Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) review: Affordably massive, surprisingly speedy

    Lenovo launched two 16-inch Chromebooks in current months: an IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook with RGB keyboard and 120Hz WQXGA show, and the Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) with the same design however some downgrades to the show and keyboard at a extra reasonably priced worth.For full transparency — and since mocking myself retains me humble — I assumed Lenovo had despatched me the gaming mannequin and spent an hour attempting to determine why the keyboard backlight wasn’t working. To be honest, the consumer handbook listed each Chromebooks with the Gaming mannequin on high, they usually look the identical. Once I noticed my error, I needed to recalibrate my expectations.Rather than a cloud gaming laptop computer, the Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) is constructed for Chrome OS followers who desire a huge show and dependable efficiency however do not need to pay an excessive amount of for it. That’s its fundamental attraction, and in that space, it does fairly effectively. That’s not a shock, given what number of Lenovo Chromebooks have appeared on our greatest Chromebooks checklist over time (three, as of publication). The major query is whether or not or not to decide on Lenovo’s huge 5i, its smaller and extra versatile Flex or Duet Chromebooks, or its 16-inch gaming fashions with all of the bells and whistles.Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch): Price and availability(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)The Lenovo 5i Chromebook is at present solely out there on Lenovo’s personal web site, so far as we will see, and in just one Storm Grey configuration. It is listed at $409.99, a 25% low cost from the total worth of $549.99. For comparability, yow will discover the IdeaPad 5i Chromebook 16-inch out there for $429 at Walmart with comparable specs however the addition of a higher-resolution show and RGB keyboard for $429.99. At the best finish, Lenovo additionally sells a 16-inch mannequin with Intel i5 chip, SSD storage, and a devoted graphics card within the $600 vary, although it is not extensively out there in the meanwhile.Today’s greatest Lenovo Chromebook 5i 16-inch and Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 offersLenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch): Design and show(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)16-inch Chromebooks are a relative rarity. Aside from the Lenovo 5i and its Gaming counterpart, we solely know of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE and ASUS Chromebook CX5, each of which goal a premium efficiency area of interest. Only Lenovo’s 5i providing is one which falls near a typical Chromebook worth, with extra compromises in consequence.Generally talking, 16-inch Chromebooks weigh within the 3.75-4.5lb. vary — a couple of pound greater than most 16-inch Windows laptops — making them the polar reverse of moveable. As for the 4.1-pound Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) particularly, it is a huge slab of a laptop computer, one with out a lot persona. The high lid makes use of anodized aluminum and provides a little bit of character with a two-tone look; the left portion with the Chromebook emblem displays a barely darker column of grey. You’ll barely discover the distinction except you are in a brightly lit room, and in any other case, this darkish aluminum picks up so many fingerprints that the police would not even have to mud it in the event that they discovered it at a criminal offense scene.The backside portion has two raised bars that carry it barely out of your desk, sufficient that the vents have somewhat room to flow into air safely. You’ll hear the followers whirring if you use demanding apps, but it surely’s not one thing you will discover too typically. Perhaps the one noticeable design alternative is that Lenovo allows you to tilt the show again till it is totally flat and parallel to the keyboard. I’ve by no means been sure what function this serves if you cannot preserve going till it is in tent mode, however perhaps Lenovo is aware of one thing I do not. Image 1 of 4(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Open up the Lenovo 5i Chromebook, and you will find a plastic grey end, a full keyboard, a top-firing speaker that stretches the size of the laptop computer, and an off-center touchpad that slots within the middle of the principle keyboard space. I anticipated to love the 5i keyboard greater than I did. You’ll ultimately get used to its relatively squishy really feel if you work on it for lengthy sufficient, however I a lot desire my Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga keyboard, which provides you a way more satisfying mechanical really feel, backlighting, and a TrackPoint nub for scrolling — regardless of the Yoga costing lower than the 5i. Or you possibly can improve to the Lenovo Gaming Chromebook, which provides you customizable backlighting and anti-ghosting.At least the latter’s keyboard is useable sufficient for work, with 1.5mm key journey and the quantity pad as an added perk sure folks will actually relish. As for the trackpad, it really works effectively sufficient however could be a bit spongey, so I take advantage of tap-to-click. Left-handed people may not like its placement, as solely righties have sufficient room to relaxation their palms comfortably outdoors the pad.The identical tepid seal of approval goes to the audio high quality. Compared to the various bottom-firing Chromebook audio system on the market, you must recognize that the sound is not muffled in any respect. It’s simply not particularly robust or wealthy; you will have to preserve the quantity close to the best stage for correctly audible audio, or simply plug in your headphones. Swipe to scroll horizontallySpecificationsLenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch)Processor12th Generation Intel® Core™ i3-1215U Processor (E-cores as much as 3.30 GHz P-cores as much as 4.40 GHz)GraphicsIntegrated Intel UHDMemory8 GB LPDDR4X-4266MHz (Soldered)Storage128 GB eMMC 5.1 TLCDisplay16″ WUXGA (1920 x 1200), IPS, Anti-Glare, Non-Touch, 45%NTSC, 300 nits, 60Hz, LED BacklightCamera1080p FHD with Privacy Shutter and MicConnectivityWi-Fi 6E 2×2 AX; Bluetooth 5.1Ports2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2; 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1; 3.5mm jack; microSD slot; Kensington Nano Security SlotAudio2 x 2W stereo speakers by MaxxAudioDimensions0.79 x 14.3 x 10in (19.95 x 356.5 x 253mm)Weight4.1lb/ 1.86kgThe Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) display disappointed me simply because the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook does so much better in this area. With a 1920 x 1200 resolution, the display hits a pedestrian 141 pixels per inch (ppi), whereas the slightly pricier model hits 2560 x 1600, or about 188 ppi.In practice, the 5i is perfectly functional for streaming content or cloud gaming, but its 45% NTSC color gamut means most colors aren’t as rich as you’d see on a more expensive display, and the budget ppi manifests in a slight softness when streaming would-be 4K content. The 60Hz refresh rate also makes itself known, too.So should you buy the “Gaming” Chromebook for non-gaming use? Maybe, however the larger refresh fee (120Hz) and brightness will reduce down in your battery life, and Chrome OS would not but take full benefit of quicker refresh charges outdoors of area of interest apps like cloud gaming. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)For anybody used to 13.3-inch 1080p Chromebooks, the Lenovo 5i Chromebook is not a lot of a visible downgrade (about 20ppi fewer). You have the apparent upside of an additional 2.8 inches of diagonal house, too. You’re going to make use of this for work, and it will offer you loads of room to make your Google Docs’ font measurement giant sufficient to spare your eyes some ache. Plus, at 300 nits, it is serviceably vibrant in comparison with the 250-nit common of most Chromebooks.  Perhaps the one precise downside right here is that Lenovo selected to present the 5i a non-touch show. You’ll have to decide on the Lenovo Flex 5i if you happen to discover interacting with Android apps the old style means a necessity. Overall, the Lenovo 5i Chromebook will do decently for out of doors use, simply not in direct daylight. The battery life makes it well-suited to work on the go, however the weight undercuts that. You’re not going to need to lug this in your backpack for college. It may work for enterprise use if you happen to commute by automotive and spend most of your time at a single desk, although. And you do have the Kensington Nano lock port if you happen to ever have to theft-proof your laptop computer whereas working in a public house.Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch): Performance and battery(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)For all the design compromises the Lenovo 5i Chromebook makes, all of it pays off due to its Intel 12th-Gen i3 processor and 8GB of RAM. Its benchmarked efficiency solely falls barely in need of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, despite the fact that Acer’s laptop computer makes use of a 12th-Gen i5 and SSD storage as an alternative of eMMC — and prices $250 extra at full worth. It’s actually spectacular.Swipe to scroll horizontallyBenchmarkLenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) scoreCrXPRT 2156Wirple HTML5 3D Benchmark8297Octane 2.081534Speedometer 2.1275Jetstream 2229.6MotionMark825In follow, the speedy Intel chip implies that you will by no means take care of slowdown even when opening tons of Chrome apps concurrently. This stage of productiveness in a $400 laptop computer, with 16 inches of show house to showcase your apps, is all anybody might ask for.The devoted graphics card means the Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16) won’t ever get ChromeOS Steam assist, and the shortage of touchscreen means no Android gaming, both. But I’ve loved streaming xCloud video games to it, each due to the show house and the Wi-Fi 6E assist for dependable bandwidth. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)In addition, I’m blissful to say that this Chromebook totally lives as much as its battery potential. So lengthy as I do not use it at max brightness, I can fortunately stream, cloud sport, and/or write throughout a whole day, near Lenovo’s 12-hour estimate. If I have been a much less energetic consumer, I might simply stretch previous that point. And even with max brightness and heavy-duty use, I’d estimate that the Lenovo 5i might final within the 6+ hour vary.Outside of CPU efficiency, the Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch) sports activities different options that professionals will recognize, particularly the FHD webcam with a bodily privateness change and two pairs of USB-C and USB-A ports with the latest-gen charging and information speeds, one on both sides. The webcam’s visible high quality is a step up over what you get from most competing fashions, even when it is not excellent.You may resent the lacking HDMI port and fingerprint lock, however you possibly can all the time improve to a pricier Chromebook if you happen to want each characteristic underneath the solar. Competition(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)I’ve already addressed a number of of the closest rivals for this machine, beginning with Lenovo’s personal 16-inch IdeaPad Gaming Chromebooks — both the semi-upgrade with the higher show or the total improve with devoted graphics. Of the 2, it is laborious to not suggest spending simply $30 extra for a greater show and keyboard on high of this Chromebook’s wonderful efficiency, with no obvious downsides besides maybe for battery life.The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is kind of much like the Lenovo 5i Chromebook in measurement and efficiency, however has a better decision and refresh fee, twice the SSD storage, an anti-ghosting backlit keyboard, quad audio system, HDMI and ethernet ports, and a barely lighter weight. But it might be too costly for sure consumers. If you are not keen on a gaming Chromebook, you really will not discover many 16-inch or 15-inch Chromebooks to rival what the 5i presents, just because such giant fashions are so uncommon. Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch): Should you purchase it?You should purchase this if…You care extra about show measurement than portability. You want an all-day battery life.You need dependable efficiency with out a excessive price ticket.You should not purchase this if…You desire a fashionable, light-weight machine. You want the very best visible expertise.I hope that the 16-inch Lenovo 5i Chromebook heralds an indication of issues to come back for the Chromebook market. Although it is clearly not an ideal machine, it provides you quick efficiency and an expansive show in a single configuration — relatively than beginning with cheaper chips and upselling you with Intel chips for a a lot larger worth. If I have been shopping for a Lenovo Chromebook myself, I’d in all probability pay somewhat further for the IdeaPad gaming mannequin; the RGB keyboard is okay, however I do assume the additional decision and refresh fee are value dropping a few hours of battery life. After all, this huge of a tool is not essentially one you are going to lug away from energy retailers that always anyhow; you will in all probability be capable to plug it in at any time. But if you happen to ignore Lenovo’s different fashions and simply have a look at the Lenovo 5i Chromebook 16-inch by itself deserves, it is a completely good machine that strikes a steadiness between a budget, underpowered and costly, overpowered Chromebooks we are inclined to see as of late.

    Lenovo 5i Chromebook (16-inch)

    Most folks purchase Chromebooks for an reasonably priced, compact expertise. The Lenovo 5i is not too costly, however is certainly a behemoth that is higher suited to being stationary. If you possibly can settle for that, this can be a comparatively quick laptop computer with battery life and show actual property to spare.

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