HP announces first 15-inch Chromebook, with backlit keys and number pad

A promotional image of the HP Chromebook 15, HP's first 15-inch Chromebook. CNET

The world of Chromebooks just keeps on growing, both literally and figuratively. Case in point, HP just announced the HP Chromebook 15, the company’s first 15-inch Chrome OS laptop (via CNET).

Because of its sheer size, HP was able to cram a full number pad next to the typical keyboard, which is certainly nice if you need a number pad on your laptop.

That keyboard also features backlit keys, which is always a nice touch, especially on a Chromebook which usually costs much less than a typical Windows- or Mac OS-based laptop. Above that keyboard is a 15.6-inch FHD IPS BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.

Editor’s Pick

Inside, the HP Chromebook 15 is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold 4417U CPU, 4GB of DDR4 SDRAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and integrated Intel HD Graphics 610. The laptop weighs about four pounds, and HP claims it gets up to 13 hours of battery life.

Outside, you’ll find a standard selection of ports, including a microSD card reader, two USB-C 3.1 ports, and one typical USB 3.1 port.

The HP Chromebook 15 starts at $449 and comes in two colors: Cloud Blue or Mineral Silver. HP says the laptop is available now in the U.S., but according to its website it is listed as “Coming Soon.” HP also said the laptop is coming to the U.K. and Australia, but declined to announce pricing (or availability) for those regions.

If you’re interested in this laptop, be sure to check the HP site over the next few days to see when the listing goes live.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is finally available for purchase

Announced during CES 2019, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is now available for purchase directly from Asus. You can pick one up for $569.99, with Asus throwing in free shipping.

The true sequel to the original Chromebook Flip, the Chromebook Flip C434 sports an all-aluminum build with a 360-degree hinge. The laptop also features a larger 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 display in a body that normally accommodates a 13-inch panel. That gives the Chromebook Flip C434 slim 5mm bezels along the top and sides of the display.

Under the hood, the Chromebook Flip C434 currently offered through Asus only features the Intel Core M3-8100Y processor. Asus told Android Authority at CES 2019 that you can also outfit the laptop with a Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y processor, though neither option is yet available from Asus.

Editor’s Pick

Also of note: Asus currently sells the Chromebook Flip C434 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The laptop supports up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, so perhaps additional models will arrive sometime soon.

Finally, you have two USB-C ports, a regular USB port, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a 48Wh battery that promises up to 10 hours of use.

You can buy the Chromebook Flip C434 at the link below. There’s no word yet if the laptop will be available through retailers like Amazon or Best Buy. There’s also no word yet if the Chromebook Flip C434 will be available in other regions.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Acer announces its first two 12-inch Chromebooks

Acer has just announced its first two 12-inch Chromebooks: the Chromebook 512 and Chromebook Spin 512.

Starting with the Chromebook 512, the device features a 12-inch IPS display with 1,366 x 912 resolution. The 180-degree hinge lets you lay the Chromebook 512 flat on a surface, while the display can either be touch or non-touch.

On the sides are two USB-C ports, two full-size USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack.

Editor’s Pick

The Chromebook 512 is also compliant with the MIL-STD-810G standard, so it should stand up to a fair amount of abuse. In particular, the device can handle drops from heights of up to 48 inches and handle up to 132 pounds of pressure on the chassis.

Elsewhere, the Chromebook 512 features three processor options: the dual-core Intel Celeron N4000, quad-core Celeron N4100, and quad-core Pentium Silver N5000 processors. The device also comes with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, either 32GB or 64GB of storage, and a battery that promises up to 12 hours of use.

Acer Chromebook Spin 512

The Chromebook Spin 512 mostly features the same specs, though you’re limited to the Celeron N4100 and Pentium Silver N5000. Even the port selection, spill-resistant keyboard, and MIL-STD-810G compliance remain the same across devices.

The main differences are with the included Wacom EMR stylus and the 360-degree hinge. With the two features, students can turn the Chromebook Spin 512 into a 3.31-pound tablet and jot down notes during class.

The Chromebook 512 will sell for $329.99, while the Chromebook Spin 512 will sell for $449.99. The two Chromebooks will be available in April.

One-month test: Can a Chromebook replace my main computer?

