The Chromebook idea is rooted in simplicity. Neglect Home windows, with all of its difficult licenses, patches and updates. Google’s free, light-weight working system simply works — so long as you perceive what a Chromebook can and might’t do. You may’t set up Photoshop, Steam or another Home windows or Mac-dependent software — solely on-line apps and companies that run via your browser (and now, many Android apps). With the 500e, Lenovo stays steadfast to the Chromebook premise, delivering an affordable laptop-tablet mixture that simply works — and with surprisingly few limitations.
Whereas Samsung and Google have refined the high-end Chromebook (see the Chromebook Professional and Pixelbook, respectively), Lenovo has gone down-market with a lineup of Chromebooks optimized for classroom use: sturdy, convertible (between laptop computer and pill) and cheap. Priced at $310 (£340 or AU$600), the 500e is well-suited for the classroom in addition to primary private and enterprise use.
Lenovo 500e Chromebook
Worth as reviewed
11.6-inch 1,366×768-pixel touchscreen
Twin-core 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N3450U
2GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Intel HD Graphics 500
Constructed-in 720p HD digital camera and mic, 5MP HD digital camera and mic
802.11ac wi-fi, Bluetooth four.2
A tricky little machine
The 500e’s plastic design lacks the metallic class of higher-end laptops however exudes toughness; I felt assured handing it off to my Eight-year-old daughter. In accordance with Lenovo, the rubberized bumpers can soak up a drop (as much as 29.5 inches) and the waterproof keyboard can stand up to a drenching (as much as about 11 ounces of liquid). The ports — two USB-C, two USB three.zero, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack — are strengthened.
The 11.6-inch HD multitouch Gorilla Glass show is completely mediocre: sufficiently sharp however simply not vivid sufficient, even at its most setting. The 500e’s 360-degree convertible hinge — just like the one discovered on the pricier Yoga 920 — is stiff and stays put at any middleman angle, although the show will shimmy a bit should you’re a forceful typist.
Respectable as a laptop computer and pill
Though it is a comparatively small machine, the 500e’s keyboard is not a lot smaller than what you’d discover on the 13-inch Macbook Air, and it has just a few helpful additional keys for on-line navigation (i.e. again, ahead, refresh). I discovered it comfy to sort on. Along with the customary webcam embedded above the show, Lenovo has positioned a second digital camera above the keyboard so you’ll be able to shoot images and movies whereas trying on the show in pill mode — a considerate contact.