With Mobile World Congress 2023 happening now, there might be a few new ChromeOS devices announced. One is already official. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook is a budget ARM laptop using an entry-level MediaTek processor. The laptop has a 14-inch display and will start at $340 when sales begin in May.
A solid refresh of the last MediaTek-powered Lenovo Chromebook
This model is an updated version of the Lenovo Chromebook 3 in the debuted in the first half of 2021 with a starting price of $269. You could make the case that the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook is worth the higher starting price because of some upgrade features.
One is a jump in the CPU and GPU. Instead of the old MT8183 in the Chromebook 3, the new Slim 3 model uses a MediaTek Kompanio 520. This brings newer ARM cores into the mix as well as an improved Mali GPU.
But there’s more.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook jumps up to Wi-Fi 6 from Wi-Fi 5, for example, and Bluetooth 5.2 comes along for the ride. There’s still only a single USB Type-A and Type C port on the updated Chromebook. However, both are now USB Gen 3.2 instead of 2.0 for faster data transfers. And instead of being limited to 4 GB of memory on the original Chromebook 3, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 can be had with either 4 or 8 GB of memory.
Brighter displays for the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook
Additionally, the 14-inch Slim 3 display is brighter than the screen of its 220 nit predecessor.
There are three display options ranging from 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 with and without touch. The touchscreen option has the brightest screen at 300 nits, while the other two top out at 250 nits. That’s nice to see as is the upgraded webcam which is now a 1080p, FHD sensor with privacy shutter.
Here are the full specs and options:
|CPU||MediaTek Kompanio 520 octo-core processor (2 x A76 @ 2 GHz / 4 x A55 @ 2 GHz)|
|GPU||Arm Mali G52 MC2 2EE|
|Display||14-inch FullHD (1920 x 1080) anti-glare TN panel with|
up to 250 nits brightness, non-touch, 16:9 aspect ratio OR
14-inch FullHD (1920 x 1080) anti-glare IPS panel with
up to 300 nits brightness, touch support, 16:9 aspect ratio OR
14-inch HD (1366 x 768) anti-glare TN panel with
up to 250 nits brightness, non-touch, 16:9 aspect ratio
|Memory||4 GB / 8 GB LPDDR4|
|Storage||64 or 128 GB eMMC, microSD card slot for storage expansion|
|Connectivity||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6|
|Input||Non-backlit keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, dedicated Mute button,|
1080p webcam with privacy shutter
|Ports||1 USB Type-C 3.2 (with PD 2.0 and DP 1.1a),|
1 USB Type-A 3.2, headphone / microphone combination jack,
lock slot, 2 x 2W speakers tuned with WavesMAXX Audio
|Battery||Expected run time up to 13.5 hours, |
Included USB-C charger
|Software||Chrome OS automatic update expiration: June 2032|
Even with the CPU bump, I wouldn’t expect much of a performance bump over the 2021 model. And for some people, that may be perfectly fine. I know the Lenovo Duet Chromebook was a star in the eyes of many because it was capable enough for everyday ChromeOS tasks. And it was powered by the MediaTek MT8183, which is older than the newer Kompanio 520.
The question to ask yourself is could you get similar or better performance with comparable features from an Intel-powered entry-level Chromebook at the same price or less.
I’d say probably, if you shop around although this will also depend on option prices for the Lenovo. However, I suspect you’ll also see less battery life on a single charge compared to the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Chromebook. Thoughts?