Ever since Chromebooks started coming out, the most common question has been, can they really replace your main computer? Many users have already done it, especially those who don’t need much more than something for checking emails, going through social media, and doing light browsing. But using a Chromebook full time in a professional setting, that’s another question.

I’ve tried before to fully replace my PC with iPads, Android tablets, and Chromebooks. It’s never worked, mostly because I need a decent way to edit photos and videos for work, but also because of the many kinks these type of products tend to bring to a larger screen. However I’ve felt that if one of these platforms was to get it right, it would be Chrome OS.

I thought running the same experiment again would be a waste of time, but things have changed and this time I took on the month-long test with much more enthusiasm. Is this the year I can finally dump my PC?

I think so.


Experiment dynamics

Test device: Google Pixel Slate

If you want to replace a PC, you need a device that is powerful enough to compete with a good laptop. The Pixel Slate I used is the $999 version with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. Other specs include a 12.3-inch 3,000 x 2,000 display, dual speakers, dual microphones, an 8MP camera, a fingerprint sensor, and up to 12 hours of battery life.

Chromebook

Experiment duration: 1 month

I used the Google Pixel Slate as my only work computer through the month of December. I put my Windows and Mac OS machines away and didn’t touch them for the duration of the experiment. Whatever I had to do, whether personal or work-related, it was done with the Google Pixel Slate (or my smartphone).

What we’re focusing on

Putting a Chromebook against a traditional computer can be a bit of an unfair competition. There are Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computers in every price range, and the same can be said about Chromebooks.

Putting a Chromebook against a traditional computer can be a bit of an unfair competition.

Edgar Cervantes

There are plenty of differences from computer to computer. Therefore, we won’t be focusing much on specs like screen resolution, sound quality, available ports, and so on. This experiment is mostly about Chrome OS’ capabilities as an operating system. Other specifics you will have to research on your own.


Performance

Just like with any other computer, you essentially get what you pay for with Chromebooks. Sure, a $999 Pixel Slate seems expensive, but if you put the same specs on a Windows or Mac OS machine, the price looks much more reasonable. It’s a matter of perspective.

What is true is that a Chrome OS device will always give you more bang for your buck in terms of general performance.

Edgar Cervantes

A Chrome OS device will always give you more bang for your buck in terms of general performance. That’s because the operating system is still pretty much a glorified browser, and a very quick one at that.

Chrome OS can boot in under eight seconds. The operating system is so light, you will rarely come across slow-downs or hiccups. This wasn’t solely because I used the expensive Google Pixel Slate. Chrome OS in general is light and fast, and requires much less power to run efficiently compared to other platforms. Often, $200 Chromebooks can feel faster (performing general tasks) than $600 Windows machines.

Often, $200 Chromebooks feel faster (performing general tasks) than $600 Windows machines.

Edgar Cervantes

You only start feeling a big difference when you move to Android apps and games that require a bit more power to operate. It’s not that the Slate can’t handle intensive mobile apps (this Pixel Slate runs on an Intel Core i5, after all), it’s just the experience can be buggy. Android apps and games are not all optimized for a Chrome OS device with a huge screen.

However, using the Google Pixel Slate for browsing was a breeze. Pair it with a stable internet connection and you should run across very few slowdowns or hiccups. Apps certainly had their issues from time to time, but I was using the browser most of the time anyways.

I only used Android apps for very specialized tasks like photo editing, and though there are some design discrepancies between Android and desktop apps, they worked amazingly in terms of performance. Lightroom CC actually worked better on the Pixel Slate than on my Windows and Mac OS computers.

Lightroom CC worked better on the Pixel Slate than on my Windows and Mac OS computers.

Edgar Cervantes

Chromebook


Software & apps

I am definitely a fan of the Chrome OS user interface. It’s simple and to the point. You can pin your favorite apps to the dock, or simply press the search button at any point and start typing what you need. Press the action button in the lower-left corner and you will find a search box, as well as options to see your recent apps or all apps. Settings and notifications will be accessible from the lower-right corner.

Editor’s Pick

That’s about it when it comes to the computer’s UI! It operates much like a desktop PC interface, but it is simpler and cleaner.

Now, let’s talk about the software topic that matters: apps. Chromebooks used to lack software, but now that Chrome OS supports Android apps it can do a lot more. It’s allowed me to do all the things I couldn’t do before.

