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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook Laptop, 11.6″ HD Display, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage, Intel UHD Graphics 600, Chrome OS

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SUMMARY
A surprisingly well-rounded and well equipped budget chromebook that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

LEAD-UP TO THE PURCHASE
Having recently given my Google Pixelbook to a friend who was in desperate need of a computer, I was in the market for another chromebook… just in time for Prime Day June 2021. I didn’t need a powerhouse since I have learned firsthand that running Linux on a chromebook sounds better on paper than it does in real life use.

The 2-in-1 form-factor was fun to tinker with but in practical day-to-day use, I found it better to use a dedicated Android tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S6) for touch and pen tasks. A traditional clamshell design would be fine for those “laptop-y” things… and an 11″ or so screen would allow for a very portable device.

PRIME DAY HUNTING
With those requirements in mind, I went hunting in the Amazon (see what I did there? 😉 ) for a suitable chromebook. I found that most of the deals were for devices that had been released two or more years ago. A few other “deals” weren’t any cheaper than the regular prices at other stores (for the same processor/RAM/storage configurations).

I ran across the Lenovo Chromebook 3 (LCB3 for short) and it really intrigued me. Not only was it quite inexpensive, but it had a decent processor (Celeron N4020), decent storage (64GB), and more ports (2-USBC, 2 USBA 3.0, microSD card slot, and headphone/mic jack) than my old Google Pixelbook (2 USBC, headphone/mic jack).

I watched some reviews on Youtube for this device and only one gave it a half-decent review. In spite of the lack of glowing reviews, I purchased it.

UNBOXING AND USE
When the LCB3 arrived and I opened the box, I was impressed with the look and feel of this chromebook. I don’t have to qualify this comment with (…for a $170 chromebook). No, it is legitimately a good looking and feeling chromebook, period.

The lid has a tasteful Lenovo branding plate on it and a section of the lid has a fine gray hash pattern stenciled on that gives it an interesting and attractive look.

The screen is a matte screen… yes! I’ve always been a fan of matte screens (especially on Thinkpads) and although the reviewers complained that it wasn’t a bright display, I found it to be just fine in the places I typically use a notebook-type device.

The keyboard isn’t the same as that found on Lenovo’s other laptops, but it feels stable and quite acceptable for long typing sessions.

The trackpad works well and is consistent.

Battery life is extremely good. I haven’t run it all the way down yet, but on multiple occasions, I’ve run it on battery mostly surfing and typing for 3-4 hours and the projected battery life remaining registered 10+ hours. I don’t know how true that is, but I’ll try to run it all the way down and update with the results.

Performance is more than adequate. The combination of the Celeron N4020 and the lower screen resolution results in a very smooth and responsive experience.

TAKE THE EXPERT REVIEWERS’ OPINIONS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT
Because expert reviewers have access to a wide variety of devices, (many of them high-end), they can have their perspectives skewed a bit. It’s nothing personal against them, it’s how we’re all wired. That seems to be evident in their review and coverage of the LCB3.

Lenovo has been “killing it” (in a good way) lately in the chromebook space. Their Chromebook Duet gets most of the attention, but this LCB3 is the hidden gem in their recently released chromebooks.

I’ve owned the older Lenovo ThinkPad chromebooks in the past, but the LCB3 feels more like a ThinkPad than those officially branded ThinkPad chromebooks were. I’m baffled as to why expert reviewers haven’t given this device more attention.

I was initially concerned about how well the few Android apps I rely on would work on a non-touchscreen chromebook, but so far, they work as expected.

I’m delighted with the LCB3 and it will fit nicely with how I use my chromebooks. I hope this is helpful to those who are considering purchasing the Chromebook 3.

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