A kind buddy brought back a Lenovo IdeaPad 100S Chromebook from the U.S. for me, purchased via Best Buy. At $149.00 a go, I reckoned this was the ideal new budget laptop choice to suit my basic productivity and surfing needs, especially as my aging Windows laptop was on its last legs. Fortuitously, my Acer Iconia laptop did die on exactly the day the Chromebook arrived, showing just how prescient I’d been. Already, though, I’m enjoying a far better experience, for e-reading and otherwise, on my new Chromebook.
Setting up the device was a cinch. I already had an active Chrome OS account, thanks to the Chromium version of Chrome OS for Raspberry installed onto my Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Luckily, my buddy had tested the Chromebook in the U.S., so I didn’t have to cope with any awkward sidestepping of location-specific search results, etc., for my Hungarian domicile, simply log on to my Chrome OS account. All my existing suite of Chrome OS apps immediately synced to my new device.
In operation, and especially compared to my old Windows 10 device, the Chromebook is a delight. Almost instant startup, even from shutdown. Little to no detectable lagging in apps or while browsing, while my old Windows laptop crawled at times. Occasionally, some stutter between windows, especially when casting YouTube or internet radio to my ChromeCast while browsing Facebook, but nothing like as penal as the lags I sometimes got on my old Windows 10 device – which admittedly was in need of a system cleanup. Diehard Windows or iOS users may not find the Chromebook such an easy 0r rewarding experience, but for me, already standardized on Android and with most of my cloud usage backed up to Google Drive and other Google services, it made perfect sense. And there’s a free 116 GB cloud storage offer available over Google Drive with each new purchase, making for an even more attractive package.
In terms of build quality, the device scores very highly for the price. It’s light, but feels sturdy, with no feeling of corners cut to hit the price point. The screen is bright and has good viewing angles, although colour saturation could perhaps be stronger. The bezel is maybe a little on the large side, but it does accommodate a camera, and the screen doesn’t feel cramped at all once in use. The Chromebook also serves very well as a client for Android phones and tablets, and its Files app opened up my Samsung 200 GB backup drive far more quickly and smoothly than my old Windows 10 device ever did. It syncs faultlessly to Bluetooth mice and other peripherals. Certain quirks of the Chrome OS, like using a two-finger touchpad press to invoke a right-click menu, do take getting used to. And the touchpad itself does occasionally cause problems with palm reject (or lack of) while using the otherwise excellent keyboard. Other issues – so far, there ain’t any.
And for e-reading? So far I’m using Readium as my offline EPUB reading app, with Kindle Cloud Reader also installed. I’ll still be using phones or tablets as my preferred e-reading options, but the Chromebook display and Readium do produce very crisp, two-column reading views. I’ll report on this aspect of the Chromebook once I’ve had a chance to delve into it a little more.
Meantime, though, the Lenovo IdeaPad 100S is massively good value for the price. Maybe a buyer who’s less fanatically cost-conscious should stick out for a slightly higher specced model with a touchscreen. And as integration of Android apps into the Chrome OS becomes more prevalent, this may become more of an issue. Right now, though, I’m pleased as could be with my new Chromebook, and expect it to become my new default desktop device. At just $149, you’ll thank yourself you bought it.