Not only did Chromebooks get the ability to run Android applications, but Android started getting apps that truly competed with their desktop counterparts.

Edgar Cervantes

Most of my work can be done online, for which the Chrome browser worked seamlessly. I did have to replace a couple offline applications with cloud services. For music I went with Google Play Music, as opposed to playing it locally with iTunes. For documents I used Google Drive instead of the usual Microsoft Office.

A huge part of my job here at Android Authority is overseeing photography. I have to manipulate images all the time. I pay for Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which gets me access to Lightroom CC. I prefer the classic version of Lightroom, but the lighter iteration honestly doesn’t lack much. I had little to no issues creating pro-level photos using Lightroom CC on a Chromebook. Here are a few samples of images solely edited by the Google Pixel Slate.




For those who would rather not pay to use Lightroom CC, there is a plethora of options out there. My favorite free alternative is Snapseed.

I don’t edit much video, and didn’t have to during the month of December, but I have used PowerDirector in the past and it works like a charm.

What I will say is that I will always opt for the web version of a service if available.

Edgar Cervantes

There are also millions of other apps on the Google Play Store. Since most Android apps still aren’t optimized for Chrome OS, I usually opt for the web version if it’s available. Throw an unoptimized app on a large computer screen and they are bound to look at least a bit wonky. There is often a lot of dead space, or text is not proportionate to images. It can be a bit of a mess, depending on the app, which also results in an inconsistent experience.

However, the apps are all there, even if they aren’t perfect. I can now comfortably do every single part of my job using Chrome OS. I never felt like I needed to go to my Windows or Mac OS machines to get something done.

Read: The best Android apps that work great on a Chromebook


Are you a gamer?

Android has plenty of great games, but we all know the serious gaming scene is on Windows. Microsoft’s OS has the widest portfolio of available titles and Chrome OS will likely never beat it (unless Google integrates its cool game streaming service into it).

I found a workaround to do some serious gaming from the Google Pixel Slate.

Edgar Cervantes

In fact, gamers probably wouldn’t even bother to read this article. If by some reason you made it this far, though, let me tell you I found a workaround to do some serious gaming from the Google Pixel Slate.

I have a subscription for Shadow, which offers a virtual Windows 10 computer you can access remotely over the internet. This machine can be used with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android apps. The remote machine has some serious specs too, including an Intel Xeon CPU, 12GB of RAM, a GTX 1080 GPU, and 256GB of dedicated storage. All for $35 a month.

This is probably an expense you would rather not have to deal with, but if you are serious about gaming and still want the benefits of Chrome OS, this is a way.

Shadow offers a full Windows machine, which means you could technically run any Windows program from it!

Edgar Cervantes

Naturally, the experience is better locally on a powerful Windows machine. The Android app can get a bit buggy, and it froze and slowed down on me about five or six times during the month-long test. Otherwise, it was actually quite fun.

The fact that you get to play any Windows game means you have the widest portfolio at your disposal. I got to play Final Fantasy VII, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with no issues. I got a 1080p@60fps experience, so you can’t really beat that. And don’t forget Shadow offers a full Windows machine, which means you could technically run any Windows program from it!

Of course, Shadow does have some recommendations for an optimal experience. They say you should have a 30Mbps connection, a strong 5GHz Wi-Fi connection (or wired connection), and more. I’ll have more to say about the service in the review I’m working on.


Battery life

We won’t delve too much into this topic, as it is technically something that will vary from machine to machine. I ended up getting about 9 hours of battery life, which is common to see in Chromebooks. These products are not as power hungry as most traditional laptops. Processors and software are getting better at managing energy, and some laptops will beat certain Chromebooks in this department, but the general consensus is that Chrome OS units will last longer.


Should you use a Chromebook as a main computer?

Windows, Mac OS, and Linux still offer benefits like a more refined UI, better optimized apps, and overall more streamlined experiences. Apps and games are also more readily available for them, especially if you have more demanding software needs.

Chromebook

Getting through the month took some compromising. I no longer had the full version of Photoshop or Lightroom Classic, though Lightroom CC and other compatible editing apps are great. I couldn’t really use Adobe Premiere, but PowerDirector is plenty powerful. No serious gaming is available for Chrome OS, but cloud services can compensate.

