Lenovo has recently released another Chromebook to add to their collection of laptops that are decently specced and get the job done with an inexpensive price for those business folks, students, or families who just need a laptop to get by. I got a chance to check one out, and my Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook review sees just how this laptop from the company stands up.
The Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook has the following specifications:
- Display: 13″ HD (1366 x 768)
- Storage: 16GB or 32GB
- RAM: Up to 8GB LPDDR3
- Processor: Intel® Celeron® 3855U @ 1.6GHz
- Graphics: Intel Integrated Graphics
- Camera: 720p webcam
- Battery: Up to 10 hours
- Ports: x2 USB 3.0, x2 USB Type C, 3.5mm headphone/mic
- WiFi: Intel Stone Peak2 7265 AC/B/G/N
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Operating System: Chrome OS
- Dimensions: 12.68″ x 8.78″ 0.78″ (W x D x H)
- Weight: 3.2lbs
What’s in the Box
- 1x Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
- 1x USB Type-C charger
- 1x Manual
We all know how Lenovo likes to keep things the same when it comes to the design scheme of the ThinkPads, and that design carries over to the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook. It’s definitely not a bad thing because the design of the ThinkPads have always been nice due to the fact you can notice this specific design a mile away. It’s a classic that won’t ever change.
Looking at the top of the Chromebook, the ThinkPad logo is in the top left corner and across from that logo is Google’s Chrome logo. In the bottom right Lenovo has their own logo etched in on the surface, which personally I think adds a nice touch. Looking at the right side of the laptop, you’ll see the USB Type-C charging port, one USB-C port for connecting Type-C devices, one of the two USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone/mic port. Moving to the opposite side of the Chromebook is a full sized SD card slot and the second USB 3.0 port. The cooling vent is also on the left side as well.
Opening up the Chromebook, you definitely can’t miss the 13 inch display that pops right out at you. Just below the display, Lenovo has their logo again on the left side and the number 13 on the right side. The keyboard is plenty big along with the keys and I had no problem with pressing two keys at once. I did however, have a tendency to hit the wrong letter key, but that’s due to me not being used to this sized keyboard. Nonetheless, I’d like this keyboard on all laptops I get. And last up is the trackpad which I barely used as I prefer a wireless mouse, but the trackpad was pretty decent and responded very well.
Most Chromebooks don’t always come with high end displays which probably isn’t any kind of issue for the user that will be using said Chromebook because they’ll be too busy to really pay any attention. This model has a 1366 x 768 resolution and like I said before, that’ll be just plenty for anyone using this device. Viewing angles were pretty good when the brightness was at 100%, but getting anything lower than about 60% just killed viewing angles. Speaking of brightness, at max whites shine like usual, but isn’t blinding and having the brightness low made everything dull. It’s not that it was too dark, it just made the screen a little less appealing than it could be.
The Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook is running Chrome OS (it’s in the name) and it’s running version 52 (64 bit) and it comes with all the Google essentials pre-installed once you login such as Google Chrome, Gmail, Files, Hangouts, and the usual Chrome OS apps. As far as if the ThinkPad gets Android apps as well, the answer is yes, but not until either later in the fall of this year or at some point next year.
The model I received for this review came with the Intel Celeron 3855 Processor @ 1.6GHz and 4GB of RAM, but the device can be customized to the Intel Core i-5 6300 Processor and 8GB of RAM which is plenty enough to keep this guy running. I can’t say I did an extensive test as to push the limit on the processor and RAM, but I did have two Chrome browsers open, one with four tabs and the other with nine and no slowing down when switching between tabs or opening a new one or closing an old one. I didn’t test further to see where it would slow down as nine tabs is plenty enough for me and those that may be interested in this Chromebook may not even have more than five tabs open at once.
The speaker grill is placed at the bottom on the left hand side of the device which can be a big hit or miss depending on where you’ll be using the ThinkPad 13, but when I used the device on my lap, sound came out pretty well and wasn’t muffled. Now, when I placed it on my bed a few times, I didn’t notice much difference as it being on my lap, so I tried one last place which was placing it on a table and doing the same thing again, play music. Again, I didn’t notice a difference between the other two locations and it’s cool that nothing really changed considering the placement of the speaker grill. Anything below half volume seemed too low, which may have been me, but other than that, I liked the sound quality.
So we all know that webcams on computers aren’t really the best and to be honest, the camera on this unit wasn’t really all that good either. Photos came out to ok, but weren’t the best. I did however enjoy that there were filters you could use to play around with and a multi-shot option which takes three photos in quick succession.
Lenovo states you can get up to 10 hours of one charge on the ThinkPad 13 and what they say is true. I’ve gotten just around 10 hours of usage, but with the brightness at around 50-60%, so depending on what brightness settings you have on and what you’re doing will determine your battery life. As to what I did on this Chromebook was write up this review (what better way to partially test it?), edit a few photos, surf the web alot, and listen to music here and there.
Coming in at a base price of $429, you’ll get the lower end spec model of this device and the price does go up from there all the way to $939. Are a lot of people going to pay $939 just for the high end model? Probably not, but that’s because they don’t need to overkill a Chromebook. Lenovo however, did price just the base model at a good price for what you get inside.
So, at the end of all this, the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook was an excellent laptop that should fit just about anyone’s needs if you’re not looking to do much. The base price is pretty good, but you could be spending a bit more than some other laptops just to get top end specs.