I bought a Lenovo Chromebook S330 last week and have been playing with it for a few days. I did not receive this for review, paid outright for it.
It is small, light, and very portable. The S330 weighs under three pounds, and coming from a 15″ MacBook Pro, it is a welcome change to something more portable. My MBP was also getting hot when using it even short periods of time, so having something that does not roast my legs is good.
The screen is bright and clear. I went for the higher resolution screen with 64GB SSD since it was on sale. Right now it is selling on Amazon for about $280 new, I managed to get it with a coupon and discounted price for a grand total of $178. If you can get it when it goes back on sale and you know the limitations of Chrome OS, I recommend this.
The keyboard does feel nice to type on, it has a good resistance and doesn’t require too much effort to register a keystroke.
The trackpad is also nice, though it is a bit loud when clicking. I’m used to a MacBook trackpad, but those are much more refined.
The S330 does not come with a touchscreen or a backlit keyboard. I’m not a fan of laptops with touchscreens though, it seems more annoying to reach up and touch the screen than just using the trackpad to navigate.
If you understand what you are getting into with Chrome OS, then the options are open. The S330 does have the ability to install Linux and use Android apps, which opens up doors and options. However, I have not been able to successfully install Linux apps and I’m not sure why. I can start the process and it goes through most of the installation, but then hangs near the end. I then have the option to remove the Linux apps, but I have not been able to run Terminal or try others.
For Android apps, I’ve used a few like Outlook and OneDrive, and they seem to be working fine. Outlook takes a little getting used since it is made for smaller touchscreens. Once I figured out how to delete and email by just swiping left on the trackpad, it made it quicker to go through emails that need to be deleted. Outlook is still not as nice to use as Mail in macOS, but it does make it possible to have multiple email accounts that are not tied to Gmail.
Secure Shell is one of the apps I use a lot. I ssh into various Linux computers in our RV daily for different tasks, so it was required that I be able to do that on Chrome OS. I was able to find an app, Secure Shell App, which saves information and makes bookmarks so I can open the app, click on a connection, then just have to type in the password and I can do what I need to do on a remote computer. I have not had any issues with that app as of this time.
FTP is something I have not figured out yet. I did find an app that costs roughly $30, but haven’t dropped the cash to purchase it yet. Chrome OS does have Samba shares now though, so I can connect to a Linux box that has Samba enabled, which is convenient. It’s not as nice as FTP, but for now it does work. I might be able to set up FTP on the Linux boxes to automatically transfer files when needed, but haven’t put in the time to figure out how to automate that all.
So far, so good. I like the screen, I like the price. I just wish this Lenovo Chromebook had a backlit keyboard and I wish I could FTP properly. If you can catch it on sale for under $200, grab one if you want to make the jump to Chrome OS. For that price, this Chromebook is worth it.