While my previous attempts to go with a Chrome OS laptop for an extended amount of time resulted in an elongated hair-pulling session, this time I was able to find a worthy solution for all my needs.

Edgar Cervantes

While my previous attempts to go with a Chrome OS laptop for an extended period amounted to elongated hair-pulling sessions, this time I could find worthy solutions for all my needs. I don’t think you should drop your full desktop OS and jump into the Chrome OS platform with both feet — I know I probably won’t be doing that anytime soon. However, now it’s actually possible to do it, and without too much trouble at that. That is saying a lot from someone who works entirely online.

Asus’ education-focused Chromebooks should withstand some abuse

Asus

  • Asus announced four new education-focused Chromebooks.
  • The four Chromebooks include the CT100, Asus’ first Chrome OS-powered tablet.
  • Asus will announce pricing and specific launch dates in the coming months.

With CES 2019 right around the corner, Asus unveiled four new rugged Chromebooks which include the company’s first Chrome OS-powered tablet.

Starting with the tablet, the CT100 features a 9.7-inch display with QXGA resolution (2,048 x 1,536), a USB Type-C port, the hexa-core OP1 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 35Wh battery. As a nice bonus, the tablet features a built-in stylus to use on the display.

Editor’s Pick

The tablet also features a 2MP selfie camera and 5MP rear camera. Finally, the CT100’s rugged build helps it withstand drops up to 100 centimeters (~39 inches).

Moving to the Chromebook C204, the laptop features a 180-degree hinge to lay it flat, an 11.6-inch display with HD resolution (1,366 x 768), Intel’s dual-core Celeron N4000 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage, and a 50Wh battery.

Again, the C204’s rugged build helps it survive falls up to 120 centimeters (~47 inches) when dropped flat and up to 80 centimeters (~31 inches) when dropped on its sides. Finally, schools can outfit the C204 with either a non-touch or touchscreen anti-glare display.




Next up is the Chromebook C214, which features a few differences relative to the C204. The 360-degree hinge turns the C214 into a hefty 2.6-pound tablet, though the smaller 45Wh battery cuts down the runtime a bit.

Schools can outfit the C214 with either the Intel Celeron N4000 or N4100 processor. Schools can also configure the C214 with an 11.6-inch display that supports Wacom EMR and Gorilla Glass 3. The resolution remains the same as the display on the C204.

Finally, the C214 goes up to 64GB of storage and puts the outward-facing camera on the bottom-right corner of the palm rest area.

Editor’s Pick

Last up is the Chromebook C403, which sports a 180-degree hinge, 14-inch display with HD resolution (1,366 x 768), Intel’s dual-core Celeron N3350 processor, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage, and a 45Wh battery that should deliver up to 11 hours of use.

The C403 also features two USB Type-C ports and two regular USB ports.

The C214 and C403 will launch sometime during the spring. The C204 goes on sale “later this year,” while Asus remained quiet on the CT100’s availability. We might learn more about pricing and availability during CES 2019.

NEXT: How to setup Chromebook parental controls

How to use Skype for Chromebook

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook Shutterstock

Chromebooks are great at so many things. They’re an inexpensive alternative to many laptops, and their storage is largely cloud based for extra convenience. You can use them for all of your chat needs, but if you want to use Skype for Chromebook? It’s really easy.

There are actually two ways to use Skype on a Chromebook, so let’s jump right in and take a look.

Editor’s tip: New to the world of Chromebooks? Our Chromebook Buyer’s guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, your options, and more. 

Going the browser route

Chrome OS is all about the web, so using the browser a simple way to get things done. Here’s how to use Skype for Chromebook via the Chome browser:

  • Open your Chrome browser.
  • Navigate to the Skype website.
  • Log in using your username (or email account or phone number) and password.

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook

Once you’ve signed in, that’s it. You’re done. You’re now ready to use Skype to chat with friends, use video, add new contacts, and everything else you usually do — on a Chromebook.

But what if you’d rather use a dedicated app?

While Skype isn’t included out of the box, most modern Chromebooks now support Android apps,and that means you can simply fire up Google Play and download it!

  1. Head to the Google Play app and search for Skype.
  2. Follow the basic installation instructions.
  3. Once it’s installed you should find Skype in the app drawer (that little circle to the bottom left).
  4. Open up the app, login and that’s it!

