One of the big challenges for many people during the coronavirus pandemic with parents working from home and kids trying to learn from home is having access to enough computers. Many homes have one shared computer, leaving people looking for budget options to get more people online. A Chromebook is an excellent way to get someone on the internet to work from home, or learn, on the cheap. Lenovo has a machine called the Chromebook S340 that runs the Chrome OS operating system and has plenty of performance for average computing needs.
The Chromebook uses an Intel Celeron N430 processor operating at 1.10GHz and up to 2.60GHz with Turbo Boost. The processor has dual cores and can handle two threads at a time. The display is a 14-inch HD resolution unit with anti-glare coating and 220 nits of brightness. Native resolution for the screen is 1366 x 768.
Chromebook S340 has 4 GB of RAM, that isn't upgradable, and 32 GB of eMMC storage. Graphics are handled by Intel UHD Graphics 600, which won't do much for video games but will handle video playback and other general computing needs. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 and Intel 9650 802.11 AC Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Machine features an integrated 720p webcam, which is plenty of resolution for meetings for work or school. Connectivity includes a pair of USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a couple of USB-A 3.1 ports, a microSD card reader, a headphone/mic combo port, and a Kensington lock slot. Power comes from a three-cell 42Wh internal battery that's not removable. The best part about the Chromebook is that it sells for $249.99 and when purchased directly from Lenovo ships the next business day. It's worth noting for those who haven't used Chromebook before that the machines will not run software meant for Windows computers but will work with online services. Lenovo recently launched the IdeaPad 5 starting at $690 for those who want a Windows machine.
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