Lenovo’s huge Yoga Chromebook now comes with a 4K display and backlit keyboard

Lenovo Yoga Chromebook

Announced at IFA 2018, the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook has only been available with a 1080p display. Starting today, you can pick up the Yoga Chromebook with a 4K display and backlit keyboard from Lenovo’s website for $899.99.

That’s a tough price to swallow for those who aren’t sold on Chrome OS yet. That said, the 15.6-inch display with 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, aluminum build, and powerful internals have the makings for a great experience when navigating Google’s desktop OS.

You’ll have to wait a bit to get the 4K version of the Yoga Chromebook, however — the laptop ships in “more than 5 weeks.” If you can’t wait that long, you can go to Best Buy and pick up the 1080p variant.

Editor’s Pick

Apart from the 4K display and backlit keyboard, everything about this Yoga Chromebook variant is the same as the version available through Best Buy. That means a 360-degree hinge, island-style keyboard, glass-covered trackpad, a quad-core eight-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 56Wh battery.

Keep in mind that the Yoga Chromebook sold through Lenovo and Best Buy might differ when it comes to the keyboard. According to Chrome Unboxed, the Yoga Chromebooks available on Lenovo’s website come with backlit keys — the version available through Best Buy do not feature backlit keys.

You can pick up the 4K Yoga Chromebook at the link below.

Best upcoming Android phones of 2019

Honor View20 screen

After a sluggish few years in the Android world, 2019 is set to be a smash-hit for smartphone fans. Folding phones are on the horizon, display hole (punch hole) cameras are coming to make displays even bigger, and goodness knows how many cameras we’re going to see.

If you want to know more about the kinds of phones you can look forward to, check out our list of the top upcoming handsets arriving in the first half of the year below.

Samsung Galaxy S10 and folding phone

Samsung’s folding phone is probably the most exciting phone we’re going to see in early 2019 — if not the whole year. We know it’s well into development, we’ve already seen how it works, but we’re yet to learn what the final product will look like and how exactly it will operate.

But it’s an exciting prospect. It’s set to include an outward-facing display as well as an inner display that can fold out into something like a small tablet. It will be unlike anything we’ve ever encountered on Android, though all that cool will come at a cost. It’s going to be expensive, so for those who want something slightly cheaper, Samsung has another potentially super handset in the works: the Galaxy S10.

Editor’s Pick

Samsung’s new S-series flagship is tipped to arrive with an Infinity-O display, as many as three rear cameras, and possibly a vibrating display for audio. There’s likely be a few variations of it too, including a Plus model and a 5G model.

Both the S10 and Samsung’s foldable phone are going to be big talking points in 2019 and the best news is we may only have a couple of months to wait before they arrive: current speculation suggests they may arrive at MWC 2019 in February.

Launch ETA: February

Samsung Foldable Phone

A render of Samsung’s folding phone prototype.

Huawei P30 and folding phone

Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer developing folding phones and phones with punch hole displays. Huawei just launched the display-hole wielding Nova 4 in mid-December, and it’s also tipped to have a folding phone out in 2019.

We don’t know exactly when — in fact, we know even less about Huawei’s folding phone than we do about Samsung’s. However, current speculation suggests it will land at MWC 2019 around the same time as Samsung’s folding phone. What a matchup that will be!

Editor’s Pick

Meanwhile, Huawei will likely release new flagship sequels to the P20 and P20 Pro, potentially called the P30 and P30 Pro. Given Huawei was among the first manufacturers to take on dual and later triple camera setups, there’s potential for the P30 Pro to adopt four rear cameras in 2019. Further, the handsets will probably use the Mate 20’s Kirin 980 chipset, just as the Huawei P20 series used the earlier Mate 10’s chipset, the Kirin 970.

Launch ETA: March

Honor View 20 and Honor 8A

The Honor View 20 (seen at the top of the page and below) will launch globally in January 21. We’ve already gotten a good look at this phone and it’s going to be one of the first to feature a punch hole display, which we expect to trend in 2019. That’s not its only interesting feature though: it’s packing a supposedly super fast charging 4,000 mAh battery and a unique design.