As you can see, using Skype on a Chromebook is actually really simple and goes to show you that you don’t need a Windows or Mac computer to do basic things like video chat. Of course that’s just scratching the surface, here are some of other great guides below:

Chromebook coverage:

Lenovo Chromebook C330 review: Is this really only $279?

The problem with making laptops is keeping them fresh and competitive each year is more than a little difficult. The 2-in-1 design changed the landscape, but manufacturers still need to come up with new ways to entice customers into purchasing their latest products.

Google also helped change the landscape with the introduction of Chrome OS, promising fast performance for affordable prices with the platform’s lightweight design. The education sector ate them up, and now they’ve become popular alternatives to Windows- and macOS-based PCs.

Lenovo’s Chromebook C330 brings the simplicity of Chrome OS and marries it with the flexibility of a 2-in-1 design – all for under $300

With its new Chromebook C330, Lenovo combines both worlds at a highly affordable price: A Chrome OS-based 2-in-1 converts into laptop, stand, tent and tablet modes. It’s not exactly the largest Chromebook around, but it’s compact, and you can easily slip it into a book bag or briefcase.

For this Lenovo Chromebook C330 review, Lenovo provided us with the 81HY blizzard white model, which has a maximum 64GB of storage (the cheaper model has 32GB), 4GB of LPDDR3 memory clocked at 1,866MHz (four slots), an 11.6-inch screen, and a four-core MediaTek processor. It has a starting price of $279 and hits stores on October 21.

It all starts with the display

The Lenovo Chromebook C330 sports an 11.6-inch IPS LCD screen supporting 10-point touch input, deep rich colors and wide viewing angles. The 1,366 x 768 screen is unsurprising given the Chromebook’s price, but it also provides a 60Hz refresh rate, which is decent for running video at a smooth 60fps. The IPS panel lives up to its promise, with vivid, bright colors at any angle and no visual wash out when your melon changes position.

By comparison, Google’s Pixelbook released in early 2018 sports a slightly larger 12.3-inch screen and an impressive 2,400 x 1,600 resolution, packing 235ppi versus Lenovo’s Chromebook with 160ppi. The Pixelbook is the “luxury model” of Chromebook, with a starting price of $999 although Lenovo’s highly affordable C330 does an excellent job bringing a “luxury” feel to a sub-$300 device.

The big tease with Lenovo’s current design is the actual color scheme. When you open the lid, you’re presented with a mostly black screen and don’t really see the huge bezels on each side until you light up the display. The top and side bezels are around 0.75 inches wide, while the bottom black bezel measures an inch tall. The remaining portion of the lid is white and measures an additional inch to accommodate the 360-degree hinge. The well-hidden 720p webcam (0.9MP, fixed focus) resides in the top bezel.

Build quality

lenovo chromebook c330 hinge gap

Moving down into the main keyboard area, you’ll see noticeable gaps between the screen, the bulky hinge, and the base. That’s the trade-off of having a 360-degree hinge, but it makes the Chromebook usable in four positions: laptop, tent, stand and tablet modes. These gaps are likely more apparent due to the review unit’s blizzard white exterior, though in comparison there aren’t gaps like that in Google’s Pixelbook.

Lenovo Chromebook C330 ports left

The left side houses one USB Type-C port (5Gbps), one HDMI port, one USB-A port (5Gbps) and a full-size SD card slot. The right side plays host to an audio combo jack, the volume buttons and the power button. The Chromebook doesn’t include an Ethernet port for wired networking, but it has Wireless AC and Bluetooth connectivity. There aren’t any visible vents for heat dissipation.

lenovo chromebook c330 ports right

Unfortunately, the Chromebook’s two speakers are mounted on the bottom, pushing sound down and away from your ears. When it’s on a table, the audio sounds muffled and singular (non-stereo). Your best option here on an audible level is to view media in tent or stand mode so the speakers are pointing in your direction.

Overall, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is quite attractive — it’s almost cute. The edges are crisp and somewhat angled, with a slight edge around the dark display area — at least with the blizzard white model. It’s slightly thicker in the front than the back although the specifications list a measurement of 11.5 (W) x 8.5 (D) x 0.8 (H) inches. It’s not horribly thick, but not quite as thin as other models at this size. Still, it’s a decent 2.65 pounds. Given its 11.6-inch size, it should be a great lightweight solution for students.

