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First Look at Lenovo’s New Chromebook Convertible

As the first device approaching the tablet form factor to run Chrome OS, the lack of hype around the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e is perhaps a little surprising.

But the convertible Chromebook, which is being targeted at the education market, is edging closer to release. Lenovo say it should be available to buy in both Windows and Chrome OS flavours sometime in June.

Ahead of its release, Lenovo has given several technology sites a brief hands-on with some prototypes.

ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook

The convertible ThinkPad Yoga 11e lets you fold the screen back 360 degrees behind the keyboard so that you hold the device like a traditional tablet. Additional positions are touted, such as ‘tent mode’, and the device can even be laid out entirely horizontal.

Yoga Chromebook

Yoga 11e Chromebook (Image Credit: Brad Linder)

Key Stats at a Glance:

  • 11.6-inch IPS touch display (1366 x 768) with Gorilla Glass 
  • Quad-core Intel Celeron N2920 (Bay Trail) @ 1.8GHz 
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Priced from $429 

Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook

Flashy flexible model aside, Lenovo will also launch a more traditional clamshell Chromebook alongside the Yoga, in the shape of the ThinkPad 11e. This 11.6-inch notebook is also aimed at the education market, where it will come badged with a RRP starting at $349.

Key Stats at a Glance

  • 11.6-inch HD LED display (1366 x 768) 
  • Quad-core Intel Celeron N2920 (Bay Trail) @ 1.8GHz  (Haswell option on Windows models)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD (HDD option on Windows models)
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Priced from $349 

Build

When it comes to hardware on the inside, both the flexible and inflexible models are made up of the same parts: both weigh in at around 3.3Ibs, both are just under one-inch thick and all feature the same array of ports and connectivity options (with the exception of ethernet, which is only available on Windows models).

Both devices are built with a strengthened plastic shell capable of withstanding the inevitable knocks and scrapes in the classroom. Rubber bumpers, reinforced ports and a set-in keyboard whose keys can’t be picked off all aid in defending the device from riotous little hands.

Intel Core i-series chips will also be available in select models. But with more power comes more power usage. Reps state that these Haswell models will see battery life reduced from 8 hours to just 6 hours.

Release Date

So when can you buy one? While aimed at education institutions Lenovo will be selling both devices directly to consumers. Chrome OS models will launch sometime in June, while those running Windows 8 are expected to arrive later this month or early May.