Lenovo has been thorough with its stance on the ChromeOS front—the Chinese manufacturer is out there to make bank with its array of top-tier Chromebooks that otherwise don’t cost too excessively as well. The Chromebook Duet, Flex 5, and IdeaPad 3 are stellar examples of the notion at hand.
With that said, the industry giant also does not shy away from going outright premium for some of its Chromebooks. Looking at the C13 Yoga and the Yoga C630, that’s pretty much clear. Today, on the other hand, we’ve got our hands on a gaming-focused Chromebook that packs quite the pizzazz from the tech specs perspective.
However, is the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook a capable device you can run with consistently at the end of the day? That is what we’re here to discover as we take this otherwise promising unit for a spin and see how it manages to hold its ground. Do read until the end for the best results.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook technical specifications
- CPU: 12th generation Intel Core i3-1215U (6-core, 1.2 GHz)
- Display: 16.0″ WQXGA, 2.5K (2560 x 1600), IPS panel, 16:10 aspect ratio, 350 nits brightness
- Graphics: Intel Irix Xe
- Hard drive size: 128 GB eMMC flash memory
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4-3200
- Camera: 1080p webcam
- Ports: 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, x2 USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, built-in 3.5 mm headphone jack, microSD card reader slot
- Battery: 71WHr, 10-11 hours runtime
- Charging speed: 50% in 35 minutes
- Weight: 4.01 lbs (1.82 kg)
- Price: Starts at $429
- Buy from Walmart
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook in-depth review
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of this Lenovo Gaming Chromebook, it’s worth clearing up some confusion surrounding it. First, the device we’re referring to now does not have a 120 Hz refresh rate but rather a standard 60 Hz configuration.
There’s another model of the same Chromebook that resembles the unit in question, but it comes with a couple of upgrades and a costlier price tag. We’ll also get into this device in the “Configurations” subsection of the forthcoming review.
As for the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook, which is the machine we’re putting to the test at present, we’ve gauged it as per the following metrics: design, performance, and battery life. Please read through these and check out our verdict on the device to leave here with a firm purchasing decision, whether a yes or a hard pass.
From a visual standpoint of the exterior of the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook, this device is a sleek-looking piece of tech with its single color scheme available option yet in dual tone, which happens to be Storm Grey. You’ll notice one half of the outer lid — the one that takes less room on the chassis — sporting a different color tone, but this is not uncommon for Lenovo.
It’s a dashing device that will turn heads and catch people’s glances, especially if you take it to work or school. The finishing feels smooth and looks like a top-notch sort of polish that lets you glide your fingers on it with seamless fluidity. We love this about the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook. Let’s move on to the build of the device.
Build quality and weight
Although not mil-spec rated and nowhere near military-grade durable, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Chromebook is exceptionally capable of holding its own. It feels firm in hand, with minimal flex to its chassis as well, and there’s just no linking its plastic build to inferior build quality.
It’s surprising how many manufacturers, including Acer, know how to utilize plastic in Chromebooks effectively. Even with the usage of this otherwise low-cost material, most of their mid-range devices feel great to pick up and use daily.
As for the weight of the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook, it weighs about 4.01 lbs, falling just short of the 2 kg mark. This doesn’t grant the unit excellent portability, but we still wouldn’t rate it low in this department. It’s a large-sized Chromebook for sure, whose screen size measures 16 inches diagonally, along with a footprint of 14.40″ x 9.96″ x 0.79″.
The device will slide into backpacks, provided that you have one that can accommodate a 16-inch laptop. In all fairness, though, the IdeaPad 5 is a little less preferable for those who are always on the move, given its weight and overall real estate. Still, then again, it’s a gaming Chromebook meant to be sat down on a worktable for extended use.
Therefore, as far as that regard is concerned, it gets the job done in the portability department in a passable fashion. To compare the unit with its other gaming buddies, the Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip has a 14-inch screen with a sub-4-pound weight. The Acer Chromebook 516 GE weighs about 3.75 pounds and measures 16 inches diagonally.
Moving onto the display of the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook, which ought to be one of the unit’s strong selling points, we have at our disposal a 16-inch screen with a WQXGA, 2.5K (2560 x 1600) panel. The display also utilizes In-Plane Switching (IPS) tech instead of TN to automatically make the colors brighter, sharper, and full of life.
Additionally, the 16:10 aspect ratio means the Chromebook’s height orientation is standard and nothing out of the blue like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. The maximum brightness you can turn up on the IdeaPad 5 is 350 nits, which is pretty bright and capable of accommodating you on a sunny day outdoors.
If there is a gripe here, it’s undoubtedly the lack of a touch-enabled display. No variant of the IdeaPad 5 comes with a touchscreen, so if you’re someone who prioritizes that, you better look elsewhere. Now, that’s just reading the tech specs and the hardware out loud for you, so what about the actual experience?
We’re happy to report that the Chromebook at hand has an enjoyable screen, one that we certainly see being used for the likes of Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends. Moreover, you can whip it up for a pleasurable Netflix session and use other popular streaming apps, such as Amazon Prime Video and Crunchyroll, without breaking a sweat.
It’s also non-convertible, and the best the IdeaPad 5’s screen can do is lay flat on a surface at 180° for collaboration and teamwork purposes.
Next up, we’ve got the keyboard of the IdeaPad 5 Chromebook to cast a lens on, and critically speaking; the keyboard is admirable. It’s not too substantial and nothing like the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 or any similarly priced device, but it will get you by daily.
