12.5 C
New York
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Home Reviews Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook review

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook review

We live and work in the cloud. It’s nothing for us to spend an entire day online, hopping between social media, email, docs, and services.

Rarely do we need to plug into a printer, insert a disc, or sit down to the same desk. It’s for those very reasons that Google began dabbling in Chromebooks nearly a decade ago.

When Chromebooks burst onto the scene one of the first things people noticed about them was that they were considerably cheaper than traditional laptops. How could they cost $200-$300 when we’re conditioned to spending $1,000 for a similar experience?

We quickly learned that those products weren’t designed to compete with standard laptops. Corners were cut, ports and optical drives were removed, and it was pretty obvious as to the differences. In the end, however, none of that mattered all that much. We could still do everything we needed.

Over time we’ve seen Chromebooks evolve from budget-priced devices to more expensive models that feature robust hardware and interesting designs. Indeed, you can get sexy and powerful Chromebooks. This is not to suggest that Chromebooks are in a completely different space. We now have products that run the entire gamut.

Lenovo is a brand that has been producing a whole array of Chromebooks over the years. Up for review today is its IdeaPad 3 Chromebook.

Design

Priced $250, the IdeaPad 3 Chromebook features a 14-inch display that folds all the way back. Inside are Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM, and 32GB storage.

Silver in color, the Chromebook is unassuming if not a tad boring looking. At about 3lbs, it’s lighter than it appears thanks to polycarbonate and ABS plastics.

You’ll find that the display or top half of the Chromebook has a bit of flex to it. While it’s not exactly flimsy, it’ll bend with a moderate amount of pressure. A thick border frames the screen which has a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution.

Speaking of the display, it has an LED backlight and tops out at about 220 nits of brightness. When compared to other budget Chromebooks, the IdeaPad 3 falls short both on paper and in practice. We found the overall picture to be fuzzy, muted, and generally dim. We could see it from virtually all angles, but we never found it to be anything special.

The IdeaPad 3’s has a fairly comfortable typing experience with a decent amount of space between them. We like it when keys are backlit but that’s not the case here. On the other hand, Lenovo says the keyboard is spill-resistant. A few drops of water from condensation on a water bottle didn’t seem to do anything at all, but we’re always reluctant to go all-in with a spill.

Audio is so-so for the most part, and can occasionally sound muddy. It largely depends on the source, of course. There are two speakers under the Chromebook which fire through to the table. Working with the IdeaPad 3 on your blanketed lap may force you to put in headphones.

Ports and Connectivity

Given they rely on so much on being connected to the internet, you’d expect solid support for Wi-Fi, right? The IdeaPad 3 Chromebook largely delivers on this front with the 802.11ac standard. We would have liked to see 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), but that is likely to keep cost in line.

On the left side of the Chromebook you’ll find a microSD expansion card slot, a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, and a combination headphone and microphone jack. The right side houses an additional USB 3.1 Type-A port and a USB-C port.

We like that the IdeaPad 3 employs USB Type-C for charging as that’s largely what makes up the cables and chargers in our home and office. Cheaper Chromebooks often use a proprietary port; this means one less cable to worry about.

Performance

Our review unit came with  a dual-core (1.1GHz) Intel Celeron N4020 processor with 4GB of memory and 32GB of flash storage. It’s about what you’d expect in a Chromebook in this price range and sufficient for day-to-day tasks.

Over a typical day of light use (web browsing, YouTube, email, social media) and having a handful of tabs open at a time, we found the IdeaPad 3 to be mostly snappy. There’s nothing overly awesome going on hardware-wise so we didn’t get into anything fancy, but the IdeaPad 3 handled all the things a student or work-from-home type might need.

When it comes to battery life, however, the IdeaPad 3 really shines. Lenovo claims about ten hours per charge and we’d have a hard time saying otherwise. This happens, though, when you’re not dealing with a super-high resolution display. The twisted nematic (TN) panel, and the lower NIT brightness are much easier on the battery than what’s found in pricier laptops.

Conclusion

If you need a Chromebook for simple computing needs such as home schooling or work-from-home tasks, and budget is a main concern, the IdeaPad 3 should meet your needs. You’ll trade off a high-resolution display and price tag for sufficient computing power, an array of external connectivity, and excellent battery life. All for a reasonable $250.

The IdeaPad 3 Chromebook is perfectly aligned with the needs of younger students or as a secondary laptop for the home. Likewise, it’s a good options for people who might want to catch up on work email and tasks from home.

