Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook 12.2 Review

My latest review takes a look at the new Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook. You can see it here. It offers a 2-in-1 design so it can work as both a laptop and a tablet – but there is no pen support available.

The Flex 3i Chromebook is competitively priced, starting at around $349 at Best Buy (compensated affilate link), making it a good option for those in the tablet market. The model I reviewed was the entry-level version, equipped with an Intel N100 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage.

One of the standout features of this Chromebook is its 12.2-inch 1920×1200 IPS display. With a brightness level of about 300 nits, the touchscreen display is great for the price point. The device is lightweight, weighing in at 2.76 pounds, and although it’s made of plastic, it has a solid feel and nice texture.

The Flex 3i Chromebook comes with a 720p webcam, a good keyboard and a very responsive trackpad. It has stereo speakers and a good selection of ports, including two USB-A ports, a full service USB-C port, a headphone/microphone jack, a Micro SD card slot, and an HDMI port. It’s possible to drive two independent 4k 60hz displays using the HDMI port and the USB-C port.

In terms of performance, the Flex 3i Chromebook is impressive. Web browsing is snappy, and it handles Android apps well. It can even support game streaming and run many casual Android games smoothly.

Battery life is decent, with the device lasting between 8 to 10 hours in my testing. Another advantage is that it’s completely silent and fanless, thanks to its power-efficient Intel chip.

The Flex 3i Chromebook also supports Linux applications, allowing you to run command line software and GUI applications like LibreOffice. However, the device’s limited storage and 4GB of RAM might be a constraint for some users.

All Chromebooks come with a fixed expiration date for updates and for this model it’s June of 2031. That date applies irrespective of when the Chromebook was purchased.

All in the Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook is a great device that offers quite a bit for its price point.

Framework Chromebook Review

Framework is known for their fully modular laptop designs, differentiating themselves as the makers of user repairable and upgradeable computers. We looked at their Windows laptop last year and this week we took their Chromebook out for a spin.

The guts of this are functionally identical to the version that runs Windows and Linux. But like other Chromebooks Framework has locked this one down from running other operating systems in order to earn the Chromebook badge.

Framework does say their Chromebook is compatible with the open source Coreboot firmware but they don’t directly support it. So for those who want to choose their operating system the regular Framework laptop is the better choice. Those looking for ChromeOS on the other Framework can run ChromeOS Flex.

But as Chromebooks go the Framework is by far the most upgradeable and repairable by the user. Loosening a few screws on the bottom of the case is all that’s needed to pop the hood and get inside. Every part is labeled with a barcode that will drop users off at the Framework Marketplace where they can purchase replacements and upgrades.

In my review I was able to bring its base 8GB of RAM up to a whopping 64 GB – the most memory I’ve ever experienced in a Chromebook. Framework’s Chromebook is also one of the handful of machines that works with the natively installed Steam client that’s currently in beta.

Thanks to its i5-1240P processor we were able to download and run the Windows PC versions of Red Dead Redemption 2 and No Man’s Sky at playable frame rates. Steam on ChromeOS uses the same Proton compatibility layer the Steam Deck uses for running Windows games on Linux. It’s a great containerized experience that keeps all of the gaming completely isolated from other parts of the system.

At $1,000 this is a pricey Chromebook. But that said there’s a growing market for higher end Chromebooks and people are buying them. I suspect the experiment here is for Framework to see if this is something they can get in the door of institutions largely running ChromeOS (like schools).

Many educators I know scavenge parts from dead Chromebooks to repair damaged ones. I suspect there would be a lot of interest in a lower priced Chromebook with modular components that could keep fleets intact. In the meantime I can see this Chromebook being issued to teachers and administrators in place of pricier Macs and Windows PCs.