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Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook front

Should you buy the Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook or the Slim 3?

Back in March, the Lenovo Slim 3 Chromebook became available at $319. Now there’s a Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook, as spotted by Chrome Unboxed. The “i” represents Intel, so this new version runs on a Core i3 N-305 processor. That and a few other updates give the Lenovo Slim 3i a $549.99 MSRP. I’m not sure it’s worth it. However, with the 24 percent discount that Lenovo is currently offering, the $414.99 sale price changes things up.

For less than an extra $100, I’m thinking any potential buyers would be better served by the new Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook over the ARM-based Slim 3 model.

Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook left side

Right off the bat, the Intel Core i3 N-305 should easily outperform the MediaTek Kompanio 520 found in the cheaper Slim 3.

Yes, the ARM-based Chromebook is likely to get more battery life. I doubt it’s more than 2, maybe 3 hours though. That’s because the 8-core Intel chip uses 15W of power at most. And that’s when under a heavy load.

Besides, if the Kompanio 520 takes even 20 percent longer for most tasks, that extra time is going to negate a good portion of the battery advantage.

Then you have two other key differences. That extra $95 for the Slim 3i doubles both the Chromebook’s memory and storage. It comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC 5.1 storage capacity. The less expensive Slim 3 pares that down to 4 GB and 64 GB, respectively.

Both Chromebooks have a 14-inch 1080p touch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 300 nits of brightness, so that’s likely the same component. The webcams aren’t the same though. Paying for the more expensive model nets a 1080p camera in lieu of a 720p sensor. The extra cost also brings faster Wi-Fi 6E along for the ride.

However, I doubt most people have routers that support the 6E standard. So the Wi-Fi 6 in the lower-priced Slim 3 is likely more than good enough. A backlit keyboard is only found on the more expensive Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook.

Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook keyboard

All in all, the $414.99 Slim 3i seems like the better choice for most people.

Obviously, if your budget is just over $300, then the choice is easy to make. Get the entry-level Lenovo Slim 3 or a similar Chromebook. If you can stretch the budget though? That Slim 3i on sale might be the better option.

author avatar
Kevin C. Tofel

2 thoughts on “Should you buy the Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook or the Slim 3?

  1. The difference, so far, is that the Slim 3 Chromebook has occasionally been on sale for $169/$179. If the 3i drops to $270-$320, then it should be considered. At $415 it has to compete with the Lenovo Gaming Chromebook at $429, and it doesn’t win that battle.

  2. Yep, folks clamor for more ARM in Chromebooks, mainly if they’re heavy Android app users. I somewhat share that sentiment. But then we’re forced to choose Intel models over ARM models because mfrs. aren’t yet convinced that putting the peppier ARM chips into Chromebooks is a sound business proposition. The numbers still aren’t lining up quite right. Maybe in the far-off, distant future.

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