Honor may also launch a new phone in its budget A-series early next year, the Honor 8A. This passed through the FCC recently looking something like an iPhone 6 with a notch. It could be another budget wonder from the Huawei sub-brand.

The standard Honor View 20 launches in Chinese markets for 2,999 yuan (~$435) and you can read some of our early thoughts on it in our hands-on coverage here.

Launch ETA: Already launched (View 20), April (Honor 8A)

Honor View20 back

The Honor View 20.

OnePlus 7

From the outside, it looks like OnePlus had a very successful 2018. The Chinese firm had its best smartphone launch yet with the OnePlus 6T and secured a potentially lucrative sales partnership with T-Mobile to sell it.

Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

The OnePlus 7 is surely in the works, and should arrive before the end of June 2019 (the OnePlus 3, 5, and 6 launched in May, June, and April respectively). Based on OnePlus’ history, there are a couple of guesses we can make about the direction the OnePlus 7 might take.

OnePlus has recently followed industry trends on display notches, headphone ports, and in-screen fingerprint sensors. Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

Additionally, the flagship will probably have 10GB RAM or more (the OnePlus 6T McClaren has 10GB), the latest Qualcomm platform (Snapdragon 855), and cost more than the $550 OnePlus 6T. Don’t expect a OnePlus folding phone next year, though — it’s still early days for a small company like OnePlus to enter this race.

Launch ETA: May

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Google Pixel 3 Lite

Google’s Pixel phones are the darlings of Android but they’re not exactly easy on the wallet. The latest model, the Pixel 3, begins at $799, while the larger Pixel 3 XL costs $899. The good news for budget-minded folks is there’s a strong chance Google has a solution for you coming in the first half of 2019.

A couple of sources, including the typically reliable @OnLeaks, have hinted that Google is working on ‘Lite’ versions of the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. We don’t have much to go on, but supposed render images of these suggest they’re well into development — we wouldn’t see rumors that we have for a Google Pixel phone launching next October (the usual Pixel timeframe).

The standard Pixel 3 Lite is rumored to carry a Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP main camera, and an 8MP selfie camera. The Pixel 3 Lite XL will likely offer similar specs with a larger display and battery.

Possibly most exciting of all, both of these Pixel 3s may come with a headphone port. Jackpot.

Launch ETA: Spring

A comparison between the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

The supposed Google Pixel 3 XL Lite (left) and Google Pixel 3 Lite.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

Sony Xperia XZ4, Xperia XZ4 Compact, XA3, XA3 Ultra

Sony hasn’t announced its upcoming XZ and XA phones yet, but they’re expected early in the new year and we’ve seen a couple of recent leaks regarding them.

As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

We have potential Xperia XZ4 and Xperia XZ4 Compact renders from the reliable @OnLeaks. These flagships would possibly arrive at MWC in February, seeing as the Xperia XZ2 appeared there in 2018, ahead of the XZ3 later that year. The XZ4 series phones are among the many Android’s tipped to feature triple rear cameras and Snapdragon 855 chips in 2019; the leaked renders suggest they’re going to be pretty slick.

Sony may also launch new phones in its midrange XA series this January: we’ve seen leaks concerning both the standard XA3 and the XA3 Ultra.

Sony’s smartphones are often well-regarded yet fail to capture the hearts of consumers due to several factors (steep pricing among them). As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle commercially without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

Launch ETA: February (XZ4, XZ4 Compact), January (XA3, XA3 Ultra)

An unofficial render of the Sony Xperia XZ4.

A render allegedly depicting the Sony Xperia XZ4.

MySmartPrice

Xiaomi Mi 9 and Mi Mix 3S

The Xiaomi Mi 8 was one of the most impressive phones we saw in 2018. It wasn’t necessarily the most inventive smartphone, but it was hard to argue with the specs and usability quality it offered at its price. Now, all eyes on Xiaomi to deliver again with the Mi 9.

