Lenovo became the world’s largest PC maker last year, shipping more computers than the likes of HP, Dell and Acer.
Not that you’d guess that from the reaction to its recent line of Yoga Chromebooks. The N20 and N20p models have met with muted response from the typically vocal Chromebook enthusiast community.
Even the results from our recent “Chromebook you’d most like to own” poll put the N20P in last place — tempted by the neutered performance and premium price of the Samsung Chromebook 2!
Why is it underrated? I’m not sure. The 11.6-inch Lenovo N20p Chromebook is unique amongst its peers. It features a 300-degree rotating touchscreen that folds back to create a “stand mode”, said to be ideal for watching movies.
So, in defence of this unfairly maligned notebook, here are three reasons why you should at least consider buying it the next time you’re hunting for a Chromeified purchase.
Every Chromebook lives or dies by the hardware it packs inside. And while the N20p isn’t standout in this regard, it is more than a match for most of the latest-gen competition:
- 11.6-inch LED Glossy Touch Display (1366 x 768)
- Intel Bay Trail N2830 @ 2.16GHz (dual core)
- 2GB RAM (US) / 4GB RAM (UK)
- 16GB eMMC Storage
- Bluetooth 4.0 & Wi-Fi 802.11ac
- 2x USB, SD Card, Mini-HDMI
A quad-core version (Intel Celeron N2930) is also being sold by Lenovo directly for upwards of $350.
Bay Trail devices get a bad rep, but honestly – they’re more than capable of handling what most people will throw at it. And that should matter more than arbitrary scores. Plus, by using Intel’s power-efficient CPU, the device is a fanless design and packed with ample battery life.
In the US the base model ships with 2GB RAM, which is just about enough to handle everyday tasks. In the UK it comes with 4GB as standard, the true sweet spot for Chrome OS.
The glossy LED screen is bright and colourful, and the built-in speakers are above-par for the price point.
As for battery, Lenovo say this model pushes around 8 hours, but with the brightness dialled down and light usage, you should be able to approach 9-10 hours easy.
It’s Unique (And Future Proof!)
Lenovo could’ve just added a touch screen. But oh no; they went one better.
The 11.6-inch LCD display can flip back 300-degrees to form a so-called “stand” mode. Lenovo say this style makes watching and interacting with content via the touchscreen a more pleasurable and natural experience.
The flexible hinge also allows the device to be laid out perfectly horizontally — a feature that has little practical benefit but is novel to see.
Sporting a 10-point touch screen alone is enough to make a Chromebook stand out (pun totally and emphatically intended), and though touch-equipped Chromebooks may seem like a luxury right now, changes are a-coming…
In the UK It’s Priced To Sell
Lenovo’s recommended retail price for the N20p in the US is $329 — a price I tutted at when announced.
It’s this high MSRP that puts the novel convertible at a perceptual disadvantage against its competition – the more powerful, and significantly cheaper, Acer C720P Chromebook.
But while most online retailers in the US continue to stock it at the MSRP, here in the UK it’s not only priced competitively — but is an absolute steal!
Most UK retailers sell the Lenovo N20p below £200 — and yes, that’s a model that includes 4GB RAM.
When you factor in that this device has a touchscreen it’s a total steal. The comparable Acer C720P with 4GB RAM costs nearer to £300!
If you’re in the UK, like the 11.6-inch form factor and can cope with a regular LCD display, the Lenovo N20p is the best all-round Chromebook you can buy for your money.