19 February 2019

Lenovo Chromebook 500e


As my older Toshiba laptop was just too large, lagging in ssh and vnc applications (WiFi power save?), and battery performance was bad, it was time to try something different. I was tempted by Chromebooks from a price/performance standpoint, so that is where I focused my search.

The Search

  • 2-in-1 design
  • 11 - 13 inch 1080p display
  • Pen Input
  • USB Type C charging on both sides
  • Processor Min Celeron N3450 (preferably a m3 or i3)
  • RAM Min 4GB (preferably 8GB or more)
  • Storage Min 32GB (preferably 64GB or more)
  • Backlit Keyboard

I had eye on a couple different models:
  • HP 14-DA0011DX (on sale $449 from Best Buy)
    • No Pen
    • 1920 x 1080 16:9 screen
    • Core i3-8130U processor
    • 8GB RAM
    • 64GB storage
  • HP X2 (on sale $499 from Best Buy)
    • Pen mounts in loop on side
    • 2400 x 1600 3:2 screen
    • Core m3-7Y30 processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 32GB storage
    • Screen detaches from keyboard
  • Lenovo 500e (on sale $269 from Lenovo)
    • EMR Pen
    • 1366 x 768 16:9 screen
    • Celeron N3450 processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 32GB Storage
    • Keyboard not backlit
  • Samsung Plus (on sale $449 from Best Buy)
    • Pen
    • 1920 x 1200 16:10 screen
    • Core m3-7Y30 processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB storage
    • USB C ports on same side
    • Reviews cast doubt on longevity of touch screen
  • Samsung Pro (on sale $499 from Best Buy)
    • Pen
    • 2400 x 1600 3:2 screen
    • Core m3-6Y30 processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 32GB storage
    • Reviews cast doubt on longevity of touch screen

The Decision

I decided to go with the Lenovo largely due to the price and minimal compromises. It allows me to try out a Chromebook (and pen input) without spending too much. I also liked it due to its rugged build as I have a toddler that loves "helping". However, if the 14 inch HP would have come with a pen, I probably would have went with that.

The Review

I have had the laptop for 2 weeks and here are my impressions.

Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars

  • Price, at $270, I could not find any other comparable Chromebooks
  • Solid build quality
  • Screen looks great indoors, but have not tested visibility outside
    • Scheduled Night Light to warmer after 10pm
  • Silent operation as there are no fans
  • Keyboard typing is great (I am typing this review on it)
  • Touchpad works well, but lacks a premium feel
  • Pen input was nice when I used it, but have not tested it thoroughly
  • Updates straight from Google (Version 71)
  • I have not seen a single slowdown with the Quad Core N3450 which benchmarks better than my A8 4500M (https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Celeron-N3450-vs-AMD-A8-4500M-APU/m208922vsm758)
  • Came with several free drawing/note apps ranging from $7.99 to $9.99
  • Came with 2 years of 100GB of Google Drive storage (about a $40 value)
  • USB C cable on charger is not detachable
  • Keyboard is not backlit
  • Only bottom portion of touchpad is clickable
  • Chrome OS Web Store took backstage to Play Store and wasn't evident as where to get software from
Other Thoughts:
  • A little heavy for use as a tablet
  • Between the tabs on top and the shelf on the bottom, the usable screen real estate was not acceptable for web browsing. However, moving the shelf to the left side and setting the display size to tiny and page zoom to 110%, remedied the situation.
  • No caps lock key (Use: Alt + Search)
  • Function keys (F1-F12) are replaced by Search + Number
  • Lenovo is preparing to release a 2nd gen 500e with a Celeron N4100 which would be a nice improvement, but according to their website will on support AC power on one side