windows laptops. Unlike Windows, Chrome OS only requires enough resources to run a browser, so they offer a decent experience at a low cost. We now have the super-cheap Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3. We will find out if you can have that good experience for under $200.
Take a look at our detailed hands-on review of super aff0ordable Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3, a 2-in-1 touch screen laptop.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3: Overview
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is a small, portable machine that is more like a tablet with an attached keyboard. You get the whole desktop experience on this tablet instead of a supersized mobile experience. The concept is excellent, but the execution is where most devices in this category make compromises. Lenovo seems to have done a fantastic job with this 2-in-1 Chromebook but with some compromises.
Apart from its dedicated 11-inch touchscreen that can go complete tablet mode, the Chromebook Flex 3 from Lenovo has all the bells and whistles of a regular laptop. Unlike your everyday laptops, the Lenovo Chromebook can flip 360-degree, which is a cool thing to flex about.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3: Specifications
Let’s take a look at the complete hardware specifications of the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop.
|Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3
250 nits brightness
50% NTSC Color Gamut
|MediaTek MT8183 2.0GHz
|1x USB 3.2
2x USB 3.1
3.5mm Audio Jack
|8.48 x 0.77 x 11.5 inches
|Buy from Amazon
Design and Build Quality
For a laptop with a small 11.6″ screen, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 measures 0.73 x 11.22 x 7.95 inches. To compare, the larger Google Pixelbook Go with a 13.3″ screen measures 0.5 x 12.2 x 8.1 inches. Of course, the Google Pixelbook Go is also three times the cost. But that does not change the fact that this Chromebook Flex 3 is bulky. There are large bezels are around with a huge one at the bottom.
The design looks like any other typical cheaper-priced PC laptop. The sub $200 price point does provide some redemption, but the bezels are still too big. What we can forgive for the price is the use of cheap plastic material for the build. It also attracts too many fingerprints. Again, that is forgivable, given the price.
It should be noted, however, that this does not mean the build itself is poor. The Chromebook is quite sturdy and is built well, all things considered.
Related: How to Take Screenshot on Chromebook
Display and Touchscreen
By far the biggest weakness of the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is the display. At 11.6 inches, the display feels crammed, especially when you can see all the surrounding space that isn’t the display. In a chassis this big, the small display looks even smaller. If you’re hoping to take full advantage of Chrome OS and its multi-window desktop experience, you might not love it on this machine.
With a low resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, it is not the sharpest display either, but you cannot expect a full HD display for the price. Especially when you compare this to any cheap Windows laptop, this is the standard resolution even on laptops with 15.6-inch screens. The touchscreen has a 10-point touch capacity, which is appreciable on such an affordable laptop. You can flip the whole Chromebook 360-degree to switch to a “tablet mode” without using the keyboard.
The resolution isn’t a problem if you keep your expectations in check. Contrast and response times are also respectable, and you get pretty deep blacks. The display brightness peaks at 250 nits. That is good enough for most cases, except in very bright environments, such as direct sunlight.
There is a 720p webcam at the top of the display, which is what you get on even some very expensive laptops. The colors on this camera are a bit washed out, however. Paired with the huge bezels, this display gives you the nostalgia of using laptops from a decade ago. Once again, this does cost less than $200.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Most people that are not students get Chromebooks for media consumption and some desktop-level browsing experience. For that, the display is the most critical component, and we already know how good that is. But the keyboard separates the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 from other 2-in-1 devices. It offers a decent typing experience, which tablets do not provide.
The key switches are sturdy and provide good click feedback. If you’re someone who will type a lot, you won’t regret this purchase as long as you’re typing in the same window for long periods.
Like the touch screen, there is a touchpad, and it works well. There isn’t much to expect from a small size of 10.5 x 6.2 cm. You will want a mouse if you’re in a place where that’s feasible. Tracking at faster speeds is smooth, but slow tracking gets sticky. Clicking is a shallow and spongy experience.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3: Performance
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 comes with an ARM-based 2.0 GHz MediaTek MT8183 processor. The CPU is not very powerful, but it is battery efficient. The Chromebook has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage which, again, isn’t fast as an SSD but better than an HDD. You can expand the storage with a microSD card. Perhaps the low-resolution display is good because you can’t stream 4K video at 60FPS. Technically, you can, but you will drop frames left, right, and center.
Naturally, it’s not a productivity machine unless your productivity is limited to a lot of typing. Cruising through the OS, however, is smooth and mostly free of hiccups. Chrome OS flies through on this cheap hardware. However, you will miss the smoothness once you have more than 10 Chrome tabs running side by side.
Android apps also run smoothly, but you won’t win any PUBG mobile championships. That is to say, this Chromebook will struggle with heavy loads.
On the connectivity side, there is an HDMI port to connect to a better display. Apart from that, you get two USB 3.1 ports and a 3.1 USB C port which is also used for charging. There is also a 3.5 mm headphone jack but for the base variant, there is no expandable storage.
Battery backup on Chromebooks are generally better than regular laptops due to their low-power components. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is no different and has a really good battery backup.
Battery backup is impressive under regular usage composed mainly of browsing because what else can you hope to do on a sub-$200 Chromebook? Battery life lasts north of 13 hours. On rare occasions you need to; you can charge using any USB Type C charger, even your phone’s.
Pros and Cons
- Great Value for money
- Good typing experience
- Good battery life
- Flippable 360-degree touchscreen
- Huge bezels
- Poor display quality
- Underpowered performance
Pricing and Availability
Chromebooks are cheaper, although there are premium ones in the market from Samsung and Google. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is a sub-$200 laptop running Chrome OS, making it an essential machine for everyday tasks at college or school. You can buy one from Amazon or Best Buy at great price tags without burning a hole in your pocket.
There are plenty of compromises with the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3. It is underpowered for heavy usage, the screen is lackluster, and the design is outdated. But as we have pointed out several times through this Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 review, this one is ultra cheap and affordable for anyone who wish to get a laptop for school usage.
Apart from the chunky bezels, everything else is what you should and would be expecting from a laptop that costs less than $200. We have to judge it for the price. And when you do that, what you get is a lot. Any less than $200 for this device is practically a steal-deal.