Fullerton Joint Union High School District opts for new Dell Chromebook models for freshmen after Lenovo manufacturer finds defect


Hope Li

The three chromebook models: Acer R11 (left), Lenovo 300e (middle) and Dell 3100 (right) lined up from oldest to newest. Dell Chromebooks have been distributed to freshmen on all campuses after the Lenovo models’ manufacturer discovered a defect that caused technical difficulties.

Aaliyah Magana, News Editor

For the second straight year, Sunny Hills freshmen have been given a new brand of a chromebook instead of the Lenovo ones that the Class of 2023 got the year before.

The Fullerton Joint Union High School District decided earlier in the year to allocate to Sunny Hills 670 Dell 3100 chromebooks at a cost of $350 each, which equates to nearly a quarter of a million dollars, Sunny Hills site technician Sonya Joyce said. The reason for the switch in devices again was because of a defect that Lenovo techs had found and had informed district officials.

“It was a small amount of [Lenovo Chromebooks] that were having issues with this defect on them,” Joyce said. “And knowing that we had to deal with this issue with the Lenovos from last school year, we decided on the Dell [model].”

The manufacturer problem involved a screw connected to the display monitor that was too short, and on some of the models, students would suddenly experience a black screen instead, she said.

“It was sporadic on which ones that happened to, but we just didn’t want to have to deal with that again,” Joyce said.

Chromebooks have been offered to each entering freshman class since 2019, when the district opted to switch to a one student per one chromebook device model of teaching for all of its high school campuses.

After four years of students receiving Acer R11s, during the 2019-2020 school year, district officials decided on purchasing Lenovos for freshmen after a substantial amount of Acers were damaged, stolen or lost. 

The Lenovo, Acer and Dell models all weigh about three pounds and have the same software with 4 GB memory and touch screen capability.

“[The defect found in some Lenovos are] like a shoe company making 1 million shoes and coming to find out a very small number had rubber soles that were not glued properly,” Joyce said.

Appearance-wise, the Dells share few similarities with the Lenovo and Acer models besides a textured cover but this time, a light gray, matte finish and thicker rubber bumper for grip and durability.

The Dells also have an additional camera on the keyboard that functions as a back camera when students flip their Chromebooks into the tent position even though its efficiency to teachers is unclear, Joyce said. 

SH students who have older siblings, such as freshman Justin Park said that his Dell Chromebook was slow possibly from poor WiFi connection.

“[My chromebook] was a bit laggy but it is easy to use and to find the websites I needed for school,” said Park, who’s sister, Joyce Park, is a senior at SH with an Acer. “The Dells are also small and a good size to work on.”

Freshman Candice Chow said her Dell doesn’t work as smoothly as it should.

“My Chromebook froze, and even if I restarted it, [it didn’t work] so I had to go on Zoom from another device,” Chow said. “When I opened my Chromebook, my Zoom extension was deleted.”

Chow said she believes that the problem is with the Dell Chromebook itself and not the Zoom extension, which was also reported to have issues by other students, because she was not using the application when her screen froze.

Joyce said if any freshmen have issues with their Dells, they should go to SH’s library and switch out their chromebook for a loaner until the chromebook assigned to them has been fixed.