This would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

The Mi 9 is said to arrive with a 6.4-inch display, Snapdragon 855 chipset, a triple rear camera, and as much as 10GB of RAM. Despite the premium spec sheet, this would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

Meanwhile, rumors are already circulating about Xiaomi’s next major Mi Mix device. The Mi Mix 4 would also apparently feature a Snapdragon 855 and triple camera setup; however, it’s possible the speculation regarding this phone actually relates to the Mi Mix 3S.

The Mi Mix 2S arrived last April as an upgraded version of the Mix 2, featuring an upgraded chipset and an extra camera on the back. As the Mix 3 arrived with a Snapdragon 845 and dual rear cameras, one might expect the Mix 3S to feature the aforementioned upgrades. As for whether the next major Mi Mix phone will fold — as has been hinted at — we doubt it, though the series is known for its progressive display efforts.

ETA: June (Mi 9). Spring (Mi Mix 3S).

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

Pocket-Lint

HMD Global Nokia 9 PureView

HMD Global has done brilliant things with the Nokia brand since it acquired it a couple of years ago now and the Nokia 9 PureView might be its most anticipated device yet. We’ve encountered numerous leaks about the phone (though HMD hasn’t announced it), the latest of which included a leaked video offering some potential specs.

Editor’s Pick

The Nokia 9 is set to come with a 6-inch, 2K, HDR 10 display, Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage space, and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

It’s a compelling specs sheet, but it’s the rear of the handset that’s causing the biggest stir, as it’s set to come with five cameras. While these may not necessarily lead to best-ever smartphone photo quality, they should offer some neat tricks, as well as superior low-light performance.

Launch ETA: January

A leaked render of the Nokia 9 PureView.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

LG G8 ThinQ and LG folding phone

LG is another OEM which tends to release an H1 flagship and it’s possible we’ll see the LG G8 ThinQ before July next year (if indeed it will be called that).

Twitter leaker Ice Universe (@UniverseIce) tips it for a 4K LCD display and, as a major TV manufacturer, LG is likely to put an impressive screen on its flagship phone. Whether or not that truly means 4K resolution we’ll have to wait and see.

Editor’s Pick

We haven’t heard much else about this phone yet; however, LG has confirmed it’s working on another major handset you may be interested in.

LG says it has a folding phone already in development but also that it won’t be first to market with such a product. If Samsung or Huawei produce a foldy by February, that would put the phone’s release more than a couple of months away. With that in mind, ever-reliable leaker Evan Blass suggests it might be unveiled in January.

Launch ETA: June (LG G8 ThinQ), January (Folding phone)

LG V40 vs LG V30 close up of camera lenses

The LG V30 (left) and LG V40 (right).

Lenovo Z5 Pro GT, Moto Z4, and Moto G7 series

Lenovo has already announced the Z5 Pro GT and it looks like an incredible handset from the off. The sliding phone packs up to 12GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855 chip, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and four cameras.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

The Z5 Pro is also relatively well-priced in China, the 12GB of RAM + 512GB ROM model costs 4,398 Chinese yuan (~$635). This one may not see a wider release though.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

Other notable upcoming phones under Lenovo’s watch include the rumored Moto Z4 (codenamed Odin), which may launch with a 5G Moto mod and Snapdragon 855, and the Moto G7 range of low-cost handsets. The standard G7 variant is said to come with a 6-inch, Full HD+ display, 64GB of internal storage, and dual 16MP + 5MP rear cameras.

Launch ETA: Already launched (Z5 Pro GT), H1, (Moto Z4), April (Moto G7 series)

An official promotional image of the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

An upgraded HTC U12 Plus?

HTC’s Taiwan president recently spoke about the direction of its next phones, and it looks like we may not get a true HTC U12 Plus successor in the first half of next year.

Apparently, HTC’s current plan is to “extend” the U12 Plus range. Though HTC didn’t give us any further details on that when we reached out to it, it could mean a slightly upgraded U12 Plus is set for H1 next year.