Learn more about the IdeaPad 3 Chromebook at Lenovo’s website. You can purchase the device at a variety of retailers, including B&H Photo Video.

Note: Select outbound links may include affiliate tracking codes. Revenue generated from any potential purchases is used to fund AndroidGuys. Read our policy.

Latest

Razer Kishi Controller review: Xbox Edition

As a longtime console gamer, mobile games have never appealed to me much. I’ve always preferred the types of games released on console and playing on a larger screen. However, with the recent introduction of cloud gaming, one of those topics has resurfaced, but in a new way.While cloud gaming doesn’t have me prepared to ditch the console anytime soon, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to at least check it out. In order to make the most of the experience, you’re going to need a good controller. That’s where the Razer Kishi (~$100 USD) comes into play.There are plenty of other controllers out there to choose from, but the vast majority of them require you to mount your phone. If you’ve ever tried one of these before, you already know how awkward it can be to wield this top-heavy monstrosity.Fortunately, the Kishi mounts your phone right in the center, much like the Nintendo Switch. This layout makes it easier to view all of your buttons and feels much more natural to use while gaming in a variety of positions.DesignIf you’ve ever used a gamepad before, then you won’t be surprised by the design of the Razer Kishi. It features all the basic buttons, including a joystick on the left with a D-pad, and a joystick on the right with four main buttons. There are also two trigger buttons on both the left and the right side. Besides the main buttons, you’ll also find an Xbox button along with a share and menu button.What truly makes the Kishi standout from the crowd is its expandable design and hardwired connection. Thanks to some clever engineering, Razer has managed to make a compact controller for on the go, capable of expanding to hold even some of the widest phones around.I had no issue fitting my 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S9+ or a ZTE Axon 10 Pro which measures in at 6.5-inches. A word of warning though, the Kishi does not support the massive Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.User ExperienceI absolutely loved gaming while using the Razer Kishi, in my opinion, nothing beats this layout. It’s one that has already been a huge hit with the Nintendo Switch, and it works just as well as my Switch, with the added benefit of being more lightweight.Even though this is the Xbox edition of the Kishi, it still works with any game or service with controller support. I personally tried it out with several different games, including Asphalt 9, Dead Cells, PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, and various emulators. It worked great on all of them, except for PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile, both of which restrict the controllers that can be used.I also spent some time testing it with Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Cloud gaming is what the Kishi was truly built for, and it excels with both of these platforms. So much so, that I can’t imagine using any other controller with these services, nothing beats this layout with the phone comfortably placed in the center. It feels so balanced and works great at every angle.The buttons all worked perfectly, and I was more than satisfied with the travel and lack of latency thanks to the hardwired connection. I did find the left and right trigger buttons to be a little springy and mushy compared to other console controllers though.However, not everything is perfect on the Kishi. For starters, I had some minor issues when trying to close it back up into its compact form. It seemed to work best when I turned it over and looked at the back side, otherwise, I had issues trying to get everything lined up properly.Next, I found on several occasions that it had completely drained the battery while staying connected to my idle phone. This happened a handful of times when I left my fully charged phone with the Kishi connected, only to find it completely dead when I returned 16-24 hours later ready to play some games.For comparison, without the Kishi connected, my phone will only have lost 12-16% of its charge in the same time period. I quickly learned not to leave the Kishi attached and to only connect it when I was ready to play.I was also disappointed that the Kishi lacked Bluetooth support. I would have loved to use the Kishi in its closed up form as a regular Bluetooth controller with my tablet or other devices. Specifically, I would have enjoyed using it with my Chromebook or laptop while using cloud gaming services. It would really make the Kishi a much better investment and more versatile if it could be used with other devices besides your phone.Finally, the USB-C port on the Kishi only works for charging. It is not possible to connect a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter or to even use a pair of USB-C headphones. That’s a pity, because having low latency for your audio is often just as important as having that same trait in your controller.Although I can understand the challenges here, USB-C audio has been a mess on phones since its introduction, but Bluetooth audio latency is still a huge issue for mobile gamers.Fortunately, there are some low latency Bluetooth headphones out there such as the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds that help address this problem.Speaking of audio, the Kishi sports a couple of vents on the right side to help channel audio from bottom-firing speakers. That way your games won’t sound muffled while being covered up with the gamepad.Final ThoughtsAs much as I love this controller and want to recommend it to everyone, $100 is a lot to ask. For $60 you can get a PS4 or Xbox controller that works with Android 10 phones, not to mention the numerous other cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, the form factor alone cannot justify such a high price tag.That makes the Razer Kishi more of a luxury product, nice to have, but too expensive for most people. If they were to add Bluetooth and cut the price in half, then it would be a must-have for any mobile gamer. Still, if you can afford it, and don’t mind the minor drawbacks, I highly recommend it. And if you’re looking to save a little money the regular edition of the Razer Kishi can be purchased for $80, and it is literally the same controller without the Xbox branding.Razer Kishi Xbox EditionBuy from Amazon Buy from RazerRazer KishiBuy from Amazon Buy from Razer

