Lenovo’s IdeaPad 5i is the first 16-inch high-refresh-rate Chromebook

Some giant Chromebooks equipped with 17-inch screens do exists, yes. (We reviewed one of the two we know of, the Acer Chromebook 317. Asus has one, too.) But it’s time to welcome a new screen size to the Chromebook fold: Lenovo has announced the first 16-inch Chromebook, the IdeaPad 5i Chromebook, increasing both the panel size and feature set options for smartphone users. ChromeOS. We were able to test the product at a Lenovo preview event before the IFA trade show.

The following video includes our hands-on overview of the device and a summary of its features. The big one, unique among Chromebooks so far: the 120Hz refresh rate for that oversized screen. Watch and read on for more details.

A big-screen Chromebook for real work

The prototype Chromebook is a small budget laptop, and while the $399 starting price for the IdeaPad 5i Chromebook isn’t high, the machine can be outfitted with more serious parts than the usual ChromeOS offerings.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook

But first, let’s start with the size: It measures 0.8 x 14.3 x 10 inches (HWD), larger than most Chromebooks but not too big for any machine with a 16-inch screen. It weighs 4.1 pounds, and while it can stay on a desktop for small business deployments, it’s easy enough to travel with given the size of the screen.

The reverse of the screen has a nice two-tone design, as you can see below. The panel, meanwhile, has a 2.5K resolution, which is also higher than usual for a Chromebook, and makes for a pretty nice, sharp display at this size. Also out of the ordinary for this category is the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook

Typically, a high-refresh panel is a touted benefit of Windows-based gaming machines, and you could actually do some cloud gaming on the device. But high refresh has other benefits. Everyday actions, like scrolling through apps and your web browser, just look smoother at high refresh rates. It’s a benefit that late-model smartphone users have been enjoying in recent years.

The components and features: suitable for ChromeOS

The shift to remote work and distance learning has increased the need for machines in the home, but they often don’t need to be too powerful for basic email, writing and research work, and video calls. As a result, ChromeOS has taken off and small businesses can also make use of the cloud platform.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook

All things considered, the benchmark components for a Chromebook generally don’t need to be high-end, but some users need a little more power and still want to use the operating system. The 5i has options for this, going a little higher up the Chromebook component stack than most.

In its maximum configuration (price not yet shared), it can include up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and either a 512GB SSD or 128GB of eMMC flash storage. Those aren’t powerful specs, by any means, especially compared to the usual Windows laptop fare. But at the high end, they’re more than enough for a fast Chromebook.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook

The feature set is rounded out by a 1080p webcam, which is also a boon in today’s burgeoning world of video conferencing. Finally, the laptop also supports Wi-Fi 6E, and its physical connectivity includes USB Type-C and Type-A ports (two of each!), a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot for expanding storage. economic way. Battery recharging is done via one of the USB-C ports.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook

Check back later this year when the Chromebook 5i becomes available.

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