By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
My new Chromebook arrived quickly and I am just thrilled with its capabilities for $149.
I mentioned the plethora of ports in my last article, Anticipation.
- Power USB-C port, but also capable of accommodating a hub.
- Two USB-A 3.1 ports
- Headphone and or microphone port
- Micro SD Card
- Power button
- Volume toggle switch
- Full sized HDMI port
- Another USB-C capable of handling an expansion hub
- Kensington lock
- USI Pen
An expansion hub allows for even more ports, including another HDMI port.
Unlike the old 1366 x 768 displays from earlier Chromebooks, the C13 Yoga has a full 1080p IPS (in-plane switching) touchscreen display. Meaning you can view the screen from wide angles and watch videos in glorious color/definition. The touch screen is very responsive, which appeals to Fritz, our cat when he stretches out his paws. Scrolling is much easier with a touchscreen. The bezel is quite small, a sign of a newer Chromebook.
The keyboard is backlit making it easy to type in low light conditions. This is another sign of a higher end Chromebook. In typical Thinkpad style, a pointing device is located between the g, h and b keys – moving the pointer without lifting hands from the keyboard is possible.
As if the existing input devices were not enough, Lenovo adds a pen which can be used to draw in applications like Chrome Canvas. If I were an artist (I’m definitely not) I would find this tool very useful. The pen sits in its garage in the case, charging, ready for use.
The case is a dark blue aluminum, not plastic, and sturdy. There is no wobble when the computer in any of its three modes: tablet, tent or laptop. Lenovo says the computer is of military grade toughness. As a writer, I will be using the computer in laptop mode using the touch screen occasionally.
Chrome OS took a little while getting used to after not using it for a while. I must say the OS has come a long way. In short order, I was able to connect to my home NAS and backup server through SMB. I changed the Downloads folder to a 64GB micro SD card and downloaded some Google Play Store apps like KeepassDX for password management. I changed the External Storage settings to use the SD card as well.
32GB is not a lot of internal storage, but I was able to add Linux system support using 8GB of storage to install apps like MuseScore (music composition) and VLC for media playback.
Battery and Speakers
The battery is great, lasting all the working day long.
If there is a major downside to this Chromebook, it is the speakers. These are two side firing speakers that provide stereo separation, but sound tinny and weak. I definitely recommend pairing quality bluetooth speakers or headphones with this computer.
So, there you have it, this Chromebook is a keeper. So many ports, a wonderful touch screen display with great build quality, this computer is a bargain for only $149.
P.S. What ever happened to my old Linux Mint $75 laptop? It’s still working, but the charging port is loose and unreliable. I’ll probably offer it to someone who wants to know more about Linux Mint.