The best phones available at T-Mobile (October 2020)

With nearly 100 million subscribers, and highly-rated customer service, T-Mobile is the second largest wireless network provider in the US. As such, it has a wide selection of devices to complement the service, including phones, tablets, watches, and more.Here, we gather up a handful of the best phones you can purchase at T-Mobile today. Do note that this isn’t a list of the best overall which often focus on performance. Rather, our list aims to speak to specific users and demographics.Motorola Phone Buyer’s GuideSamsung Phone Buyer’s GuideCheap rate plans that use T-Mobile’s networkSamsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraThe Most Well-RoundedIf you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful all-around device from T-Mobile, this is it. With a screen size (6.9-inches) that rivals early tablets, it packs an upgraded S Pen stylus and cutting-edge hardware. Oh, and then there’s a first-of-its-kind 108-megapixel camera, too.Powered by Android 10 with Samsung’s custom UI, the handset has generous battery, tons of (expandable) storage, and downright sleek design. Choose from Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black.Shop Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionThe Flagship for You and IIf you’re on the hunt for a phone that you plan to own for a few years, you don’t want to cut corners. You want a flagship phone. The problem is that too many of them cost way more than we’re willing to spend.The Fan Edition of the flagship S20 is what happens when you keep the most important stuff and toss aside the frills (and extra cost).Here, you get a large screen with high refresh rate, a large battery, three rear cameras, and a modern Android and user interface. Offered in three colors, it’s the S20 you deserve.Shop Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition at T-MobileOnePlus 8Mid-range Money, Top-Tier PerformanceWe’ve fallen head over heels in love with OnePlus these last few years. Rather than releasing an expensive, annual flagship, it refreshes its portfolio as needed. And it doesn’t charge nearly as much for the experience.The OnePlus 8 comes in about $200-$300 cheaper than what you’d see from other bigger brands, yet it doesn’t skimp on the features. A giant 6.55-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate and 48-megapixel triple-camera array lead the way, but it’s just as appealing internally, too.Running Android 10, there’s a bleeding edge Snapdragon 865 processor, 128GB UFS 3.0 storage, and 8GB RAM. Add in a generous 4,300mAh battery with lighting fast charging and you see why we’re so fond.Shop OnePlus 8 5G at T-MobileMotorola Moto EFirst-time BuyerBuying your first smartphone doesn’t mean you start at the bottom and tip-toe about. The Motorola Moto E is the perfect way to learn what your needs are without breaking the bank. Moreover, there’s enough under the hood to keep you from looking to replace it anytime soon.For your money you get a large display, impressive battery, and dual camera system on the rear. Over on the software front you get a clean Android 10 install with helpful custom touches from Motorola. Flashier than it needs to be, the Midnight Blue is easy on the eyes.Shop Motorola Moto E at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy Z FlipYou’ll Flip for ItThe Galaxy Z Flip 5G brings back the familiar clamshell design that your parents had at the turn of the decade but with a much smarter operating system… and a heftier price tag.Fully opened, you’ve got a 6.7-inch screen that rivals other phones in size and quality. Under the hood are a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, and more than enough storage. Grab it in Mystic Gray or Mystic Bronze.Shop Samsung Galaxy Z Flip at T-Mobile

How to watch 2020 London Marathon live stream online

Postponed from its usual April slot on the sporting calendar, the rejigged 2020 edition of the London Marathon finally takes

Which TP-Link Deco mesh router is right for your network?

Big on speedTP-Link Deco M9 Plus$236 at Best BuyProsFast AC2200 Wi-Fi speedsTri-band Wi-Fi keeps mesh speed highTwo gigabit Ethernet portsZigBee