Keyboard and trackpad

Complementing a great screen is a decent keyboard. There’s no number pad or backlighting, the latter of which is unfortunate given backlit keys are becoming more of a standard. The keys are extremely large and responsive, colored dark grey with white lettering. The keys are also highly responsive and bouncy, providing a great input experience. Media keys like brightness control, audio control, and more sit along the top.

Below the keyboard is a large trackpad with a matte white finish, blending into the cool blizzard white theme. Despite its appearance, the trackpad is smooth to the touch and highly responsive, tracking our finger better than the trackpad I use on the latest MacBook Air. The trackpad measures just over four inches wide and provides a nice “click” tactile feedback when pressed.

Processor performance

Lenovo Chromebook C330

Powering the Lenovo is a MediaTek MT8173c four-core processor, featuring two “big” cores running at 2.11GHz and two “little” cores running at 1.7GHz. This chip has slightly higher speeds than the vanilla MT8173 model for tablets, hence the added “c” for Chromebooks in the label. Using Geekbench, the chip scored a 1457 in the single-core test and a 2984 score in the multi-core test.

MediaTek’s chip falls just behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 used in the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. In the Chromebook space, Lenovo’s C330 out-performs the Rockchip RK3399 used in the Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA and falls behind the Intel Pentium N4200 processor installed in the Acer Chromebook 15 released in late 2017.

It is not a powerhouse, but it doesn’t need to be.

Numbers aside, Lenovo’s Chromebook simply feels super zippy. The Chrome browser opened near-instantaneous, and Order and Chaos 2 took five seconds to reach the in-game connection screen. Google Sheets loaded in five seconds too — partly due to our wireless connection — while the Play Games app took around three seconds to fully load. Benchmark numbers are great when comparing Chromebook to Chromebook, but Lenovo’s model shows you don’t need a crazy beefy processor to get the job done.

Part of the overall speed relies on the integrated storage, as PCMark’s benchmark showed an average read speed of 2,339MB per second and an average write speed of a mere 64MB per second. At the time of this review, we did not have any information about the storage capacity limit of the Chromebook’s built-in SD card reader.

Graphics performance

Lenovo Chromebook C330 stand mode

The Chromebook’s graphics are integrated into MediaTek’s processor — there’s no discrete GPU here. Given this model supports Google Play and Android apps, we can see the device’s potential using a variety of benchmarks including 3DMark, AnTuTu, PCMark for Android and GFXBench GL.

First, let’s start with GFXBench GL Benchmark. In the Aztec Ruins High Tier benchmark at 720p, the Chromebook averaged a mere 6.4fps, falling behind devices like Nvidia’s Shield tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S7 phone in performance. The Manhattan benchmark produced the highest frame rate, with an average of 24fps at 720p, yet it wasn’t enough to come even close to the results seen with the HP Chromebook 11 G5, the Asus Chromebook C202SA or the Acer Chromebook 11 (N3060).

Using the 3DMark Sling Shot benchmark, Lenovo’s Chromebook surpassed the Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA, but fell behind the Acer Chromebook 15. In the second Ice Storm test, Lenovo’s Chromebook surpassed both.

A gaming machine it’s not, but considering it runs Chrome OS – we aren’t really surprised

Moving on to AnTuTu, Lenovo’s Chromebook produced an average framerate of a mere 4.55 frames per second. It only managed an average of 4.61 frames per second in the second Coastline test.

Keep in mind that Lenovo’s Chromebook has a maximum 1,366 x 768 resolution running at 60Hz. If you’re playing a 1080p video in full-screen mode, you typically won’t see any issues regarding choppiness. The opening cinematic for Titan Quest performed really well in full-screen mode, but the game itself wouldn’t play correctly in this mode. In fact, it would only run correctly in a window one-quarter the size of the Chromebook’s screen. The framerate was decent but not the smooth 60FPS the display’s refresh rate supports.

