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Hands On With Lenovo’s Convertible Chromebooks

Rugged, 360-degree convertible for education versus lightweight 300-degree convertible for consumers

The convertible Lenovo Chromebooks have been getting some hands-on attention recently. 

Both the education-facing Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e (which also comes in a Windows 8 flavour) and the consumer accessible Lenovo N20p have enjoyed some press attention of late, with the general consensus being that the devices are worth their respective price tags.

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e

CNET toyed around with both Chrome OS-toting ’11e’ models, a traditional clamshell without touch capabilities and a ‘Yoga’ model with 360-degree rotating touchscreen display.

lenovo-thinkpad-yoga-11e-chromebook convertible

As an education model the design has been ‘ruggedised’ to withstand the sorts of bumps and scrapes classroom use entails. The use of reinforced, strengthen hinges, screen and keyboard makes the device heaver than regular 11-inch Chromebooks, but the tradeoff is one that makes sense.

Specifications (Chrome OS convertible model):

  • 11.6-inch Wide-angle Gorilla Glass IPS screen (1366×768)
  • Quad-core Intel Celeron N2920 (Bay Trail) @ 1.8GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Chrome OS keyboard

CNET notes that pricing in the US will starts at $349 for the clamshell Chromebook, going up to around $500+ for the convertible Chrome OS model. It’s not yet clear if, as with other OEM educational Chromebooks, consumers will be allowed to purchase it.

Lenovo is also yet to confirm any plans for an international release.

Lenovo N20p Chromebook

Stepping outside of the classroom is Lenovo’s ‘N20’ line. As with the Thinkpad models mentioned above, Lenovo is releasing this series in two variants: a traditional 11.6-inch Chrome OS notebook (‘N20’) and a semi-convertible touchscreen version known as the ‘N20p’.

The former of these will retail at $279 and above when it goes on sale in the US in August.

But it’s the Lenovo N20p Chromebook that most Chrome fans will be intrigued by. While it features the same quad-core Intel Celeron processor, 2GB/4GB RAM and a 16GB SSD as most other Chromebooks, the 11.6-inch touchscreen display can be folded back a cool 300 degrees for use in a so-called ‘tent’ mode.

Specifications (Chrome OS convertible model):

  • 11.6-inch touchscreen display (1366×768)
  • Intel Celeron N2830 processor @ 2.41 GHz
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • 16GB eMMC storage
  • 2GB or 4GB DRR3L RAM
  • 8 Hour Battery
  • Webcam, 2x USB, HDMI, SD Card Reader

Sadly, however, the N20p cannot be folded back flat for use in ‘tablet’ mode like the Yoga 11e.

Lenovo say the N20p should hit US retailers this August priced at $329 for the entry model of 2GB/16GB SSD.

The video below sees Brad Linder of Liliputing give a quick hands-on overview of the N20p.

  • Yvan Philogène

    I would be sooo frustrated not to be able to buy the Thinkpad Yoga…

    • miri

      It’s the perfect Chromebook, save for being a tad bulky from the ruggedized build.

      • Curtis Mitchell

        It’s a worthwhile tradeoff for me on a 360 convertible. This is an extremely attractive looking device.

  • Sjeeks

    $500+ for a Baytrail based 11.6″/2GB/16GB Chromebook… this must be a bad dream.
    Acer C720P all the way…

    • andreas.arambasic

      I agree. CB should be priced somewhere at 249-299. This price range is appealing.

      • Heimen Stoffels

        That 11e is for EDUCATION. In education, it’s a whole different story. If they see fit for a presentation mode on this Lenovo, then they’ll buy a few anyway.

    • LDoodles

      Have fun with your terrible build quality.

      • Chris

        Nothing wrong with my Acer’s build quality and the last Lenovo I had (before I returned it as defective), and my current Lenovo tablet, haven’t inspired the words “great build quality” to spring from my lips. In any event, that’s neither here nor there. Time moves on, company’s build qualities wax and wane. The question that everyone should be asking instead is: “why do freaking 8-year old kids get IPS screens and the rest of us don’t!!!!”

      • Sjeeks

        Don’t over stigmatise that Acer has terrible build quality. Before my C720P I’ve used daily a cheap-ass Acer 11.6″ Win7 laptop since 2009, that’s 5 years. Build-wise it’s still going strong. Performance is a different story.. Windows eh.

    • calden74

      The ChromeBook model starts at $280. It’s also much better machine all way around, not to mention you can upgrade the memory to 16GB.

      • Sjeeks

        I missed the 8GB part? I’ve just read: “pricing in the US will starts at $349 for the clamshell Chromebook, going up to around $500+ for the convertible Chrome OS model¨

        Thats $349 for a 2GB/16GB clamshell and according to this article there’s only one Yoga model, also with 2GB/16GB, for $500. Which is a bit steep…

        • Heimen Stoffels

          So you’re working in education? It’s only available for education and in education, looking at laptop prices is a whole different story.

        • calden74

          No again you missed it, the Yoga version starts at 330 for the 2/16 Model, the 500 dollar model has yet to be announced but I think its 8/32.

  • DocToon

    Thinkpad Yoga 11e for me! I’ve been waiting for power, IPS, and touch together at an affordable price (compared to the Pixel). Gorilla glass, an Intel quad core, and a tablet mode…this is nice stuff. The price point may be too much for some folks but it’s the sweet spot for me. If Lenovo will sell this to me I’m in, 100%

  • Antreas Arkoudi

    lenovo make good laptop/tablets i give a try on Yoga11e