Launch ETA: H1 2019


This isn’t a comprehensive list of upcoming Android phones, just a taste of what’s to come in 2019. Let us know if we’ve missed any big ones and tell us the handset you’re most excited for in the comments.

Moto G7 series renders leak: Here’s what the four handsets may look like

An alleged render of the Moto G7 series featuring four smartphones. Droid Shout

Motorola is tipped to launch its next round of Moto G phones in the coming months, and we might now have a look at them. Droid Shout picked up the renders and they potentially show off four G models: the Moto G7, G7 Plus, G7 Power, and G7 Play.

The G7 and G7 Plus would apparently come with a waterdrop notch, while the G7 Play and G7 Power would have a wider (and in the G7 Play’s case, ultra-wide) notch. It also appears Power and Play would feature vertically-mounted dual rear camera sensors while the standard and Plus models would have a horizontal camera setup.

A dual rear camera setup on the G7 Play could be an upgrade over the G6 Play’s single rear camera. However, Motorola has previously used housings that give the impression of a dual camera setup on the likes of the single camera Moto E5 Plus and Play. We could be looking at single camera setups on the Power and Play, after all.

An alleged render of the Moto G7 Droid Shout

The regular G and G7 Plus once again appear to be the more ‘premium’ handsets, while the less-angular Play and Power would likely be less expensive variants.

Editor’s Pick

Previous rumors suggested the Moto G7 would pack a 6-inch, Full HD+ display with 64GB of internal storage. A dual 16MP + 5MP camera setup is tipped for the rear, while it’s also said to house a 3,500mAh battery. You can expect the Plus variant to have a larger display, the Power variant to have a larger battery, and the Play variant to be slightly less powerful.

The Moto G6 series appeared in May this year and the G5s arrived in April 2017. Based on those timelines, it could be that we still have some months to wait before the G7 series launches, despite the rumors.

As for the source, we don’t know much about Droid Shout so should treat the renders cautiously. With that being said, we have seen the Moto G7 Plus render once before, from a different source, and it is identical to the one above (save for the color), which suggests it’s legit.

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display front size

There are now a few choices if you’re in the market for a new smart display. The JBL Link View, Amazon Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display, and the new Google Home Hub all pair the convenience of a voice assistant with the utility of a screen for even more useful features.

Lenovo recently rolled out an update to its Smart Display that includes much of the Google Home Hub’s functionality, including the Home View dashboard. With software parity now on the cards, which of these two Smart Displays is the better buy?

Spec showdown

  Google Home Hub Lenovo Smart Display
Display 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 resolution 8-inch, 1,280 x 800 resolution
10-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution
SoC Amlogic CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 624
(Android Things)
Speakers 1x full range speaker, 80dB SPL @1KHz 1.75″ 10W Full Range Speaker, 2 x Passive Tweeters
Microphones 2x mic array 2x dual mic arrays
Camera No 5MP wide angle, 720p video call resolution
Wireless Bluetooth 5
802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 Ghz) Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 Ghz) Wi-Fi
Dimensions 178.5 x 118 x 67.3mm
480g
263.2 x 142.2 x 111.4mm /
311.4 x 173.9 x 136mm
1kg / 1.2kg
Colors Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal Grey / Bamboo
Price $149 $199.99 / $249.99

At $149, the Google Home Hub is much more affordable than the larger Lenovo Smart Display. As such, it’s a little more basic in terms of specifications, with a smaller, lower resolution display, a more basic speaker setup, and no camera for video calls. I would argue just $50 more for the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display offers good value for money, but $100 more for the 10-inch model feels a little expensive. The sheer size may also make it trickier for some people to find a good home for Lenovo’s behemoth.

Read: Google Home Hub review | Lenovo Smart Display review

The Home Hub comes in a wider range of colors, so you can probably find something you like to fit into your home. Lenovo is more limited here, locking the grey or bamboo options exclusively to the different sized models.

