I bought my first Chromebook back in 2014, and have been using it daily up until a year or so ago when it stopped receiving security updates. I’ve used it occasionally since but have always a bit wary of doing anything important on it.
So, I decided to upgrade it. This time, I found a Lenovo Ideapad 3 for £97.49 from Argos. The official spec is:
- Intel N4020 at 1.1 GHz
- 4GB RAM
- 64 GB eMMC
- microSD card slot
- 11.6 inch screen
Physically it’s very similar in size to the Chromebook it replaces. It’s so much more useful though. As well as an up to date version of ChromeOS (with updates guaranteed to the middle of 2027), it also is able to run Android apps which means I have access to lots of additional software my old Chromebook didn’t have.
The real icing on the cake for me is the support for Linux. In just a few mouse-clicks, I had installed Debian Buster inside a virtual machine. This works really well and gives me scope to install all of the usual Linux software that I like. I’ve added the Signal messaging app (which otherwise would be unavailable on a Chromebook) and the integration with ChromeOS is great. Signal appears in the applications menu, and if I launch it, ChromeOS silently brings up the VM (if it’s not already running) and then launches Signal seamlessly. Lovely.