The key frame of the device could benefit from a bump in quality since the keys feel a bit cheap. However, the typing is still comfortable to a reasonable extent, and you can consistently push out long hours of typing sessions on the device. The travel of the keys is pretty palpable as well.
It also has a dedicated numeric keypad latched on one side so that typists can use the feature to their advantage. All in all, you may not need to get an external keyboard for this one, but at the end of the day, we’re still not going to say the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook has one of the best keyboards in the business.
The trackpad, however, compared to the keyboard of the Chromebook, is another story. It’s a fairly-sized touchpad with an excellent click mechanism. The component’s quality feels up to the mark, and the tapping registers even on the far corners of the unit. It’s undoubtedly one of the better trackpads we’ve used on a Chromebook to date, and you’re certainly not going to require, per se, an external mouse to do the deed.
The port selection on the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook is utility-driven, given the number of options you get for hooking up your external devices with the device. It does not have an HDMI port or an Ethernet slot—most Chromebooks rarely do—but it includes two USB-C and USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports.
There’s also a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microSD card reader slot to expand your storage. This does the job and then some for most people, but if you fall within the minority of users who require extra ports, consider investing in a USB-C hub for your Chromebook and unlock its true I/O potential.
Although we’ve seen worse picture and video qualities from the webcams of other, similarly priced Chromebooks, the camera of the IdeaPad 5 Chromebook is passable. It pushes out a doable level of quality and nothing too great that you can write home about. Specs-wise, an FHD (1080p) webcam is a cut above its other counterparts.
If you’re a professional who requires premium video quality, you may need to get yourself an external webcam for the Chromebook. This will enhance your Google Meet, Zoom, or Skype experiences and make you stand out among your work peers and colleagues.
The four upward-firing speakers of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook are pretty loud and complete but nothing too over the top. They boast a decent amount of clarity and are capable enough to run as someone’s daily driver. We dislike that you can easily talk over the speakers, pushing audio out at full volume without raising your voice.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Chromebook has been more than just an average Chromebook so far, so how does it hold up in the performance department? After all, a device is no good, no matter how flashy, if it cannot run tasks swiftly without worrying about speed lags and performance drops.
The question of performance, therefore, with the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Chromebook, is an easy one to answer, fortunately. With speedy internals and capable hardware, it’s no slimy slug that you’d be better off avoiding. Instead, it’s super fast with its 12th generation Intel Core i3-1215U processor, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage.
Feel free to run a wide variety of Android apps, particularly resource-intensive ones on the device, not to mention tip-top Linux software, such as Lightworks, WordPress, OpenShot Video Editor, Firefox, and others to your heart’s content. The reliable performance levels of the device combine eloquently with its multitasking potential.
And that’s mainly due to the 16-inch screen size of the IdeaPad 5, allowing you to split your screen into multiple parts and pin it to corners of the ChromeOS interface or any other way you like—the possibilities are numerous. It allows you to be flexible in your own space and makes the usage of different virtual desks buttery smooth and painless.
Now, there’s just one fundamental of the device that we have to consider before deeming the IdeaPad 5 fit for purchase: one of its upgraded models. It will get a little confusing from here, so bear with us.
So, Lenovo, I don’t know why or how has manufactured another model of the Gaming Chromebook in question and loaded it chock-full of improvements. For starters, it’s got a keyboard with anti-ghosting tech-enabled, a display with a QHD panel and 120 Hz refresh rate, louder-sounding speakers, and a higher-quality keyboard with premium keycaps.
This version of the device in question is currently unavailable at Lenovo’s official website, but you can find it up for sale on other platforms, such as Walmart. The rest of the internals remain the same as the base model of the device discussed in this review, so there’s that as well.
The latter may not seem too huge of a deal, but it is one. For a fair increase in the price, you’re getting a lot more with the other variant of the Gaming Chromebook than the default version. A better screen, better keyboard, better speakers? Check, check, and check.
3. Battery life
The battery runtime length is one of the best facets of the IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook, lasting around 11 hours on a single full charge of its 71Whr battery. For folks with offices and school-goers, this can be perfect enough to ensure that they still have some juice left after a whole day of work or many classes, whatever it is you do.
Even more so, this type of battery timing puts the IdeaPad 5 up there with Chromebooks with the best battery runtimes across the board. So that you know, don’t leave the device plugged into the charger—the consequences are not exactly desirable.
4. Final thoughts
At the end of the day, if you look at the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook on its own, it’s a solid unit that can manage itself well, thanks to its enticing hardware that pushes out remarkable levels of performance daily. However, being a consumer, one always tries to make the best possible purchase with money, not settle for anything less when a better option is available.
That is the case with the IdeaPad 5 Chromebook here—its other configuration, which costs around $650, features a number of attractive enhancements over its predecessor, all capable enough to improve the core ChromeOS experience further for you. If you’ve got the budget, we recommend you get the latter without a second thought.
However, in case you can’t spare the extra cash at this moment in time, the base IdeaPad 5 Chromebook is an option worth going after. It’s got a sleek design, admirable battery runtime, an appreciable number of ports, and a quality display panel that will keep you content for the days to come. Considering its $429 pricing, we see this as a workable venture.
Do let us know in the comments section below whether you’ve found the IdeaPad 5 Chromebook suited to your preferences. Chrome Ready wishes you good luck!