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display back design

Look and feel

There’s no escaping the large 10-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display on the bigger Lenovo Smart Display model — it takes over any room it’s in. The high pixel density lends itself nicely to displaying Google Photos in Ambient Mode and playing back videos with crisp clarity. Colors pop, brightness is great, and the 86-degree viewing angle makes sure you can see the display from virtually anywhere in a room. The smaller 8-inch version makes do with a 1,280 x 800 resolution, which still handily beats out the Google Home Hub’s 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 panel.

The Lenovo Smart Display is elegantly designed, boasting a curved bamboo back that lets you stand the display vertically as well as horizontally. Don’t let that sell you on this, though — the UI doesn’t shift into a portrait mode when the hub is on its side apart from when making video calls. This makes the whole design pretty much useless as I can’t see people flipping the hub up just to make video calls. I wonder if Lenovo had thought it might have been able to do more with the UI at some point in early development.

If you’re primarily looking for a picture frame or small castable TV, the Lenovo’s superior display makes it the better choice.

Lenovo’s design certainly won’t be for everybody, but I prefer it to the Google Home Hub’s functional white plastic. The partially textured look will be familiar to anyone who owns other Google Home products, but if you’re not a fan of pastel colors, the design won’t be for you. Fortunately, the Google Home Hub is nice and compact, making it much easier to find space for — it sits nicely on a desk or side table. You definitely need to set aside some space for Lenovo’s model.

Smart Home Multi Room audio settings menu

Music and video all-in-one

Integrated Chromecast functionality is a major win for both the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub. You can broadcast music and video from a wide variety of apps straight to the speakers with minimal hassle. Unfortunately, Netflix casting support is still absent from both products, but app support is otherwise the same as a regular Chromecast. Again, the bigger size and higher pixel density of Lenovo’s displays make them better products for watching back video, though the Google Home Hub is more than good enough for playing back YouTube music videos or following along with recipes in the kitchen.

Editor’s Pick

Speaking of streaming, both products now support multi-room music streaming. These display can be added to home groups, along with other cast enabled Home smart speakers. Speaker quality differs between the models though.

On the front on the Lenovo Smart Display there’s a large speaker grill housing the 10W full-range and dual passive radiator to direct sound out towards you. The speaker is loud, crisp, and packs plenty of bass. It’s certainly better than the regular Google Home, I wouldn’t recommend it over a decent hi-fi setup if you’re really into your music. The Google Home Hub still packs a decent punch for its little size and I’d ballpark the speaker quality in the range of the regular Google Home. It will certainly suffice as a basic home speaker, but the Lenovo has a slight edge.

One feature separating the two is the Smart Display’s inclusion of a front-facing camera for video calling. It’s nice for those that use Duo, which I personally don’t. The Google Home hub handles regular calls, sans video. Lenovo also included a shutter slider to block the camera, which the privacy-conscious will appreciate.

As a home entertainment system, the Lenovo Smart Display’s better specs give it a definitive edge.

The Google Assistant you know and love

If you’re familiar with Google Assistant, you’ll know what to expect from these Smart Displays. The familiar timer, weather, commute times, reminder, news, music casting, YouTube streaming, alarms, and other features are identical between the two Smart Displays. I might not be the most demanding smart home user, but I couldn’t find any unsupported common commands on these products.

At launch, the Lenovo Smart Display was missing a number of key Assistant features found in the Home Hub. As well as the aforementioned Multi-Room Audio feature, Lenovo didn’t have Continued Conversations and the Home View dashboard for managing other smart home products. Fortunately, these are all now accounted for and Lenovo has also increased the number of third-party smart home products supported by its Smart Display.

There are a few subtle software differences, such as Google implementation of a small LED to display when the mic is muted, while Lenovo sticks a black bar across the screen. Lenovo offers variable volumes for audio and alarms, while Google sticks with just a single setting. Even so, the software of these two Smart Displays offers the same core features, UI, and Assistant experience.

