A few weeks back I reviewed the Lenovo 5i Chromebook with some mixed feelings. I liked the generously sized 16-inch display as well as the overall performance. I did note some shortcomings though, saying this is a bit of a compromised device. With a 23% discount from the $549.99 retail price though, I thought it was worth surfacing the current sale. You can snag the big Lenovo 5i Chromebook for $419.99 right now.
Mostly great hardware in the Lenovo 5i Chromebook
I’ll get to those shortcomings in detail shortly but first, here are my review notes on the overall device performance and key features:
“The 1920 x 1200 display with excellent color accuracy and a reasonable 300 nits of brightness is a mix between mid-range and premium, for example. A surprisingly well-performing 12th gen Intel Core i3 straddles the line as well. You get 8 GB of 4266 MHz RAM, which is speedy. And a pair of both USB Type A and Type C ports is nice. Both are Gen 2 as well.”
In fact, this configuration of Core i3, 8 GB of memory and large battery provides plenty of performance. And for 10 or more “real world” hours.
That’s all great and the positive experience is backed up by the rest of the specs, which follow:
|6 cores (8 threads Intel Core i3-1215U (3.3 GHz E-cores x 4 / 4.4 GHz P-Cores x 2)
|Intel UHD graphics
|16-inch, 1920 x 1200 resolution, IPS non-touch, anti-glare display, 16:10 aspect ratio,
NTSC 45% support, 300 nits brightness, 60 Hz
|8 GB LPDDR4 – 4266 MHz memory
|128 GB eMMC 5.1
|802.11ax (2×2) WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
|Non-backlit keyboard with dedicated number pad, multi-touch trackpad,
1080p webcam with privacy shutter, dual-array microphone
|2 USB Type-C 3.2 (left and right), 2 USB Type-A 3.2 (left and right),
headphone/microphone combo jack, microSD card slot
|71 WHr battery with 12-hour expected runtime
|ChromeOS automatic updates through June 2030
Look closely at the specs though and you’ll see some missing attributes that are traditionally found on Chromebooks. Or rather, you won’t see them because they’re not in the Lenovo 5i Chromebook.
The nice display doesn’t have touch support, for example. Not every Chromebook does and frankly, some people don’t use the touch screens on their clamshell laptops. If you’re one of those people, then the 5i Chromebook should still be in the running.
You also don’t get a full-sized HDMI port, which seems odd. Not because every Chromebook comes with HDMI output but because there’s obviously plenty of space for one on a 16-inch laptop.
Again, that may not bother you. After all, there are a pair of USB Type-C 3.2 gen 2 ports, which support DisplayPort for audio and video.
Then we come to what may be the deal-breaker for many at any price. The keyboard and number pad aren’t backlit. This is probably the biggest complaint I hear when a new Chromebook arrives and it doesn’t have keyboard backlighting. And I get it. Especially when so many of the other components in the Lenovo 5i Chromebook are quite good for the original price.
Ultimately, it’s your money and your choice on which compromises you’re willing to make.
At the full $549.99 price, I really think this Chromebook should have a backlit keyboard. At $419.99, I’m a little more forgiving, mainly because the rest of this device is pretty darn good. Before you decide if the discount is worth it, check out my full Lenovo 5i Chromebook review.