Lenovo has just announced two consumer-level Chromebooks, the N20 and N20p, making it the first time that the PC manufacturer enters that specific market. Previously, the rugged Thinkpad 11e (launched in late January 2014) could run Windows or Chrome, but it was price between $349 and $449 which made it much more expensive than the $279 Lenovo N20 and the $329 N20P.
Despite the competitive price, the Lenovo N20 and Lenovo N20p come with an 11.6” 1366×768 (touch-display only for N20p) and up to 4GB of RAM coupled with a basic Intel Celeron processor. There is 16GB of local flash storage, which is not much, but quite typical for Chrome OS computers since they are meant to be connected at all times.
There’s a 1 Megapixel front webcam in case you want to place video calls using Google Hangout, which remains the best option to replace a non-existent Web Skype. To be fair, Hang Out’s video quality is very nice, but the hard part is to get family members to sign up and get acquainted. In time, things may get easier.
The WiFi AC connectivity looks very good on paper, and Bluetooth 4.02 is present as well to connect various accessories like nice, speakers and more. In terms of ports, there are two USB ports (Lenovo doesn’t say 3.0 or 2.0) and HDMI output and an SD/MMC card reader.
The difference between the N20 and N20p is that the latter can fold 270 degrees, making it able to use the keyboard side as a stable stand for media viewing. I really like this feature for reading on the plane or on the couch. For now, the only available color is “Graphite Grey”.
We will bring you some hands-on photos within 12 hours, with more details about the build quality. At the moment, the design looks pretty good, and the keyboard seems promising. At 2.8lbs and 3.1lbs, these aren’t really Ultralights for 11.6” computers, but at around $300, it’s hard to complain too much.
As of late, Chromebooks have had great traction in schools and places that loan computers to customers or guests. That’s because they are very easy to manage and hard to temper with. With better networks and web services that are designed to go offline from time to time, the continued rise of Chromebooks seems inevitable.
|Operating System||Google Chrome OS|
|Operating System||Integrated Intel® Graphics|
|Display/Resolution||11.6” HD (1366×768) display; N20p gets multi-touch technology|
|Memory||Up to 4G DDR3L|
|Storage||Up to 16GB eMMC storage|
|Sound||Stereo speakers; Audio Combo Jack (headphone and microphone)|
|Wireless||Bluetooth® 4.02; WiFi: 802.11 ac|
|Battery||Up to 8 hours|
|Weight||N20: 2.8 lbs, N20p: 3.1 lbs|
|Dimensions||11.6 in x 8.34 in x 0.70 in|
|Connectors||2 x USB ports, HDMI-out, 2-in-1 (SD / MMC) card reader|