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Why Prime Day is the perfect time to buy your first Chromebook


Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

We’re in the home stretch of Amazon Prime Day, and there have been deals big and small passing through, and now it’s time to head for the checkout after grabbing your last few items. This is the time where we take the plunge on items we’d been considering buying for months — I’m finally trying a set of smooth bamboo sheets to see if they’re as cooling as they sound. If you’ve been debating trying out a Chromebook as your next laptop, this is absolutely, 100% the perfect time to jump on it.

There are good Chromebook deals tonight that won’t break the bank and will give you a good starting experience with Chrome OS. You can decide if you want to buy a fancier model in the future or if the testing model you buy tonight actually fits the bill all on its own. There are three Lenovo Chromebook deals that are perfect for those wanting to dip their toe in the pool, so to speak, and you should grab them now before they shoot back up $100 or more tomorrow.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 Render

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 | $120 off at Amazon

This is the best Chromebook for most people. It has the 1080p touchscreen you’ll want when watching videos or playing Android games, a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 so it can keep up with your work, and the 10-hour battery and backlit keyboard will let you work late into the evening when you procrastinate all afternoon.

The main complaint Chromebooks get is that they’re cheap little netbooks, and if you think this might bias your decision, skip the cheap Chromebooks and buy the best Chromebook while it’s at its best price ever. The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a fantastic Chromebook at its normal $430 price, but tonight you can get it for $310, giving you a mid-range Chromebook for a budget price. This is the beauty of Prime Day, and it’s why right now is quite literally the best time to try a Chromebook.

This is a laptop I’ve used for months — I spent most of the pandemic on it after writing the Lenovo Flex 5 review last summer — and I worked full-time on it during light workweeks and the busiest of times. It can get the job done, and then once work is done, I flip it over into tablet mode and play Microsoft Solitaire Collection until I’m tired enough for bed.

While most Chromebooks have down-firing speakers, the Flex 5 has up-facing stereo speakers that are great for watching YouTube or Disney+ while you’re waiting for a meeting to start, and the 1080p touchscreen looks nice and crisp for those videos and for any games you’ll play on it via Google Play, Stadia, or GeForce Now. Battery life is 8-10 hours on most charges, but I’ve eked out over 11 hours when I kept the screen brightness down and the Wi-Fi steady.

If $300 is still a bit much to spend on a laptop that you’re not entirely sure you’re going to like, that’s OK! One of my favorite budget Chromebooks is down to $220 for Prime Day, and it’ll give you the essential Chrome OS experience in a compact, durable chassis that you won’t mind passing over to your kids if they had to hand in their school Chromebook for the summer.

Lenovo C330

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″ | $70 off at Amazon

The 11.6-inch 2-in-1 touchscreen Chromebook may be relatively light on ports, but it still has 45W USB-C charging — so you can use the same Power Delivery chargers your Macbook or newer Windows laptop does — and while the Mediatek processor can strain under heavier workloads, it’s perfect for light browsing, playing lighter Android games, and watching some videos.

The Lenovo Flex 3 11″ is an older Chromebook with a new name — believe it or not, that’s actually a good thing. This is the exact same Chromebook as the Lenovo C330, which is one of the most popular Chromebooks from the last three years and still sells quite well because it’s a great little laptop. Yes, the bezels around the screen are big, but it has a touchscreen rather than the non-touch screens most of the other budget Chromebook deals have tonight.

A touchscreen here is important; I firmly believe that a touchscreen offers the best experience on Chrome OS, especially when you’re dealing with Android apps that aren’t always optimized for mouse and keyboard input. Once you get used to flicking through Twitter with a touchscreen, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with a trackpad. It makes tasks like editing photos and zooming in on super small text much easier, and really, at these prices, why wouldn’t you want a touchscreen?

This laptop is a great way to ease yourself into Chrome OS because you can just treat it like a spare laptop. I’d throw this laptop in my backpack and go write from somewhere in the shade of the Japan pavilion at Epcot or keep updating collections while waiting for fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. The Flex 3 has no problem being hauled to and fro, the battery will last most of the day unless you really crank up the brightness, and the Blizzard White shell is remarkably good at hiding scuffs and lint over time.

Of course, if you’re still not sold on Chrome OS, there’s one more option for testing the system out: buy the best Chrome OS tablet on the block and my favorite podcast and couch companion: the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet with keyboard & kickstand

Lenovo Chromebook Duet | $95 off at Lenovo

The Duet features a 10.1-inch FHD touchscreen that’s perfect for watching YouTube or reading comics on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A magnetic kickstand and a detachable keyboard are included in the box, and when they’re connected, you get the full Chrome OS experience and full Chrome browser, as opposed to the embarrassing “desktop” or “productivity” modes that Android tablets offer today.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a great way to ease yourself into Chrome OS because when the keyboard’s not attached, the Duet acts much like Android tablets. You see all your Android apps, web apps (PWAs), and Linux apps in an app drawer, and it uses the same gesture navigation system. The Chrome Browser is touch-optimized on Chrome OS with a tab strip at the top that makes it easier to see and switch between tabs, and you get the full Chrome browser whether you’re using it in tablet or laptop mode.

Unlike Android tablets, though, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is getting monthly system and security updates and will get them until June 2028.

I’ll be the first to admit the keyboard on the Duet is a teeny bit cramped because of the smaller form factor, but it’s easy to adapt to when you’re using it for emails on vacation or Reddit-browsing on the couch, something I do with alarming regularity. The 10.1-inch screen has a better resolution and brighter panel than the Flex 3, and that makes it a much better option for watching videos and reading e-books and webcomics. I’ve lost entire days reading Fanfiction.net’s app on the Duet — and the battery was still over 30% after 10 hours of reading on the dark theme.

Oh, and did I mention you don’t have to deal with any of those nonsense anti-virus security suites with any of these Chromebooks? Chrome OS is sandboxed in such a way that it’s very, very difficult for your Chromebook to be compromised, and Google will pay researched hundreds of thousands of dollars when they find exploits capable of doing so.

If you’re debating a Chromebook tonight, these three are all great ways to ease yourself into the wonderful world of Chrome, and who knows? You might end up making them your new laptop after your trial period is over. It’s hard to go back to Windows constant updates and more clunky legacy applications after all these years of streamlined web apps and Android apps.

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