We can likely blame Titan Quest’s issues on a lack of optimization. We didn’t see any similar problems with Gameloft’s MMORPG Order and Chaos 2, as the game ran without major issues in full-screen mode using the default settings. Typical grind-based gameplay produced decent framerates although we saw tons of choppiness when large special effects consumed the screen. The framerate noticeably dropped and felt sluggish/jerky when we installed the optional HD graphics.

If you don’t plan to game on Lenovo’s Chromebook, you’ll have no worries about graphics. It’s capable of decent gameplay, but don’t expect stellar performance. Lenovo’s Chromebook appears best suited for games with simpler visuals, like the web-based Legends series by Spacetime Studios.

Battery performance

Lenovo Chromebook C330 tablet mode

Lenovo’s Chromebook features a three-cell 1,000mAh battery promising up to 10 hours of typical use (although Chrome OS reports 13 hours). Because battery testing and reporting is typically measured using a specific screen brightness level, we instead ran tests 100 percent and 50 percent brightness.

For the first test, PCMark performed a variety of methods to drain the battery. At a screen brightness of 100 percent, the battery lasted seven hours and 20 minutes. With the screen set at a 50 percent brightness level, the battery endured for nine hours and nine minutes.

The battery can easily last a whole work day, and then some.

We got similar battery performance in our web browsing test, where we put the Chromebook in a continuous webpage-loading loop until the battery depleted. Here the battery lasted nine hours and 10 minutes with the screen set a 50 percent brightness and seven hours and 51 minutes with the screen brightness set at 100 percent.

Another method of testing the battery is to use the built-in CROSH command in Chrome OS. You can set the duration up to 600 seconds and Chrome OS will report the battery drainage percentage in that timeframe. With the display set to 100 percent brightness, the battery drained 1.34 percent in 10 minutes, so in 10 hours 80.4 percent of its charge would be depleted. With the brightness level set at 50 percent, the battery only drained 1.02 percent in 10 minutes.

Finally, we looped the 1080p version of Aquaman’s recent extended movie trailer at the 50-percent brightness mark and saw the battery last 11 hours and 36 minutes. At the 100 percent brightness level, we drained the battery in nine hours and 53 minutes.

Software and apps

Lenovo Chromebook C330

Lenovo’s Chromebook really shows how lightweight Google’s operating system is. It comes with the standard taskbar along the bottom with a battery meter, Wi-Fi icon, system clock and so on. The launcher button on the far left pulls up a search bar with five recently-used apps that expands into an Android-like app drawer. If you’re not familiar with Chrome OS, it’s designed to run web-based apps so there’s nothing to install, requiring very little overall storage.

This Chromebook supports Google Play and Android-based apps, which you do need to download and install. The 32GB and 64GB storage options help here, but if you’re downloading large Android apps, you may find yourself utilizing the SD card reader. Not all Android apps will run perfectly on Chrome OS as we experienced with Titan Quest, but that may or may not have anything to do with Google’s current Android support in Chrome OS.

Finally, given the roots of Chrome OS, you won’t find any unnecessary bloatware installed on this device. In fact, if you’re moving from an older Chromebook, Google takes the Android approach and stores your software configuration in the cloud, so setup won’t take much work. When you sign in, all your apps will even re-download.

A decent Chromebook at a great price

Lenovo Chromebook C330

$279 is crazy cheap for a 2-in-1 device, but Lenovo’s Chromebook C330 doesn’t feel like a cheap device. Its solid, lightweight build oozes craftsmanship and style. The blizzard white color scheme is definitely attractive, though the white exterior highlights its biggest visual design flaws: The wide gaps between the screen, the hinge, and the base.

On a feature level, you have plenty of connectivity options for the office, home, or school. While there’s no stylus support or an included peripheral, the tablet mode and 10-point touch input offer something many Chromebooks simply lack. Despite its size and lightweight, this Chromebook doesn’t feel small.

It performs well in general, though we’ve seen better. It’s zippy enough to get the job done. Running Android applications — especially games — through Google Play can be a hit or miss. If you’re streaming or playing a 1080p video locally from the machine, you shouldn’t experience any major issues.

If you’re looking for a sub-13-inch 2-in-1 device not tied to Microsoft or Apple for less than $300, you can’t beat this Chromebook. It’s great if you want more than a tablet to surf the internet, work, stream videos, or simply be creative. Lenovo’s Chromebook C330 should serve as a great computing solution for students too.

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