Google Home Hub showing feature menu
Lenovo Smart Display Speaker grill front

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display: Which is worth a purchase?

I prefer the Lenovo Smart Display to the Google Home Hub, owing to the larger display for pictures and video, and the better-sounding speakers. The design certainly won’t suit everybody and the size means it can’t be a discrete part of your home, but overall I think it’s the nicer one.

As a home entertainment system, the Lenovo Smart Display’s better specs give it an edge.

If you’re looking for  extra multimedia capabilities, then Lenovo Smart Display is certainly worth a look. Thanks to a recent update, Home View isn’t an exclusive selling point for the Home Hub anymore, either.

However, those looking for a cost-effective, small panel from which to manage their existing smart home will still likely find the Google Home Hub a compelling purchase.

Ultimately, the right one for you will come down to how much you want to spend on a Smart Display. The Google Home Hub is the more attractive entry point for those dipping their toes into their first smart home purchase. Don’t count the JBL Link View out either, if you’re after something a little more music oriented.

What do you think? Which Smart Display would you buy?

Lenovo Z5 Pro is finally official: A slider smartphone on a budget

A photo taken on the Lenovo Z5 Pro. Lenovo

  • Lenovo has launched the Z5 Pro smartphone in China.
  • It joins the Honor Magic 2 and Mi Mix 3 in offering a slider-based design in recent weeks.
  • The phone is cheaper than Xiaomi and Honor’s slider phones.

We’ve seen the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and Honor Magic 2 offer slider designs in recent weeks, but the Lenovo Z5 Pro has been waiting in the wings too. The Chinese brand finally launched the slider device today, so how does it fare against the competition?

The Lenovo Z5 Pro is equipped with a Snapdragon 710 chipset rather than a top-end Snapdragon 845 processor seen in the Mi Mix 3. The 710 is still a very powerful SoC, but it’s not quite as nippy as the 845. Still, when you toss in 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of (fixed) storage, you shouldn’t have any performance issues.

But the drawcard here is the sliding design, enabling a notchless 6.39-inch display (2,340 x 1,080) with a 95.06 percent screen/body ratio, according to Lenovo. By comparison, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 claims a 93.4 percent screen/body ratio, while the Honor Magic 2 touts a 91.5 percent ratio. The screen is also hiding an in-display fingerprint sensor, as is the case with Xiaomi and Honor‘s efforts.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro slider. Lenovo

Pop the slider mechanism and you’ll find the earpiece, proximity sensor, and 16MP+8MP infrared camera setup. The 8MP camera enables IR face recognition, but it’s unclear if it’s also used for portraits and other depth-related effects.

Switch to the back and you’ll find a 16MP+24MP pairing (f/1.8), offering an AI Super Night Scene mode and AI Super Video Shooting. The former is essentially Lenovo’s take on today’s night photography modes, while the latter seems to be a night mode for video recording. The company has also confirmed that the 16MP shooter uses pixel-binning (four into one), ostensibly for brighter results.

Lenovo’s phone also comes with a few more tricks, such as dynamic adjustments to reduce background noise on calls, a game mode for faster performance and reduced network latency, and “deep power saving” at night.

Editor’s Pick

Other noteworthy features include a 3,350mAh battery, the ZUI 10.0 skin based on Android Oreo (no word on updates to Android Pie), Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC. Unfortunately, the device lacks a headphone jack, much like the Xiaomi and Honor sliders.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro has a starting price of 1,998 yuan (~$288), while the 6GB/128GB variant will set you back 2,298 yuan (~$331). That’s not a bad price to pay for a slider smartphone, especially when the Mi Mix 3 starts at 3,299 yuan (~$475) for the 6GB/128GB model, while the Honor Magic 2 has a starting price of 3,799 yuan (~$545) for the 6GB/128GB variant.

Would you buy the Lenovo Z5 Pro over the other slider phones on the market? Give us your answer in the comments!

NEXT: The 5 biggest things to happen to smartphones since the Nexus 5

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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